All American Erotica: A .38 Slug in My Vocal Chords and the One That Got Away
You say I wear a sleepy-eyed mask on my back. There were two shots, one clean out the front; one a slow burn in my open throat. We’ve come a long way, learned to arrive at airports early, the easiest shirt to wear, the quickest story. At home, tonight, the blinds cut the light, the amber bottle in your hand. You’re in the corner of my eye, proof that it’s not enough to live thru long odds. A coastline of perfume sidewinds its way off your chest and blooms its fist in the air above my head ii Once, we pushed up to a bar and you said when you blink, you see me dead before we met. I watch you blink watch the surface of the world close the surface close over me. You brush past and out the doorway and I catch a moment’s flood of hallway light, and pause while the pool of skin-sloped scent becomes air. It leaves the shape of Istria, my index finger finds Pula but it’s already a crescent moon, windplay on a pond, then Thailand, Chile, the S-curve, northbound lane, South Shore Drive. The scent between us sheds its skin, its song floods the basement of my eye. I see it swirl up the heel-scuffed steps. You blink and it takes the light iii Every glimpse of you is a gift, flesh-flash in deathchance that blew itself out. Straight thru me. I’m alive. This scent from your breast stalks itself thru the long odds of my body. You blink and I die. Blind tip. Your tongue can’t see the hard-domed entry wound high on my shoulder. The one below, you say, looks like it’s sleep with a half-open eye. One bullet’s still inside me. Dead metal in my voice. You say that dead metal when I say it, you hold the metal in your name like the bullet’s in your mouth, too heavy for its size iv You blink and draw back like you’ve heard a two-by-four crack. You say, for you, it’s a red light boy with his hood up die bitch you saw the kick push back his sleeve. His gun, jammed, is always there. Deaf click of an open O in your eye. You blink again, slow and long, always and I stay dead for ten seconds. Eyes closed, you say the imagination’s infinite, the chance of meeting there unthinkable. I’m wounded in a way that makes me think I can heal around the metal. You say no matter how much heavier than its size allows, it’s not enough. No matter the metal, it’s no more than the sound of sunlight and the taste of tin caught in a bright sheet of water thrown across the grass from a pail v Like the shape of a scent, a voice with a bullet in its chords will never cover its shadow like lace thrown over the top of a mirror. As far as the mirrors go, you’re right. You hold one. I hold the other and light blows pieces of us thru the room. I watch you kiss the mask on my back. You wink a glow in a stainless eye and scent shadows splay across the wall. You’re in your full-length robe of precision and falling glass. I’m gone in blue light thru a broken window in your back, my limbs break the beam into spectrums of useless motion. The exit route took a piece of my third rib, you find the bone notch with a finger and say this wound’s our fifth nipple. It points away, rises always to reach where the heat of your voice comes from vi The snare rhythm of Method and Mary from a passing car, —foryourbodyandyourskintone the wrong vowel’s a pain net, a stress in a word can turn flock of knives. I gauze your face with my hands and every night we lost what we lost while you blink pours its wing-footed weight back over us. Eyes open, I see you seeing me here. You blink. Pigments collapse into a wound and lighten the skin around it. An orbit of surf against an atoll the weight of your name what we lost in my voice. The sound of that car rounds the corner, loops the block, you’re all, I need—lie together cry together—they’re police, you say, they love that song vii I push you back, away from the light into velvet shadows of the vestibule. Clouded liquids from a bowed sky bent like real trust move between our mouths. There’s always this always between us. This metallic click. Our bodies open and pressed against the cold steel of the front door, the El train’s tremor, blue flash, suspends us over deaths, we wonder how, were not our own.