Fuck Contentment

A moniker for good living, 

this fear of discomfort, 

ever drifting toward ever-comfort,

called contentment. 

Just give me this or that–

this president, 

this career, 

this amount of money, 

this family, 




and everything will sail, 

Cadillac shocks across

the fresh asphalt forest floor.

If I can be comfortable,

just end this struggle,

this pain and anguish,


this ambitious striving,

I will be content. 

I once knew this


“Contentment is death,”

I said at solitary 14.

 The day I am content, 

all juices have dried. 

The day I surrender, 

turn from struggle, 

un-face the tick of the clock, 

is the time to lay down,

take peace to a deep hole,

dug in my own backyard,

or in an abandoned dirt lot.

I am neither hero nor warrior. 

Just thirsty, 

a third rate ecstasy vampire,

seeking small electric bites, 

a taste of the powerful, 

the blissful, 

and the sublime. 

To touch the electrified wire 

to tolerate the charge, 

where it sparks,

risking pain and death,

beats the static hum

sounding the heated surge,

only the pulsing effects,

not the beat itself. 

I remember reading the poet:

“I want to write what marks me,

gets me killed.” 

I wondered if I did too:

stop fearing, I thought,

stop warning safety, 

stop honoring caution 

and forego the refrain,

letting shit fly and scatter, 

roam and bust, 

fling and crust 

and curdle like dying, 

like spoiled cream, 

like decay and wither,

the words, let them

paralyze, plunder and poison,

let them arrest a heart, 

gore truth from a bloody lung,

a festering bullet hole to the brain,

let them burn

and gnaw

and lacerate;

let them disrupt dreams

and torture sleep.

Let them brand flesh,

singe hair and spew bile.

Let them upturn content-

meant to pacify and please.

Let them fist screams

and tear at vacant stares.

Let them drown dun breasts

and poetic gentility.

Let them beat the fuck out of you

–and me too.

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.

If I were your eyes…

I’d find more than the prize to keep myself on

or the road

if I were your eyes.

If I saw what you saw, 

I’d be wary too, 

wondering what next, who else wants what I have, 

what I need to protect.

Gazing out from yours, 

the world would be clear,

hindsight perfection,

for mistakes are costly and pre-calculations wise. 

Peering from under your nose,

I’d assess what’s what,

figure people out,

know their numbers,

predictive labels paying off in fearless dividends.

And if I stared at your desire,

the way you do,

square in her face,

laser cutting pupils

penetrated retinal heart,

a mirror reflection I’d see chestnut fire burning me.


Just Until…

Just until I am 10, then I will almost be a teenager and can do more things, and not be treated like a baby.

Just until I am 16 and can drive, then I will be free…to work, earn money, and buy my own clothes.

Just until I am 18, when I can get the hell out, be on my own.

Just until I am 21 and can drink–legally. 

Just until I am 28 and will finally graduate from bull shit schooling, start a life.

Just until I am 35 and can finally give in to the urge to procreate.

Just until I am 40, when I can stop having kids.

Just until I am 45, when the kids are in school and I can work more, go back to school.

Just until I am 48 and get my PhD finished, I can teach locally.

Just until I am 50, I will give myself permission to have a mid-life crisis, go away, learn to surf, dye my hair.

Just until I am 55, when I can make a plan, hold on long enough to finish growing up my kids, get them through college, just another 5 years or so, until I am 60 when I can begin to wait out my term, be on my own watch, do my own thing.

I wait. As we all do. We abide biding time as if time could be had. We are had by time and its illusion. Desire is the expression of suffering we live to fill space with all things but ourselves. There really is no time–just inhale and exhale.

credit: edge.neocha.com

Zoophiliac’s Dream


Credit: http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_small/1/15776/1322468-cat_fem6.jpg

She mewed at him provoking sense and shifted gaze.

The glint in his eye sparked flame among the blue.
Smoke surrounded her, drifting a tail of thin vapor.

His Circe gone, the scent of woman-cum-feline stirred.
The endless voyage in hiatus, his will broke in on itself
feathering out the tics drinking below the surface calm.

Caged ardor pounces a captain’s dreams ad delirium.
The restraints of a space-time compendium of battles
writ to air beats love into holes of clawed subordinates.

Cicisbeo’s Courtly Cell

credit: cinebazar.it

You live in a whisper, cicisbeo.
Your love is near and dearly so
but you are her shadow partner
a puppet and a beloved though
you will inherit nothing but her
gratitude and safely warm hello.

She more needs and adores you
than anyone else in her retinue
and so keeps you soft and close
inside cued cries and shrieks too
and you obey as you she chose
to wear on her arm like her jewel.

