Friday, November 7, 2008

Metal Strings

Metal Strings

rosin dusts the wood beneath the bridge
bookended by F holes and crowned with
a quartet of strings

pegs burrow beneath the scroll
stretching taut the catgut core,
the winding sheath of nickel, aluminum, or silver

chin rest clamps to rib, sprouting tailpiece
tuner and beneath the shoulder rest
crossroad of musician-and-instrument

the sweet swell of sound, discharged
by horsehair bow, strung from tip to
frog, held tight by tension screw

fingers lashed by metal strings
calloused while extracting staccato
bariolage legato jete

harmonic notes coaxed out and
cajoled by tips of hands, trilling
sweetly to an undertone of slur

the buzzing whir of rattling fine
tuners, one prolonged largo played
arco than shattered into plunks of

pizzicato pianissimo. The allegro
has ended, ritard—the—decrescendo—until

the E string splits

Jungle Juice

Carpet patterned with oriental swirls and dips
dancing idly with small and clumsy feet
“Gracefully dear” I hear my mother chide

Now I struggle with the same demons
clawing at my back, whispering criticisms in my ears

The clock would strike ten and she would look over disdainfully
six-foot-tall glamazon with pencils for legs and Gucci handbags,
poison dripping from her lips as she commented
“Isn’t it disgusting how girls indulge themselves at night

and I would nod, mouth full of sticky sweet chocolate crumbs
a child caught with her mother’s lipstick smeared across her face

With new shoes that blister my feet when I walk
I slink across campus,
always striving for dainty, but feeling
like I have more in common

with a small herd of pachyderms
than the lovely grazing gazelles before me


Rough denim chafes a chill,
hopping from each vertebrate to the
next like a child skipping stones

Shakes and shivers encased in white
silk shawls, the fringe tickling out a
sneeze and finally a shudder

Throat blast apart by sandpaper spit, each
swallow a reminder of
sweat soaked sports bras and gym socks

I dance to the tinkling chime of silver spoons holding hands with sun tea
The ice cubes clanking out a rhythm of slamming doors

Where your fingerprints have left
branded sooty evidence of the criminal-kind
And my feet burn rash-red, swollen and heavy, clad in iron shoes

But this is my midnight ball
So move to the shrieks of young-women
Scorned by the eye-picking jackdraws before them

Collect obsidian feathers from a burlap
Ground before you’re bloated
Where second-hand kid gloves and pearls provide
Shelter from hungover headaches,
And the chills run steady like trains on a schedule

Chocolate Milkshake

Chocolate Milkshake

Sweating metal canister,
beading liquid drops that
meld with the water from my hands,
your eyes, that … oh you spilled a little there

Fluid food the flow sublime,
sucking lumpy first kisses
where I leaned and you
learned. Only to — well,
maybe a little less tongue?

Half- full, rock salt canister of
hand -holding—dribbles that
cranked out urgency. So
that is the sex they talk about

Brain freeze, eyes freeze, heart froze
over with your eyes on her
hair, (why are you holding her
in all those pictures?)

Chunks of you promised and
how can I trust you, swirl
the flavors of copper and chocolate—
Choke on the slide

Last drop, your turn, my taste
I always loved the way you chewed
your straw
but hated how you slurped.