Bruises ripen to deepest purple
and leaf shadows skitter against light
pooling on the bedcovers. The light breathes blue,
pale blue spilling its chill over me, clear blue
the color of laughter in my early morning dream:
Errol Flynn winked at me on the set of “San Antonio,”
British cowboy radiant from long nights of
sex with cowhand extras. But bruises are ugly,
plums are not. And I don’t give a damn
about the pages missing from my journal.
If you wanna dance, you’re gonna have
to pay the fiddler. I say it out loud but
there’s no one to hear me—nothing left
of last night but a lingering odor, its sweet
constriction at the back of my throat.
Altar Boy wouldn’t be able to find me now.
He was lost before we even got acquainted,
huddled in confession at St. John of the Cross,
tasting this bitterness, whispering sin. Later
he shuffled along Main Street, drifting toward
nightfall with his hands in his pockets:
I think Grandpa said it best in German: Einer hat den Beutel und der andere
hat das Geld. It was the last coherent thing
he could say, when he wasn’t praying God
to let him go. One man has the pockets,
another man the cash. My pockets are empty
too. I just wish I didn’t have to notice.
This day is bruise enough for me.
Texas Poetry Journal, Fall 2005
Note About the Poem:
This journal has been defunct for several years. So I will resurrect this dark little poem here.