You have her secrets and her lies
told in an ear’s warm breath flies
from lips of painted hues so red
the color of her heart’s true sighs
that never you share in her bed
for she wears comfort at her side.

Are you her friend and lover too?
A scepter in her hand to rule you
are you satisfied with ether love?
Gather your pride in vain pursuit
and wear her need like the glove
of your cold killer hands so cruel.

She is dead to you now in mind
she, being blind to your design
Using another’s need as a pet
is the willful way of all her kind
and opposition none she’s met
with the force of a love sublime.

My mistress has met her a match
in circles of a scheme unhatched
come back to bite a cold remorse
in blue eyes of the candle’s catch
sweet and sorrowful loves endorse
the knife in you, the itch scratched.

Shadow Dancing with the Mistress Masochist

credit; http://www.zavesmith.com

I cannot face the blank page. I close my eyes, fingers frozen above the keyboard in readiness to strike the letters that form the words that fall into sentences, sentences to paragraphs, filling the blank with black. Writer’s block again. A surprise text from my beloved interrupts my agony as does the barging into my room from a disgruntled teenager who loudly complains she waited hours to no avail only to be denied the very coveted object of her desire, a new phone.

The phone rings and the voice to my ear asks me if I’m working. No, how can I? I ask where s/he is, s/he who must sneak love in a shoebox and an envelope of emailed bathroom love notes so the wife and children will not know. I love my love in so many ways: the sharp wit, keen pragmatic wisdom and common sense beyond most and all the while sentimentally apt to fall for a romantic tune and a sway dance, singing and sighing, even as s/he urges to bite and confine me with the unparalleled force of painful passion, the one s/he loves, destroy and own me. S/he is almost home, so s/he whispers a quick “I love you” and s/he is gone. The silent space fills the room. The laughter in the next room disrupts the delightful pain of longing. My life as me is a rocket ride of amazing torment and painful contentment.

The life of a mistress is one of denial, of empty space to be filled with fantasy of future memory. Her profile reveals a deep desire for punishment and deferred pleasure. She is judged and typecast as the scorpion fly, the Lilith of Eve’s prize, ever in human consciousness, but in reality, she is as fluid as the stories she floats in and out of, the ever flux of human flesh yearning for more in the quest for meaning. She provides links, fills hollow caves with patches of light, just enough to see the illusion of shadows. To judge is to play the fool.

Joyce Carol Oates in her essay, “They All Just Went Away” ponders the tendency of women to hurt themselves, to give up their space in deference to others. Each time I read this essay in preparation for class, I sink into her words.

Above all, the real is arbitrary. For to be a realist (in art or in life) is to acknowledge that all things might be other than they are. That there is no design, no intention, no aesthetic or moral or teleological imprimatur but, rather, the equivalent of Darwin’s great vision of a blind, purposeless, ceaseless evolutionary process that yields no ‘products’–only temporary strategies against extinction.

I think of humans coupling for love, marriage and children as survivalist needs for safety, security and self-perpetuation. Passion, however, is relegated to the realm of possibility and unpredictability. Sacrificing security is painful but paramount for passion, sometimes a worthwhile tradeoff. The mistress seeks and provides pleasure where safety breeds contemptuous boredom and the cancerous kill of the fire of desire, but there is a cost.

As a woman and as a writer, I have long wondered at the well-springs of female masochism. Or what, in despair of a more subtle, less reductive phrase we can call the congeries of predilections toward self-hurt, self-erasure, self-repudiation in women.

While the empowered mistress writes her role as protagonist and antagonist, hero and villain, and sadist and masochist as she loves with abandon and shadows love, aches in abandon, the nature of the mistress is often one of self abnegation and longing desire; threadbare hope and the coat of imagery warm the space, but the intangible is the self-inflicted torture, passion without presence, longing. She waits alone. This masochism is also the source of creativity of the writer. She, an other in self abnegating aloneness, borrows mystical moments of self-evisceration–the awe and radiance of others’ pain and joy–to disappear in their destruction and reappear in their resurrection Phoenix-like from the fire since passion burns born in torment. She is both agency and objectification, the meta-narrative of reading the reader reading the writer.

The writer is a mistress, with her drive toward self-punishment, in writing absolution and taking on the sins of others; she creates in hardship and pain, in triumph and longing desire, her shadowy figures tasked with completing the possibilities of the what if and should not. She is judged and critiqued. Her life drawings show us who we are. Sometimes she shows us what we don’t care to see or even dream. S/he tails the taboo.

