Justine and Juliet

His real name was Francois,
but he liked to be called Justine
because the [swa] sound
embarrassed him.

We met on Craigslist
under Erotic Section;
I was looking for leather whips,
and he was collecting nude photos.

We virtually clicked
and excitedly agreed to meet
that same hot afternoon
for iced coffee at Starbucks. 

Summer was in full blast,
steaming the asphalt road
and softening the rubber soles
of my running shoes. 

After weeks of burgers and pizza,
different caffeine concoctions,
and several cinema visits,
he moved into my apartment.

I was easy when it came to men
who knew Rimbaud
or had read Baudelaire,
so I shared my bed.

First month was uneventful—
kissing on the patio,
petting while tipsy or slightly high, 
and light whipping.

Then he tried melting candles
but did not know 
what he was supposed to do;
he burnt my hair and skin.

Next were gags and chains;
those too were hard to him,
so I ended up demonstrating again
how they worked.

Last weekend of August,
he wanted to try something;
he was fully naked,
and I was in my fantasy Juliet costume.

He closed his eyes,
and his mouth was drooling;
in his shaking hand was a razor blade—
it was Gillette.

I slapped his face 
to awaken him from his sexual trance;
You are no Marquis de Sade,
I loudly said.

He opened his eyelids
and unleashed a delighted smile;
Yes, Sweetie, I am not,
but you are.

Seducing Lorca

It was you, Federico,
who invented the soul
of the duende
sullen lips should not speak of
for it would still exist
even without the sadness
of the language
that uttered the stare
of beggars
and the quiet of the dead
buried among the blossoms
of dahlia.

You said I could find
that goblin’s spirit
on her tongue hiding
the timbre of the song,
inside the hollow cajón
she tapped with the fan
and beat to moan,
between her thumb
and the strings
when she played the guitar,
and beneath her soles
when she convulsed—
I pleaded to that woman,
La Malena of Andalusia;
olé! I became a gypsy.

So, I learned flamenco
to show you the signs
of my fingers,
the quiver of their tips,
the curves of my arms,
the enticing
of my shoulders,
then the motion
of my thighs
and the slightest of my toes
before the stomping
of my feet.

I just could not bare
my breasts like moons
tucked underneath the laces
embroidered with olives
and flamingos,
my belly doubting
your eyes,
my waist losing
its agile balance,
and the arc of my back
that wanted to lean on the air
for your catching—
what my body had mastered,
to you, Señor,
was only a dance.

Two Weeks on James Dean

I had waited,
so I could give him
the leather jacket I bought
at Goodwill—
all blacks on sale
every Friday.

The Towncraft undershirts
I overbid on eBay
already arrived,
and were Tide white—
a dozen of them
neatly folded.

The boots my ex forgot
and his vintage jeans
I hand-washed and air-dried
were on my bed—
lined up
and also waiting.

Still he did not show up,
so I Googled him
and found out
about acrotomophilia—
he had the hots
for pretty amputees.

The last thing I saw
was a man
in a reflector uniform
holding my right leg—
he was burly,
certainly not James Dean.

On the way to the emergency
I felt my pocket:
a pack of Chesterfield,
then everything became clear—
he would have
if I only had LSD.

Pavlovan Method

I’m not quite sure what ails this body—old
age or longing. I’ve been with three guys
in total since I first got fucked at fourteen,
but something is missing. I feel it each day.

A farmer’s son, who plowed me too, did it
fast like rice planting. Because of his fitful
shame, he quickly took off, still squeezing
his balls. He squirted more on the buffalo. 

Another was a foreigner who liked to screw
in theaters. He’d pick the farthest last seats
so no one could see. I often wondered why
he wouldn’t let them watch and masturbate.

And there was my husband, long dead now, 
due to weak heart and tarred lungs. He did
smoke a lot. Sex with him had always been
a worry, gasping for air while he was on top.

I didn’t protest when I was laid on the grass
and spat on with sputum because I couldn’t
loosen it up. I didn’t plead when interrupted
or left fingering myself. I never complained.

I’ve never made love with somebody really, 
so these days, I’m on YouTube, looking for
her videos. I’ve been observing how Anna 
Pavlova totters in a white tutu. Feathers fall.

In front of the computer, I blow smoke, as if
curtain puffs opening for her grand pas seul,
my finger burnt out from clicking blue flame,
her hands waving, the final dance of wings. 

All I want to do is flutter these arms—when 
I rattle as my pelvic bones open to the noise
of vibrations. I like to begin with the tiptoes
to my bed until I quiver like the dying swan.

Dreaming in Spanish

Wearing a beret,
Pablo finished his cigar
from Havana,
blowing the last smoke
in my face 
for a film noir effect.

After the white 
cleared, he exclaimed,
“Your red lips 
remind me of ripe April 
in the fields of Chile.”

He unbuttoned 
my shirt only halfway
as if his fingers 
froze from the sudden 
of impulsive youth.

He held them, 
my estrogen breasts, 
before saying:
“These are the two hills 
of Temuco,
my old playground.”

The tiny buttons
fell off by themselves,
so his arms
went further to explore
the lower part
of my exotic topology. 

“Ah, my impatient 
innocence fools again,”
his cold hands
on my thighs, grazing
what I had 
been trying to hide.

As though on cue,
Federico, the fine guy
who loved 
bulls fighting, appeared 
from the back
naked, raging, hard.

He whispered,
“Oldie is bullshitting,” 
as he pulled 
my floral skirt together 
with my undies
to lube my behind.

I took a long hit,
hoping the young poet
would reemerge
so I could still continue
this piece,
my fuck you to Franco.

Juicy Fruit

Some have a sixth sense;
she has two eyes
in the back of her head.

She can tell when a cop
is coming to ask
for money or a free blow.

Her legs are now familiar
with steeplechase;
mudholes spite her nylons.

When that hide and seek
happens, a dark
alley welcomes as a refuge.

Her toes are always tired;
on the graveyard
of rats, she squats to wait.

She implores the sudden
rain, the moon
highlighting the footpaths.

Some smoke; she chews
gum to get rid
of the bitter taste of men.

Streetwalkers’ Neoexistentialism

She puts on the reddest lipstick,
a sheer, cherry flavor.

He tries the sound of the whistle,
a shrill, loud brass.

Wearing her cigarette stilettoes,
seven-inch high.

Cleaning off his hardwood baton,
waist-stuck tight.

She adjusts her bulge, a switch,
now ready to go.

He holsters his gun, an automatic,
all looking in place.

Going for a hustle, she loiters;
doing a job, he kills.

Thigh Highs

Some tumble
in the rain.
Others slump
in daylight.
The rest die
in their sleep.
I like to go
in sheer silks.

Our Last Pillow Talk

When all the gasps
cease in bed,
I ask a question,
his chin on my chest

— the elastic sound
of the garter
pulled then let go
to hug my skin,

the strands of hair
hanging astray
on my face
that just can’t say no,

the thin strap falling
by itself
off my shoulder
as if a hint,

the things gentle
on my altered body
that he’ll try
to remember still 

when the light
spirals into the dark
after the aim
hits its soft target.

Morning Headline

Mud sullied
her flowery corset
tightly laced
for his excitement.

Her stiletto
high at six inches
was broken
from trying to run.

A small bag
of crystals peeped
out of her
bloodied bosom.

Ordinary was
her story of a skirt
folded short
and cheap catcalls.

She peddled
joy a bill per hour
so her man
would not leave.

It was easier
to forgo her bulge
when his eyes
shut half from hits.