I miss being so drunk I thought I was a whore
on Jupiter with Jesus lodged up my butt.
I miss being so nice I curtsied for stop signs
and apologized to streets because my feet
slapped them so hard.
I miss not knowing the angry depths of teapots
the scurrying songs of head mice
the myriad changes and surprises
stuffed inside a solitary accident of a day.
I’m lonely for yesterday’s haunted donut.
I’m biting my bottom lip looking back
at all those arcade tokens and Skee-Ball tickets.
Each song reminds me that once I was rewound
and there were never two songs in a row
by Queen or Bob Dylan.
These pants make me miss ten years ago
when I was delicious in the heat and the thick of it
and every telephone kiss at two o’clock in the morning
rhymed with my name.
Oh the records.
Oh the letters.
Oh the version of me
that was cereal box
It was their first rehearsal as Wino Penis. They’d played a couple of gigs as Unfortunate Mustaches. Wino Penis struck the drummer, Davi Jo, as much more euphonious. Poetic, even. Nicki, the lead singer and lead guitarist, and Sally, the bass guitarist, agreed.
“Okay, bitches. Check this shit out. I just wrote this song in my sleep a couple of hours ago. Follow along,” Nicki said in her whiskey and cigarettes voice that turned wino penis into raging rhino penis.
Read the fucking news in my eyes
feel the blues between my thighs
sighs from here to New Orleans
won’t set shit straight
the horses are already racin’
behind the gate
give me some Mars
give me some Venus
I wanna go bat shit Jupiter all over your penis
all these clouds and miles
makin’ a bitch dizzy
my finger is on the trigger
and baby it’s itchy
Later Nicki walked around the backyard drinking Rebel Yell from the bottle singing “Flesh For Fantasy.” Davi Jo and Sally watched Nicki from the safety of the patio. “She’s goin’ to the bad place,” Sally said. “Yeah she is,” Davi Jo said. It was only a matter of time before the pigs showed up.
She was quite the side dish, much creamier and more filling than potato salad or green bean casserole. No woman in her right mind wants to be meatloaf or turkey. That’s what wives are for.
“You’d rather see me dead than with another man. Wouldn’t you, baby?” she murmured, nesting naked in stained twisted sheets and not so fluffy pillows.
“Damned straight,” he said, tweaking her defiant left nipple.
The newest hot shit reality show blared from the television, which was surrounded by empty wine bottles and gay sex magazines. “Survivor Small Press Poet Island.” If the two surviving poets did not resort to cannibalism they would win a book deal with Simon and Schuster and a lifetime supply of peppermint flavored condoms. There was a catch. The surviving poets would not be allowed to brag about their victory at Facebook. The surviving poets would, in fact, have to deactivate their Facebook accounts. It was a kind of experiment. Would poetry books sell without Facebook? It was a gamble the producers were willing to take.
“I feel sorry for your wife. The meatloaf. The turkey. The lasagna so forlorn in the deep freeze,” the creamy and filling side dish said.
“Shush,” he said. He reached for the nearest bottle of moscato, took a swig.
“I talk too much, I know. Sorry, baby. But I don’t want to ever take your wife’s place. Just wanted to make that clear. I’m very happy with the way things are. You fuck me then write poems about me. We’re adhering to an ancient tradition.”
They fucked and drank moscato until they passed out. It was kind of like a Bukowski poem but much deeper and more poignant. Outside the window a homeless wino screeched,”We’re being poisoned by this Disney princess syndrome! True love ain’t a mermaid cartoon!” A tourist from Texas with bad hair and worse ideas handed the wino a dollar. It made her feel altruistic and relevant. The sky spit down rain but the bars were open. The Texan walked inside a bar and ordered a Maker’s Mark, neat. No one in the world could mess that shit up.
