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Topic: Tenda's poems  (Read 18297 times)
Permalink  •  January 24, 2014, 02:23:52 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2014, 02:23:52 PM »

I dreamed my untrained hands would

Shatter the nightmare rock

And end wage labor, usher in the era of


Where we all get to sit on ours,
And no one will lift a finger they don't want to
Ever again.

It's so easy to talk big,
And something about being so unimportant
Makes it feel even more likely
I can do the impossible than someone
Important, with a known set of
Skills and limitations,
That will always be bound by the bold,
Demarcating strokes penning them in
Based on
That which they've already done.

It seemed just as likely the upstart
Schizophrenic could change the world as anyone,
Because changing the world seemed that impossible.
Infinites and absolutes just mess with math like that --
Careening towards the zero or
Endless bounds,
Everything is impossible or
And distinction just vanishes like a
Defining, reverse-fog
Blown off in the winds of meaninglessness.

I learned the happy end,
To the problem of why
Anyone or no one
Could change anything that seemed
So big at the time,
So worth changing,
Why all of those changeworthy things
Just never did.

People, it seemed,
Preferred to change the things close to them --
Congregate into couples,
Branch off into families,
Better the small lives of their loved ones
Healing the wounds of their
Schizophrenia or otherwise
Instead of taking on someone else's
Improbably large challenge.

I dreamed I would shatter the nightmare rock,
I think,
Because I was lonely and there was no one I loved.
I dreamed for a violent end to the world
Because there was nothing in the world
I didn't want to end with violence.

Wage labor, I think,
Feels like a much better system after-the-fact
And after finding love of my own
And realizing today's work
Pays for tomorrow's play

And when it's worth playing every bit you can,
It's okay to settle for the status quo
Instead of dreaming there's nothing worth doing
Other than smashing it.

Permalink  •  January 24, 2014, 10:44:08 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2014, 10:44:08 PM »


The Willing and Wanting

The bus left her in Clark,
Far removed from Toms River
Or Newark Penn where she was dropped off.

The first place she went
After they kicked her out
Was to Starbucks,
And the first place she went on her laptop
Was Craigslist.

She felt the need to break something,
Felt the need to burn away her life
In small parts
The way she was accustomed to,

She felt the need to plumb new depths.

Out of so many hopefuls
There was one lucky winner,
Chosen on the basis of
Career jargon
She had never before encountered but
Understood intimately.

The need for discretion,
The hotel far from either of them,
The highly-specific mention he is a working professional

And that she is not

And every ratcheting jackpot,
Every bit of her bio that he latched onto
Ratcheting upward her worth in his eyes.

She doesn't know Clark,
Though she has passed through it before --
She had a therapist here, once,
And her father taught her to drive
Before their separation
On these streets,
On the highway she would have taken
If she still had a car.

He called on the bus;
She is keen to everything
And it comes naturally,
She knows which notes belong in her voice
And which don't,
She has the wherewithal to speak freely
Everyone in the crowded bus who might listen in.
She is honed to a razor edge for this.

But she's running late.

She doesn't know Clark, and
Jumped into this without making much of an effort to.
She didn't look at a map,
Which she regrets --
She took only his directions,
And took them to heart, because
That seemed so reasonable:

After all, his everything in this present moment
Is getting her to him
And getting him to her.

She refers to him in her mind as
A for Apple;
She will work through the alphabet for now,
She thinks,
And will come up with the further letters later.

He finds her walking dumbly on the avenue,
Pulls his jeep blindly alongside her and asks:
Is it you?

Getting to the hotel this way,
Because she messed up,
She needs to ride in his jeep --
She has no inkling, though,
Of how bad an idea that could be.
She is still, after-all, a first-timer,
And she's mostly just embarrassed to be late
And that he had to pick her up off the street,
Where she still walked in her streetclothes.

