First her clothes Black full-length dress slit up to the thigh Green emerald jacket belted at the waist Then the naked man in the locker room Then the moue she pulls when Ryan O'Neill asks if she could live with his body on her head Summer of '78 Jimmy Carter Open space between junior and senior year The joy of not touching
Of being untouched Varnish of sweat on skin Chill in the air Busboys at Spaghetti Works The charge of asking him to a poetry reading Exchanging poems Interstional He said that was a word
Lunch at King Fong's Slurping his food Wild hair against gaunt cheeks Austere is a word that sounds like its meaning Hadassah Bargain Box near his apartment on Dodge Walking and arguing ideas Coffee with cream sky above the incinerator on the north side of downtown
When we reached agreement I turned and walked away My sister Rita took me to The Main Event Westroads Cinema Kathy Bohi in a chenille jacket in the lobby The turn of her calf in Geometry Barbra plays a bankrupt executive whose last asset is a washed up fighter Her boyfriend told her she had a great ass As the producer he featured it in many scenes In interviews she said she never liked her looks although now knows she was beautiful in her thirties Wearing a shorty bathrobe she vacuums her pink apartment She smokes a cigarette like a man when she catches Kid Natural in a lie She mispronounces Brent Musburger's name and hijacks his sports show over the credits Most audiences were annoyed
At the end her voice breaks free Soaring synthesizers Multiple key changes A rise in octave
An impossibly long note Engine of music A machine cranked faster and faster This was my future Paul Jabara's song winning an Oscar Jimmy Carter in office Harvey Milk elected in San Francisco Sunsets at Elmwood Park Home of Warren Buffet Rita's new Famolare shoes in the mud Oaky wine Heavy sediment Muenster cheese from Hickory Farms When I grow up I don't want to be a stooge for daytime TV Judge Judy outstretches her arms like Evita Her Botoxed face is smooth Beastly Expressions a category on Jeopardy
A sell out A company man Today the sun was directly above the equator The day was as long as the night Jimmy Carter calls resistance to health care reform racism This is what it looks like people Your friends and neighbors The pedophile in the cubicle down Don't insult our intelligence Call it what it is How to get out of this When I graduated I shopped at the Goodwill for my future life An iridescent saucer A pink swan TV Lamp Pearl Methodist folding chair I packed it all in boxes and watched the CBS Late Movie The Bandwagon Fred Astaire dances in a penny arcade with another man Designing Woman Lauren Bacall bit Gregory Peck's ear in a sublime expression of lust Ingrid Bergman puts her arm around his shoulders in Spellbound This is how I would hold a man Barbra's voice soars A quarter of a century later I've got a basement full of bijou and porcelain Increasing in value with age
James Cihlar is the author of Undoing (http://www.littlepearpress.com), and his poems have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Quercus, Bloom, Minnesota Monthly, Northeast, The James White Review, Briar Cliff Review, Verse Daily, and in the anthologies Aunties (Ballantine), Regrets Only (Little Pear Press), and Nebraska Presence (Backwaters Press). The Books Review Editor for American Poetry Journal, he has also published reviews in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and on the poetry site Coldfront. The recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship for Poetry and a Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner, Cihlar lives in St. Paul.