Karli did not know how it could work. She was not delusional. She knew her flaws. There was a world on her back and she had bad knees. On the ride home from Galveston she tried to sleep as her ex-husband drove. Their son babbled from his carseat. Her head kept jerking forward. Her ex told her she should adjust her seat so she did. She went into one of her deep sleeps, the kind that terrified her. It was one of those sleeps where she knew she was asleep but she wanted to wake up and her body would not obey her. Karli would panic, sure she was going to die in her sleep. This time she thought her mom was beside her, driving the car. She tried to cry out to her mom, tried to reach for her. Mom, help. I’m stuck. I’m dying. I want to move but I can’t. I want to wake up but I can’t. But it wasn’t her mother beside her. It was her ex-husband. “Karli, you’re dreaming,” he said. “It’s okay. It’s just a dream.” She opened her eyes and stared ahead at the road. They’d be in San Antonio soon and she would crawl into bed and sleep for hours. He would take care of the boy.Karli thought about things not working, impossibilities, her flaws, as she packed the bag for the photo shoot. Her friend in San Francisco had given her the bag the day she left the city after spending a week there. She wore a tiara and red sequin dress to the airport. Her socks didn’t match. Everyone stared, even in San Francisco. Karli prayed that her airplane would crash. She did not want to return to Texas. She returned. She thought of San Francisco as she placed the red sequin dress in the bag, along with the black lace dress that showed her shoulders, cleavage and legs. Karli had worn both dresses on both trips to San Francisco, the first in April 2006, the second in June 2010. Karli had read her poems into microphones in both dresses. Karli tossed in a pair of high heels she never wore as an afterthought, along with a pair of bright pink fishnets and assorted accessories, including the bondage collar she bought to turn on the writer and editor who requested that she make a YouTube of herself choking herself with a leather belt. Karli considered packing the vibrator she had purchased at the same writer and editor’s suggestion but decided against it. She was meeting the photographer for the first time. Karli’s Southern Baptist upbringing was hard to shake off completely.”What the fuck does Jesus have to do with anything?” Karli muttered. She was disgusted with everything. She was disgusted with herself. She was tired. Exhausted. The photo shoot would not work. She would be forty in February. Who the fuck was she kidding? She didn’t jog. She didn’t do yoga. She’d never been to a spa. The most money she ever made topless dancing was $40 and that was before the age spots and stretch marks and belly fat. A man walked up to her in the bar in San Antonio and asked her if she would just listen to his sad story. She did. She listened. He was sick with cancer, had six months left to live, and his wife had left him. He gave her two twenty dollar bills for listening. There were so many websites, so much free porn…girls sexier and savvier than Karli had ever been, showing off their tattoos, piercings, flat stomachs, voluptuous tits and asses, fuck me eyes, cartoon luscious pouts. Karli felt a bit brave, felt like quite the bad ass, actually, for even trying, putting herself out there, opening herself up to a world of scrutiny and judgment. She just wanted to get out of the fucking apartment before she broke something. She was sick of living out loud on Twitter and Facebook. She just wanted to breathe some fresh air, meet a real human being, enjoy some kind of authentic exchange.”Did you have any trouble finding the place?” he asked.
“Not at all,” she lied.There weren’t any lies after that. She got wet, he noticed. There’s no accounting for chemistry. She thought for sure she would have chemistry with the first photographer, the woman in Houston who looked so delicious in her photographs. Something essential was lacking. But this time with this photographer this much older man she would not notice on the street she could feel him fucking her as he shot her with his camera. He complimented her often and she never for one second thought,”Bullshit. He’s running a line.” Maybe he was running a line but it didn’t feel like he was. She could feel his mouth on her neck his hands on her breasts and ass his dick in her cunt. For a few hours she was awake, alive, not sleeping deep, not feeling stuck, not staring stoic at the road ahead. She was a breathing feeling woman. Present. In the moment. It was not a dream and there would be photographs. There would be proof.
Everything’s Bigger in Texas
Cougar got on his horse and rode the fucker all the way from Monahans to Amarillo. Sally met him on the front porch wearing nothing but an apron and sarsaparilla perfume. They kissed and groped for a few minutes then went inside the kitchen and ate biscuits piping hot from the oven and extra spicy deer chili.
“I can only stay for the night,” Cougar said.
“Damn it, Cougar. You’re always droppin’ by just long enough to get your dick wet,” Sally said.
“Don’t give me a hard time, woman. You know I’ve got obligations in Waxahachie.”
“Yeah, five at last count. I don’t wanna hear about your obligations. Let’s go to bed. I should be the only obligation on your mind right now.”
“You are, baby. You done good with this chili.”
“I’ll use every damn weapon in my arsenal to keep you comin’ back for more.”
“Baby, I’ve got a hankerin’ for your guns.”
“Shut the hell up and fuck me, already.”
