Hearsay in the valley of condominiums, Up in the 747, the goddess of beauty without love & The goddess of Anthropomorphism
[ poetry - september 07 ]
Hearsay in the valley of condominiums
for Sachiko Murakami
I am writing to tell you: that story
I'd overheard about those pygmy
remains? It ran as a practical joke on
the part of city planners or some
local newspaper flunky; I'm not
sure which. Bridge construction went
ahead as planned.
There were, and are, no pygmies on that land.
And, furthermore, that kids' water
park town council tore
down to replace with a yuppie gas station,
is not a gas station.
It is an improved playground.
I got confused when they tore the old
stuff out. For a while, it looked like they
were building a gas station. They
weren't. This "new" water park is, apparently,
more environmentally sound. Which is not to say
that yuppies aren't moving into the area.
Because they are.
And the new Mayor,
who is also a gangster,
plans to turn his offices into
a Starship Bingo.
Up in the 747
When, for no reason, she leaned over and bit him, hard,
on the outside of his upper arm above his elbow. Hard
enough to leave a crescent-shaped mark identical to
the curvature of her rather large, white, perfectly shaped
teeth. "Fuck," he said. "That really hurt." He stowed his magazine.
"I'm so sorry," she said. "I don't know why I just did that."
Below them, the well-combed provinces, buried under ice.
the goddess of beauty without love
She said, "I don't like to walk around the apartment naked. I prefer to wear heels."
"So," he said. "Wear heels."
The goddess of Anthropomorphism
We sleep with the curtains open. Tonight,
the forest is lit by a full-faced moon. Black water
winks past the riverbank through the trees.
We were from the city. And now we are from
the country too. In the spring, teenagers
will appear with their titanium fishing rods.
In the summer, they will ride rubber inner-
tubes downstream. Masses of young flesh
will chirp and yip on the whitewater where,
not ten months before, the whole place reeked
of death. Chip bags and beer bottles and cell-
phones in hand, parents will prop plastic chairs
in the shallows and eat take-out burgers
while their little ones paddle out to the pools.
But, now, the river is silent
in the way a river is a silent rush of rivergrass
and the fetid stream goes about its decomposition.
My husband's hands are slippery on my thighs.
He can't help it, he says We are two slick fish∑
and floodlights illuminate our gravel driveway.
We sit up, caught, momentarily, in our own
harsh light. One minute, two, and the flood clicks
off again. I can hear the refrigerator keeping
things cold in the kitchen, rooms away. What
is out there? What creature slouches through
the yard so late at night? Anthropomorphism,
I say, is a dangerous business.