the second coming

when jesus comes again
she’ll come with gonads
and breasts

she’ll have a tail
in the middle of her back
and will never remove
her shirt in the company
of human beings

her skin will be rich
deep luminous chocolate
that her earth father will love
too strongly
that her earth mother
will spurn

when jesus comes again
she’ll be a bus driver

the chosen people will pull themselves up
onto her bus with chafed palms
and aching feet,
their hamburger weight jiggling to work
beside small round-faced girls with beaded braids
swinging their legs and pressing
their noses against shiny poles

when jesus comes again
she’ll drive to atlantic city
and walk along the night beach in lingerie
no one will see

jesus will know the love
of the dolphins and the city rats
she’ll talk to the pigeons
and bless their struttings
with day old bread
she’ll pray to the saints of masturbation
and she will never desire
to duplicate herself

when the trumpets come
blaring their wide mouths from the clouds
jesus will sigh and step
out of her flesh
the way a beautiful woman lets
a robe fall from her shoulders
as she steps up to the jacuzzi

jesus was not meant for this world
of dolts and assholes
and she never will be

wendy shaffer

xmas, 2002

latin tyrant sleeps in his christmas recliner
where the baddayatwork no longer punishes
his brood multiplied on the wrapping paper floor
gabriella’s ancient elfin spirit smiles
mischief from green pez lips
she dances as her mother sings
she dances to the chiming clock
oldsoul laughing in her queensized childbody
dancing sparkling red shoes,
the women in the room chant
there’s no place like home
there’s no place like home

every pagan blizzard of toys
it’s the grand mother whose warmth opens
the room into love where adolescent cousins
practice care on babies growing into white shirt & ties
the awkward plaid school pretending mommy evolves
plump with the promise of lipstick sex
the promise of more babies
more barbie doll holidays
spawned from old tyrant seed
engendered in the flesh welcoming
ubiquitous warmth
of the traditional powerless woman
her only strength is love
her only strength is love
it heats up this christmas
as midnight mass bells ring hell’s flaking squall into town

wendy shaffer

i see your hand on the counter

i see your hand on the counter
beside me and i know i can’t touch
your hand i only allow my eyes
to linger moments on your fingers, soft
and white, the shape
of my thwarted longing

i look into your eyes
the irises rimmed in black
i sink into the amber
where i don’t want to be
losing myself
and then i talk

i don’t want to want you
if you don’t want me

i don’t want to listen for your
yes like a flat white stone
dropping into the silence
i don’t want to luxuriate
in the ripples around your simple
yes for me yes affirming everything that is
or lean back into the nothing
as it all slides by i don’t
want

and then the phone rings
it’s your voice
your voice with no presumption
or expectation i can’t
say no
just follow
the places your voice leads
i don’t know what
this is i don’t call
it love

wendy shaffer

fireflies

we sat on a bench in the night
behind regulation lit condos
the glimmer of lake past trees
the rigged random lights
of civilization packaged & planted
in simple repetitive
symmetry

this was as close
as i could be
to ecstasy —
where you refused
to make friends
with the trees,
knowing you’d eventually leave them.
this ecstasy
where the fireflies
surprised you
with the tiny flickering
lights that are summer
in ohio

once, in akron,
on a small square of grass
downtown
a romance of fireflies
lit my young poet love and me
under the balmy moon

but i was an asshole
and refused to love
each flickering part of him
the way i couldn’t help
loving you

you were telling me
what the trees would whisper,
the secrets they told you —
to me,
they only explained
the rhythm of life
and now that you’re gone
they won’t even do that.

now that you’re gone,
i’ve made friends with the air conditioner,
my car,
and some mystery novels.
i get my rhythm from the clocks —
one of them fast
and one of them slow.
somewhere in between
is real time.
real time is the place where we loved —
short & incandescent
as the life of a firefly.

wendy shaffer

when i lived in southern florida

my boyfriend put a used car lot up
his nose. he had fifty thousand dollars left.
he bought five thousand dollars of cocaine,
as an investment. we snorted so much
that when he told me the streetlight was
a helicopter snooping in our
living room, i believed him. he decided
to let his friend up north distribute
the product. driving up 90 he thought
all the cars were transporting cocaine
because they were all driving the speed limit.
cocaine is my least favorite drug.

