Posts Tagged 'improvisation'

The name of this piece is Susy made me write about sex

 Today is the day we discuss dental floss, sex and volunteerism. Pay attention; your licensure depends on your correct response to the quiz which follows this three hour training.

In front of you, you will find a small bag. Pick the bag up and open its contents onto the table. Very good. Read, follow the instructions, then wait.

If you are having sex while thinking about your hair thinning, the hole in your underwear, or the box of chocolates that you stashed in the back of the laundry room to keep your partner from devouring it before you get even a single piece, this could be a sign of pending or actual sexual discontent. Try this simple exercise: stand in the middle of the room, alone, mostly naked and say to yourself loudly and firmly: “Sex. Sex and more sex. Sex and sex again. Different sex, changing sex, kinky sex, decorator sex,“  If, while standing there saying sex and so on, you suddenly think about cleaning products, lists, email, dental floss, licensure and volunteering, stop stop stop. Shake your head three times like a golden retriever coming out of a cold lake.  Now smile and stick your hands down your pants, if you are wearing any. Remember, you are completely alone. No one is going to see you or hear you. Shake your hips. Does your underwear fit? Are you easily distracted? Does anyone in your household leave the toilet seat up in spite of 30 years of reminders? Stop stop stop. Okay. Take the underwear off. They are too big anyway. Put on something more comfortable. A pair of socks, say, and nothing else. Stand in your living room wearing nothing but a pair of socks and say to yourself “Sex. Sex and more sex. Sex and kinky sex. Sex and deviant sex. Sex and law breaking. Sex and jaw breakers. Sex and sucking. Sex and red hots. Sex and sex and sex.” Okay. Now think about the lawnmower, the weed whacker, the rust stains in your bathtub, the continuously whining dog standing just outside the door. Stop stop stop.

Put your clothes back on and go scrub the bathroom, brush and floss your teeth and make some phone calls about volunteering and renewing your license. Leave the toilet seat up as a protest. See if anybody cares. Get some freezer burned pistachio ice cream out of the fridge and eat it in front of the whining dog standing at the window. Think about your budget. Think about your garden. Think about the roses, the rose hips leaning heavily against the window. Think about the grapes hanging full and ripe, think about the sweet pears and the sparrows rustling in their late afternoon dust bath. Think about the dark fertile earth, think about the warm smells of fruit, herb and flower rising and mingling in the afternoon breeze. Think about the sweet sleepy sounds of animals in the quiet heat of the day. Think about lying down, just for a minute. Think about listening. Listen. Smell. Look. Touch.


I put the lawnmower behind the porta-potty and covered it with a tarp. It was raining. Always raining, always raining in my life. That’s why the teardrop. Pagliacci, payaso, white of face, black of heart. I eat the hearts of children and give them animal balloons in exchange. I put the lawnmower behind the porta-potty and get out my shears. Trimming the hedge, even the tragic fool must have a second job these days. Mine is landscaping. Tito Topiari is my professional name, carver of hedges into giraffes and dachshunds, I have kept my second job as close to my life work as could be. With a blue balloon and a white one, I can make a dolphin that twists and spins in mid-air. With climbing roses in lavender and white I can make a butterfly. With black and white I can make a penguin or a man in a tuxedo with a carnation in his lapel. Early balloons were made of animal bladders. A white-face fool like me is serious and might be deadly. Children are often afraid even as the animals necks are being twisted and the carnation shoots water into the air. There’s a hankie in my pocket; get it out for me, won’t you? I need to go tidy up that hedgerow, where the children have gone to hide.

Atlas rolls his own

I lifted the world off his shoulders and said “Sit. Sit awhile.”

He sighed, he stretched, he said, “What? Now? Sit?”

“Yes, now.” I handed him a bag of tobacco and some zigzags and he sat down to roll.

“Stiff,” he said, stretching his neck and shoulders.

“Reap what you sew,” I said, sotto voce.  I am a font of wisdom.

“Uh? What’s that?” He was looking at me from under his eyebrows. Eyebrows that hadn’t been groomed since the azure seas of the Mediterranean were 15 degrees cooler than they are now. I handed him a ginger soda. He took a swig.

“Zippy,” he observed. Smacking his lips, he raised the bottle to his lips again.

