A Disclaimer, To the Poolmaker (Or My Pheasant Chick):

When your tongue slips

and the swarm

of diluted words falls from your gape, I think:

 

I’m the waterlogged lung creating waves in your terse voice

 

You are the Poolmaker

and I’m the rat

surrendered in the spillway

 

of your gullet

 

You are the orator

and I’m the river of eels in your velveteen throat

that keeps the cilia hovering

tensely as hair static

 

I’m the gapeworm

in your trachea, untamed

by the salt oils you sleuthed

with pulsating palms

across the thickening river of the spillway

to slow the phlegm drip

before

 

you,

the orator is engulfed

in the bathtemple

the trench

the pipe

the pool

where your acidic words form the skin

of cutting waters

pouring

from your throats passage

silvery

 

where the seared eel

the matted rat

the twisted worm

your conduit

your trench

 

is waiting for a hare’s breath

 

to drain the bath

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A Disclaimer, To the Poolmaker:

(“Wasn’t I Real before?” asked the little Rabbit” The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams)

A letter is being drafted in the bathtub.

The words are pooled in the lungfluid
of the orators organs
they tumble there, graveling
expanding inside the lungbreath
looking for a speaker

cilia hover, tensely as hair static
waiting for the valve to stop dripping
but the trachea is untamed
by the salt oils sleuthed
across the tiled pathway of the bathroom floor
of the velveteen throat

by the poolmaker’s palms
the conduit

the cilia
keeps the electric currents from reaching the waters
spillway

the orators bathtemple

the trench

the pipe

the poolmaker

keeps the deluge from making ruins
of the ceramic shell casing
of the water tight tub
by thickening the phlegm drip before
the orator is engulfed
dissolved into a body of oral organs
where her acidic words pool
nearing the sulfate
of the poolmakers
palms
the ground
the skin
from the orators voice box
the dirt scraping cilia
conduit,
the organ

waiting for a hare’s breath

to drain the bath

Dear Mister Particular, (II)

 

Please note: This is the last letter that I will ever try to avoid sending to you.

 

Unfortunately, I’ve encountered a new physiological problem, a medical condition contracted from you.  The Apothecarist cannot brew up an elixir quite minty enough, a tigerbalm nostrum soothing enough or even a pill with the right amount of sedatives.  Which is what has propelled me to feverishly search through my old agenda to find the cure-all, the magic bullet, some secret sliver of hatred, to avoid writing to you.

 

This letter is proof of my inability.

 

Somehow, your laundered smell, no doubt a product of the syrupy liquid from a name brand bottle that Andy Warhol has surely screen-printed thousands of, in neon and primaries, has left the reminder of you

permanently embedded in my amygdala.

 

This smell is a phantom in the aisles at every area grocery store, stinging my nostrils as people brush by.  One day, a toddler kicked a bottle off the shelf with her little red loafer and I envisaged, with horror, an entire container of you splashing over me, permeating my skin. Your scent is even, inexplicably, ever-present at the farmers market although they are no plastic bottles, blue, pink or green threaded tops in sight.  All of my new neighbors, 100 miles away from you, prefer your signature eau de parfum.

 

Needless to say, Sunday is no longer my laundry day.

 

Today, the man who moved into the apartment below, decided to ignore the unwritten laundry rules and bathe his blue jeans and ugly plaid towels in your smell on a MONDAY.  At my wits end, I began scribing a letter, which reads:

 

“Dear Neighbors,

 

We probably have not met yet.  This is not due to any antisocial tendencies of mine, but rather to a new medical condition that prohibits me from catching one breath, a tiny inhalation of this redolent detergent ______ …..”

 

and then I realized.

 

What I need from you is the name of your god damn laundry detergent, so that I might tactfully avoid reminiscing and finally discard every remedy, every pleasing panacea scrawled over the few areas littered with reminders of you, in this old, eviscerated agenda.

 

 

Eagerly awaiting your one word antidote,

 

 

D

square one:

everything has a transparent film

layers too impermeable for bleach

 

and every time I wipe a surface

packing up my things

some Sexton “Transformations”

a new print appears

a new bundle of crates stuffed with

used paperbacks, flouncy fabrics peaking from cardboard edges

a cockeyed rice steamer and tarnish speckled spoons

one hundred clipboards

 

the growth condenses into neat containers

vacuum formed and physical

but around these bundles

the carpet is another expanse

where new piles of chaos conspire

 

uncontrollably

He said,

I bet you are murdering me in your mind right now…

 

I replied

No. I’m drowning.

into my pillow

 

and after that I started packing

 

living on cold coffee because

the food just turns the gut rot on

flip the switch for that gritty tar drink

 

and he pulled his falsely faded blue jeans over thin calves

walking home before the sun turned around

 

He said,

Don’t drown.

 

It’s not your burden to carry.

 

I replied,

It is.

You are just going to repeat this.

Someday.

and I’m not going to see you again.

 

I’m sapped.

 

the shadow

in the two tone corner space

at the ceiling

begins to form a box

 

I said,

It’s perfect.

 

and the door closed.

 

square one:

 

Aimme Bender read,

“You were the one in the middle.”

