by DS Maolalai
was fantastic - I'd looked up flats near there
before I got lucky
and ended up in Kensington;
it was right next to
and I liked browsing the shirts
that some of them had been tore
from the backs of men
who'd got a little too into the show. they had
quite a lot of books too
and you could pick up a set of weights
and a shirt to show the chest you got
5 dollars more.
the paintings were all bad
and they never seemed to change a leather jacket
but up and down the aisles
the kids tried out bikes
and a girl in sunglasses
would be checking out a party dress
and saying to strangers
do you think
if I spin too fast in this
it'll keep my ass on?"
The wine. Like Macbeth.
She sat there
across from me.
Red mouth open,
like a lizard on a rock.
And her skirt was pinched in fists
and bunched over her spread knees.
that she had been mixing 50/50
with dollar store cola
and chunks of sinkwater ice.
And I was pretty well gone too -
waiting to get paid had left me hungry
and I told her,
said "Baby, I can't move over there,
I can't spare the protein, you want to be in my head
to see how dizzy I am? Did you ever see that movie? I feel like
that guy who got shot
and he tries to move
and moving is what kills him. I'm ok now
but if I move I think I'll die."
She sneered at me
and whirled her skirts.
Showed leg and white skin
all the way to the corners
slightly fatty but with shape
and patterns from the chair.
And she said
"I leave it here out for you
like a plate -
chopped and served
red and dreadful juicy
and even now you can't fuck me,
Even now you're sitting there
in that chair my mother bought me
all that wine down your chest -
what's even the point of having you here?
I called you up to fuck me
and you just want to sit there and let that wine get you
and talk. What movie? You think I brought you up here to talk about movies?
This isn't a checkers game, king me."
She drank more of her black sticky mixture
slugging the sweetness of it over her teeth
and onto her red tongue
red and waiting
for more sugar to go down
and leave her even fatter
and more squeezed out than before.
"The wine", I said "like Macbeth, baby.
No power, but the will all the same. Let me try this."
And I tried to get up, moved forward, hit one of the bottles with one of my feet, staggered like King Kong at the top of the tower, and fell until I was on all fours awful on the carpet, looking at the carpet, yellow with cigarette air and red in patches with spilled wine and cola. And I looked up, and I looked through her knees and long white-pale legs at their center, the short blonde hairs
prickling like desert plants, and between them the rest, open
and glistening like spilled strawberry jam.
And it was a few feet away from me.
And it might as well have been miles.
And I let my head,
heavy with winefill
and gravity's pull,
flop forward like a water barrel onto its side
and with my fingers
I slightly rubbed the frayed and balding footrest
of her mother's sofa seat.
"Macbeth", she said, sneering again. "You and your fucking Macbeth. And that Shakespeare. Your problem is that you were reading books in highschool while everyone else was learning how to fuck. You and your Shakespeare and your George Orwell and your Frank O'Hara and your Joan Didion and your Richard Adams. God, why do all the guys I bring home only want to talk about Shakespeare", she said. "I need someone who talks like a normal man. Next time I'll find someone who never read any books."
My new leather jacket.
I treated myself,
and I like it,
my leather jacket. it's brown
as the inside of an oak tree
and wearing it
I feel like a shark;
a little broad at the shoulders
and loose around the wrists
but giving all the same
an impression of speed.
my last leather jacket
has been on me
for almost 8 years now
so I thought it was about the time
that I got a new
leather jacket. the old one
looked burned by now anyway,
stained out and scorched with the winey grease of ages -
stories half remembered,
catching handclaps on cigarettes.
it was built to my body
like an old car
that nobody else could start.
I felt like an old sofa
in that jacket.
this new leather jacket
and shiny as astronaut teeth.
it suits my complexion
and wearing it
feels like leaning against a wall in the sun.
plays cards with men -
the cards are marked some sneaky way
and he keeps mixing up the rules
between blackjack, pogs, and tabletennis.
in my old jacket,
softened with spilled drinks
I was lucky
if I could get away with my shoes on.
in this new one
I feel like I could throw the table sideways,
finally scatter the dice and the deckchairs,
and punch god
a good one
quite on the mouth.
Drinking with Matt.
if we were going to go drinking
we were going to go
it was serious
with Matt. he was probably
the best friend in London,
he knew where drink went. he once invited me around
and told me to show up
to his house south of the city.
then it was the pub
with no preamble - cheap drinks in wetherspoons at breakfast,
losing at darts,
and whole pitchers of liqour
like we could force down the sun.
we worked together
and in work
he was funny
and stretched relaxed as a cat
but he got things done. here
it was the same.
I haven't been back
in a while
but I bet
beer in glasses, wine, white vodka,
flowers of summer
blooming and blooming
again and again.
A beautiful Tuesday.
instead of making plans
we let the weather decide
and ended up staying in bed all day
listening to hail
as it played against the window.
snatches of simple static music
from a radio
in a foreign country
spun out on long distance stations
as they settle between stars.
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