My Mistress Keep

 
 
My mistress loves me because I am not hers to keep.

I’m sure this is true.

She told me so herself.

She said, “I get the best of you. The rest your wife gets.”

I cannot deny it.

That I love our secret love,

safe like the internet.

Everyone hides in the safety of their slippers and screen

to enact who they believe they are 

and do their best selves because no one really checks,

no one wants to call bullshit,

end the game so

just go with the make believe.

For us too when we are together, 

 we two for a few,

a cherished time between us to live high just a while.

I mean, who does not want to be loved like crazy?

To meet up in the imagination’s room and lie for a while.

I am not hers,

and she is not mine, 

but I can be sure she keeps me

close in her dreams,

so that upon awakening in warmth and quiet

soft pillows under her head

and silken comfort between her thighs

she feels me beneath the sheets as good as there

from so much practiced production

the fantasy we inhabit

every time we meet.

Oh yes, but she is mine.
 

credit: wikiart.org

Waiting

Waiting (2)

 

Waiting again…

for an unconfirmed

chance meeting

held in suspense

undecided date set

to a generalized affair

of you know where I am

and if you need me…

But seeking, anticipating

lurking in the corners,

that hint of arriving–something,

in jittery undertones under-girding

a calm overlay, THE commonality.

To observe the boulevard,

its passing cars unceasing,

flowing like cyclic

bleeding, you count on it,

sense its certain appearance

but never quite prepared,

somewhat surprised, even;

a small part of you disbelieves,

astonished and affronted with stark

reality inscribed in the expected–

just as traffic normatizes forced

obedience, swallowed tolerance and

immunity to poisonous decay,

and comforts the daily usual.

So, what itches beneath the skin?

What stutters contentment?

A species more conditioned to

seek, prize and await the

extraordinary, less populated

than the quotidian dose of

hundred fold–or more–

increments amassed regularly.

So I wait for no one, nowhere,

midst the humming coffee house

quiet nothingness, gaze-glowering

at passersby, plimsole-pedal drones,

all the while sniffing unseen seams,

loosely sewn quilted square panels

that curtain the wizard’s productions–

plotting potential improbability.

Diurnal

  
Most animals play in the day

and 

oenothera biennis and rose 

petals expand daily 

contract at night

opening sunward

shutting moonward,

nature’s accordian

in and out eye music’s

glossy pupil blooming

earth’s aesthetic reflection.

Mammals like me 

mostly diurnal, though

human circadian rhythms  

pattern imprecisely,

governed by childless

sleep and post partum

delirium or soldiering on

through mine-laden lands,

disrupting the perfection of

REM to death to wakeful

retreat and once again nightly

or daily if confusion creeps in

for good, for bad and neither

the way cycles are complete

and wobbly, perfect and broken

for earth walkers nocturnal

eschewing sleep

for poetry.
 

credit: myeyesinthemirror.deviantart.com

No Empathy: Short-term Relationships (an eavesdropper’s delivery)¬†

 

 
Shit or get off the pot, my mom always said. Well, I’ve taken enough shit. I’m getting off by telling him off. I mean, who the fuck says he loves someone and then fails to show up at an important event as promised and then nonchalantly excuses himself with some lame-ass story. Unbelievable. 

–Did he know he was supposed to be at this wedding for a long time or some last minute invite by you?

No, for fuck’s sake! He got the same invitation I did a few months ago! He’s known forever!

–Oh.

He offered to come all the way to my house to pick me up so we wouldn’t have to take two cars. That’s at least a half hour out of his way, since the church is north of his apartment and I am way south. He knew as of last Wednesday when we made these plans.

–What was his excuse?

He claimed his mom called him in a panic about losing her driver’s license and was frantic about it. He had to go help her.

–What? That IS lame.

Right? Especially since his stepdad is there to help.

–Sounds like he just didn’t want to go this wedding.

That’s what I think. And these are good friends of ours, so he knew it was important for me to go. (Smiling) You know how much I love a good party too. There was an open bar and everything.

–So did he find the license for his mom? 

I don’t know. I was so mad at him I hardly listened. He might have said they couldn’t find it.

–Wow, that’s kind of shitty. How could he justify letting you down for something so stupid. Does his mother drive to work?

No, she doesn’t work. She retired from an 80k a year admin job after she couldn’t do it any more because of memory loss. 

–Oh, how sad. Alzheimer’s?

No, she had a slow carbon monoxide leak in the stove of her apartment she lived in for ten years. Apparently it destroyed her memory. Permanently.

–Oh shit, that’s terrible! I mean, is she like severely brain damaged or just slightly impaired?

No, she is totally fucked up. She appears normal, but she forgets everything she just did or said. It’s short term memory loss. Well not everything, but she forgets a lot. And it makes her anxious and paranoid. 

–How old is she? 

She’s 75. 

–Is she healthy otherwise? I mean is she a frail 75 or a strong 75?

