You look in the mirror
and all you see anymore
are the Vaseline streaks
dragging you down
to a more
Panties pulled to the side,
your face is reflected,
full of bullet holes
on the polished metal ceiling.
Map pins tied to red thread
scar you through the silver dawn
that resemble poppy seeds,
but they are black heads,
and you squeeze one out anyway;
But all that comes
is the unruffled scream of losing all your dignity
through one needle hole and one sexless marriage.
Birds fall out of the sky
like acorns on a windy day,
leaving their rotting carcasses
on the sidewalk
for the ants and the artists
to take back
Birds do. You do. So too,
does the black pimp strutting at the corner,
waiting for all the cars to go by.
His hooker waits in the background
in the bushes, like stage curtains;
Rubbing her neon ass up and down
with rosemary and thyme;
Scratching herself, trying to remember
what made all of this so necessary in the first place.
Oh yeah, the sniff of glue— at twelve years old
and the broken off heads of every baby doll
her step-father ever gave her.
At least there are still parts
of this neighborhood not so yuppified
that these two can’t still turn a screw
without the police pulling out their pretty little pistols
to extinguish the last genuine spark from these rows of warehouses.
Lobster tanks, all empty, at the grocer.
Love was her mystery and you were the torturer,
wrapping rubber bands around every limb until her cankles turn blue.
You, cruel, and insincere, mischief seeking puddle of boyhood;
You keep your rape kit inside an empty cigar box,
inside your tackle box, full of rubber worms, hooks, and lures.
The pitiful placid groans of your victims follow you
in every plastic mirror reflection.
And the Vaseline streaks too, filling in all the scratches—
and the dents put there by recess games of marbles.
The church steeples weep, wondering why they are never built with an umbrella—
and the preacher comes down the steps in his black velvet robe,
gesturing to the hooker, who j-walks, to receive an early dawn communion.
She kneels at the entrance, her head leaned back,
feeling the body enter her
like a cold, wet rat.