For Barbara, who ate sugar for dinner


German Chocolate Overload 

If love is not the sum of my every day, I will collapse in a devotional primal scream, spitting angst and Oreos out into the universe.

If love is not the sum of my every day, I will abuse a hirsute Dagmar in the Easter Islands, washing her in a clear blue waterfall of insincere lust.

If love is not the sum of my every day, I will discard your phone number, I will spike your fudge, I will snap as you relapse into the chasm, the deep plush madame, the bearded lady’s euphonia. I will pump the Baba Yaga’s accordion, making music so atonal, so astigmatic, so wrong as to wake the dead, the dazzled minions crawling up the mizzenmast of my desire for you.

If love is not the sum of my every day, then sigh again. The lava lamp is like the pendulum, the sea slug is like the cucumber, the determined red ovaries writhe in discontent. You are not a Chinese worm, spitting out your own insides to catch your prey. You are not the sad bearded lady after electrolysis, divest of self, after lobotomy, divest of other.

If love is not the sum of my every day, then bring in the semiautomatic weapons, bring in the Gidget marathon, bring in the mimeograph-scented longing for Dagmar, her bosom, her brackish tide, her blue-stained fingertips, blood orange hair, her chalky residue, her cheesy thick eyelashes.

If love is not the sum of my every day, it must have been Professor Plum, in the library with Ron Bell and a candlestick, cousin knuckle-biting the wooden edge of the card catalog F-through-J.

If love is not the sum of my every day, I will bury my head I will wash my heart I will strap my body to the rocket of release and light the fuse. I will fly awkward as a dirigible into the ether, I will fight mano a mano with the villains, the kewpies, the beta males crowding the sky, look at me look at me, pulling the plug, piercing the inflatable walls.

If love is not the sum of my every day, the heathen gravy-boat cravings, the parasites, the confusion, the disconcerting loyalties that bind us consensually to each other – if love is not the sum of my every day, then sea slugs are blind and no manta ever rayed. Love is not love if it withers, if it whinnies. Oh no, it is as constant as green jello, a blinking arrow, a one-way sign on a submerged road where now the reservoir rises.

If love is not the sum of my every day, then I will wheeze and watch and rot, and I will not eat apricot. If love is not the sum of my every day, then peaches will draw cream and moons will sing and Polish musicians will silence their concertinas. In the palsied papal wave there is a question, in the lightning strike there is a dazzling answer. If love is not the sum of my every day, then divide me multiply me, raise me to the tenth power, or let me go unsummed.

Sister Curfew says it is too late it is too late to contemplate the plate of cookies the mallomar, the proposition, the rolling bar. Sister Curfew says it is too late it is too late to contemplate the plate of cookies, the dreaming Popsicle, the melting pot the snapping synapse the relapse into addiction, soldier, put down your weapon and fight like a slug, are you a man or an academia nut?

If love is not the sum of my every day, I will collapse in a devotional primal scream, spitting angst and Oreos out into the universe. The universe, cookies and cream and a sugared dream. The sweetened blush of an afterlife, a memory, powdered and left on the counter for the beloved to eat after and after and after.

sugared

©2007 Teresa Phillips

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5 Responses to “For Barbara, who ate sugar for dinner”


  1. 1 Lollyloo June 8, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Shakesperian in its gusto!

    Full of fabulous phrases, I think my favorit is
    “if love is not the sum of my every day, then … no manta ever rayed”

  2. 2 sfpbiblio June 8, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    This is great! Thanks for sharing.

  3. 3 Barbara June 10, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    Hello Teresa!

    Let it first be said that I am deeply honored to have your fabuloso poem dedicated to little ol’ moi. And, secondly I plan to eat nothing but parsnips for dinner before our next meeting. We shall see what that inspires.

    Hugs!

  4. 4 Teresa June 10, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Gracious! Be careful what you wish for.

  5. 5 davidbdale July 13, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    That’s just full of beautiful language and images, Teresa. I love “music so wrong it could wake the dead,” but there are ten phrases tied for second place. Very nice.


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