One Choice Popsicle
Tame, perhaps, a display lion.
"Why didn't you choose the pudding?"
I don't crave sugar, unsweetened child. Swiss cheese on open flame:
The circus clown, thick-marbled dame, un-tames my wild beast,
Split legs melt and all pink flesh; black forties, well-worn straw.
The bar is closed. Please, let us blokes come in we're awful froze. This evening I don't crave sugar. I beg my lips to shut, this endless jabber, life. Open close open close; like a vice, or unsweetened child. Squash tomato beneath my wheel. A tongue of concrete laps the walls: let out, let out. Fresh meat. When it feeds it does not grow; a logic of its own.
Rip a wound, gash a sore, let us through the holes that bleed. Any tunnel does the trick, turn it for us baby. Un-sew the seams that bind. Barmaid Sally's come apart, her edges unravel flowers. Roll in boys, it's time to serve, your country and your fathers. Swiss cheese out on an open flame. Some doors will never heal.
This evening I clench my jaw, but you are already inside.
Happy hour. Everyone pile inside. Find your partner, dose-y-do. I am the singular ho-down.
Some nights I'd rather feel alone. With the multitudes. With the bodies. With the numb limbo of my mind, where the ravens find no nesting. Hermaphrodite in drag, red wig for late night glistening. You can't see a bosom from the inside of my throat. Eyes close and it's all floating—ha, equal opportunity; all is equally opportune. Life is easier here (quiet beach house by the lake); no reason for decision.
Name the narrator, he or she? The upright lad would choose which box... I laugh the walls away. Split legs melt and all pink flesh seems bona fide absurd.
Kalvin Ray the scarecrow man is simple yes by day. At night he dances with the crows and together they drink black forties. Ale that bubbles babies, fledgling dots with screams. They circle him and ask a peck: off come well-worn panties. Inside straw, only straw, bland and candy yellow. Rub and chaffing and friction, full of glory. He could not be happier, the scare-uber-man. A puzzle with perfectly fitted pieces is best described as neuter.
A beam of light, and then. Culmination undisturbed. You wouldn't understand.
My-legs-around-your-ears rings lovely, but offers all bad angles. Perhaps you do it wrong.
Marble Lass all made of glass so perfectly round and smooth. She licks her lips and flips her kicks and keeps the current couth. Come play a game, thick-marbled dame, but never in the light. She keeps them stored until she snores and then she rolls at night. Why darkness, why darkness, why darkness. I never knew my talent until I closed my eyes.
Some nights I want sleep. Don't take offense; I have just turned hollow. Even the prettiest marbles can not fill the void. Put your ear up to my mouth. Can't you hear the ocean? A mystery there indeed, like Loch Ness in the winter. And where's much-needed-camera. Fit on some trunks and go for a swim. But not tonight, not with those eyes, some other time, unexpected.
Yet in dreams I am always naked. Begging for seductions I pass over in the light. No, I say, not tonight. I am sore from so much romping. Then you are the circus clown who untames my wild beast.
Fear perhaps, repression. But I am one devoured by wolves paid of my own commission. Take me whole, I want to say, but my body's zippered tight. You turn buried in death's disappointed pillow to think me coy as stone and only half as sure.
Always it's your face—dark, heavy brow like running hair through cream. Shame I could only feel with you, the one that I was meant for. The one without surprise. Boom.
There's a monster inside; tamed, perhaps, a display lion; like at the circus or the zoo. The kind who doesn't lick his chops but snatches crud from the floor. Fed off pellets, twenty-five cent tokens, germs in a pool of saw dust. The kind with big-dug-trenches to hold it back from drinking precious-throat-blood of ticket-purchasing-mommies. In the wild it could leap. But the king no longer wants, watching his form sell new cars on the TV set. Blood and chocolate, blood and chocolate—but now no either/or.
How to wake her, the sleeping daemon—with a broomstick poke poke poke. Or gentle prod, please please please: the first time in three weeks. Some night she arrives uninvited, loosed and ferocious from her chains. She scratches at the inside skin. Be free, be free. Have body. Take this sack cloth out tonight and let us hit the to-wn. By morning she's turned gray again, a color without longing.
I have chained the cat down, yet where is my remorse. Me, I have drowned the beauty beast. Take it or leave it; survival, I guess, tomorrow. She lies sleeping—all is right—or fine at least, most fine. Her belly behind my belly.
Dreams, in waking, that she grows my size, the beast between my legs. She swells with waves, inside my limbs, contorting to my body. Her lips are pressed up in mine; her toenails scratch my insides. Force of her eyes push mine from my head—beyond human, all-cartoon. She is speaking for me, a chest full of waiting-for-blood and growls. Saying come, come come come, but I am not yet ready. But soon (I can feel the fur on her skin) she will rip through my flesh and discard my wasted form. Breasts bruised like fruit, never to beautiful rotten perfection. A deep purr from was-once-my-heart. I have been the cocoon for the feline potential of a life.
