5.09 / September 2010

—and my burden is light

Ode to my Corrective Footwear

It is bent bow-like, a wooden plank
linking two out-turned baby shoes,
a way to find my feet,
a degausser, silencing the magnetism
of my toes towards each other,
heels kicked out like desolate city gates,
two slotted bullets bolting each shoe
to the thing that meant Walk,
the prayer that meant that collisions,
my gravity’s seductions,
are only as tragic as I paint them.

It sits now in storage, the dust of many skins
sedimentary over its holiness, the ancestral
bad-seed cousin to covenantal arks,
tokens of god-promises to never break
something so vast again.

The trouble with broken things
is that if they know they are broken,
they seek only to find your cracks relatable.
If they do not know, they smile like nothing
could be so magnificent.

The Everyth Time

The sixth time she touches you, it will feel like Saturday.
Like you’ve made it through a week of awkward and almost.
This is the first one you’re allowed to enjoy.

The ninth time he slides his fingers up your sternum,
trophies’ your breasts in his palms, let it feel like victory.
The eighteenth time you feel stubble on your inner thigh
consider it legal.
The twenty-first, intoxicating.

The thirty-second time she drapes you in her limbs
but cannot pull your name from the wreckage,
imagine that she’s speaking it in tongues.
Even if you know that isn’t the case.
Especially then.
The next time, when she says your name
but means your sister’s, your best friend’s,
the manager of the local Starbucks,
kiss her throat like you do not know this.

The sixty-first blowjob will feel like your first acid trip.
The seventy-ninth clitoral orgasm, your first heroin binge.
The eighty-second time, when the condom fractures,
the second time you OD.
The ninety-third time, when she can’t get off,
your first prescribed antidepressant.

Your hundredth time, wherever, whenever,
is your anniversary.
Even if you just met.

The first one you don’t really like,
pretend you’ve lost count.
The second one you don’t remember,
call her a wet dream.
If ever there is one you said No to,
let every future Yes
be a dagger in his breastbone,
not yours.

The fifty-first orgasm is always amazing.

The thirty-ninth time,
think of your bed as an orchestra,
your bodies, a room full of instruments;
make every grunt a bassoon,
every high gasp a clarinet,
when you both come,
matching cellos.

The twenty-seventh time,
leave ancient runes carved into his back.
The sixteenth time:
I swear, this never happens.
The twelfth:
Holy shit!
The eighth:
I wonder if he really likes me?
The seventh:
I’m gonna marry this girl.

The third time,
when she is sweltering,
chest open to the sweat of bedroom,
when your bodies go cold,
and your heart starts sprinting
from your chest at first contact,
when you are staring at him,
wondering what this is going to mean?
Will he like me in the morning?
Is she moving too fast?
Am I okay with that?
What does an evening full of music
sound like the following sunrise?

What does this act make out of me?

The first time, breath deep.

It’ll never be like this again.

Why We Do Not Marry Lovers

For we imagine them to be called Fire,
and imagine that later,
they will calm down,
drop the late nights,
lose the nickname,
reclaim their given name Heat:
a middle aged version
of the blaze they once were.

That later, they will have cooled
to the temperature of every room
to become something
that just sits with us.