Monday, May 30, 2011

Corners 1 and 2

On Friday at the monthly Traverse Poetry slam, I read a four-part poem that explores my love-hate relationship with curves. Here are the first two sections:

1   I know you are one for straights and flats,
But I am transfixed by corners.
The look of a curve, the camber,
The centrifugal pull,
The edge of just about to let go the earth,
The anticipation, the just beyond unknown,
The sashay of an S-bend,
The exhilaration of a tightening hook;
Like a tongue-tip around the crease in your lips…

No, that was a lie.
I am not a corners guy.
I avoid curves like pavement cracks.
I am straight as a bible page’s white edge.
More, I shun gradients too.
I am a railway line,
My three little bears path
Not too steep, not too tight:

2   You know, once, I dated a roller coaster.
Well, I was dragged jolted along in her train.
One day I was standing my big carny palm open,
She screamed by and my body was sucked into her wake.

She’d get all jacked up on fairy floss, her lips
Glistening jeweled with the sharp sticky red of donut jam,
Her mouth sweet knife-edged crystals that
Would cut and dissolve convex under the moist pressure of my tongue.

I lost my stomach on our first date,
My chest locked at a full inhale,
The floor falling away from me so
I floated an inch above all with a head full of air.

As she crested thrill reaching peaks
And made g force turns out of acute angled dives
I held my arm across my torso like a safety belt,
The sound of a rattling bolt set loose in my mind.

I danced in the vacuum that her carriage left,
A series of pinball junkie jinks and gibes
Until one night I missed a tack and a bolt
Died with a clang like a railway hammer strike

With a receding pleasure scream she was gone.

To be honest, I was relieved, the blessing of not having to give an acceptance speech because you were not the one chosen to win.

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