Monday, November 30, 2015
It’s so easy for her:
she looks at me and knows
that my green shirt with a white stripe won’t do -
“It’s a classy night, Flamenco and stuff.”
Together we are a boysenberry,
engrafted into fruition of love
and life-building. There is that taste, sour, wild,
and there is that look of purple passion.
In the Super 8 room she says she wants me
to develop a puffy chest,
and wear out my belly,
so she can look at me,
so that I look nice to her.
She refuses to go to the New York annual
fine arts exhibition, because I don’t want to
wear the blue shirt she has bought from Marshall’s -
“I will mingle with the crowd,
and you will not belong.”
She dies my hair black to cover the grays,
then puts cream in it, ruffles it, breaks the parting –
“Sorry, but I’m not going on a date
with a fifty year old man.”
When I look at myself in the mirror,
I am bearing berries that didn’t grow out of me –
I feel I am a mirror myself, entirely occupied
by her words and capitulated by her choices.
At the party she moves from person to person,
poses, takes pictures, delights at her looks
and clothes in the photographs;
later she says to me: “I knew you wouldn’t budge;
you must show that you have a personality.”
On the street she strikes a conversation
with a stranger and can go on for hours,
if she doesn’t notice me.
“Learn to easily attach yourself to people.”
I remark that we are a boysenberry
and only together we produce sense,
that berries mean nothing,
and boysen is a problem case.
She crosses over to the other side,
I remain on the sidewalk:
we are each left to survive on our own.
She walks to the artwork seller and talks to him,
becomes his friend, and he buys her a coffee;
at the end he gives her his phone number.
I stand still among many choices, but I know
they’re not for me, as like this berry they will
annex to me, but never coalesce.
This poem appeared in Stand Magazine in 2014