Flexing her biceps again and again until she actually grew a tad woozy from doing so, Pearl nevertheless kept feeling her left arm with her right fingers (and vice versa, of course) over and over, until one day, she skipped through her living room and on into the powder room with its mirror and visual confirmation that if she craved to bulk up and grow strong enough to truly go Cro-Magnon, then she was going to have to become sufficiently buff to be able to club her lover on his fedora-wearing head so he’d drop like a deflated judy-doll, and it would then be okay for Pearl to lose her thick, thick club of oak and drag her lover to the daybed in her duplex— well, in order for Pearl to accomplish all that, she was going to have to polish off even more than her standard fare of four nice bowls of steel-cut oatmeal every morning, an overstuffed hero sandwich near noon, and a sixteen-ounce rare porterhouse with Jujubes come dinnertime.
The sea foams turquoise
A gull’s screech staggers softly
I long for salt breath
It escapes like breath
Water sound on my eardrum
Tall grass in high tide
A woman carries
a basket on her should
‘You think that it will never happen to you,’ said the television, ‘but it may well. Divorce affects up to 70% of couples and your marriage could be next.’
I span on my heel and pointed at the television.
‘Never!’ I said, ‘did you hear that, Honey-Bea? 70% divorce rate!’
Beatrice couldn’t hear me; she was looking for Jason’s lunchbox while Jason banged his little shoe on the floor.
I considered my son for a moment and then sat down on the balding sofa.
even the Romans drowned.
even the horses drowned.
a bomb cannot have
a broken back. can only
take the arms of others, yet
Whenever I listen to pop music I am reminded that I am nothing
more than what I am, a fawn of a man
like a blown-out speaker whose creation myth always re-begins
the night before, born emasculated in a bathtub filled with gin
wearing headphones blaring Ke$ha’s “Your Love Is My Drug,”
born hipless strutting what I got, a born bastard or however
bariatric surgery for
Wal-Mart cashier leads to
work at dirt track gift shop
dogs on battlefield
operate surgical robot
with wagging tail
going back to church
after the middle and index
little card fingers
hold the smoke : leather
Two stuffed bags. A closet arranged from purple to black, customary in Columbia dorms. Chucked an exam hangover into six human-sized boxes, followed by five-dollar margaritas spewing me blue on a viscid wood floor: six legs, three tongues, multiple smartphones testifying. Then an apartment furnished to eat at the liver, pinching it tight like money.
I was nine and Grandma Miller introduced me
at the San Diego Pentecostal church.
I politely kissed her white friend
on the cheek, to everyone’s shock,
and burned a red backdrop
to my freckles.