Monthly Archives: February 2006

options

two bundles of twitching under blankets
under bridge     cops
hassle
he’s up
waving his arms
talking
to no one    pigeons endlessly
shitting from the rafters
we drive by
we drive by
enduring time
time clock paying out
our lives

last night at ten pm
the video cameras caught
two guys smashing
a panel and driving
off with a service truck

these are some options
when you don’t have a big defense
contract, any recent tax breaks
when you’re not out stealing
some brown peoples’ oil.

wendy shaffer

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sleepless

all night my world flickers
like a bad electrical circuit
     some part of me
        raw and exposed

failure to connect
failure to detach

your voice can be soft
        as my thighs
or hollow and hard
      as a cheap plywood door

now it’s dawn
and the birds are screaming
           murder

getting close

you left the door unlocked
in my sleep
now i’m afraid
anyone can get in
i’m standing
with both arms wrapped around me
and still the dreams are leaking out
you come and go
using what’s mine
and i don’t know why
that feels like mice
gnawing at my placenta
pirates
stealing wood from my hull
i don’t know why
i’m so afraid of drowning

wendy shaffer

the competition

he tells me
two of his girlfriends
are competing
they both think they’re going
to marry him
but they cancel each other out
i think of marraige
with him
sometimes a lump
under a blanket
sometimes a guilty lump
behind the wheel
sometimes a little boy
cute
with a smile that knows it
sometimes coming at you
and attaching his need
to your lips
your neck
your breasts
never letting go
until dawn walks by like a woman
he thinks he can drown inside
sometimes telling you
how to dress
wear make-up
how to drink your water
and drive
why would any woman choose a lifetime
of this?
they must not
love themselves
but when he tells me
two of his old girlfriends
are competing
i get excited
i think
i’m going to win
the competition

wendy shaffer

haircut

i changed my hair
but i didn’t become
one of the women in the beauty shop
with their manicures
and their make-up
and their way of pampered posing
in close-fitting black
with wide belts
i walked out of there
in my hiking boots and glasses
with the same severe
jaw
it looks like
i can’t be
someone else
and even though the heavy
weight of that hair
is gone
i don’t feel any lighter

wendy shaffer

kittens

they’re uncomfortable
when i call myself a pussy
they shift in their seats
and avoid each others’ eyes

i like pussies
soft and purring
rubbing their headbones under your chin
and falling asleep there

but when i call myself a pussy
it’s a darker place
in the history of my love
and i’m proud to have been there
hidden and wet
sucking all that straight day vitality
out the spine of a man’s life
like a child sucking up
a chocolate shake
through a straw
her smile and the noise she makes
her straw still sucking at the empty glass

what else but pussy
pulls a man out of himself
all his electricity
drowning in my darkness
he becomes suddenly heavy
he may fall asleep
he may light a cigarette
he may suddenly act like a stranger
he may be ashamed
to have let himself go

you can’t make me ashamed
of my darkness
of my wet fertile ground
of my pleasure
that knows
no names

wendy shaffer

love talk

he said
if we’re going to the party
let’s go now
i’m getting tired

i said
you want to do
what we didn’t do
last new year’s eve?

he said
i’m not interested in sex anymore
you’re always sick or tired
or you smell like garlic
i’ve given up

i said
i guess i’ll go to sleep then

he said
i’ll just get a nineteen year old
to suck my dick

i said
it’s lucky you wash it now
when i used to go down there
it made me feel
like puking

he said
when you say things like that
it doesn’t really make me want
to have sex

then he took a shower
we had sex

today we signed the papers
for a house
we’re buying together

we should move in
in march

wendy shaffer

true love

the first time we slept together
we curled away from each other
at the same time
and put our heads between pillows
you looked back over at me
and asked if i always slept like that
as if i were copying you.
we slept like that every night
for three years
curled up and hiding between pillows,
our feet sticking out.
our requirements for sleep
were exactly the same.
in all other things
i followed you
never stating my preference
and gettting more angry
every day
our requirements for living each day
were very different

wendy shaffer

celebration

cork by the sink
porcelain lover at dawn
flush my guts down into the city
until my heart is dry again
and the wasps sing about love
to all the enpty bottles of champagne

wendy shaffer