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There is a vividness to eleven years of love
because it is over. A clarity of Greece now
because I live in Manhattan or New England.
If what is happening is part of what’s going on
around what’s occurring, it is impossible
to know what is truly happening. If love is
part of the passion, part of the fine food
or the villa on the Mediterranean, it is not
clear what the love is. When I was walking
in the mountains with the Japanese man and began
to hear the water, he said “What is the sound
of the waterfall?” “Silence,” he finally told me.
The stillness I did not notice until the sound
of water falling made apparent the silence I had
been hearing long before. I ask myself what
is the sound of women? What is the word for
that still thing I have hunted inside them
for so long? Deep inside the avalanche of joy,
the thing deeper in the dark, and deeper still
in the bed where we are lost. Deeper, deeper
down where a woman’s heart is holding its breath,
where something very far away in that body
is becoming something we don’t have a name for.
I have wished you dead and myself dead,
How could it be otherwise.
I have broken into you like a burglar
And you’ve set your dogs on me.
You have been a hurricane to me
And a pile of broken sticks
A child could kick.
I have climbed you like a monument, gasping,
For the exercise and the view,
And leaned over the railing at the top–
Strong and warm, that summer wind.
Could I even tell how it was,
his hip on mine against the wall, my hands
shaking, had I ever touched him that
way in some other life, was his skin
always so hot to the touch, the shirt
I shoved my hands under;
Could I even touch him how he was,
shaking, my hand against the hot wall
of his hip, had I been
his shirt in some other life, was I always
so hot to the touch like something
he would shove against;
Could I tell him to make it even,
my hip shoved against the wall
of his hands, shaking, had I always
been so hot in another life to tell
how it was, to be the skin
under his touch;
Could I even tell his hip from my hand,
shaking, had he ever
touched me in some
other life, was his shirt always a wall
against my hand, could he
shove my under
Let us no longer wake up
sweating in a summer bed.
Let us never eat grapefruits
from each other’s laps.
Let us stray quickly
into this Garden of Sleeping Alone.
This Garden of Heartache has found itself
a labyrinth inside me.
Let this be easy.
Let this be the last time
my heart is wrong.
Let his hands not surrender
up my thighs. Let him not
unwrap me. Let him
not find in me a new body
again and again.
Let him not love me.
Let it not be so.
She has so many knots in her hair because we are desperate
in our fucking. Maybe desperate is not the right word.
Think: necessary. Think: éclat. Think the opposite
of mediocre and then continue to think that until you grow bored.
She is always digging, I am always grabbing, and there is
probably something else missing here. When I think about
her past, I think about space and how both of them make
no sense to me. They are both so big, and I have never slept
in a house that large. I get tired just thinking about starting
another poem. I write in my journal I could talk about orgasms
all day. It is hard to be happy without beer. I am working
on my stereotypes. My favorite sitcoms are the ones with the pretty
wives, the heavy husbands who wear uniforms to work.
Is anyone else concerned about the space around their cuticles?
If marijuana is a gateway drug, then what is a blowjob?
It is hard to be happy when the best part of your day is agreeing
with the ambivalent weather. I like it when married women
don’t look at me. Sturdy beds are never overrated.
I’ve wanted to use this line for months: Where did all of the wedding
rings come from? If people paid to read my poems, I would pay
someone to write me better poems. There is only one woman
I want to fuck, and that scares the shit out of me.
I’m dancing at a nightclub
when someone behind me
places a hand on my shoulder.
I assume it’s a friend until
the hand slides down my chest.
Boiling with gin and rage
I grab his wrist, whip around,
and punch him in the jaw.
It doesn’t land well—
I’ve never hit anyone before—
so I punch him in the gut,
just for good measure.
I look at him doubled over and spit
Never do that to a woman again,
and then I run. My friends laugh in the cab:
You punched a guy!
but I sit silent and burning.
In Crown Heights, in Union Square,
in South Williamsburg: men leer and
whistle and smack their lips.
I ignore them, or flip them off,
or tell them I’m married.
When they purr que guapa
I yell callate and they all laugh.
I can’t tell if they’re laughing at me
for being a white girl speaking bad
Spanish, or at the idea that anything
I say might actually shut them up.
In my impotent rage I dream of a world
where I am not public property. I would
start wars for my right to walk down a street
unafraid, a thousand wars for a single day
in which my body belongs to me alone.
An army raised against each cat call. A bullet
for every man who ever told me to smile.