A fifth-grade bully, a blossoming romance, a late-night crash
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He is famous in Paris.
At night they pass his poems through the streets
like black absinthe
and while they are singing his name like a hero’s,
he raises his fist to another whore
or pitches drunk down some stinking alley
snorting his own private anger,
his pure cut of mean.
Paris watches how mad he can be,
shouting his poems like absolutes.
Paris thinks he is fireworks, Bastille Day.
Do you believe I brought him here?
He is always leaving me
for his poems, his fights, his fame,
leaving me like worn-out luggage,
like a name he’s outgrown.
So now when he’s out
busting chairs in some cafe,
his fury glinting like a blade through Paris,
like something divine,
I put on my red peignoir, smoke packs of cigarettes:
and I’m writing.
Writing all the time.
Three in the back of a pickup:
blond as butter,
with brown-eyed susan faces;
their mama looking empty as a bucket,
their daddy with his beef jerky arms and tattoos
driving them into the deep
The littlest can just toddle
through the rows,
the older two have arm muscles
the size of dinner rolls,
strong, broad feet.
They ought to be bending over
a spelling test or doing math
other than how many bushels equals 5 bucks:
tomatoes, cukes, berries, beans,
north in summer, south in winter,
it’s back of the truck;
they know what counts:
cold potatoes for supper,
with me or someone else staring
like a landscape they can’t touch.
At the market
I pick out what’s firm, what’s ripe,
and keep my mind on strawberries.
How sweet they will taste with cream.