I Tempt You With Polenta

I tempt you with polenta.
I tempt you with green beans.
I tempt you with the juice from a can of creamed corn
That I’ve strained through screens.

I tempt you with Michael Strahan.
I tempt you with Omarosa.
I tempt you with Simon Cowell
By way of Mario Vargas Llosa.

I tempt you with Moby Dick.
I tempt you with someone’s other white whale behemoth.
I tempt you with the steamed pork dumpling
The cook at Schezuan Hunan steameth.

I tempt you with platform heels.
I tempt you with platform diving.
I tempt you with a cursed restaurant location
That as a parking lot is thriving.

I tempt you with uncommon knowledge.
I tempt you with ultraviolet rays.
I tempt you with a tiny dog house
Full of little tiny strays.

I tempt you with bright colors.
I tempt you with assorted sizes.
I tempt you with mega-lottery tickets
With multi-million dollar prizes.

I tempt you with a brush.
I tempt you with a broom.
I tempt you with a spaghetti flag
woven on some grandma’s loom.

I tempt you with an argument.
I tempt you with negotiation.
I tempt you with the theme from Shaft –
The apotheosis of Blaxploitation.

I tempt you with a comment.
I tempt you with a look.
I tempt you with a Tom Waits growl,
But you only want Facebook.

[the boy who senses each bird that falls out of the sky]

the boy who senses each bird that falls out of the sky
meets the girl who senses each fish that washes ashore
they fall in what you could call love
if love is what you call spending a lot of time
crying in the presence of someone else
who is also crying
and pooling money for bulk purchases of tissue by the case

then one day on a tissue run at a Sam’s Club she meets
a different boy
one totally unlike the other boy
this boy senses when a piece of luggage has gone missing
but instead of crying
he places a pebble
on a large pile of pebbles – each of which represents a lost bag

but he is unavailable
he lives with a girl who senses when a piece of missing luggage
has been happily reunited with its owner
and each time she does
she takes a pebble
off of the boy’s large pile of pebbles
and throws it out of their 4th story window

and each time on the way down to retrieve his pebbles
the boy passes the door of an old couple
who do not cry or displace pebbles
they spend their days seated in two chairs face-to-face
in the middle of a grand, but barren room
blinking at each other
when each senses the other’s heartbeat

and each time they open their eyes
somehow things are
never the same

What We Don’t Talk About When We Don’t Talk About What It Is That We Talk About When We Don’t Talk About The Thing We Don’t Talk About

You say through our eyes,
“If you’re awesome you will go up this big hill.”

I say through our manservant,
“You can’t yet says the words
I wants to hears from my own mouth.”

You say through our hole in our final French cruller,
“I think I will able to function just fine
spending the majority of the day
on a plank laid across a wooden box.”

I say through our cord to our sewing machine
wrapped over and around into a bow,
“Sitting at a single horseshoe table, you make
a pattern of raspberries and blueberries
that looks vaguely like a crude airplane, but
then add a steering wheel to each of the children.”

You say through our curl of our long strip of paper on the floor,
“A carpeted ding-dong feels good on my toes.”

I say through our cigarette burn in our laminated,
cigarette-burned map of Southern Ohio,
“There are 37 ingredients in Twinkies and
14 of them are made with Federal subsidies.”

And so it goes.

For this is what we don’t talk about when we
don’t talk about what it is that we talk about when
we don’t talk about the thing we don’t talk about.

To An Angel With Wings Only I Can See

You are an angel with wings
only I can see.

When you sleep
I caress your wings.

Sometimes I write poetry
on them – gently crafting
love poems to you
that disappear in a tiny puff
when you stir or awake,
as I prefer to write them in
a combination of soot and spit
a la James Castle.

Sometimes I rub them with
something called
FeatherSoft n’ Shine
I picked up at Sam’s Club for Angels.

Sometimes I paint pictures on them.
Nothing dirty or obscene.
Lately I’ve been painting pictures
of seamen inside purple sea-monsters
gently swimming into a cave.

Sometimes I put my face in between
them and shake my head and go
Brrrrrrrrrruuuppp! Brrrrrrrrruuuppp!
Brrrrrrrrrruuuppp! Brrrrrrrrruuuppp!
as if they were the breasts of a stripper
but feathery.

Sometimes I pick a feather from
one of your wings and proudly wear it
out and about on my forehead in a headband.
This is the true answer to your question
“What’s the deal with you and headbands lately?”

Sometimes I’ve picked more than a single feather.

I’ve picked enough feathers that I lay each night
with my head resting on a pillow lovingly made from them.
So when you recently made the observation
“You know you’re sleeping on pillowcase without a pillow in it?”
and I responded, “It’s something I read on the Internet
about a new way to cure sleep apnea,”
I may not have been totally truthful.

