Against One Odd
Our love persists against
not all odds but certain odds.
Okay, one odd: your odd brother
who still wets his propeller
beanie. Okay, and doesn’t know
how to wear a beanie.
Or shall we say where. And should
I call your brother ‘odd’
even in an effort to get even
with your odd family, you being
one of five, with your bright
eyes and silly haircut? Girl,
you still want me to wash dishes.
You still want me to mow yard,
to pull weeds and skim pool.
Our love persists despite
a baffling headwind
and that we are still chased
by nude firemen everywhere.
Perhaps I should forgive myself
for releasing the nude firemen
from their holding cell.
Or try. It hasn’t been easy.
Headphones? I feel jammed into them.
Earbuds is everybody else, clustered
in airports, checking;
I go for liftoff only, no lonely
embrace between Corinthian columns,
no movie sendoff, not even
Starbucks, God. I may be the spirit
that populates my clothes, the Buddha
of everyone else’s misapprehensions, but
words? I’ve said all of them—
into mirrors or while sobbing into torsos
that turned out not to belong to the ghosts
who turn my book’s pages
while I pretend to nap. Can’t shop
for bananas again (or really any other fruit).
Just won’t go down that path.
I speak perfect English but can’t do math
no more, and I have five feet
as far as I know. Lowly bungalow,
be still. Night shades, chill; go hence
and find out where my sweetheart went.
I’d like to propose a toast,
but I can’t, because my tongue’s
been torn out by the roots.
I’d also like to propose toast,
but it’s been proposed, accepted,
and now is widely embraced.
Plus, no tongue. Plus, all
my clothes are at the cleaners.
Also my Daewoo is flooded.
Baby, where did you go.
I waited all night at the hotel for you,
and I waited by the phone all day—
tore my heart out by the roots.
And now I can’t sing or swim or
open the door of my sinking Kalos.
When the Ancient Pipa Plays
Oh, the Mello Yello shimmering
in the luminous stone cup!
I am going to drink it
the way a horse
whinnies while being flayed
by its Brutus, then live
like a consonant tucked between
will the hanging
of my bowels.
will gather, like commas,
too many towels, to daub
up the spillage— Oh,
do not laugh, my petrograph,
if I double over drunk
on the blood of my own self,
or lament if I stagger
home sloshed on the blood
of others. For this time it’s you,
Miss Jasmine Carruthers,
but, just as babies bring glee,
next time it well could be
a man as impressive
as I: A fortress
of anger, a stallion of sweetness
who’d rather be kissing—
than killing—and what then?
What will you think
when the ancient pipa plays,
urging me to charge?