an ultimatum


look, I tell him, you can either be my lover
or be my muse,
but you can't be both.

you can either be the one I fuck
or the one I write about fucking
but I can't both write about you and fuck you.
it's just not the way things work.

for three years you've laid claim to my body;
enjoyed being its sole explorer,
its only inhabitant.
but we can turn things around right now;
reverse your roles,
exchange your lines.

I can start fucking him tonight
and writing about fucking you tomorrow.

I can suck his dick every morning
and pen a poem for you every afternoon.

I can fill the pages of my notebooks
with my desires for you,
my regret at having lost you,
my plans for winning you back.

then notify you when these plans
are made public,
via a random internet site
or sparsely printed journal.

so you can read about them,
tuck them under your pillow for safe keeping.
or in your duffel bag
to show your friends

while he fucks me:
up the ass/
in the mouth/
bent over the pool table/
behind the shed.

the choice is yours, I say.  either way . . .
let me know your decision.

I turn my back, begin my exit.
I possess the mindless confidence of the only blonde at the party.
it never even occurs to me there could be two answers.
it's never crossed my mind that some men actually prefer brunettes.

okay, he says, his voice turning me back around before I've made it to the
      door.
I've given it some thought.
I've run the question back and forth in my mind.
I've reached a decision.

I stare at him from across the room, my hand a millimeter from the knob.
one more second and I'd be on the other side.
another moment and I'd be at my desk,
scribbling sonnets about another man's hard-on,
imagining it slipping inside of me.

instead I'm here in this room, lassoed by his unheard verdict.
my confidence ebbing
like a three day old hangover.

let's do it, he says.  let's turn this ship around.

who said anything about a ship, I say.

you know what I mean, he says.  'reverse our roles, exchange our lines.'

I'm treading water, but I can't let him see.
I elevate my arms, spread my legs, jut out my chin.

fine, I say, calling his bluff.
we've gone head to head before.
I've yet to lose a hand.

okay, he says, all in.
he shows me his pocket aces on his way to the door.
he doesn't bother with his chips, they've already been cashed out.

he leaves and I sit down at my desk.  I try to write but the words won't come.
my phone rings, stops me on my getting-nowhere path.
the hard-on I was writing about earlier is calling.

word travels fast, I say.
corner pocket, he says, exuding the easy bravado of the last man on earth.

I hang up the phone, stare at the page.
nothing's happening and I look at the clock.
I've got two hours before hard-on comes calling.
two hours before I'm flat on my back/
up on all fours/
widening my mouth.
I sit at my desk, waiting for the regret to kick in.
wondering what I'll write about tomorrow if it never does.  
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