Ilsa Seeks Rick

Words from the Woman in the Red Dress

Embalmed Blooms for the Blissfully Unemployed, 2 a.m.

Up late still unslept and unkempt- 
 Feet unswept up off my filth woven carpet,
 I am balanced here, tiptoed. Ankle twisted.
 Pretending to breathe. 
 Some reek of stained oxygen through diseased window screen. 
 The permanent burn of an abandoned iron sits dead in the center of the room. 
 It was there when I moved in here. 
 It will be there when I leave.

I am all my unpacked boxes of useless things.
I used to be better at compartmentalizing.
I keep taking you out to look at you, hold you up against the light.
I like the shine of you, The tarnish on your silver.
I like putting my hands on you.

I’m reading articles that prove that I listened when you called me this afternoon.
That I paid attention.
It was still Thursday then and I still haven’t slept but it is no longer Thursday.
So, yesterday afternoon really.
But who knows what a day means anymore, anyway?

I’m blissfully unemployed.
I am permanent Sunday morning
I am matinee films and orange juice
I am the entryway to my Great Aunt Francine’s apartment 
Where the hall table always has an arrangement of fresh flowers. 
I am those too, the embalmed blooms. 

More than you know.
It’s stuck in my mind like the moan of a love 
letter half written, never sent. 
Lately you’ve been on my… and so on. 
Words are best stolen after 2 a.m. 
Which is to say my words after 2 a.m. are worthless 
and my judgment long gone, 
So why not steal some? 
“Never ask permission only beg forgiveness”
As you say so often. 
You stole my affection and you ask me to forgive you everyday. 
You had my permission to take it, always. 

I’d be happy to have my essential organs notarized on your behalf.
Or perhaps just engraved,
If lost please return to: you know. 
And so on. And such.

Will have to look into the costs, 
If my insurance will cover it or not. 
And so on. And such.

Fuffled(edited)

I’m all in a fuffle

Eyelashes all stumble, exhausted

Passed out on flushed skin

Words all mumble, 

all glad I caught you I’m in love with you what? Never mind

My meaning’s been hiding under the tip of some neighborhood tongue.

Hanging out on the store front

Vernacular.

Chewing up langues de chat

Cigarette smoke and unsalted butter


I’m not mad at you

Got no reason But I ought to.

It’s probably on the tip of my tongue, too.

All twisted up from missing you

And nothing tastes the same these days.

Gone all crimson, metallic

Left all my modifiers misplaced, you did recklessly.


I blame the water

The rust of the pipes

Where the iron prayed for oxygen

Turned the faucet drip to wine

                                to whiskey

It ages in the barrel of a man’s body.

 

The hymns that the radiator sings all night keep me awake

Breaks against plaster when it’s complaint heats to argument

The tin echo of domestic dispute in a rented apartment

The war between the wear of winter and the drywall

The story of a lover that crumbled.

It’s been cold here.

     Raining all the time.

I’ve got nothing but raindrops to tell you.

And that the skin of my elbows is cracked,

Revealed all of my bricks.

And that I miss you.

 

Can I just come home now?

Quit meddling with my sheep. 

You adorable something or other,

you keep me 

losing 

count. 

sail shot long

She taught me
How to swallow pills
Without water
Even the ones that you find it the bottom of your handbag,
Next to mysterious crumbs and
Shell casings of sugarless gum

Even those ones.

Or the ones that hide in that compartment in the Camry,
The one that clicked open suddenly.
It was meant to be an ashtray..
Those ones, too.

Things the coffee cup taught me

I don’t believe in God but I believe in fate,
In scrawling out excuses for our mistakes.
For the wrong turns that the lungs make
And the thing I should not say.
For fear they prove true
I sat down with my coffee and considered loving you.
I drank two and a half cups trying not to.

I spilled the last,
It sprawled across the kitchen table
Muddied the headlines with stains of my regrets

I let it pour off the sides and onto the carpet.

I don’t know.
Who am I to talk?
Or not talk, really.
Or talk incessantly, though never say the thing I mean to.
I am one worth not talking to.
You see,
I’ve been thinking about you.
Never mind

On editing.

I stayed up too late. I killed so many darlings. They just kept coming. Like zombie darlings.You cut the head off one sentence and it grows three ah-ha moments in its stead.
Then all of a sudden it’s four a.m. in the apocalypse- every word for itself. All the structure has been burnt to the ground and somewhere amongst the rubble and the fragments and scattered punctuation the bartender is still shouting,
“Last call!”
Like he doesn’t know he is the next to die.

Next Year Just Send Her Flowers(Take 2)

6: 30, Valentine’s day.
There is neon pink vomit
On the floor of the L train.

You’ve been writing poems on the subway
Passing love-notes to the city.
Check yes
Check no
Check maybe
You lose them in your apartment entryway
When you fumble for your keys.

Last night, did you see?
The Empire State Building
It had a heartbeat.
Lit in great red lights they
flickered,
they pulsed
The evening had its cheeks flushed.

Did you know?
That When the city gossips
It creates the sound of footsteps.
It melts the snow off the cement.
The buildings lean down to the street lamps
and whisper
“Have you seen her?
I guess the rumors were true.
Red is a rather good excuse to break rules.”

I can only assume that the moon is out where you are,
That you are fast asleep, ignoring her.
That she is in on the scheme, along with the sidewalks and the subway cars,
The trees dressed in February woes.
Complaints against the cold.
I only hope that she left you chocolates.
I only hope that you are dreaming of such sweet nonsense.

IMG_2789-0

Next year, send her flowers

6:30, Valentine’s day.
Neon pink vomit
On the floor of the L train.

I sat down with my coffee and considered loving you.

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