Last Dance

Quelle demoiselle the man next to me says. He

keeps the rhythm with one hand, taps his foot.

Want to dance? he asks me. I quake

with passion unspooling.

No, I say, I don’t dance, don’t

think, don’t blink.

I take a sip of tipple to the music.

Are you here for me?

dapple my hips and smile.

Let’s ride the pony, the Appaloosa, the

stallion I say, let’s play the beast

with two backs. He says, do you want to pavane waltz

rhumba with me, I will

dip you trip you. Kiss you. We Spanish

flu flamingo, Malaysian gavotte tie the knot, Viennese cakewalk.

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Going to the Show

Every minute I was sixteen

I rode the clattered noisome

subway to see whatever

foreign film played on Bleeker

Street. That’s when I loved this man

twice my age old, Louis was his name, we

watched French movies:

he said he understood them, I don’t know.

Last year in Marienbad was his

favorite, beautiful

aristocrats gliding through gardens

and corridors like a dream,

women with much makeup whispering secrets

maybe, hard to be sure, probably just

talking to the cat. No popcorn or jujubes

for sale only espresso in a little cups.

I smoked Gauloises and kissed Louis

In the virgin dark.

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Roadside Flora

What unusual willowy wheat-like stalks

I exclaimed from the car, stop let’s pick some dig some

Let’s plant them at home, graceful reeds with slanty

drooping heads, lithe and lyrical, let’s put

them in a vase. I wonder what they are called, exotic like desperados.

I skipped across the ditch, took out my clasp knife

Cut dozens of six foot stems and clutched them close.

Aren’t they lovely I asked

my husband agreed

Let’s figure out what they are he queried

Let’s research, investigate, plumb wells of information

Of course I answered, enchanted by his enthusiasm so

We poured over guides of grasses of roadside growings

I found them I shouted

a treasure hunter in a jungle Shangri La, reading

They are phragmites an invasive malignant

grass unwanted unwelcome in this great country

Oh no I said tearing fearing encroaching weeds, so

Gathered up all the stems not one fragment fell upon our

Soil, and tossed the foragings of foreign matter into the trash, bash

Said there you alien things, you had the worst of origins.

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I Ate Too Much

sushi tonight

stomach is big like Buddha

mind is Confucius

feet have wiggly Taoisms

fingers full of Parable

Holy moly

I ate Talmud rolls

stopped with saucies

more than dozens.

a Come to Jesus

Dharma karma so much

sushi moment.

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Me, Writing as My Husband’s Ex-Wife

Dear Karl,

I thought I could

wait it out until you returned home from

Basic training on leave I think they call it

but I cannot live in America

one more minute

and anyway I do not think I love you anymore.

I am going back

to Copenhagen next week.

I never want to see you again. Please

do not try to contact me. This

marriage was a so very big mistake. I

am an artist not a wife and

I feel afraid in such alien country.

I am sorry you just had my name

tattooed on your arm.

Best wishes, Marianne

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My Dreams Are Gloomy

I’d rather have

pedestrian ones my husband

just dismantles greasy engines

reassembles them in his sleep.

all I do is tumble

rumble through unlit desolate

worlds teetering to destruction

bleached eyes kissed with fear

skipped trip through endless corridors

dark confusion, lips reaching for a kiss

missed the target

tongue hunkering teeth clicking

anguish translating to these

future gloom filled amphitheaters

streaming down and around

I aim to survive elbowing through throngs all

doomed to expire fish lips puckered for that old kiss

racing through hallways looking

hold me, I’m yours I jump hurdles like a foaming stallion

I really hate this part

the part where I die

every fucking dream I die in the end.

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Johnny Suspenders

When fellows get to

be a certain age they blimp out

their middles, got no hips, no rump, just

plump. Them poor

hobblies wobble to the mailbox every morning

desperately clutching waistbands hoping their

Trousers will not plummet down to white hairy fairy

ankles. So when my husband hears

an old guy complain about droopy

drawers he exclaims, what you need are suspenders,

and he detaches his own and hands them over. The fellow

puts them on, clipping the ends smartly to his belt,

rolls both shoulders till the straps are comfortable, sighs with

relief secure from embarrassment and

gratefully struts like a smugful peacock,

insular and svelte.

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Paean to Menopause

She people suffer through fifty percent of life with

tampons periodically prodded up a bleeding orifice,

string dangling between thighs

wadding stuffed and stiff and swollen,

waddling with necessity

Sometimes a startlement, sudden blood

seeps and dribbles and pours willy milky,

speed to the drugstore

toilet paper bunched in the punch

scrambling emergency supplies:

curse of womanhood bane of fecundity.

So when it ceases oh my goddess

celebration for vaginas, blessings forever.

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I Am Too: Sensitive

You might ask,

why are you so mean,

hating poor crazy people, I say

because they are stuck-up and pretend

to be more sensitive than anyone else,

me for instance, just

because I don’t sink into black depressions

or have giddy manic episodes where I travel

to Brazil and charge ten thousand dollars on my credit card.

Just because I never hear voices in my head

or feel spiders crawling up my legs or believe

someone is plotting to murder me,

doesn’t mean I am not just

as sensitive as a poor crazy person.

Even if I do not suffer from night sweats,

don’t wake up screaming, don’t cut myself,

or drink whiskey sours and contemplate suicide,

even if I just go about my days and nights

being neurotic

in the best sense.

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We Were Watching

an exciting cowboy movie

and I said to my husband, I’m disappointed

we don’t have bar fights anymore

remember when we had that big one

and I threw a whiskey bottle at you

but you ducked and it hit the bartender,

remember that?

He laughed and shook his head


that actually we never had a bar fight, that

we were only in a bar together once

many years ago

in the Bronx

visiting my parents, taking a minute to ourselves we

walked to an Irish saloon around the corner;

put money down, ordered cocktails –

a few men sat at tables drinking

it was real quiet

and smelled like stale beer and gin.

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