I take a pillow,
and set it, like caulk,
into my side.
I keep dreaming about hair:
braid-length on my ankle,
leprechaun-red on my face,
Wayne's line skipping
like a needle on scratched vinyl—
when men don't shave their faces
at first, turn green, like cash;
my thicket sticks itching so bad
I make fire in my sleep.
My eyes dilate in the last darks
of day's escape from blue
as the digital sparks
the room with cardinals
whose mouths ghost
write my walls with too early, go back,
you still have time and I can't remember what
I have forgotten.
My stiffness echoes into ache at my ear, jarred
from its press in the pillow, from the dream
where you're leaving, my hands like question marks,
palms skyward as if sallied by rain,
and I'm standing there, prostrate,
for a really, long time.
I have a Pentium III
and it's pretty slow
but my mind has a Pentium Pi
that only dreams of slow
during Night's uncalled-for
hours so I can sleep instead of fast-
forward through the story I made up—
the one where you run off
with someone who is thinner
and doesn't do this.
I've heard less electromagnetic
rays beam through your body
if you use a battery-operated…
but its 6 a.m. chirp isn't any less
offensive and still
brings me face to face
with a cracked mirror, puffy eyes,
and all that necessary.
Every morning my eyes face
the same white walls.
Who painted this slap-of-a-bathroom,
with its whites-of-their-eyes-white,
its White Light Walkway-white,
its clean slate-white blinding me,
like saying a word so much
you can't remember what it means
or how to move your tongue.
O train, you are not sad
for you're in motion! and
everyone knows a body
was meant for motion
though we move
through this tunnel these stations
we're not moving at all
which explains these faces.
Outside my office someone slams
the copier; the fax is out of paper;
the mail needs metering—
work is a thundercrack
in the quietest part of summer.
Do I want you more
because I spin pencils
on the slick of my wood grain desk
and can't be in your bed just waking,
coffee, paper, cats in circles?
Start counting now, for it moves
slowly, this sworn-for day,
and be glad for your thermos
which keeps things hot long
enough for you to savor.
Six blocks down Valencia gets me
Modern Times in ten, leaving twenty
to thumb journals for my friends
and twenty to get back on time
with my legs acting like a dodge ball
game and work is the ball.
You cannot sift
the wreck because
what hurt leaves
like a vein,
in a rock.
Push papers with your hands
you don't need them here
in the mind's panning of last night
for a reason to wear this hair shirt:
How can you love me?
Three o'clock pulls
a neck ahead
of my drowsy body. I am
a lump in the office chair,
waiting with a hand on the mouse,
like a hound, alone,
in a small, dark apartment
who curls in a circle
and presses closed his eyes.
I will see you in an hour
and the hazel idea draws me
like a bumble to bougainvillea—
not for purpose, but purple.
Joanne in Thought / Leslie Marcus
What is it that makes time
though it ticks hitchless, same
each day, sun arcing its usual
formations, moon rising
from its orange harvest—
what makes the train
so much longer to your house
than to work?
The sandalwood echo of your hair
swirls around me like the thin
blue smoke off a joss stick, want
commencing its hot tea crawl from my center
moving out while we eat edamame,
spicy tuna, and eel, our knees
touching under the counter.
There is a spot at dusk
just past the last bon
fire where the dune cascades
into beach leaving a soft
hill perfect for the imprint
of your body, proposing
not with ring,
but with recline, and arch.
Close enough to smell
your skin, I worry
about the eight-and-a-half
Slouched in an ergonomic chair,
worrying when I'll see you again,
I am the surfeited vessel of my mind,
bloated, like a body in a river.
As soon as I get the number
I am going to call the pet
psychic and ask why
you meow so much
you burned your chords
and sound like whiskey
Please teach me Einstein so I can stop
making some hours long while others
stop short. I want to be like you:
bird or no bird in the window, stroke
or no stroke of my hand – it's all the same,
all day, all night.
At least my father
who worked this much
had things: children, wife, house,
Pepsi, Oreos—all I have
I cannot make you stay the night.
They said have big dreams!
and then but what will you do
for money? so I set the alarm
for six and still cannot convince you to
please, stay the night.
Next : Three - Melissa Fondakowski / Leslie Marcus
Ours in a Day - Contents Page
One - Fondakowski / Marcus
Four - Fondakowski / Marcus
Five - Fondakowski / Marcus
Current Issue - Winter 2004