FOR MY OUTLAW LADY
Your brains are beautiful
as the black hair over
those shoulders, a man’s leather jacket
toughening the nowhere night.
What’s next, outlaw lady?
When will you kill the bastard
who lied, shoot the fucker
with a double barrel?
Or kick him in the balls
until he dies? Forget him,
crazy cunt, come with me,
I have money--
we’ll make the day wish
it had wings, and
when the bullets are gone
we’ll steal the moon
and raise hell,
a holiday of lust named for us.
BULLETS IN THE GARDEN
I hear guns outside the courtyard
and ignore sounds that violate my ears
as I gaze past the mountains.
Soldiers maneuver across
dirt roads and hollyhocks.
I run into the house,
look toward the pool and lawn,
and hope they’re not full of bodies.
I have insurance that I’ve imported
from a fairyland of blood and money:
my flowers that dazzle maimed children
who leap over my iron fence each day,
whose bandages are the color of jasmines.
I’ve welcomed these immigrants hundreds
of times as I’ve felt rifle smoke
dance with the orphan air.
When the soldiers seize me,
I’ll give them the flowers
that will outlive these
bullets in the garden.
I DON’T CARE ANYMORE
Tonight I met a man obsessed with finding a true love.
His eyes gingered with Librium
and his voice cracked like walnut shells.
He rattled on, a windmill fool
with his mouth falling out of a mad heart.
We drank with two older women.
He sidled up to one like a jockey to a mare:
She smiled, a brunette Jayne Mansfield,
and I listened, wished I were in China.
I began to guzzle booze.
The drunks were louder than horn toads.
I had to leave but couldn’t.
The room was a fog of preachers
who recited the Lord’s Prayer backwards.
The cop cars wailed the night away.
I don’t care anymore.
I beg to define jealousy and kick its ass.
I don’t give a damn if I’m bitter as a Macbeth witch,
If every beauty is stained with battery acid.
Do you care if the snow is fallout?
Would you roll like a hubcap down an alley?
Shall I believe in number two any longer?
Whether taxicabs turn off their taillights?
Shall I pat the waitress on the butt and get the hell out of here,
Be the chrome of a chickenshit yellow Nomad,
Or remember sharks who drink blood like rosé?
Does anybody care anymore
about the leaning titties of a sweatered girl,
Paul Revere’s true destination, or Mona Lisa’s smile?
Do you care whether I’ll think
of my mother when she’s dead?
I’ll say to these strangers as I drift out of here,
Do you care?
Then I’ll beg myself to stop and yell,
Nobody cares anymore.
Yes, I’ll be the survivor who remembers
my ancestors didn’t care,
who whisper in my ears,
We don’t care anymore
until words are echoes
and I’m kidding myself
about finding a true love.
When two assholes meet
collision is certain.
The man with a trimmed beard
and a swastika tattoo on his arm
argued with my friend
about a rider in a painting,
whether Mongol or Afghan.
Matthew, the artist, quietly disagreed,
but the man with the big belly
pressed his point,
and butted between the painter and me.
Who gives a fuck? I muttered
and he glared to answer, I do.
I told him that was his problem
and sat on a table.
He glared Who the fuck are you?
and his finger curled toward outside.
I replied I was a lover.
Too smart to tangle with a man
crazier than I am,
I told him, Go ahead, kill me,
chop my fingers into snacks,
I don’t give a damn.
He didn’t believe
the truth in my face, nodded,
We’ll see, we’ll see, yeah.
The owner pleaded for peace,
and the man with my name
asked, Who are you?
Before I walked away,
I glared into his eyes and calmly replied,
Known as Mouth of the South,
he conducts interviews
with anybody who listens,
loving to hear the sound
of his voice reverberate
through Pitiful Hall.
A talented professional student,
Trubo discusses the length
of Rasputin’s prick, the number
of cadets in a military school,
or the shadows in film noir
with a flair and drawl so pronounced
only the deafest ears can’t hear.
The loudest voice dominates.
He doesn’t care that teachers
laugh about him behind his back,
dodge into johns
when they see him coming.
Fuck ‘em, he states
like a fired anchorman,
Let ‘em eat the sun’s asshole.
His gift of gab is especially handy
when he pursues a sweet young thing
with hair the color of baked carrots,
eyes blue as a new yacht,
and the charming parts of her body
No other definition of the holy grail.
Not to him: a trend-setter, he’ll
go after that pussy any way he can--
braid beads for ankle bracelets,
mix his latest concoction in the blender,
or walk the streets with trousers rolled
above bare feet. He rubs her shoulders.
He respects her as he holds court
in the duplex littered with books.
Younger than his baby sister,
she listens more intently than
the surly rivals who snicker
at his obvious perceptions
about Iraq Veterans or
the local English Department.
His latest obsession knows
less what to expect than he:
this is his hundredth déjà vu seduction.
He smiles behind busy lips
as he smirks about later that evening.
He’s full of himself,
ready, a kid on a spinning carousel.
The nickname fits him
like the rubber in his blue jean pockets.
THE MOONLIGHT’S GLOW
Journalists pegged me The Butcher
of Kosevo, but sniper buddies
preferred the rich moniker of Achilles
for no apparent reason. Now I’m a bus
driver in sealskin coat and racing gloves,
my hands steering the huge circle
behind the dashboard, and during passenger
pickups I puff on Pall Malls, my walrus
mustache hiding lips that beg for a beard,
that relax, then fidget before I swat a slow
fly. After the nightmare of my longshot
kills, I traveled to islands, lagoons,
swallowed vinegar and syrup for my
arthritis, quarreled with myself
whether to scuttle a wedding ring
and the woman who came with it,
and then I arrived in Fairbanks, searching
for new conquests. I tape my memoirs
in The Peach Pit Hotel downtown
with its shag carpets and blend in nicely,
like meat in a freezer. One day I’ll transcribe
my horrors into a book that’ll inspire
new warriors to shoot straight in drills,
never waver in battle, and fool
the cops all criminals hate. Then
I’ll bask in the moonlight’s
glow and gladly skip the next war.