poetry by Sarah Goodwin

Sarah Goodwin

Painted Lady

What you heard about her was true:
She posed naked on white canvases
Filled to the last blank
With apples falling into her panties,
Brushes begging orange nipples.

Men turned on lights to make love,
Though all she owned wouldn’t fill her fruit bowl.
There were several pages of curve and shadow,
Built up then tossed aside,

Crumpled words, slum and slack
Within the maelstrom, don’t tell
The whole story as brush strokes
Of peacock’s purple and yellow

The moon was an imbecile with a whip
Hotly playing her veins like guitar.
Someone always brought her coffee
Though she turned inward,
Cupping palms to the window.

An orange cat paused its delicate step
Neither one was domestic.
She would never stop searching the darkness
And she would take what was offered
Even if it was no more than
A full glass and an open window

Twelfth Hour
(Previously Published in Poetry Super Highway)

Somewhere in our twelfth hour of drinking
The two men who love me become fast friends
raising glasses above prerequisite bouquets
to salute the generosity of my haunches
gulping years spent under their delicate mouths
Later, the body, passed back & forth
like a bottle between self & lover
gets hung over, some old fool
wakes sobbing in the morning
But now: sparkling gold
quenches dry night air
& we are singing like bells.

Portrait of a New York Lady

Ludlow Street moves outside in spring
restaurants on the sidewalk where
old men play chess on card tables
Having seen a penthouse view I must
make do with a fire escape and imagination

Leaping with sexual ease Saturday Night
on Broadway! Courtly lovers and fairies
floated to the ceiling in pink and green
umbrellas later we took a soapy
shower and fucked like crazy,
for Monday came with menial labor.

Riding Fifth Avenue in the rain on the roof
of a limousine pretending to be a drag queen
bound in fake pearls Someone took the leash
and ran me barefoot through the gutters
where the skyscrapers were high and clean!

Thus is life: leftover lo mein, headache,
volume of William Blake, body heat
It is five a.m. in someone’s living room
turned illegal after-hours, a buffet of
special K, ecstasy, crystal meth, cocaine,
an angel in bustier from dark smoke and heaven

asks if you’re my boyfriend you say no and that
is why I love you. I kissed Diana’s boot and wandered
her tight thighs so chemical, the very texture of our skin
altered I stood in the center of the room
looking round and round.


© 2001 Sarah Goodwin

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