Wire Dress-Hanger Blues

Bought a polka-dot dress just for you.
Bought a polka-dot dress in body-cling blue.
My pretty new dress just swings on its hanger
While you go off dancin’ out past the bayou.

You don’t call when you go out dancin’.
Get no cell service when you’re out prancin’.
but I wait all night for that damn small ring
Crying and frettin’ over my financin’.

Ain’t got no money, but I waste it on you.
I’m poor and sad, eatin’ last year’s stew.
But you bring daisies and say you missed me
So here I am still, waitin’ on you.

For Mimi

I’ll be honest with you:

I hate Jello.

It’s over sugared liquid candy,
drops of jiggled splatters don’t do a thing for my palate.

It’s what I imagine plasma would feel like on my tongue–
not liquid, not solid, just oozing masses
of childhood flavors
that taste like kindergarten
and smell like a playdate with the neighbor I don’t like
but whose mom is best friends with mine.

The globules melt,
kaleidoscopic colors in my mouth
gather at the base of my throat, teasing
my uvula until I think I may sneeze or cough or
accidentally even swallow some of the gelled fructose
and be forced to know the feeling of thousands of tiny guppies
swimming down to my stomach, their tails and fins flopping
through my larynx.

Then, when I think the worst is over,
I realize I have the film to deal with;
the plastic wrap coating on my teeth
and tongue and cheeks and gums
that I scrape off with a long fingernail
and see the slightly grayed leftovers
of cherry; the same red tone without any shine
and marbelized with what I assume can later be tested
for DNA–should there be a need.

But even so,
for you I’ll bite.

Recipe

Last summer, I finally made a Sharon:

1 part insecurity
2 parts curiosity
1 part fierce wit

shake until well blended
with chilled optimism
and strain over

1 part disaster
1 part organized insanity
and 3 parts dumb loyalty

Best served with grapefruit juice and lace cookies
over a Gin Blossom soundtrack
while wearing red heels.

Poppy

The stone man is not always made of stone
not really–
at first when night sand
still lingers in his joints,
capturing his bones in its nearly cemented seals,
he is only crusted over
but not still stone.

As his movements increase
with the height of the sun
the sand deposits wash away
the brittle bones warm to the day.

Then, as the sun settles in,
so does he–
harder, quieter, colder
stiff and weighted
as sleep pours out of his nose.

Origami

I am a master of emotional origami.
I can fold myself in on top of myself over
and over again
becoming something new
something unforeseen
something beautiful
something that makes other people stare with wonder and ask,
“How’d she do that with just a bit of paper?”

And I can take the basics, the simple
building block paper,
the flat one-dimensional emotion
and fold it up
to a boat,
a frog,
a crane,
a mountain from a molehill.

I can bend
and twist
into shapes that seem impossible
because I have been trained to hide
in the creases and the darkened folds
so that my true form
stays secret
camouflaged in the wings of a pterodactyl
or the tail of a scorpion.

There are things you will never know
never understand
because I fold them away
and store them for later
building a paper menagerie
a flammable compilation of
delicate infrastructures that do nothing
but hold itself up on itself
supporting the tenths of ounces of weight
on the wrinkles.

I have images I try to bend to shape from nothing
your hand cupping my cheek
my head on your shoulder
your lips seeking mine
my hips aligning with yours
your eyes memorizing my body’s lines
my fingers folded into yours more delicately than the folded
neck of a paper crane

my secrets.

The Things They Don’t Tell You You’ll Worry About

he’s never been in love
with you before

he’s never known
the way you curl your body to the wall
for comfort
rather than to the other body in the bed

he’s never seen your quiet
days of near silence
and barely audible insights
where he won’t hear your voice and you retreat
into your own world where he is not invited

he’s never seen your unmoving
crossed arms in the heat of an argument
and your one sided raised eyebrow
small tight mouth
unblinking coldness

he’s never been alone with your silence
dangling on a thread
a swinging pendulum

he’s never dealt with your poker playing emotions
kept shut tight
unless questioned out, bet against, the stakes raised

and you wonder if you should warn him

or if you won’t be like that with him.

The Problem With Poetry

The problem with poetry
is that it leaves no room.

With poetry, there is no
“to be continued” or next
installment
or even the most basic
epilogue.

With poetry, there
is no bullshit
no room for wiggle
for hiding.

The white space, just
as important as the squiggled letters.
In poetry, your split-second
emotion posted, plastered
on the page
and you don’t get the chance to say

“I realized I was wrong”

or “and then he apologized”

or “I got over it”

or “and she survived.”

The problem with poetry
is that you feel like a liar
because you give part of the story
even though the point is to give a mere glimpse
a doll house window’s view
of life.

I am NOT a Feminist

I am not a feminist.
Don’t get me wrong…
I don’t walk ass out
hanging tits on the town
wondering why men don’t respect me
or my Britney Spears “oh baby, baby” body.
And I’m not about to lie down pregnant
stand up clean
move in cook
dash out laundry
rinse and repeat after rubbing his hard working feet
but there’s something about taking the man out of woman
and replacing it with a big, fat Y
that makes me wonder who the battle for equality
is really being fought against—
chauvinistic men with old fashioned ideas
or linguistic anthropologists?

I am not a feminist
because today feminism isn’t about believing women are equal to men–
it’s about believing that women are better than men
and fighting for the right to vote or equal pay
has all been replaced
with male bashing and penis mocking
and, to be frank, I like penises too much
to claim that anyone who has one is one
because I know too many guys who love a confident, strong woman
too many men willing
to clean the dishes after she cooks
and do the laundry if she vacuums.

I am NOT a feminist
but I AM a confident woman—with an A—
the new scarlet letter
women brand on other women
to stand for anti-feminism,
antiquated, antithesis, abandon
and lest we forget abject
because the worst offenders of objectifying
women are other women.
because not all not all blondes invest solely in Estee Lauder
not all brunettes are bookworms
not all lesbians wear comfortable shoes
and none of us are dictionary definitions of a single word.

I am not a feminist because
my work is worth the same as a man’s
but I don’t need to bully-smack him into place to prove it.
Looking pretty and dressing up for a date doesn’t set the women’s movement
back 50 years of hard bra burning, ball kicking, bread-winning work.
Just because I love my breasts, my ass, my ability to make men’s heads turn
doesn’t mean I don’t also love my brain, my work, my ability to make people think
and what makes me so fucking awesome
is that I’m not Paris Hilton OR Gloria Steinem
and I can be beautifully smart and intelligently gorgeous.
I can take a guy out on a date and still expect flowers on my birthday.
I can change my oil and own more shoes than Macy’s.
I can make bread and be the breadwinner
and I don’t need to be better than a man to feel any of it is worth it
because there’s a difference between women’s rights and women’s appropriation
and before I can begin to define myself as a woman,
I’m a human,
something bigger than men
bigger than women, than womyn, than feminists, than misogynists.
I’m not a feminist because I don’t believe in it anymore—

but I’m an avid humanist.