Yet what could possibly be the evolutionary advantage of self-hurt in the female? Abnegation in the face of another’s cruelty? Acquiescence to another’s will? This loathsome secret that women do not care to speak of, or even acknowledge.

I don’t know. I won’t be judged. The mistress and the writer are independent and free to choose their stories, write them with the beginning unknown, the ending imagined and the middle lived suspended in the shadow of the snip of the scissors’ ever-so-slowly closing blades.

Shadow Dancing

Your silhouette twirls me in a pony skirt umbrella.
I falter and still to take my bow to your dark smile.
My fingers fondle high cheek bones of ionic spin.
They poke through to the wall behind you in jest.
I stroke you yet thumbing the thin strands of hair.
You hover in my chest and feet dancing me witty.
Though silence spaces the crackled sonic voice.
It fills dark deep dread of distant lost connection.
So electrifyingly fill my ear in warm static breath.
Sigh trigger heat-pour down from my neck to toe.
Body-sense wisps of thin caress a sweet timbre.
A hand in tones transmitted in aural wood chime.
Shade palms settle upon the dip of my shoulders.
They soft sweep across the bones tracing burden.
Feather touched windless air drifts across my face.
I fall back into the deep curtsy of a shadow dance.
The song circulates my bloodless fill of time spent.
Memory kissed moth flutters of your lullaby sweet.
Twenty moons shine liquid ether ossify you to me.

That We Come Undone – Judith Butler


“Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact. It may be that one wants to, or does, but it may also be that despite one’s best efforts, one is undone, in the face of the other, by the touch, by the scent, by the feel, by the prospect of the touch, by the memory of the feel. And so when we speak about my sexuality or my gender, as we do (and as we must), we mean something complicated by it. Neither of these is precisely a possession, but both are to be understood as modes of being dispossessed, ways of being for another, or, indeed, by virtue of another.”
― Judith Butler, Undoing Gender

Two Johns

Sex as mystifying exploration, conquest, delight and wonderment in the body, and women (mistresses, Mayer’s room-getting lover, presumably female?) as the object of desire, objectified, as displayed in these two writings, one from the 16th Century and one from the 21st, displays the fascination and abnegation of the object of the gaze, at once giving the object presence (Donne’s specific articles of clothing that immortalize his mistress in the words of his poem) and absence, woman/desire as concept, the object of desire without face, language or representation, just catalyst for desire, erection and egocentric absorption (Mayer’s “one thing left to do, discover me discovering you.”

To His Mistress Going to Bed
Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tir’d with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven’s Zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime,
Tells me from you, that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th’hill’s shadow steals.
Off with that wiry Coronet and shew
The hairy Diadem which on you doth grow:
Now off with those shoes, and then safely tread
In this love’s hallow’d temple, this soft bed.
In such white robes, heaven’s Angels used to be
Received by men; Thou Angel bringst with thee
A heaven like Mahomet’s Paradise; and though
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know,
By this these Angels from an evil sprite,
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.
Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,
My Mine of precious stones, My Empirie,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
To enter in these bonds, is to be free;
Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.
Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee,
As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth’d must be,
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta’s balls, cast in men’s views,
That when a fool’s eye lighteth on a Gem,
His earthly soul may covet theirs, not them.
Like pictures, or like books’ gay coverings made
For lay-men, are all women thus array’d;
Themselves are mystic books, which only we
(Whom their imputed grace will dignify)
Must see reveal’d. Then since that I may know;
As liberally, as to a Midwife, shew
Thy self: cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
There is no penance due to innocence.
To teach thee, I am naked first; why then
What needst thou have more covering than a man.

Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer

We got the afternoon
You got this room for two
One thing I’ve left to do
Discover me
Discovering you

One mile to every inch of
Your skin like porcelain
One pair of candy lips and
Your bubblegum tongue

And if you want love
We’ll make it
Swim in a deep sea
Of blankets
Take all your big plans
And break ’em
This is bound to be a while

Your body is a wonderland
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland

Something ’bout the way the hair falls in your face
I love the shape you take when crawling towards the pillowcase
You tell me where to go and though I might leave to find it
I’ll never let your head hit the bed without my hand behind it

you want love?
We’ll make it
Swim in a deep sea
Of blankets
Take all your big plans
And break ’em
This is bound to be a while

Your body is a wonderland
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland
(I’ll never speak again… I’ll use my hands)

Damn baby
You frustrate me
I know you’re mine, all mine, all mine
But you look so good it hurts sometimes

Your body is a wonderland
(I’ll never speak again… I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonder (I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland
(I’ll never speak again… I’ll use my hands)
Your body is a wonderland