So, while I was in college I went out with a fellow writer, an older man who was a professor at a local college. When he picked me up from my decrepit Old Louisville apartment he frequently brought me little trinkets. He even got me a comic book called Spooky; the Tuff Little Ghost. His choice was fitting since I do frequently go by such a pseudonym. Our relationship didn’t work out but at least I leave an impression.
I had never kissed a woman
with a ring through her nose, and while
what I know of farms or rodeos
wouldn’t fill a flaring nostril,
something in me conjured up
the classic image of a bull.
With its onyx hooves, I saw the beast
paw the dust methodically,
little mushroom clouds to match the blue
blasts that billowed, that obscured its eyes.
I asked her if it was real,
had she invented it on the spot,
but Spooky seemed to suit her,
all grown up and having declared
a war against her wholesomeness—
an apple with an ice pick in it.
Let’s fight! she said when she first took me
back to her room, a riot
of tattered magazines and rusted drums.
Like a child might hug a tree,
she tackled me around my waist,
and if she was small, she was equally strong—
the proof a black eye from a head butt
as I tried to pin her elbows
to the bed on which we’d fallen.
At Swiss Hall, as we sat huddled
in a booth back near the bar,
she slapped me hard and with a smile
said, I bet that surprised you!
I had to read her lips above the roar
of a terrible metal band
and the hand-print I felt spreading
its red cape across my face.
I awoke on sticky carpet, wedged between
a wall and the capsized mattress.
Spooky splashed in the tub, and I tried
to fix it before she finished,
but the bed collapsed into the table,
scattered its bon bons and spiral notebooks,
its cracked china and crumpled underthings.
Whether we broke her bed
or only knocked it off its pedestal
that night, there’s no telling.
But something led me to believe
it happened before I got there. Led me to believe
it had been broken all along.
He’s got a book out with the publisher Sarabande, $14.95 for the paperback.
Click here for purchasing information.