He has already taken out the room.
She is instructed to wait a few minutes before following him.
Pornography is playing on the television,
And she is so unsure of the world
After she steps inside that unlit room
Where only the static-pebbled thrusts
Playing on the screen
And the king bed
Stand out at all.

Ahead of time, the memory is whitewashed --
There is nothing sticky here.
She won't remember his name or
Anything about the room,
How to get to the hotel even after having been dragged there,
Or what he said,
Or what they did.

One thing, though, sticks:
An unadorned gold wedding band,
He removed and left on the nightstand before they began.
When he retires to the shower,
She holds it up,
And it sticks to the veneer of seed
On her fingertips.

There is cash on the nightstand, too,
But she doesn't take it.
She considers taking the ring,
For a hot moment,
As a souvenir or because she unwittingly-at-the-time
Thinks it may be worth more than the green.

But she doesn't know;
It may not be real gold,
He may not be really married,
He may not really have had to rush out
To go to his nephew's birthday party
How he said he did.

On her way out the door, he stops her --
And presses the three hundred dollars into her hands.

She breaks one for a milkshake on the way home,
Feeling absolutely radioactive;
The stink of sex seems so pungent and
And she can almost swear everyone she sees
Sees through her
And into what she has just done,
But it only bothers her for
Hot moment --

She is happy, breathing deeply,
Running fingertips over scars
Underneath her skirt.

She is satisfied.
She is burning up.

The Iniquities of the Wicked

I hurry from the car
To the door,
Feeling so naked and silly and
Since I came dressed how he wanted,
Which was silly,
My mini dress and thigh-highs
With the pigtails
Far at odds with the winter weather and
Any semblance of
Dressing my age.

He is slobbering drunk
When he opens the door,
To the point
The very last thing he must have done
Before opening it
Is put the bottle down.

He offers me something
And I take nothing,
I laboriously
Carry him underarm and
Across the shoulder
Up the staircase,
Following his directions to
Where I can only hope
There's a plain and simple bed.

That much bears out,
But he has to take a sip from another bottle
Before he sits on it
And begins to undress.
He is having trouble,
So I help him with this also.

The stink of alcohol permeates the whole house,
Hangs over every family photograph
And dusty piano
Like the veneer of a
Principal problem
I am on the outside-looking-in on,
A problem that I now briefly inherit.

He is seriously
Drunk to the point of worthlessness.
He lies in bed dumbly
While I straddle and
Stroke him,
Oddly at east because
In the state he's in,
I don't even think there's any expectation
I actually need to get him off.
I think I just need to put on a show of
Effort, and the encounter will be
Shortly over,
And he'll let me wander back
Downstairs and outside
Into the world I don't belong
So that he can take a piss-drunk nap.

I mouth his flaccid member from time to time,
As often as need be to
Elicit his apologies instead of his
Praise, as he is beside himself with shame
He cannot even maintain an erection
As he is how he is.

I redouble myself when he complains,
Sight the end of the evening
Through the keyhole of his self-pity and
Self-absorbedment and
Inability to feel any kind of pleasure,
And how quickly the sad drunk
Will just give up when he can't do any better
Than he's already failing to be.

I take in the details while I sit on top of him
And take long pauses
I wouldn't normally be afforded,
Look at the pictures of his wife and
How this room would look
If I ever saw it with a light on --
Just the execution of
Ordinary and casual curiosity.

His state in drunkenness
Is a good kind,
He's not an energetic or happy drunk,
He's already just a sobbing one,
And it makes things so much
Easier and more carefree
For me
Than they would normally be.
Tonight, I am not the vile one,
I am not the one with a problem.
I am not the one who undoubtedly
Plagues his family,
I am not the one who shamefully
Brings prostitutes home,

I am the moral upper end

How I always try to see myself

And it makes the act of
Making the motions
Of oral sex easier,
And it's easier besides
Knowing in his state
He's well-aware he couldn't
Try anything more physical
And so that I will be spared.

Out his window
I see a street with no
An unlit place
Growing darker
Out of which I can
Scurry safely
When I am finished in here,
Depart as if I
Never even was.

