lady by the bath
bent double hair
knotted nape inked
out in wrist flash
the line goes
here the hand
commands the eye
nods the body
begins on paper
lady in the tub
heron leg poised
waist to the window
open a dancer no
longer in the wings
Rich Woman Stealing Lipstick
Two-faced and fading to the bone,
our lady of perpetual deceit,
wasting your own salt, perserving yourself
beyond preservation....come out
behind the circus screen. You pretend to eat,
shave, shit, slip counterfeit into an empty purse,
believe your ethereal heels float
above ground on the clouds of cocktail kindness,
fling small talk, a thin scarf about your neck.
Recall Isadora Duncan?...
Her immortal scarf coiling silk
about her throat, tightening the wheel
as her convertible strikes mountain air
at sixty, unable to steer,
careening the Beverly Hills bend,
a pas de deux with the wind,
death demand binding to the bone.
I knew a dancer once--
twirling in second-hand pink satin heels,
thrift feathers swirling martinis in a row
below, wrapping her divine wings
about a metal pole. She danced crazy
eights, shed skin in laps, pranced dreams
rouged and candied
just out of reach...
But when she really danced--tight black
against bare pine boards, against the blank wall
of art or love or hunger--all her weight fell hard
to the body, the flesh she carried could not fly...
and she loved it, played in the space between the fall.
The girl earned her footprints, fought gravity all the way--
she knew, like matador and bull,
in earth's original skin--this is what we do.
No lift off, without coming back to where we were.
Paws caught in gravity's trap, expect to crack
like the creature you are. Stuck to the windshield,
pray to plastic christ but no cute tune about bluebirds
will lift you into the air to save your technicolor bones.
Clicking heels won't get you home-- meanwhile,
bleach your face, and pluck your hair,
fart with fear for your stinking soul.
Keep pennies from petty theives
while the Honeybee seeds her patron's dreams
then pockets cash to get her to West Palm Beach
where she can dance for herself.
Let's look straight: A body is a body after all...
as real as broken slats of fence, we all need repair,
a tight screw now and then.
Give me your manicured hand, I know a place--
a stage lit at the dark height of dark eyes,
where you can slip candied as a honeybee into dance,
or just watch and pet that which sleeps
hackled and waiting under your bed.