hot dish seeks new church picnic

Hunger is cold, but appetite is hot—
she got hot and had to hide it.

(Here’s the church…)

So she made a wall to get behind,
but now she’s up against it;

(here’s the steeple…)

well, she made her bed,
and now she has to lie

(open the door…)

about it.

(…and see all the people.)


plain jane unchained

Indiana, 1975-1977

she gets birthday cake-in-the-rain
for her sweet-sixteen
totally-no-surprise party—
mom shreds the house
and ditches the clean-up.
dad gets her
and a job
in a shitty little town
three weeks too late for
junior year.
                . . .

new school, new girl—
plain jane, but god,
she’s one of those
but she don’t go to that party.
not-her-fault-faulty conclusions
soon drawn in permanent ink,
and after a while she’s
dead girl walking
home alone.
                . . .

girls go bitch, boys won’t quit
beating a path to her closed door,
but whatever—
she’s down with solitude
and up for catfights;
the coin of this realm has two sides,
pay and payback;
hundred-percent chance of both
on every flip –
call it.
                . . .

slutrumor has it she’s on her knees
scrubbing the whore floor—
panty-panting bad boys
got her going down now
at a theater very near you—
weekly installments,
serial shame,
totally hammer-down—
she fucks everybody
knows it.
                . . .

in real life it’s one-body,
and nobody knows it;
eX-mas break
mistltoe-magic throwdown;
took that curve
on a green light,
good roads,
good brakes,
no tickets—

no points on her license
to steal that one
very good boy,
the after-school mechanic
keeping it all tuned up.
she’s got that tune stuck in her head,
and now it’s June, ass-end
of a long-ass year
and about damn time—
she’s calling it.
                . . .

her house backyard
hot after midnight,
jasmine, no porch light
no moon nobody but them,
her sliding down
with a slow hand,
her other hand hard
on the back of his head—

“don’t punk out on me, boy”

couldn’t walk away if he tried
his heart’s beating so hard
he can’t see a thing
if it’s not in her eyes
can’t freakin’ believe
she’s into him—
plain jane?
god—she looks like
god’s given angel
to him.
                . . .

hit the bull’s eye, get
the biggest prize on the midway—
now it’s the summer
of the one and only.

dusty drive-in movies, the river,
beer-buzz Fourth of July;

climb the water tower
at two a.m.,
and you can see
a long, long way.
                . . .

then school’s in again,
but she can breathe now;
he’s got her back,
and everybody backs off.
feeling foxy in boots, bell bottoms, beanie
and his beat-to-shit
leather jacket
that smells like motor oil,
and his mom’s kitchen,
and him;

but summer
of the one and only
is only ever one summer;
come fall come winter
come icy conditions—
slow-rolling fatal
future-dream collision.

but she’ll wear his jacket for a long time,
and he’ll always have her back.
                . . .

March freezes, April rains,
and May blooms;
it always does.

come June
and school’s out again
for good; for her,
in this town
got the tassel,
got the ticket out.

no birthday cake-in-the-rain this year—
she’s getting her wish.
eighteen candles,
total blowout.
can’t tell you the wish
or it won’t come true;
follow her and find out
if you want, but you better
move fast—

she’s climbing in
on the driver’s side
of a ‘71 Buick Skylark—crank it,
run it up to the redline,
and throw it in gear—
check the rear-view,
check the side-view—

objects may be closer
than they appear,

but not for long.

peer pressure, circa 1977

(party—I’m sixteen, she’s nineteen,
she’s cute, and she’s smoking…)

it’s dirty, and refreshing.
puts me in the out-group
you’d love to be in.
cigarettes out, and you’re in like sin.
it’s social grease you’ll never have,
attitude you’ll never throw,
silent slang that you know,
but only we can speak;

and mine is making you think,
“sexy!…does she, or doesn’t she?”

I get the cred for code red,
call the vice squad,
but smoking is the only vice
I really have to practice to keep you guessing.
and refreshing.
cigarette break—casual.

so eat your heart out.
you and I can’t dance.
but…I’ll give you a chance—

here I am, dirty, and fresh—
we might mesh…
if do the dirty thing with me.