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She comes to him…

                1.
She comes to him with kisses, whiffs of alcohol,
genuine smiles and short witty tales of triumph,
mild excitations, sexy new plans set for today and tomorrow
She’s never quite drunk, ever, or ever quite sober

Everyone thinks they’re the expert—
because they have feelings too,
they must know what it means to be me
I’m a bit geekish today baby, he thinks, something of a freak

Clenched his teeth especially tight last night
Yesterday’s dream matter over-fills his mind
Mad harsh, ruinous sharp things cut through,
worry his thoughts, so slow and so deadly

Complex, improbable, extreme...
he didn’t know such powers were available to him
He’d stubbornly read only in the act of writing
A good daddy, we felt safe around him

 

                2.
She didn’t appreciate his risk of internal injury
“Goats blood, only the ineffable, magical, real goats blood
dissolves the impeccable, irreducible diamond” she swears
It takes all this exertion to appear super-cool, this spontaneous

He comes over, stooped at the shoulders
I wonder if he knows that he walks that way
He’s not quite old enough for such foolery
Don’t worry, you will no longer run into him at the grocery

or see him anymore walk in these streets
His immigrant father worked three jobs—
janitor, bricklayer, designer
His mother was a high school cafeteria chef

As long as that man breathes, he has a job here—
Someplace where the heart is broken
so long and so often
Nothing much happens for just one reason

 

                3.
Her sense of the other was skewed
She couldn’t tell the hallmarks
of a friendly remark or threat
Were he deaf he still wouldn’t forget

her squeaky, high sweet, nervous anxiety voice
Immaculately dressed in his perfect ‘80s suit
tasteful, understated but rich, muted shine to the subtle gray tie
he points to the window near where

some brie cheese melts
It’s coming along nicely, he said
Years later, after he was disbarred
(something about charging a client

for trips on the Concorde to London
under the heading on bills of  “Xeroxing Costs”)
I saw him in the street
“You needn’t stop for me” he said, “Keep moving”

 

                4.
Everyone (except the most perceptive) seemed to think
the Nazis wouldn’t possibly do to them
what they saw them do to everyone else
“I have these mean, essential skills

those bastards need me alive, everyone knows that
Here, see these work letters of recommendation”
But people like that can’t tell the difference
between one slovenly, foul, slave and another

Most were merely indifferent to the genocide
but had the political sense to pretend otherwise after the war
The art of the sale is to touch our anxieties lightly,
our pity points, our pleasure points, our treasures

After his stroke, he posted a note
“I can’t recognize faces anymore
Please help me out, okay?
Don’t be offended, tell me your name”

 

 

-June 22, 2013-