“Wait, hang on,” He pulled his smart phone out of his cargo pocket and looked at it. Texting. Even the gods can’t get a break, I thought.

“Tales of woe. Harbingers of doom. Falsely attributed quotes. I have to go,” he told me. He handed me a cigarette and quickly rolled another one for himself. Lit it, smoked it down in two deep sucks, stood up, twisted his back, did a couple of squats.

“Sure you won’t just quit?” I asked. No answer. I lifted the world and set it on his waiting shoulders.

Gertrude Stein came to tea one day in April

Did she she did it was April it was was it April
It was it was April yes it was was it tea it was that
bloomed and shed, bloomed and spread

April showers that showered and did did they
shower in April or May had May come already to hold
their hands that touched the showers the showers

that showered the April that Apriled the May that may
have shattered the tea that poured the tea that poured all day
when May broke through, a pig in a trough a pig in a poke

a broken spoke and their hands touched the showers
that showered the flowers the fingertips brushing
the bringing the bulbing the faces surprising

them as they worked the wet garden on knees on knees on their
knees and the tea was black with cream please two lumps
to lumps they spade they spaded they sped

They sped did they speed they did did they speed they did
there were faces bright faces to flirt to flower to shower
bright sun wet water did they did did they did yes they did

Brightly in sun and wet water all spring did it all. Did it all
yes they did did they yes yes they did.


Is the coil that sleeps under my mattress,
A tiger gathered tight in mid-air.
Spring lays in patches along this morning road,
Is the frost on the tips of the new daffodils.

Spring is the blood of the lamb that just nuzzled,
just butted the ribs of a child with a bottle.
Spring is the egg and the skunk and the chaos
Is almonds and bunnies and peeps in a basket.

Spring is the news that jumps out of a cake,
Is the payoff that no-one saw coming, saw coming.
Spring is the cleaning the purging the shaking
Of rugs where we’d swept away what we can’t take.

Spring is the hope in a young woman’s  fancy,
The fire in the belly, the cool water rising,
Spring is the leap frog, the frisby, the wild wind,
Spring is the key that we turn to begin.

Praise be

Tired of trying to doze in this run-down crack house. Not crack house. Not really. Tired of trying to doze in this shabby section 8 housing. Complex. The idiocy and mischief of these goblin kids, urban zombies, well, you wouldn’t believe it. You wouldn’t believe it and neither would I, but I see the boxes the boxes the stacks the wand lighters the foil. No. I said not crack. This is not a run-down crack house, this is not a bad HBO series, this is not your stupid father/son/nephew/ uncle/ brother /neighbor’s sad and stupid fucking story, it is not.  It’s more like an imitation of itself. Bragging, guns, larceny, asthma and emergency rooms, and nebulizers and God. Don’t forget God. God goes with crack like cheese goes with crackers. I guess it was just his time, that’s what we said, that’s what I said and I couldn’t get any sleep at all in this run-down section 8 housing. I got some jasmine tea from the ABC Chinese Restaurant up the street on Lomas, and some rice and sweet and sour something, I can’t remember if it was chicken or pork. My kids got lice, did I tell you that? I’m praying like a motherfucker and my fucking kids got lice. God made crack just like God made cheese, like God made my kids so that’s all pure and good. Did you see that show they’re filming here in Albuquerque? My kid was in it, he’s like an actor and all now.  He was like an actor and all, but not right now, he was in the emergency room, somebody shot him and now he’s in ICU. Skinny kid, always been skinny. He looks like a starving puppy, God must love him a lot to keep him lying there, breathing, heart dancing like a lightning storm. Always been lucky, we’ve always been lucky here, praise be.


Across the bright morning I hear
voices and the stirring of leaves,
early spring. I’ve never been
here before, you know, never
needed to imagine this past.

At this moment, though, I feel fingertips
pulsing; I count on the beating
of my heart, one, two, three four,

This, my heart, a metal detector,
seeks iron, seeks the push
and pull of blood and oxygen. 
I feel the clock of opening lungs,

count the beating of this heart, one, two,
three, four, that beats in fingertips, in palms,

Warm breath, warm belly, this body
feels gratitude and sorrow alike yes
in this my heart, counts silently,

Gently. One, two, three, four.

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