Shopping with Mayakovsky
One morning I wake
not wanting to get out of bed,
and see a cloud
in my room.
“Mayakovsky?” I say.
“Find me some trousers!” he orders.
I scramble to the closet
and pull out a pair of jeans.
“Don’t know if these will fit,” I say.
“Of course they will!” he says.
“I’m a cloud!”
He puts them on and begins to look more like
himself, his cloudiness
into a column. “Don’t have much style, do you?”
he says. “Nevermind—
let us go out into the world and find ourselves
an ocean.” Before I
he’s kicked me out the door
into the sunlight.
“Ah, just what I was looking for,”
he says, reaching up for the sun and fixing it
like a monocle
in his eye. “Now, poet,”
he laughs, slapping me on the back
and sending me flying
into some pines, “take me to your supermarket.”
I point him down the street—
rain leaks from his legs,
flame leaps from his eye,
and as we walk he floods and scorches, scorches and floods…
“Marvelous!” he cries.
“Your window-flashing automobiles!
Your torrent of engines!
But these buildings are ugly.”
I slow him down
by telling him about my problems in love.
“What will it be?” he says,
his face softening,
the floodtide letting up.
“Love or no-love?
And what kind of love:
big or minute?”
He grins and nudges me with a feathery elbow:
“Girls are partial to poets.”
We arrive at the supermarket,
falls in love with the automatic doors.
He walks into the store over and over again,
each time announcing,
The people in the cash register lines
drop their products.
Mayakovsky bows and says,
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
present to you
Vladimir Mayakovsky: a Tragedy.”
One woman screams—
the rest smile and bat their eyelashes.
I grab a shopping cart
and Mayakovsky hops in.
We cruise through the aisles,
blackening the boxes.
“Look at all this food,” he says.
“Over there! The ocean.”
We roll into the frozen fish section,
slowing by freezer doors
so Mayakovsky can open and fog them
one by one.
He sees the lobster tank
and tells me to stop,
“This is how I feel, ” I say,
Mayakovsky tells me to move
on, then, once out of view of the lobsters, wheels
and says, “Stop moping!”
“But what’s the point?” I say.
“I’m not you—I’m just wasting my time.”
“You think you’re wasting your time?
You don’t know what it is
to waste time
until you’ve written a three-thousand line elegy
on the death of Lenin.
Try drawing posters
and championing boiled water
for a change.” I apologize
and he says, “Who can blame you for feeling
with all these stores around?
Forget about them.
on the edge
of your own decision.
“But what if nobody listens?” I ask.
“Hit them with hammer strokes
in stanzas like pistol points.
Make sure you sing.”
We pass the kitchen utensils
and Mayakovsky plucks
a long wooden spoon
from its rack, folds
a tuft of cloudfront
neatly back into a lapel,
and inserts the spoon
like a boutonniere.
“Now, let us find some women!”
he says, pointing to the produce section.
But then: “Never,
under any circumstances,
set your heel on the throat
of your own song.”
As we turn toward the tomatoes
the spoon shifts, revealing
the tiny, clean bullethole underneath.
I Just Got Out of a Serious Relationship
Often when I get depressed I think about throwing
Balls at something. Not diminutive superballs
But something you can pack in your hand, like snow,
Or a wet glob of paint. The look of smithereens…
“I won’t go out with you! I don’t wanna walk
Around with you!” sez Joey Ramone, which is what
The packed ball sez when it bloze my something
To smithereens. I thought I should tell you,
I just got out of a serious relationship. With a man.
Instead of giving me some good old-fashioned
Attention he’d stare into my colander all night long
Trying to count the number of holes. “Honey,
I think I see some constellations!” He’d bring this
Lunacy into the bedroom, saying, Little Dipper,
Big Dipper … and as if that weren’t bad enough, he took
My six-volume Modern Library box set of Proust
And drew Garfield cartoons all over the margins.
Imagine Gilberte strolling down the Champs-Elysées
And Garfield stuffing himself with lasagna at her side.
I should add, I just got out of a serious relationship
With my cat, who likes to cuddle by licking me
Behind each ear, twice, always twice behind each ear.
My man, he thought this smooth, so he started
Licking me twice behind each ear as well, and pretty soon
—You can just imagine, Little Dipper, Big Dipper
As each ear was two times getting licked—I was fantasizing
About my cat, making love to him in planetariums,
So I thought I should call it quits with both man and cat
And concentrate, for a while, on Monica Bellucci.
She has eighteen muscles in her back no other woman
Has, which makes many women want to throw balls
At her, and unfortunately, many men, including the gay
Man who rapes her in that horrible scene in Irreversible.
That scene makes me want to perforate that man
Into a colander, or shred him like Garfield translating
A head of lettuce into coleslaw, because when I’m feeling
Depressed, when I’m sitting alone in my apartment
Enjoying an all-too-serious relationship with my television
DVD’s, I like to think of Monica Bellucci saying
“Bon,” as she does in that beautiful French film L’appartement.
Would you like to have sex with me? “Bon.” Would you
Like to play Battleship? “Bon.” Would you like to watch
All 24 episodes of the 4th season of 24 back-to-back
With me? “Bon.” Jack Motherfucking Bauer, in the house!
In the 3rd season, Tony Almeida rolls his eyes a total
Of thirteen times, our Brooklyn correspondent Gunny Scarfo
Reports. A “scarfo” is what you use when your lasso
Has been misplaced and your scarf is all that you have handy.
Not only do you catch your cows, but you warm them,
Make them look fashionable too. “Have you seen
My new Scarrrrfo?” Cow Dancing Matilda sez to Cow Patrice.
“Oh, it’s divine.” Lately, I’ve been trying to get serious
With the divine, the Holy Monica of “consummate relaxation,”
As Nat Hentoff says of Lester Young, but she never
Calls me back, agrees to do dinner then cancels last minute
So she can party with her sister in Branson, Missouri.
I want to say, in true Jack Bauer fashion, “You have NO
IDEA how far I am willing to go to get you to cooperate!”
But she just rolls her eyes and says: “Look, Jack, I just
Got out of a serious relationship, I don’t want one of those,
Try cool and detached, positively flip me with surprise.”