It makes me think of
Dark and murky water,
The kind I tread day-to-day,
Impassable to even the willing,
Unseeable, unknowable space
No one believes I traverse
Because no one believes it traversable.

And he wants to sleep,
And has realized he is not getting anywhere,
Which I won't admit
I haven't put a lot of effort into,
And he lets me flop off of him.

From a dresser he gives me
What I'll later count to be
Twenty-one dollars,
Which means this hasn't been worth the time
But it was nice to take a break.

When John is too drunk to judge,
The whores of Babylon go unchastised
And their performance
Even on their own merits
Unmarked, and they rest;
So I rested,
And I leave the way I came,
And I breathe harshly onto my car steering wheel.

One down.

The Resplendent and the Glorious

I met her in the furthermost back room of a brothel,
About a week after Brody offered
I could come back once for free
When my last evening with an escort there petered out.
He had already taken my money once,
I thought --
He cared more about return business than
The loss of one girl's time, I thought --
And so I was back, as uneasy as the first time,
Until he led me to her workspace.

The room was dusty and dim,
But in a different fashion --
It wasn't dim for effect,
It was just dim,
And it wasn't dusty
Because it was an old building,
It was dusty
Because it was neglected.

I got a cordial hi when I walked in and put my coat on the bed.
She didn't seem to be paying much attention,
Staring forward at a muted television.

The layer of dust in the room
Felt almost sacred,
And I was careful not to disturb it as I
Thumbed through
Everything on the two rear bookshelves beside the bed,
Little trinkets and
Puzzle boxes
The kind you get from vending machines for a quarter,

Little silver marbles and
Saturated plastic
That just looked sad
In the darkling room.

There was a sheaf of paper dolls on a string,
Mad Libs books and
A copy of Monopoly
That looked as if it had never been opened.

I like to play games,
She told me according to a script,
Without turning to look at me,
As I continued my trek of disbelief,
Pausing only when the door closed behind me
And I was reminded instead
Of the second door to the room,

An old door that should lead to another suite,
Which would already be locked

And yield only to the key in my pocket.

From behind, she looked as dusty as the room;
Dusty blonde hair,
Dusty complexion under the flickering
A dusty black top that hung off her shoulders
So tight it strained
Against her posture,
Her hands and head still facing the television,
Holding something I hadn't seen since I was

I don't know

Four or five?

An Atari controller,
And on the screen was Adventure.
She had a key.
I remembered there is a dragon in that game.

I remember just floating around behind her,
Beside the bed,
Watching a square move
On a screen that lit nothing
Amongst other squares,
Square in a square world.

I remembered the dragon,
And wondered if she would just stop and
Finally pay attention to me
When it ate her.

It never came, and jumping ahead,
I never came.
There was something too sacred about

The other world I had stepped into,

Something too
About her station
Brazen indifference

That made it impossible for me to even fathom sex.
It was unfathomable
To even think of seeing this woman naked.

I don't doubt the tenseness of her posture
Was largely because of me,
Her intentionally
Locking eyes forward
Drawing out our time together,
Eking out every possible second
Of a meted hour
Into her corner,
And invisibly -- I'm sure -- relishing them,
And how long she could get away with it.

I knew what I was supposed to do because
Crystal had walked me through it last week,
But I was even less interested than then.

Brody knows me,
But I don't think Brody knows how to work a brothel.

Maybe it was some fundamental idea that
Pairing a self-professed gamer with your
Establishment-described gamer girl,

Kept in a room with two locked doors
And an Atari,

And an assortment of things
She probably had all kinds of cute
Scripted responses
Towards me pointing out,

Wouldn't result in sex --
But in indifference.
Because, as powerfully as she forced that
Emotion out of herself,
I baked in and
Found myself exuding it as well.

