Women are everywhere.
hanging off the edge of buildings,
breasts swinging like ripe melons
or a pair of exquisite blisters.
Strange how you never notice.
Some nights it's all about innocence
usually it's raining and we're inside
and i'm trying to push the envelope
i don't know why i want her
except maybe it's the way she smiles
with her body eyes wide and twinkling
her mouth startled slightly open,
But then when she's back to the altar
and i'm poised with my knife over her
it comes to me like abraham and
i fall away from her knowing
i can never get back through that
no sacrifice could remind me how to smile
with more than the corner of my mouth.
She says i shouldn't love her
that everything is wrong with that
we're friends we're friends we're only friends
and that's the way it's got to be
doesn't love me doesn't want me
that that's the way it's got to be
it wasn't like i had an option
it wasn't like i swore a vow
it wasn't like i signed some pact
entered into some contract
or ever chose all this somehow
it happened when it happened sudden
swiftly lightly flash of whitely
trumpets glory overnightly
and then i loved her
god i love her
and she doesn't love me back.
I'd change for her go mad for her
buy her jellybeans and red balloons
and fill up all her afternoons
with crayon joys and taxicabs.
But when she wanted me I wasn't
and when she didn't then I was
and there isn't anything to help it
and there isn't really a because.
Where do we two go from here
Where do we two go from here
Where do we two go from here
And does it really matter?
i went over to her house last night
for coffee; sex wasn't on my mind
(or at least not much), but quickly
she squirmed and put my hand on her breast
and so i played my best for her
and listened to her quiet moans
and kissed her gently as she fell asleep.
so today she calls me, sounding cold:
"i feel guilty, i feel dirty,
i don't know why but i feel used"
and she doesn't want to see me
for a while so we can go slow.
and i can sympathize, you know,
but i can't remember being the one
who turned towards her on the bed
and asked softly to remove her bra.
see the woman smiling at you
nameless hips swinging streetward
and if she rips off all her clothes
will it help you remember her better
and when you undress her poetry
will you remember those lines better
that strip themselves butt-naked
and waggle their breasts in your face
So what's there to say
when the words have been said
and they're lying there dead
on the table between us?
And what's there to do
when we've coffee and bread
but they're tasteless (instead,
it all seems intravenous)?
And how could I possibly
what could I write
what's there to say
that could make it all right
and make you my lover
and how could you possibly
what could you do
what's there to say
that would help me love you
when dinner is over?
We put the picnic basket on a nearby stump,
the blanket stretched neatly between two nameless graves;
we were in the old part of the cemetery,
where people no longer bothered with flowers
and the stones themselves were worn into scrawl,
so we had to rub a little chalk on the nearest marker
in order to make out the pitted words beneath.
Something about it got her really turned on,
and afterwards she left a sugar skull
balanced on one teetering tomb
just, as she put it, in case.
I went to a movie today.
I can never afford it, but I'd just got paid
and had 20 bucks and was feeling bored,
so I put 10 in the tank and drove out
to Southlake Mall. I would have brought Liz,
but she really had to wash her hair,
so I bought one ticket for five dollars
and stared blankly at the unforgiving marquee
and finally asked the cute little high-school girl
--her breasts resting high and full
on her folded arms, caressing
the teensy red bow at her neck--
unmanning the ticket booth for her recommendation.
I saw it,
and then went home where Andy had just got back
from a party and gave him my last five
so he and his friends could buy cigarettes.
I am slowly coming to dread most parties,
the reckless complex whirling of all the social orbits,
each planet necking with its blank-faced moon,
fleeting tides waxing over couches.
And me and all the other dirtballs
collide apologetically around the outer buffet table
and some sometimes dive towards some gold-haired girl
to flame out alone, fat asses dragging,
only noticed in the progress of our particular deaths.
I knew when she cancelled an hour before
that something was wrong, so i went to her slowly
and--biting my lip--asked what she thought.
I'm interesting, she told me, and
and witty and funny and kind and wise and
and i listen well and laugh well and
and i do kiss better than she'd hoped but--
--but i stopped her and stood up
and pulled on my shoes. there's no spark,
i said, right? your next sentence will be
'there isn't any spark.'
So she looked at the carpet and faked a smile--
'You know me better than I thought, Tom.
You aren't upset? I'm sorry....'--
--but i laughed well once as i pulled open the door,
explaining i'd had this conversation before.
I took Nicole out to a little place
near Michigan Avenue, three blocks from the river,
where they make the best sirloin steaks
I've ever tasted. I knew the owner a while back,
when I used to work for a warehouse sunken
somewhere deep in South WaterMarket, so he
grinned toothlessly and introduced me, bowing,
to his three siren teenage daughters, all
with names I couldn't have begun to pronounce,
and then showed us to a small booth near the fishtank,
where two angels were paddling listlessly around
the waving graceless tendrils of one tired anemone.
I thought she was magic--auburn hair in candlelight,
sparkling hazel eyes almost worthy of cliche--
and I tried to be my best for her, tried to summon
spirits of the desperately witty, my voice smooth
and almost debonair as I ordered the drinks--
a pink chablis for her, Green River here--
and I actually managed to shut my mouth and listen
to her, words drifting lowly and lapping the wine.
But after the salad,
she smiled at me over the guttering candles
and dipped one scarlet nail into her second glass
and asked, "Tom, do you think your brother likes me?"
Clock strikes and it's time to fight.
I'm sure you're wrong; you're sure you're right
about whatever's scheduled.
I'm sorry, but it's getting old.
Could be, perhaps, that this is it --
my last tantrum, your last fit --
except that we've done this before:
there's always room for just one more.
Then lightning strikes and we're starting over,
no more fights; now I'm your lover
back again, and now you're mine --
just like the Bride of Frankenstein.
So unless it's drama that we're after,
couldn't we just skip the chapters
concerned with all the breaking up?
I'm getting sick of making up.
There is nothing to me that I couldn't remove
no one at all that I might come to love
so much that it hurts me to strip it away;
except that, of course, it's so easy to say that....
Clay was far too good for this--
it's the bones of the earth, the milk of the sky;
so when you shaped my chest and kissed
life into me, you knew that I
was paper-mache and wire rebar,
sperm and red placental ooze,
nothing quite so fine as dirt,
nothing worth your work so far,
nothing God would hate to lose.
So why then the trouble, why all your effort
to bring me to life here, to give me a name?
You abjured and injured, you conjured and bound me --
so when you don't want me, who's really to blame?
I don't wanna be your albatross;
I don't feel the need to stay.
I don't wanna be your heavy cross;
you don't want me anyway.
If I leave, would you miss me?
If I seethe, would you kiss me?
If I breathe, would you piss me out?
If I try, would you hurt me?
If I cry, would you burp me?
If I fly, would you jerk me down?
I can't tolerate your fear of loss,
since you're pushing me away.
I can't win this (I've already lost);
why then do I have to play?
the girl on tv says she'll make me a man
for 2.50 a minute or more; sure she can,
but the girl on the corner is closer to home
and she's 12 bucks an hour and ain't on the phone.
Marie is singing in the bathroom,
washing her hair out in the sink,
calling out last night was great
but now she's late and got to go. So
I'm sitting on the bed, tugging a sock,
trying to remember her last name, her number,
where we even met--but nothing comes
and she's out the door before I'm done.
It's at times like this that you notice the room,
when wallpaper really matters.