Poetry by Vanessa Saunders

Art: Mad Men


OUT THE OMNIBUS WINDOW HER EYES, A CRUMBLING CONSTRUCTION SITE: SKELETON WOOD HOUSE, STALE TRACTOR, ITS FOREARM STUNTED UPWARD IN RUST IN A GESTURE OF GRIEF SHE SMOOTHES THE INDUSTRIOUS HEM OF HER SKIRT  

Hello, a blind man says, easing into the other plastic seat, clamping his walking stick in his boned up legs. His great black coat wears a great coat of beach. His eyes blink willfully. Lost my pup yesterday, he is turning both his shoulders. I’m sorry, she said. Not your fault he passed on, the blind man revealing his lance-smile of two gold veneers.  She relaxes into the rumbling plastic seat. What was your pup’s name, she says. He says, Regan. She says, That’s a strange name for a dog. He says, As a young man I was fascinated by trickle down economics.  She says, Like the rain trickles down the car window. He says, No. He says, Regan rolled up and said if we untax the rich the wealth will trickle down to the poor, he pauses, like rain drops you’re not incorrect in any case it was a failure. The woman asks, Regan had a bad idea. He says, Correctomundo. The lightbulb is beaming in the blind man’s gold incisors. He says, The paradox of a democracy is– no one can actually see it. He chuckles as a lightbulb swings in the tidy space above his head, I laugh because I’m exceptionally sad. The woman says, Correctomundo

 

THE WOMAN STEPS OFF THE BUS HOT CHEEKS HEAVY PURSE. FIRST DATE. THE CASINO THE CHOSEN LOCATION IS OPAQUE IN A SEAFOG. THE MAN MEETS THE WOMAN IN THE LOBBY. COLLECTIVELY THEY GLAZE AT A POSTER FOR AN ARTIFICIAL BEACH. THE MAN SAYS LETS GO.  SIT BEHIND A NOXIOUS WAVE MACHINE

She is the conviction the man’s black straw will actually dissolve,  steam rising and he is stirring his black coffee. The man is slopes, hunched, carrying his shoulders smashed against his ears, he is carrying his smoldering desire to understand. Behind him the wave-machine exhales and cracks and plastic waves ejaculate across the sand. The woman says, So what did you do today. He says, I woke up, the sunlight was crawling backwards, I read two books, I wrote a new song. The woman says That’s a lot of things, her cheeks struck with a coal-flush. I like to stuff my head with books do you the man asks fingering his gleam-silver watch. No the woman says. The man asks What do you like. The woman says I like to lay supine on my bed, and stare at the dust colliding. Her eyes sear like holes. What was the book you read about, she asks.  It was about nothing, the man says. The lights of the casino sag. The woman says, I don’t feel that I am from anywhere. A shot-crack, the wave-machine, the man terse, he recoils, uncoiling his body away from the machine, he taps the thin carpet quickly with his boot, Well I dropped out of college, so I traveled the world, I read a boatload of books, and I grew my hair long. I am a nowhere-man also. His blue eyes gesticulate a skeleton of softness. We don’t exist outside the facet of being seen, this is why I want to be famous. The man blinks. The woman opens her chest, a cold shoal, she is stuffed with the textured lull of the plastic-waves, jangles of slots, of jangled-coins, of losing-bemoans, and weeps of jubilation. Now, the man says, it’s time for you to talk.

 

THE MAN’S BED. THE BROAD SPECIES OF DAYLIGHT. EFFACING THE WOMAN’S FACE. SHE SITS UP. INSIDE A ROOM OF HER OWN.  OUTSIDE THE MAN IS SQUARELY SHREDDING A SQUARE OF BREAD TO A SEAGULL LOST IN THE QUAGMIRE OF THE SKY– HE REGRESSES TO BED.

This is the opposite of solitude, and the woman is electric, throbbing, endings of the man’s body, against him,
her breathe dips, and smooths. His smell is a laundered oil. She wants to bite his span of fragile
plastic
clavicles. The virile tick of palpable heart, clean white shirt, rubbing. She lets her mouth inherit
pockmarks
of fog across his stomach, he says, How did your mother die. The woman says She worked in a
factory,
that ash dominated her lungs. He says, I’m real sorry.  On the street cars rustle like pages in
tombs.
Sincere is hard to exhume, is the man sincere, a dusty book
smashed
between his plough-mattress and corpuscular wall. Black cover, cold arabesque squiggles.
Pretty
she says. From Turkey he says. She says You’ve been everywhere. He says Well I’ve been
some places,
she dumps her head onto his bare belly, a limp stick. Stroking the nape of her neck, his warm
skin.
He sits up.
The stare of his bedroom window, he stares emptily into the leaking light. Leaking
eyes
absorb
his sun-swollen carapace. A bead of sweat sluices
down his spine.
He spurts
into a white tee. Hot flesh whispers.
Wetness in
plebian regions– he slides.


Vanessa Saunders is an MFA candidate at LSU and editor-in-chief at heliumjournal.com

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