It was beyond me to say a single word,
Knowing any word I said
Would be twisted along the labyrinth of her
Career dialogue,
Would lead to her beginning to strip,
Would lead to the start of a rough play --

Brody said she liked it particularly rough,
Which was maybe a tongue-in-cheek challenge to
The kind of men he was no doubt sending her --

A rough play I wanted no part of.
I unlocked the rear door before I opened my mouth,
Choosing my words carefully after
Taking in as much of the moldings,
The carpeting,
The flickering light and television and
Battered, faded Atari controller
In her hands,
With the red fingernails.

I didn't know who she was.
I wasn't going to try wading into that conversation,
I wasn't so pretentious or arrogant
That I thought I could say anything
That would even rise up to the
Dusty heights
Of the occasion.

So I said something inexplicable:

Knocking on the open door frame to get her attention,
I smiled as warmly as I could and recited:

"Not with a bang, but with a whimper,"

And walked out of the brothel,
Sure I could never treat with a woman
Or her keeper
For sex
Ever again.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 08:45:27 AM by Tenda »

Permalink  •  January 29, 2014, 10:22:37 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #62 on: January 29, 2014, 10:22:37 AM »

I am the sum of the largemost count of
Small dying parts,

The towering heir of
A cellular people's industry,

Beleaguered and scourged
Cellular people
Who suffer programmed plagues and
Recycle themselves endlessly such that

I have never ceased to be alive,
But no part of me today
Was alive when I first came to be.

Permalink  •  January 29, 2014, 12:10:55 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #63 on: January 29, 2014, 12:10:55 PM »

As a ray the world was born
As I never see what
Rises from underneath
But am intimately aware
Of everything in the sky above,

And when I jump,
I feel like I'm half-finished too
Because there's only half of the world
I ever see
And it's the half I can't spend
More than a moment in.

Seabirds fly by in droves
With feathered fins,
And I spent so long
Growing out of a basket
I'll sprout feathers too,
So that I can fly with the rest of the birds,

But I've never seen a bird up close.
I don't know whether they see up or down,
Or both for some unjust reason,

Don't know if
Every bird spends every day
Thinking it's going to grow into something else
Because it's built from the ground up
To be an imperfect imitation
Of something else,
And not good at anything on its own merits.

Fish jump too,
So that never felt special.
'Special' as means of a handicap,
Mouth stuck down and
Eyes stuck up,
Doesn't ever feel like special proper;
There's nothing I do that
Someone else doesn't do better,

And underneath the mica curtain
Where the seawater
Meets what I see,
It's a lonely and wandering life
Spent wondering:

If shapes aren't fair and just,
What does it matter what else is?

Permalink  •  January 30, 2014, 10:55:23 AM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2014, 10:55:23 AM »

I want to believe in 16th century parallelism,
That the empires of the world I know
Stand beside
Empires on the seafloor,
Cities built by
Salt lakes and
River currents and
That coral didn't just happen,
But that it was the preening of
Village patios
En masse
By a doting and

When I met with the unsympathetic above
I would just look below for their
Paired opposite and take solace,
When I met with violent chance up here
I would just hide below
In a kinder, albeit colder world.

Snow on the seafloor is organic,
Ice never forms under pressure,
And the weather of the world is
More constant
Because variation is dead,
And so even though sea life is so various
I don't imagine they'd be a very varied people.

The sand castles rimmed by
Watchful skates
Would always be a safe refuge
Because nothing down there changes,
The places I knew would always be
Close by,
And the people I met
Would always be kind
So long as I was kind too

And I could shoulder that,
I like to think,
When it is a guarantee.

Permalink  •  February 03, 2014, 09:47:26 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #65 on: February 03, 2014, 09:47:26 PM »

My heart is beating as hard as the surf is
Pounding, tirelessly weaving shells
Into the sandy warp
Felt underfoot
Without even a casual appreciation
For all the energy poured into
Breaking down the clams and scallops
Into the collage of color
That's just ignored underfoot,
The same way I grit my teeth and
Ride out the rush of my heart
Without skipping a beat
To the tune of the surf.

