Nights with Diane

When we went to check the circus

known for the thick-lipped fish lady

and the adroit lizard man,

we ended up having a threesome

with that Turk’sh midget,

whose uncovered cock could pass

as his middle and third leg

and shoeless height proved to me

that fucking without kissing

was like washing my stinky pussy

without brushing my teeth—

useless incomplete routine.

 

The last time we met up for fun,

we went to the lesbian bar

that served mountain moonshine

and allowed us to smoke weed

in a huge glass beer bong

and where we met a lipstick butch,

who seemed quiet but cute

in leather, boots, and chain,

and brought her to the neon-lit hotel

where we stayed for cruising

only to find out that she was mute—

born with a short tongue.

 

 

Gothic Sex

His cologne, 
the fumes of rum
and rye whiskey,
clung to my neck like ether.

We found our lips
pale from winter
and tingling from the methanol
of a taxidermist.

On the tomb 
watched over by granite angels
and gargoyles,
we numbed ourselves.

My glance provoked his hands
to dissect my skin
with scratches
and morphine intoxication.

Smelling of sulfur,
we sweat on the black linen
soaking in blood
and turpentine.

Then he called me Annabel,
and I woke up—
the bells might toll
and the raven would come.

Je est un autre.

Was it poetry
that made you leave
Charleville and me?

The last time I saw
the excitement on your face,
I could not tell
if you were chasing allusions,
fable songs,
or a butterfly.

You went to hell
for illuminations,
traveled far
for faraway moments,
and lost yourself in recklessness
all for deciphering.

I did not care
about your words intoxicated
by absinthe
and what they meant
impenetrable like riddles
and muddled by hashish.

The silence that worried
your verses
and the night
you wrote about
were strange to my ears
and indifferent to my skin.

I sought refuge
in animal farms
and solace in vegetable gardens,
always wondering
how you would whisper on each
of my breasts.

Now you came home
with chancre 
and gangrene,
typhoid,
arthritic amputation,
and the disease of the bone.

I saw neither Paul
nor Germain,
no poets of London
or your circle in Paris,
but your body
and all the symbols of your absence.

Were you back in Charleville
for my lace embroidery
and the taste of my stew?

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.

Folsom Blues

Before my uncle
Johnny “Cash”
González died,
I had already fucked
my Russian girlfriend
countless times
and in several positions.
He told me about
wearing condoms,
gentle fellatio,
which my girl liked,
and bongs for weed.
He was against heroin,
hitting women,
and spit as lube.

Because of his insistence,
I could play the guitar,
read chords,
and sing blues.
He also taught me
how to roll dice
and bluff in poker;
it was all about
tricking eyes
and fucked up hands.
Right before
he closed his eyes,
he whispered and laughed
that I was ready to make
the world cry.

I got it when he said
nipples and kisses
were the kept secrets;
beer not water
was fuckingly good
for filtering smoke;
die or dice,
about surviving
in the streets of sharks;
Folsom … Blues,
a prison song;
or man’s worth,
his dick and pride.
But world crying
sounded Greek to me.

Not into poems,
flowery words,
or emotional fuck,
I had no clue
until I stabbed
my girlfriend’s brother
who wanted to pimp out
his sister for dope.
He hurt Oksana and me
and tested my manhood.
I was prepared to go
to jail for that disrespect.
So I willingly did
to stay there for a while,
and the world cried.

My childhood buddies,
friends at work,
and even neighbors
showed up to console
my mom and dad.
I was a good kid
with a good personality
and a good job
and a good future.
My baby sister
Elena Marie
suffered from asthma,
and I made her sob;
that fucking hurt,
and her hug was tight.

The trial began,
and my lawyer argued
self-defense;
that fucker was no saint.
Eventually I received
a unanimous acquittal,
but was never the same.
I used what I learned
from my dead uncle,
preyed on anyone,
and did not really care
if the world wailed.
Last spring
it was writing poetry
in New Folsom.

Piped Words

i.  fire

 

addicted
to sound of lighter
i click

i inhale
fume of gasoline
its odor

flame
i see flicker
yellow

i feel
rage on my thumb
burn

taste
after lighting
i smoke

 

ii.  water

 

i wake up every day
to the lure of instant coffee
dark and bitterlying on the couch
i stare at the wall clock
faucet dripping

reheated ramen
a soup without noodles
i sip quietly

to forget it all
i open an empty bottle
fume of vodka

i shower at night
to remember the cold waves
of the old sea

 

iii.  air

i smell it in spring
imitating the scent
of red geranium.i hear it coming
when jays suddenly
become quiet.

i see it at noon
pushing a leaf
to fall then rustle.

i feel it on my neck
as i look up to stare
at the citrus moon.

i open my mouth
for my cold tongue
knows its taste.

Study of a Tangerine

Bare, we give up and curl in like its peels,
squeezed oil and perfume in the locked air;
our excited fingers and nervous nails golden,
the evolution of yellow and deep orange,
we hold each other’s hands; eager, we lick,
sharing seasonal bitters and rare sweets;
our sour faces morph into smiles, satisfied.

Simple, our joy is whole in between palms
like our napes we grip and cheeks we cup,
as warm as our tongues luring each other
and gasped breaths begging for quick breaks,
before we divide it into pieces and small bites
like portions of silk hairs or segments of skin
we tend before bones and outlines, febrile.

Confident, we can tell its shape even if blind
like how we sense the arches of our brows,
the bows of our lips, the soft solids we touch,
the plush texture of linens covering our feet,
our exposed bellies and naked battered backs,
because we share its fibers and its last drop
and keep its seeds like our secrets, fervent.​

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.

Mimicking Amy

When I was out of blue gel
and canned sticky spray,
I began using paper glue
for an old bouffant style
looking like an untidy nest
emptied by birds long ago
when I still climbed trees.

The fair glow of my skin
turning dull, yellow-pale,
I smoked a pack each day
burning the itchy bruises
and the red bumpy boils
I wanted to scab then pick
while puffing on the patio.

I got tattoos not for the art
or the edgy-cool ink images
my friends would talk about
in between cold gulps of beer
or glass pipe hits or snorts
of knife-fined pure cocaine
at the house parties I hosted.

Once the pin-pulsated pain
no longer made me cringe,
I bought lancets and razors
and tried their sharp edges
on my consenting thighs
and arms that welcomed
the blades without tremor.

After pulling most of my hairs
on the head, skin, and groin
and my fingernails with pliers,
I stared at the broken mirror;
bald, gaunt, and all wounds,
I begged my mom and dad:
Please make me go to rehab.

Crying for Sappho

You brought nothing
in your exile
but lamp
and pen
and cloak of wool.

I saw how the lamp
flickered to lyrical verses
and lit at night
the island of thieves
and men.

Your pen made of reed
wrote on tunics
the sadness of skin
and breeze
in desolate May.

The solitude of poets failed
to kill you;
the hairy cloak you slid
back-and-forth
comforted your vulva.

I woke up wet
and weeping inside,
wishing I could give you
the soft silicone vibrating
in my hand.