Female Orgasm

Imagined
faces of pleasure
float past
attached to every
pair
of high heels
balancing
prejudice
and likewise
drip
from quieter
(oh, so quiet)
white
(red,
black,
blue)
trainers
with their
slow-crumbling
soles
adorned
with scars
like she
is.

(They carry
scuffed
souls,
too.)

Eyes clenched
shut
against
possibility
and fists squeezed
around
seventy-two
cents
on the dollar;
her lips
part,
wet
in places,
and,
in others,
dry from
the sharp
inhalation
of breath
against
sucked in
stomach
and pushed
together
breasts
(or,
at least
disallowed
from slipping
toward her
armpits
while she
lies
on
her back).

Her thighs
are
whispering
to one another–
separation anxiety.

(They are
afraid to make
new friends.)

Moans
sneak out,
but groans
are forced;
romantic aspirations
meet
resplendent
respiration aspirations.

Dresses wrinkle,
shoved up
as they are
in the
small
of her back–
later
she will be
shamed
by her father–
“How will you
ever
get a man
like that?”

‘Moist’
is a word
to be feared
for what
it
connotes.

Her vagina
is only
meaningful
since
it sheaths
a penis,
but
a penis
is the whole
without
complement.

Formerly
fresh
panties
pulled
to the side–
(at which point
do they
lose
their
pristine
crispness?)

Back
and elbows
and stomach
and hands
and knees–
anything
you like.

All is strawberry
soft lipgloss
and watermelon
wet
and
sherbet shame
and cherry clenched
around
berry bedsheets
and apple
apologetic
murmurings.

His sex
tears it down–
then why
should we be
surprised
that
her sex
makes
the sounds?

(Hurry.)

Her muscles
t.
wi.
_tch–
they are not
used
to this.

She must
hurry
to be first
or she’ll
not see that
pink sky
at all.

“I’m afraid
of what will
happen
if I let go
and
let it
loose,”
she
says.

I know.

You may
at last
be
free;

you may
at last
come first,

and
there’s nothing ladylike
about
that.

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Advice

People need you
to tell them
what they
already
know
so
they can
believe
themselves.

Some will lead you
back
to the question
and will have
done
a good job
of covering their
subsequent
_t_r_a_c_k_s_–
obscuring their
conclusion
so as
not
to color
your
own;

Others
aren’t so careful.

“Let love go,”
I say,
and they ask
“but
WHY?”

“ee cummings
told me so,”
I say.

“Trust in your
own
genius,”
I say,
and they ask
“but won’t
I
be alone?”

“Rilke taught
me,”
I say,
“and yes.”

“Like many
before
and many
after,
you’ll be
alone.”

Like them.

Like
me.

Cats with opposable thumbs

I had a dream
last night
that cats
grew
opposable thumbs,
and,
instead of
enslaving
the human race
and becoming
our
cat overlords
like the joke
goes,
they quickly
cured hepatitis
and taught us
how to brew
home coffee
that
tasted
good.

Just what the fuck
have I done
with my
opposable
thumbs,
anyway?

“What did you get for number 4 on Keats?”

I’ve moved into
a new
apartment
which is also
old.

The doors are the
kind
that are
heavy
and slow
and crack
like thunder
when you close them.

The air-conditioning vents
are
in the
__floors__
instead of in
the
ceilings–
the technology
was added
long after
the house
had been built.

It’s odd not having
the cool
air
blow down
on you
as you stare up
pretending
you’re in prehistoric
times
and you’re
about to
filter fire from
the sunbeams.

I always
feel
I should
s
_t
__e
___p
around the
grates–
just in case.

I open
my door
when the doorbell
rings
and a
girl
whom I
admire
but who
also
makes me
-ache-
enters;
right on time
for our
study
session.

She
is wearing
a practical
skirt
for late
summer,
but,
as she bends down
to stroke
my cat,
I
am practically
staring
at the tapering
of her
tendons
and
the curve
of her calves
and
-straining-
to hear
the whisper of
her thighs
beneath
it all.

I offer her a drink,
and she says

“Sure.
I love your place,
by the way.
The old wooden
floors
are lovely,
and the old floor vents
are cute–
they remind me
of an old
farmhouse
I used to know.”

“Whatever blows
your skirt
up,”
I say.

She laughs
as
I
wipe the sweat
from my
neck
and dry
my
hands
on the inside
of my
denim
thighs.

We
settle in
as,
outside,
the cars
driving by
sound like
sighs.

Firefly

Even
in my mind
I call them
my
“little”
poems.

I fantasize
about someone
approaching me
in real life
and asking me
about them.

