If you think that if you tell a man
that you wrote a poem about him
and that it’s going to be published
in some fancy literary magazine,
like The New Yorker,
and that this bit of information
will somehow make him adore you,
that he will read those 14 lines
that you composed and immediately
tattoo your name across his chest,
you are wrong, because he won’t.
Trust me. It’s all a bunch of crap.
Grand romantic gestures,
like this one, only work
in the movies.
Film Therapy 101
The samurai pierces his abdomen while the others watch,
forced to commit harakiri with a bamboo blade,
the torture is evident as he struggles
to drag the toy-like sword across his middle.
It is at times like these, while watching
this Japanese samurai picture,
when I realize that my life isn’t quite as drama filled
as I imagine it.
I’m not a destitute warrior,
made to slice myself open
with not much more than a glorified stick.
I have not witnessed the accumulation of tragedies.
I have not had to live through
the devastation of knowing
that my wife and my son are slowly dying
of illness. I have not succumbed
to humiliation in hope of saving them.
I have never been chased by zombies
that could win marathons, if only they would stop
eating their fellow runners.
Nor am I the most talented member
of an all female singing group, cruelly pushed out,
because I wasn’t pretty enough, left
in a post-riot, apocalyptic Detroit
while the others bought mansions.
I live in America, in the twenty-first century,
the greatest time and place to be a human being,
especially if you have breasts,
and I’m glad I’m here,
and not the wife of a French mobster, shot to death
because I wouldn’t rat on my husband
and tell the rival gang that they should unscrew
the lamp, if they wanted to find the jewels.
This isn’t France, circa 1950
or Japan during the Edo period.
This is the modern Midwest
and I don’t have to take any shit
Soothing the Savage Beast
Every time I pass a road kill carcass,
a raccoon, a backyard animal who washes
it’s dinner before eating, now limp
in the gutter, or a skunk, leaking perfume,
dark eyed and crushed between lanes,
every time I drive by, I cross myself,
the way I did in church, after a prayer,
the father, the son, and the holy ghost
briefly riding shotgun in my Sentra,
not because I’m religious, which I am not,
but because I just can’t look at death softly.
I need to do something to calm the familiar
sickness and it feels, in those moments,
like the proper thing to do.
because it was something
and I needed
to do something.