She just had a heart attack and a stent put it in her groin to help her circulation. She is much better now. Says she can think a little more clearly. You wouldn’t even know she has a memory issue other than she is slow talking, a little, and seems spacy. But she is fearful as fuck when she can’t remember something she knows she should or loses something…like the driver’s license. She gets herself all worked up.

–Which couldn’t be good for her heart. 

No, she’s supposed to be on meds to help her mellow out, get rid of the anxiety but she forgets to take it. 

–Well, isn’t her husband any help? 

No, he’s like 86 and on his way out. Ironically, she is his caretaker.

–Are you fucking kidding me?!!

Yeah, it’s crazy.

–Does she drive? Is she able to?

Well yeah, but she gets lost.

–That is a goddam tragedy waiting to happen.

Right? And yet she won’t let her own son take them in. I mean Terry’s a great guy for that. He wanted to get help for them, put them in a senior living place, really nice community, or just take them in himself, which would have totally sucked the life out of him, suck for us. But she’s too fucking stubborn and would rather just have him at her beck and call whenever the slightest thing happens. 

–Holy fuck, Karen! You can’t be serious?!  When did you get to be such an asshole?

 

credit: wikihow.com

Kneel Down

  
“FuckFuckFuck!! No, not my knee!! Not again!”

I’ve done it this time.

Goddamm beginner throwing me off, 

catching an edge, and bam! down–

landed on my knee.

Now the thing is huge and blue,

achy and done with me.

Stressed beyond elasticity,

abused beyond belief,

the joint’s gone bad for good.

They begged me,

left and right,

pleaded for reason

for years.

Then right went wrong: gave out, gave up

and I gave in to the knife.

A quick stitchery and I was back.

But for far too long, so many years,

I ran too far too fast–getting nowhere, 

jumped one too many bumps–slowing me down, 

slammed to the ground–rising up again,

drop-down kneeled in defeat–blowing them out,

cross-checked, side-swiped, full-on collision

knee to knee, knee to shin, knee to head,

pressing their limits to hold me

carry me on, onward and beyond,

only to let me down.

And now, after avowed respect

caution, and a pact:

you be kind to me and 

I’ll return in kind, 

I reneged on our deal.

I beat us up once again.

And landed there,

in the cold icy wind–felled,

torn, beaten and crushed

in the frozen crusted hill,

crying, “No more!”

Pounding the frozen earth,

“Not one more fucking minute!!”

The last run to the bottom

yielded only pain 

where pleasure used to be.

Going down was always the easiest.

Not any more, not this time.

“Not my knee, please God not my knee.

Who’ll stand up for me now?”

Call Me Beautiful

  
Call me beautiful.

I don’t care for the truth.

What pleases an eye

derives within and through

adoration, love, fondness and

gratitude painting its source

winsome hominey hues.

Aesthetically speaking,

beauty lives outside,

objectified cultural cues,

like Adonis or Loren,

Farung, Omar or Denzell,

and, of course, Marilyn,

but whose standards sway?

No matter the cause, we

seek her, the alluring sashay

across our sensual, our pang

to be her, stare-slaught subject,

all gazed heat into the kiln

of beauty’s claim–fleeting 

hypnotic charm–elite, select.

Common, I carry no beau bearing,

not even in my own way; yes

your hunger draws me sublime–

bony feast: scent, moan and caress.

Bow to Mystery

I went looking for my calling 

until my calling found me 

but forgot my name.

Before I could hear, 

I wanted to be a 

journalist,

teacher, 

biologist,

writer,

mommy, 

dancer, 

artist, 

dragon, 

nurse, 

sociologist,

tightrope walker, 

doctor 

and boy.

A few wishes called to me 

and a few I summoned once 

on a boring Tuesday afternoon, 

or was it Wednesday?

Days go nameless 

when your suit does not fit (unfit), 

your business is none of yours, 

and your words remind you 

of the unspecified advice 

given by that unnamed source 

on a forgotten date or 

something someone once said or 

letters you read in a book.

Endeavoring turned out a total bust, 

all that flapping and folding 

just to breathe the same air we all do 

and  always have since birth.

And after so much wind, 

when good fortune dropped in my lap, 

I turned to the skies looking for the bird.

Where does all the world’s blindness come from?

“Who created the creator?” my father asked, 

surprising me with the quality of the question. 

We all were.

But the truth is, 

the laurel crowns all word-walkers emerging open-eyed 

envisioning the final curtain call 

–as if there were a stage. 

I bow to mystery. 

  
 

Some Like it Rough

image
Speaker 1 (Sitting at the end of the bar with an open palm propping up her chin, her long wavy auburn hair flanks her shoulder down the arm supporting her head and disappears under the bar. She appears to be in her late thirties with lean, defined arms and angular jawline. I cannot see her face): He says he wants to be a good man but just doesn’t know how. His anger overruns everything. He never got used to being denied, anyone telling him ‘no.’ It still strikes him like a punch to the gut. “No-POW!” As if his brain fires bullets to his fists on the command “No.” A reflex just like Pavlov’s dogs.

