YOU PHONE ME UP AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
You phone me up after all these years
drunk and coked up
hot enough to blow glass
and ask me to forgive you
for things I didn’t even know you’d done
until you showed up at my funeral
with more mascara than tears on.
You turn the tap on
and it shrieks like a banshee in the rain
and then there’s a few moments lag time
until the blow back in the pipes
of a great apartment to burn to death in
groans like a foghorn in the desert.
to buff their coke in butter urns
just like the pioneers.
But I live like one of the livestock
they brought over on the boats
to go wild in
until the whole Sioux Nation
is mounted on winged mustangs
that refuse to be broken
in inspiration and spirit
even when they’re spurred in the eyes
by night riders with stars on their stiletto heels.
You want to know
if I might want to see you again
and I can hear you flipping your zippo
as if you were ejecting
the cartridge of a spent shell
like the coffin of a corpse buried at sea
to ignite the flame of love again
as I recall last time went out
twenty minutes to forever
after it was lit like a love lyric
to burn for eternity.
Now you want to see if it can live longer
on the ghosts and ashes of seasoned desires
than it did on the pyres of elephant bones
you dug up from the graveyard
like the memories of old lovers
to cremate your pet mouse by the
to give it an afterlife as big as the Taj Mahal
compared to that hole in the wall it used to cower in
for the few crumbs of the dreams
that used to fall from your eyes
into a coke spoon in the morning
like shining from cooked foil
to give an ironic twist to a line from
The black widow with the hourglass on her back
wants to know if she’s lost her sense of timing.
If she can still wake up from her coma
like a ravenous alarm clock
to eat her mate in the throes of sexual rapture
before he can dismount
and scamper away into the sunset
like an eight-legged easel
that paints a picture of itself
running back into a burning barn
like a horse that knows its way home.
The aging undertaker
wants to purge her crematorium
of the smell of burning flesh.
I want to tell her
that perishing isn’t so much
a matter of forgiving and forgetting
as it is a thorough exorcism of everything.
But I bite my tongue to spare the young and say
I was the one who put my heart in harm’s way
like a small warm mammal
thinking the same flute
I used to charm the spitting cobras
could teach an anaconda in pantyhose to lap dance.
You say you had two kids with the same biker
as if that were some kind of new norm for you
but then the government stepped in
and took the two kids and the biker into care.
And you’re on your own now
with no one who knows you the way I do
to ease your inconsolable despair.
And I don’t want to
but I remember how painful it was
patching that deflated vision of you up
when it went flat as a bicycle tire
by gluing my eyelids to your skin
like Japanese plum blossoms
over the holes in your inner tube
that kept letting the air out of the coils
of a Burmese constrictor
that couldn’t find a heart anywhere
to anchor its fangs in
and crush the life out of
and had to settle for the butt-ends of its own tail.
You were always a lamia
picking on sickly knights
who came to your rescue
but you occasionally appeared
almost human to me
whenever you were baffled to tears
realizing as your nerves went off the grid
like Sleeping Beauty
as the spiked apple fell from her hand
(Or was it a thorn she pricked herself on?)
even a full moon isn’t immune
to the poison glands of her own crescents.
And there’s no known antidote
tucked like sweetgrass
in the medicine bags of anyone’s balls
that can do anything for you
to break the fever
except offer them to you like a placebo
knowing the cold sweat of your nightmare
is as terminal as the dew
on the last flowers of autumn
when your blood drops below zero.
You ask me if I remember
when I first saw you
to pay your way through university.
A stripper into kundalini yoga
you wrapped your body
around the axis of the earth
like two wavelenghths
of synchronous serpent-fire
winding its way up the spine
of the winged cross
tattooed like a medical symbol
on the arm of that all night pharmacy
you called your boyfriend at the time.
One to afflict the wound with desire
and the other to heal it
by opening all its chakras at once
like a chimney-fire
making the pipes glow cherry-red with lust.
The silver thread of the moon
interwoven with the golden thread of the sun.
But it’s been a long time
since the tapestry
of that flying carpet came undone
and though Aladdin’s magic lamp still burns
it shines like a night light
in a morgue among the urns
of the afterlives
of a phoenix prone to nightmares.
So, yes, pop over if you want.
Unburden yourself like a volcano in therapy
and I’ll try to show you as I always did
the tropical islands that became of all that fury
when things cooled down enough for birds.
As the Oxyrhyncus sayings of Jesus Christ point out
what you bring forth will save you
and what you don’t will destroy you.
You can take the same approach to i.e.d.s
if you’re enough of an apostate not to kill.
Whether you’re a junkie
a wise-guy or a terrorist.
Not to make the hit
and then frame God for it.