This Isn't a Riff Or some placid four-liner something to move you lift you up This is a blank page a morning thought a screw you It’s your mother’s corsage our leopard rug the original M&M’s phone Not nearly as complex as the stone chimney we watched them build or the construction of the in-ground pool This is thick now muddy perhaps this became infected when it was left out and rain filled it mosquitoes multiplied by the thousands tortured us over and over with nasty little bites the entire summer This is never as sad as that light gray box suit – or is it windowpane makeshift herringbone those awful squares such an eyesore This is poker chips fall everywhere yet we cannot locate them when it’s time to cash in when it’s time to call it a nightcap our never-ending babble This was nothing now it’s everything this makes me sick yet it’s my survival East Coast Tears We’ve danced this dance ----- you stop talking ----- I shut up into my own later we’ll have casual conversation in front of the kids so they won’t suspect we are as screwed up as everyone else yet there was something brilliant ----- that thrived inside us merged / made beautiful babies / entwined us for twenty-some-odd years we had it you and I slow decomposition happens with time……………….. here we are staring into space thinking who can we sleep with to get the other back ----- but really who wants us now we are more or less middle-aged we go on because we have no one else we can’t quite break through to that old and gold love we have tried babe ----- I know last night I had a dream I was married to my former lover and in the end he said he was just using me for sex I woke up crushed and loved you madly for a minute now gone ----- in the presence of each other we only feel regret Dame I just licked the devil he was smothered in chocolate spooned my tongue so effervescent sweet The way to Hades tunnels deep always derailed by blind obedience the taste sugary hurt and grainy as bent love shapes the moon I curl under when I go it alone Real People Scrape the lies off your skin as I get right back up to scrape the blood off my knees roll your tall tales into a tiny ball place them in my coat pocket so I carry your burdens I am not the cup of promises I’m the alternate side of the street a thought no one remembers the hair in your soup Wanderlust Beyond me beyond counting souls I see a blurred line I cross engage wait it out (I have time) centuries perhaps yesterday evaporates into a magical mist that formed a life and I go on keep to the trail I’m magnified a thousand times (considered a candidate?) I always wondered how it worked - the approval process the book the gates……are they truly pearl?? am I forgiven……or forgotten I sinned (not terribly) but where is the scale my dear (in our core?) If I’m the half-and-half weigh me and see where I lean if it’s an exact fifty-fifty then what?? do I breathe with angels and sleep with devils I wait grayed with mistaken identity here and in the after life pushed down to resurrect and re-do Bio: Donna Dallas studied creative writing and philosophy at NYU’s Gallatin School and was lucky enough to write under William Packard, founder of the New York Quarterly. She has appeared in a plethora of journals, most recently The Opiate, Beatnik Cowboy, SpillWords and Phantom Kangaroo. Donna serves on the editorial team of Red Fez and New York Quarterly.
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