Sunday, April 24, 2011

YOU MUST LOOK PRETTY WHEN YOU ANSWER THE TELEPHONE

You must look pretty
when you answer the telephone,
scrape bubblegum off the soles
of your pseudopunk Converse shoes
with razorblades readymade
for cutting cocaine
into powder, poof!

Does it make you forget
what he did with his hands
or does it widen the walls
of your soul with dynamite?

When your feet grow sore from
spinning the earth, take a seat
on the curbside that most resembles home,
The concrete scuffed with bitemarks,
the bitemarks that most resemble
your arms


HOUSE OF BODIES (HEART FAILURE)


I came downstairs this afternoon
and everybody had changed
into a skeleton

Ashes for their lashes
for their hair
for the folds and seams
of their skin

Veins hard-
wired
in a nest around
their feet

My grandfather seated at the dining room
table of the classic American household
which is mostly placemats
on top of placemats
A wrinkled newspaper in his hands
A Yankee game on TV

My grandmother in a reclining chair
Bell-curve beneath an afghan
Her teeth in a glass jar, grinning

You can erase sixty-four years
of five a.m. Pinochle chatter,
of throwing the mouthy black girl's shoe
into the Passaic River, of fruitless night-jobs
and strange rashes on your legs
with a cabinet full of vitamin bottles
and one blazing television

My mother sits on the floor
surrounded by skyscrapers
of immaculately pressed
and folded laundry
rather than wedding invitations
or graveblankets pinned
with pink bows

Since we all want to stay the same
forever
I anchor my neurosis
to the ash-colored carpet abandon
my broken toes
at the base of the couch

and hear faint radios and the feet
of children burning in the leaves


Death Tax

Placing your faith in sleep
That sleep will return you
to your room

Your bank book,
Your envelopes, cosmetics

Tomorrow you could end
Don't you know?

The mortician drains your blood
into an aluminum pan
Those who knew the way to your house,
how you liked your coffee,
loiter through corridors in dusty
black jackets, solemn dresses,
forced tears

Moon-faced, the way they'll be
when Death goes looking
for them

But will they know the way
to your grave, with flowers,
with love?

Brian Le Lay‏