It's just so casual to ignore everything
In the course of every day,
But in this moment my heart is
Reconstituting life
Instead of just sustaining life,
And I feel the pang of
Reminding me my heart wants something more
When you're close to me,

Reminding me you're close to me.
Say something wonderful and let's
Slip away, retreat,
Eat at the high table,
Spoon soup with a leathern ladle
While it all comes to ease, comes to rest, comes to pause,
Comes to halt,

Rest my heart just beside your heart and
Raise praises for the sum of small parts,
Wag my arteries in memoriam to
Everything that that got me where I am,
The respiratory cycle that winnowed down
As both gas exchange and
The huff of hefty
Adenosine on the pavement,
The essential tremors that shake me when you're nearby.
Coarse like the shells that were woven into the
Weft, the shakes I get when I'm drunk on
The spaces in-between
And your essential rhythm
Is inside me

Counting out beats of distance between us
As if the world were a sonic
Cartesian plane
To be conquered
To end all
Possibilities of infraction or infarction
Were to be tendered and lost

Permalink  •  February 07, 2014, 08:44:13 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2014, 08:44:13 PM »

Keeping together is the hardest part of the day
Inside the Sound,
Where the Puget sprays
Standing stones
Tall and resolute
That go unheralded and

Slick and grey into dawn or dusk

Notable only for the samewhich
Heft with which they hoist up the city
That was built atop without
Permission or asking,
Because stone bears loads
Without complaint or reservation
While the weight is not excessive.

In the travails of the day
I wonder how it came to be
That I heave beneath a city

And I wonder how it came to pass
That the city never demands so much of me
That it comes tumbling down.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 09:37:50 PM by Tenda »

Permalink  •  February 10, 2014, 09:32:23 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2014, 09:32:23 PM »

I relive the sick passage of hands
Nightly as an unheeded complainant,
Writhe under blankets feeling the
Grinning pressure of uninvited pressing
At the wrists, at the ankles,
The slick and grimy wit of the stalker
That met whom it stalked
And rehear the poisoned and baited
Words, honeyed and bloated,
The first man that ever tempted me
Calling me "princess;"

And I relive the guilt,
Because I'm the one who used the words
"Sugar daddy" in a roadside diner
When he seemed predatory but harmless
As if it was possible for anything to be so;

And I relive the torturous vomiting,
The slickness left behind me
Where he stung
As I walked to the bathroom
With my panties around my ankles,
His watchful eyes peering
Through behind me so that I
Don't stray, don't go anywhere
Princess isn't allowed to go to,

And relive the prayers once-answered
I would get away,
And that life would ever be
At least a shadow of itself again,
Or that life would just go on,

But life goes on in the shadow of
What life transpired already.
For my trial I'm rewarded with these
Pained flashbacks,
Every night of sleep stolen from me
Another meted out in his count
As effortlessly as his evil
First hounded one out from beneath me
On the roof of a parking garage,

Snow gently falling on the windows,
Where he first taught me the safety word
That maybe convinced me for a moment
That there would be a safety catch,
And that he wouldn't just ignore it
The way he would ignore me every time,
Pressing all his weight down on me
Such that there was nowhere to move,
Nothing to say but to scream
Into my own hands
While he just lightly told me over and over,
"I'm almost there."

I don't think I'll ever get away from
Again. I don't think I'll ever sleep soundly,
I don't think that I'll ever slip out from within the
Sound of his voice,
The heated, sweating grip of his
Mass blotting me out
Or holding me down

And I think of tidal pools,
And thorny starfish that
Grope and handle slick stones by moonlight
That go unseen by anyone
As nighttime beaches go vacant,
Stones for whom no one will sing
Or rise to defend,
Stones no one will ever say
Deserved to go undefiled,

That their defilers
Should go hungry,
That they should be cast out of the pool
Because to the best of my wit,
He's still lurking in it
While I've escaped
Just to be cast out,

