Lyn Lifshin, US





Free Verse


Dark Corsage


faint smell of cologne.
Later my sheets hold it,
Another time, another
place becomes a
mantra. How does any
one stay married
he breathes in the rain
into my hair. An
accident, but I do this
for a week. I buy
clothes I wouldnít have,
surrounded by beauties.
It isnít easy. He
pulls me closer, the
perfect gigolo



When She Leaned into his Vest on the Plane


the smell not as foreign
and no one in any aisle
supposing they werenít
married. When she hears
landing gear. When she
hears ďfasten,Ē no matter
how smooth the landing,
it wonít be. How they
blocked off the real world
four days, effervescent
as sparkling burgundy.
She knew all he wanted
was her body, her stories.
Branches in the rain,
diamonds. His dark hair,
her own. Wild deer and
tossing their heads in
the wind like licorice
horses of a troika,
like trees shadowing,
blocking December
light, stunning but
leaving where they stand
stained so nothing
can grow



It was that Way in the Kitchen


itís been that way in his arms.
He couldnít sleep he said
and I felt sure when he asked
How does anyone stay married?
When he held my arm, said
so many beautiful women, I
could tell heíd been up all
night. Glasses, no contacts. I
wished him a happy birthday and
he shook his head. If time
really was relative or whatever
my ex engineer husband said, not
necessarily going forward, if
we met in a different time.
When I was a girl, I died for
dark eyed men. His, mahogany,
his hair more onyx than my
motherís onyx rings. When I
buy too much velvet and silk, like
someone grabbing a life jacket,
saving them each Monday
for tango or rumba, under what
you see Iím like horses
screaming, tossing
their burning manes



It's not that we could have been mistaken for Lovers


not even in dreams I tried
to choreograph. (In high
school, for 11 nights Iíd
think of a boy then Iíd
dream about him. I
remember the smell
of your cologne. In his
arms nothing else
mattered, the 40 minutes
of class. If there were
other dancers in the room,
they blurred. If these
were the last hours, I
would risk a kiss with my
tongue. His fingers held
me after the foxtrot
flair. I am still that chubby
girl waiting on the bleachers,
waiting to be asked to
dance. Even now, I need
to know the steps, am
terrified I can never
follow right



Because it's Taboo, Forbidden


because at 20 I
was never so wild
for any man. Sure,
thatís a lie but not
for one whose arms
circle me all these
nights. The smell
of your midnight
shirt, somehow
different. A good
weekend with your
wife tho you told
me it was hard to
stay married. Any
night could be
the last



If your Lips were to move


here and there,
if I could get
drunk with
Vincent Millay,
sheíd understand.
insatiable, starved
for the gorgeous
velvet and men.
The blue belles
over her motherís
grave and yet,
undone withouts,
a solid oak of a man,
undone too easily.
Steel magnolia one
almost lover
called me. He could
not hear what was
about to rust



With him, or, the Riviting


It was what he
always talked of:
the connection.
Youíre not just
moving thru the
dance, each in
your own world.
He touches my
shoulder. You
are he says looking
into my eyes and
there is no other
world. Only have
eyes for. But even
if he had no eyes,
even if there was no
light to see who
was looking, he
would make me feel;
no one else in the
world mattered to
him, so intense,
so dangerous



The Chameleon


when he comes to you
who knows which role
he is in. Give him a
costume and he becomes it.
He changes himself, he
loves it. But when he
dances with all the women
itís not like a guy in a
candy store, seems heís
already been to the candy
store. He has to get this
woman in my hold he says,
I have to see what it
feels like to hold her.
What is the connection.
Heís looking for some
thing between the two.
He doesnít move by him
self. What woman doesnít
want this? What woman
isnít into danger




Miss the Metro on a Day I'm as Cold Inside as Outside


I think of those old
women and men,
terrified on the ice
even before light
dissolves in January
gray. They look down,
as if they expect
nothing can hold
them. As if they canít
hold up long. I think
of the old woman
with a greyhound pulled
thru drifts. She was
tall and sturdy, like
her dog and then she
wasnít. Her dog could
smell new life floating
from under the snow
but the woman, so
statuesque you could
still imagine her as
a beauty, must have
known too much
about what was ahead
as I felt last night,
to want to frolic and
dance with abandon-
ment, to not always
pause as she does,
looking down, no it
sure where she is



The Blues the Saddest Dark Songs that Stay the Longest


the blue waltz, blue blue
windows behind the stars.
You see a man on the metro,
the ring on his left hand
catches a glint of light and
you make up a life time
with him. Itís the same in
the waltz, swept over the
floor. Itís one body like
when your skin is part of
a horse, as if the same blood
ran thru you, closer than to
the one in your bed



Too much Ballroom


why, he asks
that this is your favorite,
not cha cha, not
swing. The curve of
his body, the only words





its not in the
shoulders, the
arms. Sinuous,
sensuous, itís
smoke. uncurl
your left hip
back. a writhe,
a swivel of
skin. I feel his
body under
clothes relax,
while all I can
think about
is what I





its not in the
shoulders, the
arms. Sinuous,
sensuous, itís
smoke. uncurl
your left hip
back. a writhe,
a swivel of
skin. I feel his
body under
clothes relax,
while all I can
think about
is what I
Terrible to
be his wife



Not the Music


but this sad blue
waltz, a swirl
of burnt iris,
corsage of loss.
The deepest petals
still flaming.
Not the step,
Chasse and Lock,
or Run Around
or triple turns,
not whatís at the
edge of exploding
in a gallop, a
quick step but the
north of you
body turning the
talking to the
south of
mine in language
words arenít
enough for



This is only a Class


there are patterns
like in math and
technique. So
what if bodies
are close, itís
a recipe for waltz.
It isnít stew,
itís not hooking
up, not barbequed
spare ribs tho
ribs should be close
and the heat. But
the recipe wonít
deal with much of
that. Instead,
take the swirl of
a good frame
then add the
womanís tilt of
her head, relax.
Donít let it
matter if
heís ahead, or
if she looks too
long she wonít want
to go away. Besides,
this isnít salsa
or cha cha. So she
looks. To stare at him
would kill, would
startle, distract
so she couldnít
feel the words of
his chest, his
thighs between her
legs which of
course is
where she wants it








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