 

and thats when the bundles started

fatty clusters of history

behind my mother’s yellowed photograph

little curls filled in with brown marker, a ruffle top dress

I found a dapper man

named “Rock Hudson,” the impulse was to search for him

paradise blue wash over 1950s painted palm trees

dreamy

but I just slid the cardboard backing closed

over his flannel chest

 

Its not the time.

 

the papers to prove that I’m human needed attending to

organizing

before identity theft

was no longer something that just happened on the weekends

 

The next morning

my toilet overflowed

and the puddle of me

plunged

the rubber that he flushed

 

I said,

I’m sapped.

 

square one:

 

Now to force the brunch in.

 

my freckled friend asked,

What did you do last night?

poking around at her toasted egg sandwich

 

as she prodded at my chronology

I replied,

Met a friend.

Went to bed early.

 

dividing the vegetables into plate corners

 

On the radio,

a woman’s voice read

“If you are thinking it, 10% are.”

 

square one.

Dear Mister Particular,

Turning the air conditioning on

so that you could retain the smells of sterility

dryer sheets, white lilies, and bleach,

that waft around you

was not on my agenda this evening.

 

Actually, neither was dinner

because dinner is a date

and prior to our meeting, I clearly stated

that I was hungry for lunchtime foods

cucumber sandwiches and green lentil soups

in an atmosphere glaring with reflectivity

where you can’t really see the person across from you

and if you can they just look faded, haggard and fluorescent

 

thats what I wanted.

 

My agenda with black numbered columns

and no abbreviations

clearly defined our meeting as:

“Pleasant Goodbye!”

 

There were no discernible sub-headings, such as:

“More Confusion,” “New Beginning,” or “This Is OutofYourControl.”

 

But our arrangement was rescheduled

by you,

Mister Particular

mister matchy-match

mister “I must research my options before buying a

bath matt.”

mister rearrangement

 

It was supposed to end with a head nod

a casual handshake

a mutual agreement to end

when we had ended

 

simply.

 

No, my agenda

was clearly not well organized

because the outline never explicated

the ease of being with you

how quickly synchronicity builds

when brief thoughts,

the instant nostalgia of a commonplace song

(not to mention the laughably sentimental mothertunes)

parallel

to remind me of when you knew that I wanted pineapple

to compliment my hummus and pita,

without me saying

minor things

when you tell me to stop apologizing

laugh at my clumsy grace

and won’t say you’re welcome

when it means that I’m putting you on a pedestal

and when you cradled my cat without inducing a screeching wail

after carefully thumbing through each tea bag, like an index

to find the perfect blend

that make all of the difference

 

 

No, my agenda did not outline,

in its usual diagrammatic fashion

carefully,

the extent that I missed you

 

I did not receive a timely reminder

explaining why I stopped this, early

last time

when the inexplicable creeped up on me

and without synchronicity,

you told me that you were not interested

 

only later to make lunch plans

that morphed into dinner plans

and now, my agenda has been jumbled and scribbled on, nearly eviscerated

 

I can no longer read the burnished pen marks

that were once the remedy

detailing other dates or better yet the comfort of datelessness

 

My agenda is defunct.

 

And now,

Dear Mister Particular

that you’ve completely shredded my well laid plans

into a meaningless tangle of paper and pigment,

 

it’s time for you to get a new agenda.

 

-D

This is not another poem about a lark

seagullcrow finchpigeon

(because how many of those breathe their daisy breath

from a poets pen? )

 

it won’t end neatly

(if at all)

 

but it has to start with

a bird and beginning

(dipping into the water as a frumpy ballerina

the tuffruffled on her ungroomed rump)

 

it starts

to make it easier

 

with that birdwatching creature

shifty

mediating lenses

the openirises that returned me

 

this summer

 

Thats where it begins

 

but this time not with an apology

listing

an afterletterofanotherkind

 

but a bird is an easier beginning

 

so allow me the supremely human

(or so we think)

human

ability to explicate the circularity

of my own viewing

 

heteroglossia

(maybe

replace hetero

with musings about my

homoleanings

but thats a differentbird altogether)

 

watching a watcher watch

the voyeur

build a nest of fauxfurlipstick and gold

of decadence degraded

for birthingsake

 

(and oh how my mother would be disappointed

because do lesbians actually shop?

and what about posterity? grandchildren, tiny toddlers!)

 

But birthing isn’t the real purpose of a bird

or a beginning

 

for that matter

 

(because I tested those waters

dipped a fin in

too many men

just to see the difference

and maybe all I need is another

beginning

of a differentsort?)

 

is it?

 

I’m drawing another line

 

I’m drawing another line

another circle of salt

to kill every microbe

to banish the stench

mustyskin and stalespit

from my

sweltering apartment

 

Campy music

can’t cut the heavy air anymore

 

I’m drawing another line

 

Claiming a new name

(and its not: sweetheartbabe, dollydollface, babycakes. sextoysurrogate)

 

the sappy bleach

and hot alcohol pours

will corrode

the film that those bodies left

 

Carve snowy tarnish

 

 

I’m reclaiming  the ground that other souls have kept

(places where his shoes were strewn)

 

I’m sterilizing the surfaces they touched

(places where his body imprint is fossilized)

(places where his fingers left a greasy map

a topography of touch)

 

after scrubbing

away a body’s film

and the remnants of him

I’m claiming this space as my own.

 

 

I’m disinfected,

 

immaculate.