Screaming for Ice Cream

Now you want me
to care that you love me,
gobble your sentiment like ice cream
from your dusty, cracked bowl.

Last time, you devoured
the entire carton, while I watched.
I placed a mouthful into the crevice
where your indifferent tongue had been
a few minutes beforehand,
scooped the sweetness
with one of your spoons,
licked until it melted away.

You told me yesterday,
“I will eat almost anything”
and you weren’t kidding.
You can’t afford to discriminate.
The ice cream truck only comes
to your neighborhood occasionally.
Mine is parked permanently
in the gravel in front of my house.
I no longer make deliveries.

Six months of starvation.
Six months of waking up with
your face like a poster above my bed.
Six months haunting my phone and inbox
like a stalker in a familiar neighborhood.
Six months of your voice in
my brain, telegraphing your whims,
yet you stubbornly remained silent.
You told me you never stopped
talking to me inside your head.
You never quit wanting that ice cream.

Now, your real voice insists
you’re just like Miles Davis.
He could stand in his socks
at his kitchen telephone
and tell a woman he loved her
from two thousand miles away,
then return to his bed, where
two other women were waiting.
Some men never know when
to put that carton away, but honey
you ain’t no Miles Davis.
Better settle for discount dessert,
the cheap hometown variety.
It’s on sale at your supermarket,
two for the price of one, open
all weekend until midnight.
Hurry and grab it before it’s gone.

Walk Like a Jain

The Jains are so holy
they won’t even kill bugs.
Instead, they sweep the ground
with leaves to clear insects
from their path, before wandering
across the pavement on the
softest of feet. I walk heavily
with my large shoes, forget that
anything lies underneath.
Top-heavy with ego, I
smash tiny beings endlessly
without caring enough
to alter my behavior.

Is it any wonder the world is filled
With strife? If I were a Jain,
I’d lie awake in anguish
if I accidentally crushed a beetle
while crossing the street. Instead,
I devour shrimp and eggs, but
abstain from anything farmed
in a factory. Every day, dozens of
living things die underfoot
as I rush to my car with
my reusable canvas bag.

It is permissible to murder
some things, but not others.
We just need to remember
which is which. The Jains know
death is the same to an insect
or a human. My survival depends
on the unwilling sacrifice
of other life forms. Each morning
I try to lower my soles
like a Jain but forget by lunchtime.
One day, a larger foot
will meet the top of my head
it will be my turn to be the insect.

Neptune Opposite Moon

My words are supposed
   to take on a higher meaning
                  but they don’t seem any more

                               elevated than usual, which
         means not at all. The cosmos
                           intended for me to have the liberty
           of self-reflection now,

         assumed I would prepare for it
                like an adult. I no longer have youth
                     as an excuse. This is obvious.

It isn’t colorful to fuck up
              repeatedly in your 50s. Someone

      else is not responsible. I
                        have eyes, and a pair of hands,
       the ability to open and

              close them at will. It is my job
     to know when. I splinter instead,
                    lapse into the second person,
          assume my problems are yours.

It won’t get easier as I
             move forward, clutching when

I need to let go the most,
                     releasing when I should hold.

My words are barely enough
              to keep me afloat. I trusted
                              others’ instead, over and over,

until finally the boat was empty
                                   and bottomless, like me,

          its small oars mired in seaweed.