Sorry, I’m Sleepy…

There are chocolate wrappers and unopened dental dams on the floor. Bass music from the bar above us pounds like a thunderhead. On stage, a butch woman gone transvestite and a femme lesbian playing the part of an innocent schoolgirl emcee the night.

There is only one place this could be: BigCity, NC’s premier safe-zone everyone welcome Down ‘N’ Dirty Poetry Night hosted by Kam and Beki (my friends and fellow writers). Three hours of sexy poetry, ballsy (yes, ballsy) women, and performance ranging from straightforward poetry readings to NC-17 rated strip teases. It is, as always, a night to remember.

I get home and am wired from tired. Can’t sleep because the house is too cold. Write a poem instead:

When You Go Dry

I can tell you now I’ll drink
vodka, 7-Up, and bitters
or on a lazy night, just chardonnay,
better yet to try and see you through.
I’ll write bad poetry and curse the muse.
When you go dry,
I’ll drink what you cannot in order to
swallow your pain, tasting it first
like the hint of a metaphor
before the punch-drunk love of the keys
clicking beneath sad fingers.

When you go dry,
I’ll try to remember where the snow met the sea
or how the blue light of both
reflected across your cresting collarbone
like a distant ocean liner’s signal
giving me permission.
Or was it a warning?

Sweet Titanic hull of a heart,
I close my eyes and it feels like sandpaper
rubbed raw and pale beneath the friction
of repeated violence.
How many others have tried to suck you dry?
Sink your pain with more?
You carry ghosts like Medusa carried her snakes
one look into the icy-blue of your eyes
and they came writhing out at me.
Paralysis is only one word for it…

When you go dry,
I’ll sing your sideshow song of silent know-how,
that hip-hop-hidden-cap ladylove
you’ve known since age fifteen.
It’s foreign to me but now I’m the one praying,
trying to re-envision the arc narrative of my life,
to re-imagine, to go deeper,
to allow clearer access to character.


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