Brown-mud benches and a day-camp line, the youngest age of choices. Children, they say, go forth and pick dessert. Before, a row of platters, either popsicles or pudding. Female counselors with heaving breasts push boys toward oval cups. You don't need a spoon, they say with a lick, only your finger, or your tongue. Give it a try, go for a whirl. There's chocolate, or vanilla. Hidden hormonal juices make their eyes sparkle and bulge—they reach, slow motion, drooling.
In a rainbow frock a girl tries reaching: oh, I would like a pudding. But not for you, not for you; they smack her away with sudden venom. Quiet this girl with a popsicle. Stick it deep within her throat. Raspberry liquid drips down her cheeks and mixes with her tears.
Here you go girlies, try the lemon, it's best this time of year. Dow-eyed males with rippling chest are holding out the ice-pops. Just bend over, yes that's right, and grab the one you like. Don't be shy. There's a good little girl. Now suck my children, suck. Now Peggy Sue, no licking dear. You'll never get it done if you go on like that. Hurry, hurry (snack is nearly over) we can only wait so long.
Behind the playground two friends exchange desserts, a world of different flavors. Chocolate is wonderful, says the little girl. The boy is full of popsicle.
I myself am diabetic, and poisoned by either side.
Still, I go where pointed, slow-moving, unsure. How do you like your popsicle? It is fine, I say, I suppose. Good, good, and they rub a cheek against mine and sleep the night without waking. But once it melts I'm empty.
Some days it's true; you crave the cold, the way it fills your throat. Mostly pops taste like freezer-burn and lack all satisfaction. Never admit, never admit as your hand wanders across the table, inching to the taste of vanilla pudding sliding in your belly. Narcissism, pudding-upon-pudding.
So here we go, ice-pop again, pull one from the freezer. Always a supply, can't ever get them finished. Biting makes it faster. But then you don't enjoy. Humpf, not how it's done. But what I seek is the pain in my gums. Or stick it in the oven and let it ooze away. I don't care; I'll close my eyes and let the house burn-crumple, ashes made of sugar.
A bar where women wrangle women and together straddle poles. A girl with eyes like chocolate pie asks, "What didn't you choose the pudding?" And the answer, of course, is that I could never stand to be consumed. I am, by nature, a consumer.
Perhaps for another I would plant daisies on my knees, my tale end in the air, swaying with a punching-bag rhythm of a woman who has been a-round the block. But for you? Maybe me.
Wasn't there once a movie where the girl stood just like this? So your back arches and for once you've hit the big times—academy awards all around. Something really must be said: my mother made cupcakes and she made them right, not that you hold me like a cupcake—the sick idea of the thing—but it's always been nice to be in the presence of a pro, a real know-it-all, to kick up your heels and give in to expertise. Besides, a woman is not like icing, a woman is more like . . . then again I've never been with one, and from the inside it's impossible to tell and these fingers have gone so blind it's all just circles; meanwhile men are circling not like vultures but like predatory whales, men in stores waiting to stick their knuckles through bagged bagels and here's me thinking what dessert am I, and would you drink me up and if I were not drinkable, would I be worth your fork?, because mostly it's not harassment it's just staking out the terms. Or not. Outrage, slaps of slaps and purses flying, sexy, for the bystanders, clapping bartenders, heat thickening, nipples as hard as rock candy all around—for real and ornamental purposes, because there's no discrimination here, where taste has lost all potency and colonics come in flavors. When I was young I drank my milk dyed blue and loved it good and the color didn't make it worse it flecked the texture vibrant, so why not now, why no *zing*? Maybe I should paint you purple, or mural-make me (permanent marker and pastels with charcoals for effect) until my skin turns wanderer and I go hot and sticky for the crazy-colored woman in the mirror who holds her heels in her hands and says, been a tough night, and then I reach out for her by pressing my cock-eyed body to the glass and we make love, love which cannot be made and making which cannot be loved but still it reminds us both of a romance novel with plot for thickness but we are both waiting, waiting, waiting like good ladies should to get to the tasty parts where shirts cling to ribs and pool boys sigh and out-west maidens lean forward somewhat secretly, these moments where we reach for each other and caress our mirrored breasts and moan with glassy stares and find together the beauty of strangers, of the need, sheer need and of the oddity of wonder. Then we are on the floor, rolling, like on screen. Licking, screeching. Here is the beast, here is the cat who will swallow alive all who hold out long thin fruits and say girlie, me, I'm one choice popsicle, before me the woman who bats it to the soil or bites down hard or spits, the one who's been cupping curved flesh in my dreams, the one who says keep closed, only I can open you, here here here, why all along like the straw a world inside and rocking! A matter of desire, no turning round, no backing out, forever and forever, lord almighty lord almighty, amen and hallelujah!
A matter of habit, a matter of course; dessert comes after dinner.
A crack between the ceiling. Cigarette, or two. Long pause.
You can tell the mark of beauty by the sore you wear in the morning. By the incongruent planes of your night-time stare and the way you regard that dripping mug over the porcelain sink. A less-foggy lens through which to gaze at longing, a logical cup of coffee. Wash the ink from off your body, brush the stale taste of sugar from your mouth. Let the animal shrink inside, a sponge without new blood. The beginning of a day; slow inclining plane of inevitable tonight.
The oddity of wonder, amen and hallelujah:
The beauty you wear, the incongruent regard.
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