From Personals:

Hay

He was a young inner city needle who played

ball in a cage : what the needle were we thinking :

I would needle my hands in the chain-link needle

and needle him : he played with his needle

and his abs were needled like a half-eaten

Hershey needle :

                                                      I had a

needle when I was seventeen : I told my needle I was

needle and he paid : we had needled each other : of course

it’s needlable whether our needle was really a needle

when we decided to needle it : if it was a needle

I would name it Needle : we weren’t allowed to needle

after the needle so we never talked about the needle :

my needle dropped out of needle and needled

a six-week certification needle : I needle saw him much :

needle once or twice he came back and brought me needles

for lunch and we needled our needles in the caf in silence

with our chopsticks : I needle you, he said :

I needle you too.

 

He will tell me when the woman sings in English

Let’s say, hypothetically, that he met a separated woman

in the enclosure between the fire doors and the main doors

while waiting for rain to pass. That the way she wore her hood,

low over her eyebrows, made her look Gregorian. And that

he chanted small talk from the oldest manuscript he knew

and asked her if she wanted to have a latte slash cappuccino slash

caramel macchiato to which she said Te Deum laudamus.

And since this is hypothetical I could say that they met

in a checkout line and slash or shoulder of an unlit highway

but that wouldn’t be right, even hypothetically. So let’s stay

with the coffee stand, the rain. Let’s say he told her his number

and she dialled right away and that when his phone started beating

he realized that he had not noticed his heart beat his heartbeat

in years. It’s as if, he tells me later, it had been set to Silence All.

Figuratively, of course. Hypothetically, even, is it safe to assume

that since that afternoon in the church there has been no Latin

between them? that it wasn’t raining after all? that he mistakenly

read her hood and her antiphonal mouth as scripture?

 

The romantic lead

I yawned all the while we stood on the prow of a ship

with our arms open in front of a green screen,

I mean, a sunset. The week before I had to watch myself,

my black and white self in a fedora, quick step through lines,

We’ll always have Paris, though we were in Morocco, though

we were on a couch, technically, with all her friends

when I charged in and said, You complete me. I zoned out

in Stratford in a tomb when I found her dead,

just kidding, she was drugged up. Then when I woke up

at the edge of a lake, her friends were back, this time

as swans, and I wasn’t clear on what I was doing

in tights and a mullet. I zoned out again. We went out back

to the dumpster and ate spaghetti — you low down

you dog you sweet thing you — till we kissed, till we boogied.

 

Copyright © Ian Williams, 2012