Last Week, Last Night

Trash-talking over a can of potatoes,
we began to pretend we were overjoyed
animals escaping from our cages. I was
tiger to your elephant, then we both
became bear, somehow, in that kitchen
that had never seen such a thing in all its
brown curtains and ecru life. It had never
seen us; we had never seen each other.

How we laughed.
How we tore each other apart.

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Fruit Clothes

I was wearing my banana-eating pants
with my apple-thieving shirt that day.
No one could tell me nothing: I thought
I’d be rolling in grapes forever. I had
a little hat I’d made out of a blood
orange peel—it sat on the back
of my head like a Valkyrie. I never
could tell where it all came from,
the fruit clothes and the gumption
to wear them. Maybe I was foolish,
burning myself out like so much
kirsch—how the clean, blue flames
wrap themselves in cherries jubilee.

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One Day, Gallant Steals a Garbage Truck

He joyrides all over town, his head out the window,
his crisp side part suddenly askew, individual hairs
differentiating themselves in a way he never thought
possible. Who is he now, who is Gallant now, if he
does the bad thing, the big bad thing—not just
knocking over Mother’s vase or forgetting to take
the garbage out, but remembering how much he
always wanted to drive that garbage truck, the red,
rusty one that idles incongruously at the end of the
picture-perfect driveway? Goofus is nowhere to be
found—or blamed. For once, Goofus isn’t right in
the middle of it when the shit goes down. As a
matter of fact, at this moment, Goofus is busy
polishing Father’s shoes. He doesn’t even know
why. (It’s not like him, you might recall, to be
so industrious.) In a moment, he’ll let one shoe
fall, and then the other. In two moments, he’ll
be down the stairs, through the mawkish
front door, past the twee rosebushes, onto
the driveway, now strewn with other people’s
refuse. Brother! he’ll say. Brother, here I am.

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Not Really

I’m going to dye my hair tonight,
and that will make everything

everything.

I have faith in these small things:
the tock-tock-tock of my boots

on pavement,

the fact of myself, however I am—
and of you, however you are—

the reunion

of myself with myself when I am
alone sometimes, though not

as lonely as now.

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My Cab Driver Gave Me a Wet Kiss Just Now (Monday, September 29, 10:02 a.m.: BORING)

My husband has the flu. I love the movie Lost in Translation.
My dog doesn’t want to get up. I feel that most people wouldn’t
eat meat if the animals could talk. I need a robot like one of those
weird dogs that’s bred to look ugly. I just found an eyelash in
my eggs. Went swimming today despite it almost being October.
Someone just told me I need a robot that can carry me around
on the pavement—life is much better from the passenger seat.

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Eyeglasses and Jazz Shoes

That’s what it feels like: I can’t find
enough dental floss for a dream of
jigsaw puzzles, and the raft of paper
won’t keep me afloat until I find all
my dollar bills. I have to return

eyeglasses and jazz shoes, send
a collection of bow ties. These
are days when someone wants
to take pictures of my children
and then, if I pay more, remove

my children’s imperfections
and write their names on them
(the pictures) so I don’t forget
who they are, the one who
looked like a rubber alien and

the other one who looked like
a kitten or my father. Sometimes
I forget the song while I’m still
singing it. Sometimes, you know,
I need all the help I can get.

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