STICK FIGURES IN LOVE
Lying naked on this bed in the cold sunshine of afternoon is the closest we come to honesty. Don’t even ask about the sex. All angles & awkward juxtapose. The slow end of the day, the bitter-chalk taste of hardboiled yolk. We feast on made-up memories, we never say what we mean. Seen from above, our shadows would resemble dancers: swell & spin & rise & thaw & somehow, somehow beautiful.
THIS POEM IS TOTALLY ABOUT WALLPAPER AND NOT AT ALL ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE, LIKE BREASTS
First thing you learn as a grown-up is no one likes wallpaper someone else picked out. I know something about thistles, too, and no one wants to see your leftover thistles on the walls of their sunny-ass happy-ever-after kitchens. Not even if you include the Latin names. Not even in pretty fruit-gum stripes. I could tell you about her breasts. Other body parts, too. You don’t want to hear it. When a guy’s alone in a hotel room longing for contact, it doesn’t matter how good a quarterback he used to be, he’s just another jerk with his cock in his hand. I can’t help it, you should see these thistles. They’re ridiculous. I know you don’t believe me.
YOUR MARRIAGE GETS LOUDER AS YOU GET OLDER
Everything begins as whisper, tiptoe, feather in night air: predator you never hear dropping from sky. Then faint clatter of dishes in faraway kitchen, hush of half-muted crime drama. Soap opera, self-contained narrative. Argument between neighbors, voices rising from behind locked doors on a block where such things are frowned upon. Traffic from two streets over. Distant train whistles. The rising siren of someone else’s trauma. The muffled bang: perhaps gunshot, perhaps backfire. Safe, still, to ignore. To pretend away. To slip between the folds of your own dreams like a roommate’s alarm clock. Things change without your paying attention. One week the construction site is a mile away, then four blocks, then trucks are backing down your driveway. That baby crying is in your arms. The life-flight helicopter is landing in your front yard. The roaring is in your ears, your skin, your heart. It is the sound of a drowning ocean. It is what you have been waiting for.
After 15 years as a reporter and editor, Amorak Huey recently left the newspaper business to teach writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He is managing editor of the new online journal Wake: Great Lakes Thought & Culture. His poetry has appeared recently in Los Angeles Review, Contrary, Rattle, Gargoyle, and other journals. More information can be found at his website.