We war real well. We really bring it home.
We bring out the fists and past lovers just to begin.
We like to reminisce
each other’s best sins.
A little aggy appetizer
size each other up for starters
before we finish with our go-fuck -yourself cake.
You always accuse me of sleeping with her before I even walk in
with some little, some little pointed text,
Why is she always commenting on your Facebook posts? She straight stays on your page.
But, like, aren’t you always on my page?
You’re always on my case about it.
I tell her:
Look, I just got paid
and you’ve already spent
one month’s rent in your weight
on vintage skirts and dresses
and period stationary for your period printing press.
And all these books of poetry.
Just rent ‘em from the library.
You read em once and then you stow em away indefinitely.
Now the skirt she’s hemming is on the floor;
one month’s rent in taupe cotton fabric
just crumpled up, defeated , in the kitchen corner
like a scared little girl
running from her daddy when he’s waging domestic war.
And she’s sobbing, all hysterical
all theatrical, screaming:
Why can’t you understand me? Why don’t you leave me then?
I’m waiting for her to tell me she’s pregnant.
That’s her favorite sympathy trap
and I always, almost always, fall for it.
One time she even had me picking out burp cloths
with little yellow ducks round the edges
so when our baby Jerome spit his dinner up
we at least had something cute and tasteful to clean the mess up with.
Please, don’t baby me.
Don’t baby-trap me, baby. Please.
Then we really feast.
It’s family Thanksgiving;
the kind that really traumatizes
all the young cousins.
Years to come
when they are basting their 20lb turkey
for their own unruly ones
they’ll remember drunk Uncle Billy
telling everyone he’s three-hundred K in debt
and no one gives a fuck!
and we can all go to hell!
Aunt Leah storming out the house
declaring Billy a no-good lazy louse
in tears; a wailing, agonizing sound
escaping from her pretty, puritan mouth.
“I would never do that to him! I would never do that!”
Dad trying to push Billy out the den
so he could watch the game in peace.
No one got seconds.
No one got pie.
Not one lousy piece.
Don’t talk to me like I’m your daughter. I’m your equal.
(Pass the potatoes.)
Well what happened to the counseling? You were doing so well.
(Pass the cranberry sauce.)
You’re always saying shit like that.
(Pass the wine.)
Well, you’re drinking a lot more tonight.
(Pass the judgment , then the buck, to the left, then the right.)
You make me do this! You make me act out!
a slice of cherry cheesecake and a whole bottle of Spanish port
and another round of sneering, seething, hit-you-where-it-hurts retorts.
My baby’s mouth all smothered in red;
she never starves her insanity.
Antelope’s blood on a wildcat’s fur:
she gotta hunt and kill to keep her baby cub fed.
To keep her cup filled.
You’re so fucking smart how come you work that dead end job?! Huh?! You work in a world
with no windows and a million filing drawers!!
Baby, calm down, you’re drunk and coming undone.
How come I’m working and you’re here making words,
sipping bubbly? You’re just living for fun.
And when you gonna publish all them books you done wrote?
Where are those books? You even write em, I hope.
Straight to the throat.
My baby’s mad, her gaze heats like fire.
No water wings, her body drowning in ire.
She aims for my head, the goblet flies past;
a thousand shattered pieces of thrift store crystal
strewn about this section 7 1/2 floor.
We almost section 8 but I still work,
we got a little computer and some furniture,
a nice nest to argue.
We ain’t that poor.
She’s in a fucking uproar.
She stomps over, starving, mama’s sights set on a baby giraffe.
Her paws only graze the tiny pieces of glass;
legs like a lioness made to pirouette to violence.
I see the veins in her head
poppin-out purple and her pores pouring sweat.
Finger pointed like a glock in my face.
Declarations written in red meant to disgrace.
Motherfucker, you trippin if you think you can talk to me like that.
I’m the only reason you’re alive, not in jail. I’m the reason you’re here.
She’s screaming right in my ear,
fragrance of tonight’s three dollar fish and fortified wine fills the air.
What I mostly smell is fear.
I grab her by the wrists and
slam her on the couch.
The one we found on the side of the road
back when I had the truck with the hitch where we could tow it.
We were so happy we finally had a place to sit and collect ourselves.
Before the truck was repoed.
Before we were living in dread
dodging trucks that look like they gonna steal all our things.
Ignoring ringtones set special for those
that remind us of overdue bills.
On this couch we mostly sit and collect debt.
Listen, bitch, I can’t take this shit no more.
(My hands on her chest.)
You’re hurting me, Rog!
(Her hands round my wrists.)
Good! Don’t let the neighbors here you, k? You gonna calm down?!
You wanna stay laid out like a Nigerian bitch in the jungle heat all day?!
I’m the man, bitch, remember your place!
She hisses “fuck you” like a good jungle snake and spits her virulence flat in my face.
Purple, vile drool drizzling out her teeth.
My baby’s brain juice dribbles down my cheek
Smells like mean spirit and blackberry peach.
I grab her neck. Like Dad, I have to fucking beg for peace.
You always so crazy and difficult, you know that?
Just a choked spurt of air slips from her lips that I take as a yes.
I wanna let you go, my love, but you be talking all that shit all the time.
You think I owe you?
Motherfucker, I don’t owe you a dime.
Her eyes are a mirror. I see my peeking canines in her brown irises.
Bite my lip so hard blood spurts out.
I taste the copper, she takes the heat.
My baby’s pupils wide and terrified
like Midwesterners discovering a flying saucer sailing over their front yard while
stargazing the night sky.
Her soul stands with them: petrified.
Would you like to breathe?
A mixture of tears and sweat run from wide eyes to chin. If she could nod,
I bet she’d comply.
A muted mime, all she can do is lift her eyebrows to reply.
Ok, baby, I’m sorry. You know I can lose it sometimes.
Loosen my grip and gently stroke her broken throat.
Her skin is speckled with bruises, black and peach.
She’ll need to put make up on it, a little tan and brown rouge.
High collars for a while, new hairstyle,
maybe even a brush on the throat with the curling iron
so she doesn’t get that feminist eye
when she struts by in sunglasses even though it’s night and she’s inside.
She loves dressing to the nines, the bruise just an excuse to be admired.
I kiss her cracked lips. Sweet fruit polished with booze.
My baby, she loves me so much. I’m her man. Her warrior.
We duke it out but I never lose.
We share sweat on that couch. My baby sweats her anger out.
Smells like sweet strawberry fruit
infused with blackberry booze.
She undresses herself, real smooth.
Unbuttons the blouse, unties the skirt.
Hands grip her spine, unbridled and wild,
I lick her wounds to show my remorse.
Like a good jungle ride,
she devours my manhood between her thick thighs.
She always makes sure I get mine first.
Long as she stays soaked in that good jungle juice,
I never lose.
We really get it on. My baby and me.
When we love, we roar.
When we mad, we war.
We real jungle. We real free. We really soar.
My baby and me.
We war real well.