Speaker 2 (Facing Speaker 1 and sitting upright in her bar stool, her platinum shoulder length blonde sort of long bobbed hair framing her face in manufactured swooping S curves, maybe from a curling iron. Her make-up is drawn on tastefully, painted in long black lashes, heavy heather brown arc’d brows and smooth sandy color coated foundation. Her shoulders are set back, making her spine arch convex. She’s far too lithe to be a Marilyn Monroe knock-off, but she is a slender bosomy silhouette of her or perhaps early Madonna): Send him my way. I like an angry dude, full of piss and vinegar, strutting himself like God’s gift. I know how to handle those types.

Speaker 1 (Sitting up straight now, eye level with her bar companion, her thick hair drapes down her back stopping short of her waist): No, not like this guy. He isn’t just arrogant or confident, “strutting” like you say; he’s mean and borders on violent. He once grabbed my arm to make me stop walking away from him, and it felt threatening, more than firm, more like in the gripping with force range. We’re not even involved with each other romantically. I mean, what is that all about? I only know I was uneasy about it. Not so much scared as we were in a public place, but it did give me pause.

Speaker 2 (Shrugs, her head veering slightly to the left as her shoulders rise trying to meet the dangle of her earrings, something sparkling when the dim light hits them at an angle): I like it a little rough. Give him my number. 
 

The Lover’s Monologue

  
I could have written all those fucking 7,8,9 or 100 ways to save your marriage articles. I tried everything I read for decades.

How many relationship “experts”, writers and doctors preach honesty and openness? How many times in 20 years have I opened my heart to her, told her my hopes and dreams, listened to hers, answered her most probing questions about what turned me on or off, what she needed in bed…I tried. It was so hard to be honest, despite her insisting. I didn’t want to hurt her. I knew my words would hurt her. The truth hurts.

What she didn’t tell me, probably didn’t know herself was that she couldn’t handle hearing what she wanted to know. Early in our marriage she would ask me about my fantasies, first like it was a game, like she was being cute about it. And when I refused to tell her, she got irritated and moody. 

But I was embarrassed and it was hard to talk about. It was extremely uncomfortable and felt a little dangerous, like exposing my weaknesses. After a while I think she was driven by this thing, this idea of something I was holding back from her, and demanded to know what I fantasized about–she wanted it in the name of honesty. While it was important to be honest, I also knew some things just needed to be kept to myself. I resisted hard.

But she was clearly disturbed about me keeping something from her, so I gave in. When I told her some of the things I got off on masturbating in my younger days…and occasionally afterward, she got quiet, then distant and then hurt. I watched it happen, the changes cross over her face like a quick moving time-lapsed eclipse. 

She wouldn’t talk about it for a long time. And when she did, she tearfully confessed she couldn’t do what I wanted. She didn’t like anything that might be painful and then it got so messy because I told her I didn’t actually want these things from her, which was the right thing to say but she took it wrong like I wanted it from someone else or didn’t think her capable; it broke down from there into silence and brooding anger. 

Just one of the many breakdowns and resentments that collect and heap up over time.

Be open and honest. Right. How much is too much honesty? Not enough? This is the person I chose to share everything with, who I counted on to build me up not tear me down for what I think or say. I always felt she was on my side and wanted what was best for me. I still do. But there is a slow but steady growing crack widening in us we can’t seem to repair. 

There were other misunderstandings that ended in injured feelings, both of us shut down and protective of our own. She casually mentioned one too many times that the company should give me more time off, more pay, more respect, just more of… what?  What SHE wanted? Was she defending me or looking out for her own interest? 

It’s degrading to be reminded you don’t make as much as you should or have as much as you deserve. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t work there. There’s a sense of how things operate, something she couldn’t know. And for someone so sensitive, it’s downright insensitive not to know how that burns. 

Now I sound like her with the mindreading. She should know…I should know…No, I should have told her how that humiliated me. Not angrily but calmly. But then…I’d been burned so many times by that whole honesty thing before.

My head just spins with this shit. No wonder so many of my college buddies weren’t too keen on getting married any time soon, preferring sex, partying and freedom. Funny, how I judged them then as shallow. Maybe they in their blind denial intuited the danger, all the pitfalls of relationships going long, going stale, expecting too much, tolerating too little…I just chalked them up to chickenshits. But maybe they were right.  

And yet I couldn’t imagine life without her. Too painful. The struggles you suffer and overcome, my dad described as the ups and downs of marriage: “it ain’t easy but it ain’t that hard either.” Yeah? Seems pretty damned difficult sometimes. It’s fucking hard! 

Then again, it’s harder to give up…until there’s nothing to give up, like knowing when you’re bested or outdone, checkmated. There’s no point in trying. Until then, you just keep figuring it out.