A Young Woman Contemplates Jumping

I intend to fall
but I must not.
I’m on a ledge
of a bridge
looking down
at the water
but am I really
at the edge
of my life
staring down
into oblivion?
The last thing
I want is for
a complete stranger
to arrive at the
very last moment,
pull me back,
save me.
But people
that know me
figure there’s
nothing they can do.
A complete stranger
could do something
without knowing
that’s he’s doing it.

Welcome to the Future

So this is tomorrow,
this is space.
Cluttered, over-developed,
a bunch of round dumpsters
orbiting a gas burner.

A prison ship hovers above Aeolian.
No room to put these
thieves and cutthroats.
The planet’s jails
are already overcrowded.

Same with nuclear barges,
the offal trailers,
the muck trucks.
Every place is polluted already.
A trader in masks
would be welcome.
But they can’t make
it out of the third quadrant
without being hijacked.

My own home town
is nothing but sun-blocking high-rises,
streets of sewage,
air that smells like the underarms
of a three-headed dog.

The water’s undrinkable.
The food is shriveled and nasty
to the taste.
Thankfully, the alcohol is cheap and plentiful.
Yes, more than enough to go around
the entire universe.
And an infinity of thirst.

Everyone’s like me,
stumbling through life
stoned as a rocket in a meteor shower.
The lungs, the guts, suffer
but the brains have it good.

They never have to know
what they were thinking.

Snow White Redux

I have always been too trusting, that’s my problem.
Sure, I always figured my stepmother for a witch
but I never took her for a real one.
Then there was the situation with the huntsman.

I didn’t imagine that being alone
with a man in a forest could be the least bit dangerous.
Then I hung out with seven little men,
took the gift of a comb from a stranger—

an act that almost saw me killed I might add—
and put all my faith in a decrepit-looking old lady
who came to my door bearing an apple.
She bit into the white side, I the red.

This is where I hit myself hard on the forehead
and say whatever is fairytale for “duh.”
And “The poison was only in the bit she offered me, stupid.”
At least, that’s what I would have said

if I hadn’t fainted, dropped onto the floor
and slipped immediately into a coma.
And, as for guys, same thing.
Some prince kisses me, I awaken,

and I agree to marry him on the spot
despite not knowing a thing about him,
or his family background or anything.
It doesn’t occur to me until later

that I might not be the only death-like female
he’s ever locked lips with.
But that’s me. I go with the fairytale flow.
Royalty asks for your hand

you don’t tell him I find the boy
a little too much on the effete side
and I much prefer that hunk of a blacksmith.
Now my stepmother’s dead—

the diagnosis was burning feet
and overdoing it while dancing—
and I have inherited the magic looking glass.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall,” I say.

“Who’s the most naive and credulous of all?”
“Why you are, Snow White,” it replies.
Once again, I fall for blatant untruths.
I mean, how can he ignore all the readers of my story?