Because I don't doubt that he sleeps quietly
And without incident.
What I miscounted when we first met
Was that evil goes unaccountably,
That I could never be prepared for his thrust
With any feint
Because any evil gesture is unstoppable,
That good cannot shield itself

In the cold moonlight where the
Wolf stalks
By virtue of goodness alone,

And for putting myself out
I found myself prostrate at the end
The way I had a premonition of
Kneeling prostrate and broken
Before the crime came to pass,
Just standing on that parking garage

Watching the snow lightly fall

And feeling his mass press against my back
For the first time,
Against a handrail,
And for a moment feeling all futures
Go blank and divide into nothing
Blotted out by the enormity
Evil assumes
Pressing against naive good.

Permalink  •  February 12, 2014, 07:21:05 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #68 on: February 12, 2014, 07:21:05 PM »

I'm open-ended looking
Eyes open
For any sign
That the ocean gets as bored
Of turning the
Same dead sea floor over
As I do
In everything.
Divested far from the sea I thought I'd be
Free of the troublesome
That come with the toilsome
Of having and keeping all the
World's water,
But it appears
The boredom and rack of
Daily duty
Is not far removed.

Permalink  •  February 13, 2014, 02:53:15 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #69 on: February 13, 2014, 02:53:15 PM »

Sugar says sexual conquest is hard
But I wouldn't know,
I eat my meals for free,
And I don't know why anyone
Rails against going hungry
When sex is so joyless.

It's not enough to say I'm
Missing something,
That the problem is with me;
There's a problem in that scenario
Just the same as the one it sidesteps,
And it's worse for the wear
Because the problem becomes
Squarely centered
On me.

I just don't feel at home
Between any pair of hands,
It's too jarring to relive the past
In tandem with the present
By the nature of synchronicity,
And even when the past is absent
The present isn't doing anything for me
Because nothing he does
Makes me honestly feel any better
Than when he wasn't doing it,
And plenty he does makes me feel
Entirely worse.

What I do for him
Is sometimes better,
I smile when I'm making him happy
But we're both sad
Because we can't turn away from the fact
I did it for him
And not for me
Even if it was alright for the doing,
And we're not making any progress
No matter who is doing
To whom.

If I was an angler fish
He could attach himself to me,
And if I was a mantis
I could behead and eat him
After we finish.

Being human is sometimes so
Because the expectations are so dull;
Human sex is just supposed to end
In an afterglow,
And I feel less than human
While not feeling any more
Like anything else
When I can't get there
Through any configuration
Of these sloppy,
Slipping human bodies.

Permalink  •  August 20, 2014, 12:59:54 PM
Re: Tenda's poems
« Reply #70 on: August 20, 2014, 12:59:54 PM »

I woke to tiny voices screaming pleading,
Tiny hands with one long finger kneading
And wrapping 'round my ex-posed chest
Flush with the ground o'er turves of green,
Where -- to the best of my recollection --
This morning, my bathroom floor had been.

The grass cried Mother! as I rose
Clammy and cold,
Folding my arms 'cross my breasts
And stamping the cloying, crying grass
With my bare feet until the voices faded,
Children's pleas dissipated to sighs
And the rippling blades halted
And my shock somewhat abated,
Relieved and sated that no more
This dreaming grass tweaked and held
My chest where there I see
Dismayed and choking, shamed and moved
'nigh to crying
Pale milk glist'ning on teat and stomach,
Earth and mead,
Face flushing more fiercely with
Violation's surety, shock tumbled over
To plain sure indignity
Any dream would pretend to
Where once pressed his hands,
Kneading thither in love
Coaxing maternity endless.

He's gone now though, for months on end --
Time that will not end --
Hisself shamed admitting

We'll never be together again

And now these nights only belong to me.
The queen's bed
Mourning its
Never again to be satisfied
For naught will lie 'side or 'neath me
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 04:12:52 PM by Tenda »

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