inside the glass

23 06 2007

yes, you 


the ice begins to fall apart,

ellis island stories unlock

girls pressed out copy-made,

this one taking more time


the glass held drops shatters

your paperback novel surprises

children cobbled dramatic ways

this child less contrived


the reflection held dear

this homeless emotion

a shameless grace

this girl a city underworld

(the dreams hide me inside)


12 06 2007

The Lover Writer

I am the lover writer
I write the poems that unlock hearts.
I can fold my kiss-words to taste like thoughts,
Their shrill chorus is a first-date’s perfume.
Where I dip my pen I melt the ice-
My papers could handle this waltz.

And there we begin to see,
That behind locked doors,
The story of a lover writer,
Is an untold tragedy.

Something Nice

1 06 2007

Another Word for Being

The lights flicker and the music is heavy, she holds a glass in her hand waiting to dance. This is not complicated, this is not difficult; the girl there, Isabel, is my date – the slender shine of youth streaking down her brown hairs. The glimmer of light reflected by the disco ball lit her face in spots, making her steady pose appear to change from annoyed to content to blasé to expectant. I noticed the glass was empty; so to stall, I offered to get it refilled. She smiled and said she was grateful, “pink champagne.”

Walking to the barstand where a few drunken chaperones traded stories of their childrens’ exploits, I tried to compose myself. I wanted to impress Isabel, prove to her that I was equally well-connected. I asked the barman (who I’d never seen before) if I could “have another glass of champagne” hastily adding “sir.” I met the girl at a party at most two weeks ago. Isabel immediately was charmed by my reserved, quietly self-confident demeanor; she saw in my wallflower smile not some fraction of me but instead the boy who was awkwardly moving the hands, arms, and legs of a garishly lanky man. He poured me the drink which I brought back to the table, the table covered in the cafeteria’s white tablecloths.

I thought about lunchtime, about her high-spirits- the laughing that accompanied discussions of high school romances. Last Tuesday, the invite to be the boy at the table; this is one of two things, it is either the best opportunity for a boy to get to know several girls intimately, to know their secrets and share your own, to express a sentimental side. Or if you’re too sentimental then you become a girlfriend to them, not date-able, not a boyfriend but a best-friend – the wrong “bf.” I treaded carefully in this distinction with Isabel, being curteous, thoughtful and considerate, but not relinquishing self-confidence, not falling into the nice-guy trap. I handed her the glass and sat down.

She tasted it and I could see something was amiss. She put it down and looked like she was about to yell, then suddenly she started laughing. “You realize, Austin, that this is actually champagne? I watched you the whole time, figured they’d laugh at you or some silly thing like that.” A joke; unexpected, but I wasn’t played and I still made her laugh — good so far. She explained, “Alright, maybe I should just come clean about this whole thing. I have had a crush on you since we met — maybe before, but I’m not going to get into that just yet — and I had no idea who you were, really, so I invited you to sit with me, but you didn’t talk much. You really haven’t said much about yourself, and I figured you were either taken or gay. [At this point my face must have appeared to fall] No, no, I was just waiting for you to make a move. Waiting for you to do something, anything really. And you asked me to prom, but still we haven’t really said much. We needed some kind of icebreaker. I figured if I waved my glass around enough, your silly chivalrous conscience would offer a refill. I figured if I asked for champagne then you’d get rejected, maybe even thrown out and we could go do something more .. fun.”

At that point I had to kiss her. She had played a little game with me, something I’m not usually fond of, but her face during the miniature confession was adorable, two large brown eyes looking up at me seeking approval. I kissed her with a grace I had not felt surge through my body before; it was the concerted contraction and extension of muscles that pushed my face close to hers. At last, merely inches apart, our faces themselves propelled lightly forwards and I could feel upon the skin of my lips the ridges and valleys of hers. Two wallflower eyes locked together once again in a speechless understanding. I could smell the passionfruit perfume, the vanilla shampoo, the ambrosiac smell of liquor, and even my own cologne wafted out of hiding.

She brought her hands forward to touch my face and we were there, the two of us and not a living breathing soul otherwise — and suddenly we were outside racing to the car, beneath the broken streetlamp — suddenly escaping life’s myriad complications, exchanging years of ardent meditation for the moment of spiritual surrender.