They fucked. It was good. They slept. Cougar awoke at the ass crack of dawn thanks to Mister Cock A Doodle Doo. The rooster crowed like he owned the sun. Cougar was tempted to shoot it but he didn’t want to piss Sally off so he didn’t.
“Baby, I got to hit the road,” Cougar said with a sigh, caressing Sally’s peachy ass.
“I’m not even awake but go ahead and fuck me one last time,” Sally said.
“You know I’ll be back in the spring.”
“Give me your dick before I kill you.”
On the road to Waxahachie Cougar had to shoot and kill six or seven different dumb fucks who thought it would be a good idea to stare at him with their mouths hanging open. They weren’t Texans. They were migrant workers from Arkansas. It wasn’t likely they’d be missed.
Punk Rock Poetry Reading
“Come on, Cougar. It’ll be fun, I promise.”
“Goddamn it, Sally. How can poetry be fun?”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry about the last poetry reading.”
“Dude read his poems like the Lucky Charms guy!”
“He was using a Scottish brogue.”
“Well, it was stupid!”
“I know. But this is different. This is a punk rock poetry reading. It’s going to be at a bar, not a coffee house. The poets are really hardcore. Street savvy. They battle addictions and shit, just like us. They’re real people but better than real because they know how to write about it. They like to get their fuck on just like we do, baby. Come on. I’ll buy you a beer.”
“You better buy me more than one. I can’t believe I’m letting you drag me to another poetry reading. I must be pussy whipped.”
Cougar and Sally sat at a table near the stage smoking cigarettes drinking Miller Genuine Draft. The first poet jumped onstage. He was dressed all in black. He had a pompadour and a beard. Cougar looked at Sally, raised his eyebrow. Sally laughed, lit another cigarette, squeezed Cougar’s knee.
“Hello. I’m Pony Boy Walton and I’m reading poems from my newest collection, Must Love Wine. And this is the title poem. Must Love Wine. All I ask for is a lover who lives like me, on the mellow side of the street, never angry, never discombobulated, always cool, always up for a drunken stroll and a few stolen moments in a bar where the jukebox plays Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons and everyone stares at themselves in the mirror, telling themselves it will all be over soon enough, but now is the only time and now is quite enough.”
Applause. Cougar whispered in Sally’s ear,”Are your panties wet, baby?” Sally laughed so hard she spewed beer.
Pony Boy Walton read seven or eight more poems then headed for the bar.The next poet to take the stage was a woman with tattoo sleeves, big tits and Cookie Monster blue hair. “Thank you for talking me into this,” Cougar whispered in Sally’s ear. Sally gave Cougar a dirty look and drained her beer.
“Hey. My name is Laci Harris and the title of this first poem is Off The Meds. So I’m off the meds again because I want to be able to cum and I’m tired of being a fat stone faced fuck content to eat ice cream from the carton and watch Three’s Company re-runs. I’ll probably lose my latest boyfriend. He’ll probably take to the hills when I start screaming at him in a Chinese accent and start accusing him of fucking another bitch because he’d rather hang out in the bars than put up with my shit. He can leave anytime he wants. I’ve got a refrigerator filled with batteries and a stack of his Playboys next to the toilet.”
“So this is punk rock, huh?” Cougar asked Sally.
“Pretty much,” Sally said.
“If she flashed her tits it might be punk rock.”
“No, that would be something else.”
“Shit. I need another beer.”
“Vodka. I need vodka. From the goddamn bottle.”
They left without buying any books.
Leon Valley of the Dolls
The suicide would not take but she’s off all meds and doesn’t have time for Jesus since discovering Denis Johnson and Townes Van Zandt. Lovers have been flops at worst, fickle sadists at best. Still, Samhain is around the corner and bitch is still capable of some strange fucking magic, what with her Fuck Me Gently With a Chainsaw eyes, pop culture saturated lines and out of tune guitar. There’s a dirty road to damnation and she’ll crawl it if she has to. There’s a flag she waves high and it is not white. It’s the game you chance when there is only one pawn left. It’s that weird destination where your heart is the dice lonely on the felt and all the winners are on another planet fucking each other with diamond dildos and enchanted serpent tongues. There is a cabin lonelier and colder than Pluto, an immensity of immunity, and that is where she stays. Clocking in and out with purple gel caps, cheap whiskey and a jukebox no gun can shut down. It’s prettier than a postcard but too heavy to mail. It begs for recitation.