scream for milk
and old people wither in wheelchairs
Who am I to cry
while AIDS continues its sullen rampage
and drive-bys stalk schoolyards
teenagers flying off cliffs in search of the rainbow,
40-yearold heart attacks, 30-yearold paraplegics
But I do cry
over this lifeform in my left breast,
bequeathed by a father intent on absence;
did he fear I'd forget him?
Anger assumes blame, a wrong, a scheme
I gave up on long ago, with no regrets;
but I do cry
These tiny, aberrant cells bear me no malice;
they seek life, as I do; their rights, their desires
no less than mine
I keep my tears private, though I slip on occasion,
when my lover holds me too tight;
then I twist, away from myself, my shame
at thinking me worthy of pity
I'm strong, I can beat it, and if not,
I'll live trying.
But I do cry.
"Smiles Of a
You are propped up
on a pillow, settling me
in between your satined legs at a slight, easy
slant, my back to you so you can see me
and I don't have to look;
it happens too fast but not so fast that I can't
turn my steaming head and glimpse your face,
a face I know, your lips parted to smile, eyes
scanning my disquieted body, open hands filling
with my breasts, then pushing past my belly;
your long tender fingers easy into my panties,
very easy, knowing, somehow, the grating pain
leftover from medical toxins to save a life;
I hear you say I'll never hurt you again
and again and I close my eyes, slide my legs up,
let the right one slide back down, spreading out
to the side in an unsteady arc;
at passion's height, I raise my mouth to yours
but she is gone and I am awake, with a libidinous
heartbeat, pulling my mate over to drive
my tongue down his throat.
Why now? Still unable to make love, dreams
become lustier and more varied.
Why this way? To spare me agony—But
are not the first—this
my twice-a-day fuck times—So—
why now? Why this way?
And you? Have I disturbed your dreams?
If not me, who? Why you? Why not?
Who has dreamed me? Male—Female—ashamed
in the morning—thrilled—sickened—stunned—
grabbing a crotch to calm an obstinate turn on?
At the peak of desire, what does it matter who
or what the instrument is? A beautiful prick,
as long as the throbbing bursts high enough
in the arms of one's beloved, or some more easily
accessible other ?
Standard advice to
the lucky ones who function normally,
Don't dwell, they say, don't let it
consume you, don't speculate—
live your life not what-if,
but as-if ....
Bizarre world, unfair, of course,
where, some moveable tally of moments
after the stunning numbness of words
and matching numbers deserts her,
a late-blossoming adult female, or her
senior-discount-hunting father or her 8th grader
discovers that lifetime is a crapshoot,
that gods are air and stone and like
a good game, that thumbs up—thumbs
down is whim and whim
is not deferrable;
neither is hope,
a burden of manners
to tame madness
of treatments, check-ups,
to underline on your to-do
list and stick in your pocket,
normally, without notice, as if
like everyone else.