A Discarded Cigarette

Yes she said,
to my offer of a drink
as if a shallow tribute
Or token was needed
for my eyes to wander
over her sculpted form
long orange red hair
And look into sparkling
green eyes oceans
would envy, on the way to
cresting upon sand.

What about my friend?
said those thin inviting lips
with a pink lipstick she
left on countless cigarettes
chain smoked outside.
Daring the sun to match her beauty
draped in a long vermilion colored
cotton dress.

I’d been writing notes
on Diving Into The Wreck
where a few poems
eluded me but Adrienne Rich’s fine
lines still hooked and gutted me
a bloodless finishing school.
My orange red-haired angel said
never heard of her.

Her perfume enchanted me
as did her nonchalance
using breath spray after each
cigarette. When she
forgot her purse I brought it
outside to her,
noticing a pack
worth of cigarette butts
colored pink under her heels.

Our game reached six
with each of her studied
slow star turns of head &
arched eyebrows asking
another drink? We connected
on Japanese films and au-
currant Japanese restaurants.

My offer of taking her to
one was left hanging in the air
like a balloon with no master.
Similarly, an eight-line poem
I wrote to her was looked at
then suavely put in
purse without comment.

We were drunk, her friend too,
who ran out to get a cab
while my drinking partner smiled
a goodbye, left, stopped, returned,
took my face in her hands
for a long hard kiss with a brandy
soaked tongue defiling any
last trace of sobriety I had.

The bartender, watching,
said, every man here is
now jealous of you.
I said well…

When I left, I saw what
remained of her cigarettes,
picked one of them up
with its touches of pink,
to help me to remember
because sometimes
as little as that
is all you get
of what you desire
to hold onto forever.

For Masha Bruskina

Her grim face in
black and white
faded photo paper
looms like any
permanent memory
circumstance dictates
with its unforgiving
favor weighing fate
evil or providence.

A Soviet Jew
a member of the
resistance tortured
and beaten by the Nazis
yet still she refused to name
other resistance members
Well, at least I won’t starve
she said when told
she’d be hung.

In the photo
she is being paraded
through the streets
with a large placard
by Nazi occupiers.
Just 17 years old when
placed on a stool
kicked away, her body left
hanging for three days.

A plaque there honors her
identified for decades
as the unknown girl.
Killed by evil incarnate
that in all its disparate forms
continues to kick away stools
trying still to frighten away
the good in us all.

Claret Aphrodisiac

We kiss
to advance the plot
while it’s

Red neon outside
shades everything scarlet
like tinted glass.

Where I can see
I’m far more

Self defense
escapes me
when your

beg as teeth
bite bruise deep
wounds breaking skin.
Tongue lingers lovingly
over their bounty
of few faint drops of

when you drown
all caution.

To sate
a thirst
if I allow it.

I do for awhile
then pull you away
entering you twice,
until i’m spent.

Her mouth open blood on
her teeth, Wow, she says
usually my first dates suck.

For Natalie

Find me in dreams
you left out of the gutter
when you wondered lost
through endless machinery
of escape and remorse
past my arms outstretched
in nearly formed perfect
platonic apparitions
you walked past
vanishing to the night
accompanied only by
a trail of
laughter with nothing
left but
a film trailer
on giant invisible reels
I since keep rewinding
most nights
in my head…
till it like everything else
disintegrates only to return
when called upon
the ever stunted indifference
of the world.