destined. a story in poems.

here is a story, a slow narrative in poems.

the last day
cloud factory

cross bridge, up schenley hill
crazy unbridled afternoon
the grass, the clouds, the weed, at night

sculpture, pillar, me, you
hard against me

after the last day
everything about you
was out of nowhere
itinerant and wide ranging
i had no currency
for what you sold
no signs
yet i knew to yield
like flesh to knife edge
cold concrete on my back
hoisted up on your hips
fucking like vagabonds
in the smoking room
escaping out the back door
into the night and my bike
for the long ride home
with consequences.

shine on the city
under the murray avenue theater marquis
i waited for you, pretty in my best skirt
having escaped the party after one drink
having told multiple versions of the story
of where and with whom i was to be

you picked me up in your girlfriend's car
geo prism, arguably made in america
ice cubes in an inconceivable white wine spritzer
clinking against a heavy glass
flew, windows wide, over the birmingham bridge
traversed a ripe parking lot, grungy wooden stairs
into your unfinished apartment

i sat with you at the piano

later i found myself
perched undressed on a straight wooden chair
at the open window
stream of traffic lights flowing down carson street
my sex shining on the city

where it began
where it ended.

constitutional law
awaiting time to speak my truth
your prelection left me
reduced, dismissed

staying on campus to study
holed up in a classroom
$2.99 pizza and a michelob forty

equal protection

distracted, predictably
by the redolence of your hair
and the allure of the cold, hard table

classroom after classroom
i learned to advocate
i never sought habeas corpus

i studied you.

an accounting
oppressions, injuries
to civil liberties, spirit

panther hollow
musk clung to our garments, steam rose
from your wet cock as you
withdrew, turning
from me.

road trip
windows open
traveling with truckers
solo yet not alone in my

memory of chaos
fancy lawyers
first amendment rights
and bad moral character

were nothing, compared to
a twisted bicycle
rain on hot pavement
sending you careening
into a group of children

that child. that mother.

that child.

i had run away
down south

away from you and your needs
silver bells and bare shoulders
country music and truck drivers
nesting on arrival

i sought the ocean
an expanse of pure, unobstructed shore
for healing

on the ferry, a little boy
not unlike you
demanded every attention
all eyes on the boy
all efforts for the boy
i hated that boy.

the sunset erased all memory of chaos
the adirondack chair cradled my back
the shooting stars absorbed my tears
the wine drowned the noise

for a night. for one night.

in the morning, my obligation
headed north
to care for you.

rain on the roof
scene from the bathroom
in my cabin
rain on the roof
drops on the river
concentric circles
outside my window
my houseboat

rain on the roof 
sitting in the bathroom
clawfoot tub
river, raindrops
on the phone
my face in the mirror
old beveled mirror
above old pedestal sink
perched on the toilet
on the phone
my face in the mirror
breaking it off
saying no, no
no, listen

my face in the mirror
on the phone
between no and no
my eyes
my skin
my hair
on the phone
in the mirror
i am beautiful

on the phone
stronger, saying no
i am worth more
i deserve better
no, no
i am beautiful

rain on the roof
reflected in the mirror
lines around my eyes
grey streaks
bad skin 

rain on the roof
in my bathroom
rain on the roof
where babies sleep
i am reminded
of a moment of strength
rain on the roof
and my face
reflected in the mirror

i am beautiful.

if you lived in angel grove
i told her i was
the sixth power ranger
electra, who wore purple.

she believed me.

you took me to your family
and that is what i did.

your father on the virtues
of snorting salt water
awaiting loss of face
and hard time
your mother, you said
was a saint.

your brothers were all there
your sisters, all five
were far away.

now, that girl must be
grown, a young woman
whose mother left her
when she still believed in
power rangers.

and then, your comrade

  (the panther hollow bridge
  with no water below)

and that mother
and her child
they said why would
a mother
allow her child
to ride his bicycle
on such a busy street?

was it megazord
with his sights on you?

electra, who wore purple,
failed to save you.

failed to protect her.

the morphins, not so mighty.

what remains?
hearts annotating
the textbook i retained

my serrated knife
dog-eared joy of cooking
your vinaigrette recipe

and your letter
begging for my love and cunt
vast kundera storyscape

dear mare
you make me want to live forever
also (o).

If you like this story, here is another related poem: Summer of '93.