Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This job is taking it out of me, I tell ya. Nevertheless, I managed to address both Writer's Digest prompts on this "twofer Tuesday." We had "clean" and "dirty." Like yesterday's prompt, these seemed fraught with obvious symbolism, which I tried to dodge, albeit not completely.

These are not a pair.

Surfside Launderette

The Reverend Carlton G. Booze folds my panties
as they come fresh and hot from the Speed Queen.
I guess he lost his church. His is the afternoon shift,
between the narrowfaced scold who watches judge shows
and the five-hundred-pound man. He wears a small cross
on his plaid flannel. I guess he’s touched a better hem
than mine. I try to get there late enough to miss him
so we don’t join eyes as he handles my garments.
The last time, I caught the tag end of a chat
with some wind-reddened sailor: “Yeah, I remember
a time when Booze was my last name, too.”

The Reverend granted
an indulgent smile, passed me the basket:
six days of sweat, cat hair, tomatoes
gone wherever the unwanted things go.

Poetry in the Analog Age

It’s going to be a mess:
you will grow, on your
right middle finger, a mound,
or sometimes a dent,
fierce red or white as bone.
These stains leach from the words
that you press into your fingers.
Along the lateral edge
of the index: a blue streak.
Your palm will catch a painless bruise,

To change your mind requires
tight spikes, like those found
in the record of an anxious heart,
beat out over your cursive. Or,
if you didn’t trust ink to begin with,
a filthy snowfall of pink motes
will cover you waist to knees.

You should have kept things as they were:
immaculate, digital. Instead you
chose to follow the masters,
you grubby romantic.

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