wendy shaffer

golf

it could be paradise
it looks like man’s pruned paradise
the way the sun shines on the happy
coexistence of squirrels & birds
too fat to fly
except for that periodic thwacking
of steel on ball the man
filling with power & accomplishment
as the small inanimate globe
briefly flies
and drops

wendy shaffer

king of the jungle

my dog chomps down on chicken bones
with his long sharp teeth
pulverizing skeleton into meal —
his ancestry unleashed in my mind —
i know he is born to bite
down on whole chickens feathered
in his great jaws —
but he serves me,
human,
just a cow with an evil brain —
these silly little bicuspids
couldn’t even rip open a rabbit,
but the evil that is
my brain
could grow whole colonies of blind chickens
to fry up
for the dollar

wendy shaffer

catfood

dead animal in the sink
dead animal in cans
girl kitty trills sex need eats
brown potted grass runs
through rooms crying sex
rolling herself across the carpet
licking her butt while the other two
desexed, chopped off at the claw
sit back, watch, ears perked —
what master
plan that cries for more babies
four footing, soft, mewling
ground up in a can

wendy shaffer

there’s the thought

there’s the thought
it’s the best part
of my day sitting
here with Charlotte
reading smoking drinking
coffee if only this
were a novel a
small piece of a longer
bit of prose Hemingway
did it in the sun also
rises little bits of
information about drinking
fishing fucking it went
on forever a whole
book but this is
a poem just a
short little thought go
ahead add it to
the thousands of
other little thoughts
to come

Russell Vidrick

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Europe

The volcano, the Euro falls, the burqa laws, someone is stealing Picassos.
I don’t care. I don’t care about Europe.
It’s nothing
but dead philosophers & museums & French Presidents
throwing fits & the slow burn of German Prime Ministers.
Europe is not a happy place. Europe is a nervous place.
Fassbinder is dead & Gerard Depardieu has lost his looks.
British tourists have taken over leaving vomit all over the continent
& hammered girls from Leeds off on bachelorette holiday
give blow jobs to embarrassed waiters in Portugal
Europe is off her game Europe
has no where to turn because
her philosophers are still dead
& her music is bad techno
The smoke of holy war rising it’s not profound or dramatic, even if it’s memory mixing with desire even if it’s dead Europe where the gypsies have wi-fi , leaving left-over clairvoyance to the lonely-soul amateurs in Ohio who sell incense & yoga at 30 US Dollars per hour another ten will get you a happy ending but that only lasts a second.
Instead, the smoke of holy war it’s grisly like severed bloody pigs heads nailed to the doors of Amsterdam mosques
following the murder of
Theo Van Gogh, her last dead philosopher.
Her ghettos are festering with Muslims she doesn’t want now that her factories are closed
Europe is unhappy & she makes everyone nervous.
What makes you happy? You make me happy he says.
The answer makes me sad
the answer is rote.
Tell me something
I don’t know there’s a secret I don’t know
there’s a secret I don’t know
there is a secret that I don’t know.
if my camera doesn’t see it
then I will never know
& film is so expensive & it’s the only way I go.
Forget Europe. Forget Europe.
I’m gonna go to Oklahoma
I’m gonna stand in the middle of the prairie with a baseball bat & a long-neck
& hit hail to crack it
into a thousand shards of ice
all the secrets will spill out I’m gonna save the horses I’m gonna save the singers and the story-tellers and the snuff dippers and John Stink, he was an Osage, the town drunk in Pawhuska who laid himself down by a pile of rocks outside of town and died & he became alive again & he walked back into town and scared the bejesus out of everyone, sometime before World War 2
but they took it in stride, being used to John the Baptist & Lazurus & said here John Stink have another drink
& he said no, because out by the rocks I got to the middle of the secret.
John Stink was a real man because my grandma told me & my uncle wrote a novel about it but it never went anywhere him being a West-Point drop-out & a failed novelist & having to be a lawyer instead but when I crack that hell storm ice all his books will tumble out and run away as best sellers and the secrets will come alive.

Charlotte Mann