Knives, Tools, and Matches
Usually I get the pain right here
and I shake
like when I learned to swim
even though I was afraid of the water.
I get pain between the dancing and the fireworks
till I vomit a golden key, violently,
onto the dance floor
and I know,
as if a little voice were telling me
where it goes,
how to get to the iron door.
Sometimes late at night I cry out your name.
And in the day my boss says,
there’s gonna be a beautiful sunset tonight.
I want you to take off early to watch it.
And I say that my foot is poised at the bottom rung
of the corporate ladder.
My shoulder is to the wheel.
Do you realize how many kinds of cat toys there are?
There are the little plastic balls with the bells inside.
There are the little furry birds.
And the chew toys that remove tartar and plaque from the teeth.
And I’m in charge of all of them.
A new teacher is appointed to my school.
His name is Tongue.
He buys frozen milk and spies on us.
At work I shrink the cat toys to the size of bugs.
It’s the completion of the cycle,
a remarkable rain.
I put a catnip punching bag
up on the shelf.
I stamp the price on a box of buzzyballs.
I spray myself with a growing serum.
And I rip a whole pond out of the ground
and create a giant rainstorm
A Partner for My Trapeze Act
I get the Dissolve-O-Beam ready
and turn my sword into a lasso.
Last year I went to Hawaii
With my girlfriend Rena.
We ate at this Chinese restaurant
and when they brought the fortune cookies,
hers said “you’ll never amount to anything.”
And so we left.
My teacher Tongue told me where the olives were
and swore we’d watch beautiful sunsets together.
But instead I put some eggplant parmesan in my handbag
and smeared it on my face
in preparation for the teargas.
Tongue has a job teaching sex ed to kids with behavior problems.
I told him I had this really dirty dream
where all I wanted was a little warmth
from the guy in the hat
who I think did something terrible
who I think overcharged Tongue in the store
and put his voice into a voice-bubble.
Tongue didn’t speak.
like a slow-toe dragging a cart, like an army
flying into the gap.
Let’s hear about the cowardice and shame.
Let’s use a flair to distract it.
I thought I might recite some poetry.
Tongue gives us copies of Sports Illustrated.
Tongue teaches us to swim
and holds a prom for the football team
in November to avoid the spring rush.
I score a goal with someone else’s head.
I may chuckle.
A little guffaw.
It’s as if when you put on those clothes you knew we’d end up in jail.
They gave us yellow water with green stuff floating in it.
And told us we were lucky; most days you don’t get the green stuff.
When I want fresh rolls, rolls hot as the sun and light as a feather.
My mirror cannot see inside.
My legs, long enough to reach the ground,
My heart, big enough to touch my body’s parts.
My elbow, it dances freely and hits the dissolve-o beam
at just the right angle,
so I think of us wearing our skin together,
one unit, you as my spy, me on your back,
us a disguise, my head no bigger than the rest of me
a cloak at night on the dark edge of trouble
unable to swim.
What can you hold but never touch?