Fishing in the New Economy
by Parris Garnier
the Mayor's Wife
Your loving is so politic
as I spread you, lace doily
on Hizoner's chair,
and put my tea to you.
Melt in your mouth
-- not on your life.
I enter the body politic
like a canker sore
through your back door,
the servants entrance.
I service you
-- and think about
in East L.A. where police
enter the body politic
like a canker sore.
Do they wear condoms
"To Protect And To Serve"?
Cough up my sleeve, politely
withdraw, leave you
empty as I found you,
bill your card in good taste.
No need to be crude
-- we're all nude here.
Words nibble your listening
ear pretending (for now)
this is just a phone call
to enchantment. As if you could
hang up -- or dream of it. As if
mouth-entangled tongue could only talk
of caverns and limestone
in hydraulic time. As if dreams
only enter you sleeping.
In days like cocoons you lay
dreaming of butterflies fleeing
safe harbor chasing sails' wake until
keening evening wake-up calls beckoned.
Sprouting words like seeds, voices
penetrated your sleep -- tongues
of easy prey pollinating
your dreams -- shredding
your final hymen of resistance.
Prowling streets of air redeeming
dreams (Cash and Carry Enchantment:
No Deposit, No Return)
your phone holster smokes
like a gunslinger's, your dreams now
just lines to seduce a stranger an hour:
"Before the ship sails rupture
my cocoon, spread my wings. Help me
fly from safe harbor."
She always finds something
in the bed to take. The unmade
beds deliver her
gratuities in kind:
cigarettes, a snack, a deck of cards,
a magazine. Brochures
from all the places she has never been,
to all the places she will never go. One time
some shiny earrings. Sometimes a tip
or soggy condom takes her
daydreaming. With the door closed.
On the soiled sheets. She wants
to come on him alone,
awake, aroused. She wants
to beg him not to
use it, take him in her
body naked. She would take
his child, his cash. His sneers. Just take
out of here.
Just a few minutes
would be enough (to be unhungry)
to be worth it. She would squeeze him
in. No one would miss her. But
she couldn't say these things
to him, the words. The English
allowed her -- just enough to serve
her time, repay her passage.
"Your passage grows: another day
for every day you pass; two more
for every day you don't."
She always finds something
in the bed to take -- inside her
where she would take him
if she could only find the words.
Venus de Motor City
Like Venus de Milo, Detroit. A work of art
executed with the appalling beauty
of the inevitable. City with no arms,
where things don't trickle down -- they fall
out. Like radiation. Like Venus.
Huddled mass framed by the crack-
head halfway house fourth floor window
rigor-stiff -- an ice cube dropping slow-mo
through amniotic summer.
Like the art of Hiroshima: scorched walls,
silhouettes etched on concrete. People
immortalized in the mundane:
walking, eating, kissing. Vaporized
to shadows in milliseconds. Deer
in the x-ray headlights of the Nuclear Age.
No time to adapt.
Spongy face sags on pliant
rotting cartilage, drug-contorted body
taken long before she could just say no.
Sixteen now, with nothing left
Apropos, a generation later: The Bomb's
"survivors" embraced neutron-inscribed
epitaphs and Japan
bombed the Motor City -- carpet-bombed
the streets with Toyotas.
Arms clutch the infant to her chest
-- talisman, life line. Social Services
will take him away they say: "Tomorrow.
Pack his things."
Incoming rounds found Detroit already
at war, enfiladed by the laser-beam
headlights of the Information Age.
No time to adapt. A generation
later yet, the casualties still litter
Darwinian dead-end streets. Species:
Homo Dyshabilis. Toe-tag: Venus.
She looks poised, next day framed
in yellow crime-scene tape crisscrossing
the window, the face down
splatter on the asphalt below.
Just another case of fall-out, another
Motor City masterpiece:
"Venus Embracing Her Epitaph"
Chalk Silhouette Etched On Concrete
-- with no arms, of course.
Just Making Sure
Just to be certain
We understand each other
I launch World War III
Incinerate the planet
In a hale of screaming missiles
Leave only roaches fighting rats
For the ashes of nuclear winter
While you and I hunker down
Deep in a salt mine
Hurling particle beam stares
Just making sure
We're clear about all this
Because you promised
You wouldn't love me
If I was the last man on earth
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