If only I had stopped there.

I have also been selling Native American headpieces
“made of the feathers from an angel’s wings”
on E-Bay – a lucrative venture in terms of units shipped,
and yet, troublesome, in that I have received
numerous complaints from dissatisfied customers
who claim to have received only a barrette sans feathers.

This would also explain the mail I have been receiving
from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office
and the Federal Trade Commission
and that prominent criminal attorney who advertises
on late-night re-runs on the X-Files.

He wants me to plead insanity.
But I tell him there is only one plea I can make

“I plead love
of an angel with wings
only I can see.”

And he seems to be quite pleased with this.

Love Poem to the Fraction 13/5

What can I say,
you’re the best thing this side of Pi.

Avvagardo’s number
has nothing on you.

You’ve got so much more going on upstairs
than your everyday plain jane integer
(if you know what I mean)
but you’re not all stuck up and snooty about it –
like all them prime numbers.

Perfect numbers?
Eh. They’re all air-brushed anyway.

Sure, you drive me crazy sometimes,
but I’d be dead wrong to call you an irrational number.

And you definitely ain’t the Number of the Beast
(trust me, I’ve had my share).

Look baby, I guess what
I’m trying to say is
it’s you I want
to smooch in the dark
at the multiplex
not a googolplex.

Why I’m Afraid To Keep Pouring My Heart Into Yours

If I pour my heart into yours,
what would be left?

A void that is filled again.

And if I pour my heart into yours again,
what would be left?

Another void that is filled again.

If I keep pouring my heart into yours,
and the void keeps filling,
and I keep pouring it into yours
each time it is refreshed,
eventually I will exsanguinate
and where will that leave us?

If our blood types are the same,
you standing near my exsanguinated body,
with a pool of blood
at your feet –
as the volume capacity
of your circulatory system
is finite.

If our blood types are not the same,
you lying dead in a pool of blood
next to my exsanguinated body
and police detectives and reporters
trying to figure out
whether to classify it
as a murder-suicide
or a double-suicide
or some type of vampire-inspired
erotic act gone awry
even though there are
no fang marks
on either of us.

Is that how you want to go out?

Can you understand my reticence
just a little bit better now?

Just Kiss Her

It’s never very romantic,
no matter your accent or inflection,
to tell your one true love on the cusp of your very first kiss,
“You know, most human mouths would never pass a health inspection.”

“It’s the bacteria and all that.”

The Five Things I Remember About You

I remember your cheeks a rosy pink
like fresh handprints in a spanking fetish watercolor

I remember you pulling a jeweled drawer handle
and languages fell out

I remember you weaving a basket
of breakfast sausages that the dog ate

I remember you crying in a restaurant
confused and overwhelmed by the difference between bratwurst and knockwurst

I remember the smell of your hands
when I started to hyperventilate
and you stuffed an over-sized jawbreaker
into my mouth to stop me from breathing

This is the Truth of the Situation

Just as the planets are held in their orbits
not by wires or metal like on the model,
but by the law of universal gravitation,

so you are held in my arms
not by Velcro like on the model,
but because someone has poured gravy over us and it has hardened.

And though we’ve been licking furiously for hours,
we’ve both slowed down, not because we’re
so sick of tasting gravy, but because we realize

that part of what is holding us together could be love,
but fear that once the hardened gravy is rinsed off
what could be our true love will rinse off as well.

So let us turn our licks to kisses
to let our love and the hardened gravy last
and rock ourselves out the door

into a crevice
where we will not be found for days
and hope it doesn’t rain.

Your Eternal Flame

I do not wish to quench your eternal flame.
It is what makes you

I have seen your eternal flame
nightly as you sleep
coming out of your open lips
pale blue.
If I didn’t know you,
I’d think you were holding
a can of lit sterno between your teeth
and having dreams
about heating roast beef.

I have seen your eternal flame
when we walk in the meadows
char the hovering blue birds
into fallen piles of ash
when you only meant to say,
“Oh, bluebirds!”
and set a dirty river on fire
while inner tubing.

I have felt your eternal flame
when we kiss
burning deep into my lungs
like terrible heartburn
(and leaving blowjobs
quite out of the question).

I have heard your eternal flame,
the whoosh of natural gas catching fire
when the pilot light has gone out
and you need to light a burner on the stove.

I have watched the saving power of your eternal flame
as you used it to weld metal
on a structurally unsound one-land bridge
in a remote area of Rhode Island,
saving literally tens of people.

I have shared the joy of your eternal flame,
toasting marshmallows with it in our backyard
watching as it lit the wick of our newborn child –
a scented 9-pound red candle of cupid you birthed
that left the obstetrician so confused and the
maternity ward smelling of cinnamon.

No, I do not wish to quench your eternal flame.
It is what makes you


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