“Sleeping”

I hear them turn in bed, one by one, like the twinkle of a bell
from their def tongues in midnight.
All the women.
All the girls.
All the tall skinny legs I’d ever yearned for, twisting
after hours beside another.

He probably had a more normal childhood. Probably goes
to church. But has never heard the same bells I have;
Just an alarm clock or a small child crying out for more milk
from mommy cow.

All the women.
All the girls.
All the pasty faced potato pickers— dreaming of lipstick and mascara.
May they all be ruined by now; In a life I could never have given them
because life failed me before I could fail another.

It goes on like this almost every night. Sleeping, I hear them turn in bed
and I am not even a freckle on the face they turn away from.
All the women.
All the girls.
May their laughter be a holocaust to another man’s indentured chores.
May they rise in the night; Tits heavy as their eyes; And may their babes
be squelched, suckling all that once was mine— in a toilet seat fantasy
of my second year in junior high.

All the women.
All the girls.
For some men,
marrying them was only a fulfillment of church boy masturbation.
Me? I sleep in, pay my taxes— and keep my tiny flame flickering;
My dream, still alive. I put down poetry, paint pretty pictures;
Things that matter;
Things that won’t abandon me after I’ve grown
just a couple years older.

All the women.
All the girls.
I do not need your casserole dish, your lipstick licking envelopes—
sealing me into the terms of our mortgage.
I do not need your bloated belch
or your hysteria after the eggs have run out.
I do not need anything else
than what I can do for myself and wipe off.

All the women.
All the girls.
I do not need any of you,
but I still want all of you, none the less.
It goes on like this. Yes, it goes on like this—
and the sound they make turning over in bed
is magnificent— and almost makes me wish
I could drop my pen for just one of them.

narrative poem written on 04-18-2011 by: on mattkane.com
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