Monthly Archives: January 2006

the other side

i want to shine
like the milk chocolate cheeks
of the boy on the banana bike
waiting to cross
i’m waiting to cross out old accounts
and learn a new math
with no numbers
no memory
i’m waiting to cross
from this sweatbox of porous walls
to the other side
where there’s a clear view
of the strand of beech trees leaning to the north
but first i want to baptize
myself in the river
to pick up stones with my toes
to go the distance
(whatever that might be)
i want to lie on the beach of clouds
in the black sky
and soak in the stars
to shine like my cat’s black fur
after a tongue bath
like the moon glowing
under my nails
i want to shine
across the shadow
my mind projects onto the next day
shine on into that day
into the clouds
into the rain
i want to ride
with no hands
i want to get
to the other side

wendy shaffer

god & rick rizzo

i’m waiting for the holy
ghost to slide in between my fingers
and the gravy
the mashed potatoes
the ketchup
left on someone’s finished plate
slammed into the buspan
i’m waiting for the holy ghost
coming better than water
to wash it all away
baptizing me
and filling me up with god
so that even honey won’t
stick
because last night my customer
said he’d pray for me
but it’s getting late
and the garbage bins are filling
up with dead meat
the waitress’s smile is
dying as she turns
the corner
and my favorite italian
love toy
is switching on off on off
like christmas lights
and taking me up and down
with each toy soldier turn

this is what he means
when my customer says
this world is ruled by satan
and i knew it the minute
i let those black eyes
reach inside me
and switch on my appetite

i told my customer
it doesn’t have to be jesus
all these myths
simplify down to the same
process
but he kept repeating
jesus
jesus
like a child who only knows
one name
one story
i asked why
he wanted to change me
and he said
so i could get into heaven
but i think it’s more like
me
when i see rick rizzo
flirting with someone else
i want to pull his waist up
against my waist
to turn his black eyes
so they’re always looking
at me
that would make me feel better
about myself

wendy shaffer

boys i have known

willis said he could live
with a thousand cats they were black
and white kittens skittering & skooching
across the wooden floors
and there really were a thousand
cockroaches one twin mattress
and a bass
the bass was the most valuable
thing he owned and finally sold
to go out west and follow
some raja moonie with alot
of mercedes benzs
i met him when he was walking
through the jazz bar & restaurant
where i worked he was picking
the food from unfinished plates
left on the tables and eating it my boss
told him to stop or he was going
to have to throw him out
this was a bad time
when i had lots of bad luck
with men & after willis fucked me
on his twin mattress on the floor
surrounded by cockroaches & kittens
he walked over to the phone
and called some woman
named ruby

wendy shaffer

the job of the poet

the man on tv
says it’s the job of the poet
to know the spirit
that even though the eternal is available
to everybody
some people might not get around to it
because of economic necessity
well, some poets
have economic necessities too
like me
five days late with the rent
and it’s an economic necessity
that forces me
to stand at a table
in front of a bug-eyed man
who doesn’t want his lettuce
touching the bun
and write all that shit down
there is nothing eternal
in that experience
except maybe the guy’s baby
looking up at me with the same
bug-eyed worry
the thought of generations
of bug eyes
concerned that their buns
don’t get wet
something eternal there
something that makes me smile
as i walk into the kitchen
with his order
fulfilling his and my
necessity
at one time

wendy shaffer

new year’s day 2006

IRISH CAR BOMB, 2006

the new year wails in
on banshee muddied paws
another case of neglect
another case of a broken heart
another case of one too many beers
and a party that refuses to quit
there goes the president
with his groovy smirk
while 12 car bombs celebrate
religious diversity in baghdad

oh god it’s good to be alive
even when the skies are puking blood
and the neighbors’ romance
has escalated into a street fight —
i’ve got all these friends with fur
who don’t speak a lick of english,
but it translates to me
as love love looove

okay now
pull yourself a pint of guinness
lace the top with bailey’s
drop in a shot glass of jameson’s
and drink it down
before it curdles

wendy shaffer

duck sandwich

white face, green leaves
white face, green leaves
lake erie pink
lake erie pink
windowlick
window lick