Why should I have to deal with so-called human beings
when I can be up on the roof
hammering shingles harder than necessary,
driving the sharp nails down
into the forehead of the house
like words I failed earlier to say?
And when a few wasps eddy up
from their hidden place beneath the eaves
to zoom in angry agitation near my face
I just raise a canister of lethal spray
and shoot them down without a thought.
Don’t speak to me, please,
about clarity and proportionate response.
The world is a can of contents under pressure;
a human being should have a warning label on the side
that says: Disorganized Narrative Inside;
Beware of frequent sideways bursting
of one feeling through another
— to stare into the tangled midst of which
would make you as sick and dizzy as those wasps,
then leave you stranded on the roof
on a beautiful day in autumn
with a mouth full of nails,
trying to transplant pain
by hammering down
into a house full of echoes.
A History Of High Heels
It’s like God leaned down long ago and said,
to a woman who was just standing around,
“How would you like a pair of shoes
that shoves the backs of your feet up about four inches
so you balance always on your tiptoes
and your spine roller-coasters forward, then back,
so that even when you are spin-doctoring a corporate merger
or returning from your father’s funeral in Florida,
your rump sticks out in a fertility announcement
and your chest is pushed out a little bit in front of you,
the way that majorettes precede a marching band?”
No, I shouldn’t have said that — I’m sorry.
It’s just my curdled bitterness talking;
it’s just my disappointment flaring up
in a little brush fire of misogyny,
in a toxic chemical blaze of misdirected scorn —
because today is one of those days when I am starting to suspect
that sex was just a wild-goose chase
in which I honk-honk-honked away
three-quarters of my sweet, unconscious life.
Now my hair is gray, and I’m in the Philadelphia airport,
where women are still walking past me endlessly
with that clickety-clack, clickety-clack,
flipping their hair and licking their teeth,
while underneath my own shoes
I suddenly can feel the emptiness of space;
and over my head, light falling from the sky
that all these years
I might have been leaning back
to gaze at and long for and praise.