by Janet Buck

The Eye Patch

Blinders on a rocking horse,
the page does what it wills
with what I’ve lost.
Misfit marches trapped in gauze.
The Barbie leg they pin to me—
grabs at grace and finds a ditch
for bowls of morning cereal.

In “Screw You” mode,
we ride a tandem mountain bike.
I pedal its rose without my limb.
Tongues hang out like puppies
panting thirstily.
Cross between pain’s blood and bliss.
Thighs confusing homonyms.

Reflectors on a cycle’s wheels,
I bring your mortal base to halts.
Rolling thrones of wheelchairs
would drop my heart in toilet bowls.
What a mammoth aching shame.
To never hop the length of dreams.

I click through climbs like lousy gears.
If you watch my face—
ignore my legs—you’ll see
how wind combs matted hair.
How Moses drew his tapping cane,
marveled at the size of earth
when spirit scaled some mountain top.

Loving All Those Lesser Gods

Potty-trained on trouble johns,
my Stonehenge is a doctor’s chart.
Loving all those lesser gods.
Mummies of such missingness
blend with jackets of the earth.
Bark of truth in dental floss—
tied to steps on videos.
I hate despise disguise complaint,
cannot bear to watch it roll.
Too busy for mirrors,
I bother with stand—
always searching out a rail.
I know what I’ll see deep down
I’ll hate—pity’s useless baby spit
on fabric of my wedding day.

Truth is hang-nails crying out
for silver clippers cleaned by rain.
Begging to be pulled or shot,
but tugging at that inner blood.
Fresh roses of a graceful walk
matter more than they deserve.
High heel dreams in cardboard
boxes filling up a lame garage.
Is limping who I really am?

I sneak in back-seats of a poem,
masturbate the pain away.
Distracted by direction’s light,
wanting life in lighter gray
and pantyhose unsoiled
by yet another fall.
I swing in hammocks
of your praise—lock out
ravens pecking sexy,
dreaming of two real legs.

The Disappointed Parachute

You dance on paths
of easy street and can’t
admit there is a ditch.
My morning struggle ritual,
a language egg you cannot crack.
How does one sit up,
plant feet, just stand and walk?
A miracle I’ll never know
but always save in jaded form.

I have, in its place,
the fundamentals of grateful
for baby seeds of smaller things:
the bend of a wrist;
the flap of a laugh;
fingers playing word keys
like piano notes or
itches scratched.

What I convinced myself
for forty years was
a parachute of inner strong—
is, in fact, exploded condoms
for sticks of feel you
simply can’t get up at all.

When the swab of know
has touched a nerve,
then talk to me.
This glaze of petty
on our lives depresses
me to Hell. I’m tired.
And love is going back to bed.

The Pathology Report

You line up the world
from purely scientific
points of view.
Dead people look calm,
something I’m not—
in the rusty vice of agony.

Your living made on wings
of “after suffer,” not the
cruel act itself.
Pat-downs of
these private snakes
will always slither in the dark.

When hurt knocks hard
and rings the bell,
you just can’t let the sorrow in.
Pain’s infected cloud is a cell
on a slide: a membrane,
not memory, to slice and read;
its sticky cherish stands between.

Polite dismissal
is a queasy version
of lazy missiles,
with missions aborted
when it comes to feel.
You piss behind
the shrub of cash;
but money isn’t answers now.

I pray you learn
that other levers
of a heart engaged in love
will see a stranded motorist
beside the cold abandoned road
and use your wit—
not your wallet—
just to jack his wheel up.

Stained-Snow Selfish

Money’s hollow entity
is a sick, sad ornament
on our family tree.
Stained-snow selfish
hangs the mantle’s
Christmas stockings.
A brand new dog lives
outside in the cold
to save threads of a fancy
and expensive rug
that ought to be warm flesh.
Damn, poison ivy morals itch.

With the personality
of a conference call,
your bedside visits
only put my pain on hold
for dinners, Bridge(s).
There is no stream
that runs beneath.
You check in quickly
to my aching life
and switch the subject
mid-tear, mid-moan.

Order aides around
like old black maids;
I wonder who is paltry here.
If I could fry the bacon change,
I’d see the flame of suffer split
beyond the tilt of pouring wine.
I’d change the blouse of callous once
and burn the flag of “never home.”


©1999 Janet I. Buck 

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