Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Affairs

I.
I spent a week with Pride in Paris.
The first three days were full and fast;
he flattered me and made a great impression.
The Tower rose over us, magnificent
even out of sight.
On Wednesday I began to notice

the way he covered my eyes a little roughly
(a few times too often to laugh at)
when the spring sun quit his brassy roar
and the starlight sang sweetly
of sudden death—for to them, they’d say,
all things are sudden, none strange—

the way his sinews tightened against bone
in recoil when I sneezed or made a stink,

the way his loud laughs shortened
into sharp hard stones
when, across the restaurant, or at the other end
of the cafe some man or woman would burst
and begin to sob, as people eating
with their lovers tend to do.

On Saturday he drove me to a field
on a winding road, and all was forgiven.

But on Sunday we walked by church bells ringing.
His face flashed, downright stormy, and he told me
with smoke in his eyes I must love him
forever, him only, so I ran in to the chapel doors and left him
steaming and spurning to follow.




II.
To Silver Diner with a friend in her red
two-door and who should I see but Lust!
We dated in high school, and I admit
I’ve thought since then of his dark hair
and impossible golden eyes.
He flashed at me and we were off.

I remember warm sticky fingers,
tongues in ears, a red light flashing
quiet, and small, and piercing, and fingernails
against hipbone and the feeling
of drowning and him licking his lips.




III.
It was a beautiful day in the city—oh silver
city! the moon’s got nothin on you, babe.

He was charming and charmed me: pale calf
leather shoes, dark jeans, a twisted-up
double-meaning grin, young for his age
and thin, of course—almost too thin,
too much bone to the touch of my hand on his hip.
He squeezed my shoulder in the light, the fluorescent
frenzy of sunset in Times Square, ushered me
into shop after surging shop: shoe-shop, dress-shop,
hat-shop, chocolate-shop, bag-shop, west-shop,
east-shop, street-shop, binge-shop, lock-shop,
trust-shop, chess-shop, box-shop, bread-shop,
money-shop, mouse-shop, mop-shop, shop-
shop, water-shop. But Greed, I started to com-
plain, I hate rodents, I’m allergic to wheat, but he
assured me, Don’t worry, and we flew on
through the green gold amber olive flashing
white and periwinkle elbows straps and eyes
and silver hangers, gold
teeth and I said Let’s go to the sea—twisted
smile—or the lake—he pulled me harder—I’d be happy
with the pool
—and he was muttering, oily rainbows
between up-down up-down wide-side
pale calf leather on the pale gray street and I lost him
freely in the fog.



IV.
It was going great with Jealousy until
(everyone watching us with green eyes;
he had the courage to kiss me in public)
he started to ask—but sweetly, from beneath
ebony eyelashes and olive skin—What do you think
about your friends; I replied What kind
of question is that and he said Do you have any friends
and because I could not understand
my own hesitation I said I have them, yes
and he said Like who, who is your friend
so I said I don’t know, like Jeanne I guess—
you met Jeanne, remember and he said Oh yes,
she was wearing a red dress. Tell me
about the others, what do they look like
and I said What do you mean
look like, and held in you bastard, still unsure
of the relevance of all of this and he said to me
I would like to know the color of their eyes
and kissed me. We were in the park, under
a blue cloudless sky, and I swear even the birds
landed to tilt their heads and cluck about us,
sensing heat, wondering Would she pull away and whether
they could revel in the ripping
asunder of these most beautiful people since Adam
and Eve, but instead I smiled sweetly,
went home without a word and called up Jeanne,
asked her to burn her red dress or else to dump me,
and never, ever again looked for those emerald eyes.