I assign to
her
blushed
lips
the words
from
the
comments
on my
tiny blog
of little poems
from my
own dusty
corner
of the Internet.

She
hugs her books
to her rib cage
and
inadvertently
(purposefully)
uses them
to prop
up
her
flower
breasts
and she asks me
about my
“work”
in an intimate
way
and her eyes,
which really
are blossoms,
verdently
bloom
as they
glance up
at
the dark
_____
_t
_o
_w
_e
_r
_____of
my face;

and I say
sagely,
regally,
self-deprecatingly
(decapitatingly):

“They’re just my
little poems
from the
nights when
I can’t
sleep.”

But they aren’t.

My poems
are
the luminous
enumerations
on which
I ruminate;

They are
the finest
victory
of my mind
which is
really
a
firefly
in a wind-whipped
field
of wheat
at dusk–
and there’s nothing
little
about that.

through my bones

When I have
a poem
inside me
which I refuse
to birth,
I can’t sit still
and
it crackles
like lightning
through my bones–

God,
let me say it
at last
without fear
of
morbidity:

“through my bones.”

Bones
and meat
conducting
electric fire
through my
mind’s
quiet
victory;

and there it is–
something I made–
a poem
imperfect
and beautiful
for it.

A miracle
occurs
when
a man gives birth,
too.

The lightning
dies
d
.
o
.
.
w
.
.
.
n

and I
fall asleep,
exhausted,
cradling
my swaddled
and
bloody
poem.

The Fire Ant Incident

Remember
how I
snuck past
February
cosmic sentries
and stepped through
pitch-black
woods
to arrive,
sometimes draped
in my soft gray blanket,
outside your old
dorm room
window?

(I am there
now
writing this–
trying to breathe in
the fumes
of love’s
forgotten
sighs.)

I always stood with my
back
to the door
and tilted
my head
back
to look at the stars–
the stars
shine
brightest
in the cold–
mostly
so I’d look
more
mysterious.

You’d let me in and we’d
t
_i
__p
_t
o
_e
past
your sleeping
roommates’
doors.

Sometimes,
you’d be ready
for bed, already–
maybe
you still needed
me
to chase
away
all
the darkness.

We’d lie there
on your
twin bed
and talk,
and I’d
read poetry–
sometimes aloud–
until you fell asleep.

I never told you
because
I thought
I’d have
a better
opportunity,
but
I always
loved
how, as you
d.r..i…f….t…..e……d……o.f..f,
you
had to
be
touching
me.

I think
you knew
how incomprehensible
the world can be
and how
shortly
we were
tied
together
better than
did
I.

I remember
thinking
that it was
a shame
how accustomed
I’d gotten
to
holding your hand
in only
a few
short
months–
(our fingers
intertwined
in one
particular
way)–
what would we
do
for
the rest of our
lives?

Remember
how we
taught
one another
how
to
recall
our smiles?

I’d slip out of
your window
on the
brisk
mornings
and wait for you
by the door
and walk you
as near as
we dared
to your first class.

(Your mother
mustn’t
know.)

Lying in the grass
with you
listening
to Brahms
and reading our books
was
a revelation–
at least until
I realized
I had lain my belly button
in
a fire ant
mound.

Your irrepressible
laughter
mingling
with your
(eventual)
concern
made it
a worthwhile
enterprise.

I hope
that,
wherever you are–
wherever you
end up–
they have fire ants,
and cold nights
with star blankets,
and
poetry.

Summer of 2001

In 2001,
I was 13
and
I went with my
father
for his coffee
and newspaper
and a sandwich
at McDonald’s–
a luxury considering
I only saw him
on
weekends.

I ran in
and was overladen
on my way
out
when I saw
a homeless man
holding a cup
with little change
and
much
shame.

I was overcome–
mostly, perhaps,
due to this
unexpected
eruption.

I gave him
the
$10 and change
left over–one of the few
benefits
of such a trip–
my father was either
proud
or sad–
it was hard to tell,
sometimes.

I didn’t want
to talk
about it–
I was going to be in
high school,
soon,
and unexpected
tears
were
a regression.

I laid on the brick steps
of my
suburban
home
for many hours
afterward
crying
and wondering
why
I should have so
much
and he,
so little.

In my
mind,
I had hurt
the world
as much as he–
I had lied; I had
masturbated;
I had
told a girl
who
liked me
that I
didn’t like her;
I had
failed to
stand up
for a boy
in elementary school
who had
h
a
n
g
e
d
himself.

I was a sinner
and I didn’t deserve
anything.

In 2001,
I was 13
and I decided
to share in
the hurt
of the
entire
world,
and,
once you do that,
you can
never
go back
again.