Stepping off*


Man, in that Indian summer, licking mango puree off palms and forearms,
watching Bacchus put the moves on Zeus behind the mulberry trees  —
how they danced and strutted  — untethered, unbound, bowels freed
at last from fear, rocking in Olympian foreplay, there where the mountains
come from, head first, snuffing in the pungent undergrowth.

Now there was a panacea, a potent cure-all for cable TV, frozen toaster
waffles, fluffernutters made by your neighbor with the Peter Pan collars,
Judy something, Judy with her endangered mind subsumed by the fresh
sheet dirty needle ambiguity of domestic tranquility and paranoia, 

her domesticated husband leaving the seat down good boy but thinking
back nonetheless to the cats-n-jammer Krazy Kat black and white
days of some imaginary youth
before the time of his own memory,
radio mystery saying who knows who knows who knows
what evil what lust lurks in the hearts of men 

now women too, laid end to end in commuter links, processed
into the fugue
state of upward mobility, past frozen
dinners onto simple
yet elegant displays of fresh herbs, organic
Shiraz from the vineyards of refugee
MBAs entrepreneuring their way
straight to the awkward
compromise of telecommuning with the land. 

We could write a book, Demographic Dreams of Greatness,
strands across
continents, inkless pools puddling around ankles,
no anger no angst,

just  wooden nickels stacked high, high, pie in the sky, counting
one little two little three little flights to the warm tide of el niño
clean, clean like a washing machine, dreaming
together and alone.  

But maybe one day we’ll get lucky, the webs and the words will
all come undone. In the quiet after, we can watch the gods
and goddesses do the loose noodle hootchie cootchie,
lust and power
rolled and simmered in mutual juices, brought
to a rolling
boil and evaporated again into the sweet night air.  

Ragged around the edges, dog-eared, sheepish, cat-swallowed-
the-canary happy, looking not at the pastor, the perfect pasta,
but there out there somewhere, that blank spot on the
inside of your head, not a panacea or a place to hide,

a smoother somewhere between stimulation and soothe,
where the arms that wrap around you might be yours,
might be hers, might be the arms of no one or  everyone,
in the never never always ever back of forever more.  

* Archival, from my slam days. More or less unretouched. Guess I have always been cranky. 


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September 2006
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