Shit Happens

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

poem-in-progress

I once slept with a man
because he reminded me
of Ernest Hemingway

without a single literary skill
and a similar reputation
for honesty

down three wives (one
to go) his talent lie in his stories-
untruths I easily ignored

instead, I saw an aging naked man
I watched him fight mortality I saw

the bare spot on his head
he could not cover when we lied
side-bys-side

I saw an ass that flattened
and sagged, worn eyes useless
without glasses and a jar of suspicious blue
liquid next to his bathroom sink

“I’ve been to Africa,” he said
“I’ve seen death this close,” he continued

and as I nodded
in seeming appreciation the way younger
women have been nodding since the beginning
of younger women

I was really thinking
“You can’t fuck your way to youth”
“You can’t lie your way to absolution”

I can’t save you
from yourself

instead, I insisted that he fucked
like a young man and asked innocent questions
like if grey hairs ever grew from his eyelashes
(they didn’t)

I traced my smooth fingertips
long, manicured nail side up
across every scar on his body

and I drowned out their beginnings
with the Dylan albums of his youth

inwardly praising myself
for my own taut skin and future lifetime
of younger men

touching me and dreading
their own middle-age

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