Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1

We're writing after poems all month long.


  1. Wayward Kiss
    (after Dunn’s Tenderness)

    She was only a child knowing little of love
    Only that of her father being there after work
    And on week-ends

    This was all she ever needed
    Wanted or cherished
    Her love for him

    As she grew closer
    Her desire waned
    Wanting something

    More than a touch
    A smile
    A wink of an eye

    She wanted love
    With intimacy
    With thoughtfulness

    With a commitment
    Growing into a young
    Woman she remembers

    Her father becoming distant
    More harsh, still longing
    But, never there

    For her
    He was away from home
    More and more into her memory
    Into the darkness of missing him

    Finding more of it in a neighborhood kid
    Down the street, always playing with her
    Until one night came knocking

    It was her boyfriend, the neighbor kid
    Asking her mother for the daughter’s
    Hand in marriage

    The father had not been around for weeks
    And it was a crazy gesture, being she was
    Only eighteen years old

    The mother gasped at the request but still
    Was able to let him in
    To only break his heart

    Knowing she was doing the right thing
    Believing the daughter would follow her lead
    The mother complained that she was too young

    The young man kept pleading in the name of love
    But the mother had none of it as she sent the daughter
    Upstairs to cry and let the boy go back down the street

    To everyone’s surprise she could not be found the next
    Morning because they had ran away together
    She had left through the window that night

    To be with him forever
    Never to return to the loneliness
    She grew out of

  2. writing this way after it's due, but jeepers it sure generated something:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about whores lately and whether I was one and about what one will do for legal tender.
    Alot is the answer.

    “You do what you have to to survive financially,” my mother told me.

    No, she was not a sex worker, and neither was I but somehow the appellation fits.
    She taught me to see heterosexuality as an exchange of commodities.
    Sex was always a negotiation.
    “I’ll let you do this, if you will do this for me, give me this, take me here.”
    That’s really paid work if you think about it.

    “You need to have your own money,” my mother told me but when I was a teenager she steered me towards boys who were well
    fixed. And girls too for that matter. Not for sex, though — we were strict heterosexuals, but there was always the matter
    Of money. Who has it. Who doesn’t, and how to get some. Of course you worked legitimately, but could it hurt to know people who could give you things?
    visits to a country house, entree to a social club, skiing, dinners at nice restaurants, tickets to the opera, the ballet, openings.

    So when the word tenderness is mentioned by that famous poet I don’t understand what he’s talking about.
    I mean I know he’s talking about sex, not money, and love I guess, but when I come back to the word “tender,” I come up empty handed. Emotion-wise. I remember a song by some new wave group — General Public? — But it’s a concept that is foreign to me completely.

    And at “foreign” I hit on something that makes sense.

    When France went over to the euro I had to make a special strange trip to a big bank in Paris —some baroque cathedral of cash, all cherubs and gilding — to change my francs.
    I didn’t want to waste the currency.
    So I stood there, had to show my passport, pass through special doors, into a little room and for a moment I wondered what would I have to do to get my money? My daughter waited outside with a friend from the university.
    Briefly, this exchange felt like could be illicit — I mean after all this WAS France.
    But a little man with glasses at appeared at a window, took the cash and then gave me some other money. He tendered these unpretty bills. Yes, there’s the word again.
    I was grateful because it meant I had more and more is better than less. And it meant I could go shopping and buy my daughter something and take her and my friend out to dinner in this city of poetry and lucre and greed.
    That meant a kind of freedom. But it didn’t mean love, and it still
    My mother hated Paris, by the way.