Memory XIX

Memory XIX

so I was marlonbrandoing down the street,
in that way that he did—he doesn’t now.
there was a guy, a dingbat guy, who thought he could put a stop to it.
put a stop to my great mashing-hashing-blood-thumper.
thought he could put a slice in this strutting body o’ mine.
put a stop to his instead.

in her bloodblood silk dress that whisked and curled around
her body’s self like a delirious onion skin and glimpses—
buoys in the fog with their clanging bells and their quivering,
their flights of seagulls and winking, grinning otters—
scatters of her rose and sank from view and her breasts were round,
her hips were round and her eyes
were round and her lips were round
and her knocking knees were square as boxes.
that’s a geometrickal woman for you, I breathed, and the air
rose out from my lips in a great fog to conceal her from view:
I held my breath.

a loud air it was, and I—I with the broken-down hat and the
soiled-up shoes, the green-hornet pants and the garingaloo—
misperceived the truth of things, that dainty fulsome stuff
deceptified my eyes. my tongue sliced the basin of her neck:
she tasted of cinnabob and limisch and ochrey.
I stroked the twirling air around her ear with all my whispers
then—marlonbrandoing—in spite of myself,
because of myself, ripped the chain of pearls from her neck
and shoved her to the curb.
as her green mascara puddled down her face,
her boxy knees tommyknocking together,
I marlonbrandoed away, leaving her to read
yesterday’s newspaper in the gutter.

she called my name:
I spun to find her long eyes blinking inches from my face…
green lines of sorrow stamped beneath her lids
and a wicked glint in her cheeks.
grabbing my ears with both her hands
she pressed her full lips and her body full to mine.
my heart betrayed me then, pearls scattered on the ground
and my green knees puddled to join them there.
She danced away forever.
I never saw her again.

that’s how I got them,
these scars that crawl dark below my eyes.


I’ve always been fond of this one, although now I think the tonal shift toward the end is kind of jarring. I do like turning people’s names into verbs.

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