What I Will Do For You

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Things I Will Do for You

I will pretend to feed your cat,

while you are in Cancun.

I will check to see if there is a vibrator hidden

beneath your pillow and use it, restoring

it to its hiding place unwashed.

I will rummage through the ashtray

in your car to see if there are roaches

and smoke them savagely.

I will lick all the ice cubes in your freezer.

I will go spear fishing in your aquarium.

I will find your phone bill and make obscene calls

to all your long distance friends and family,

letting your name slip between particularly nasty phrases

in case they do not have caller ID.

I will take a bite out of each apple, pear, and cucumber

in your refrigerator and replace them in the bin,

bite mark down.

I will yell lewd words at your Sea Monkeys.

I will rock your bed violently against the wall

and yell, fuck me Bruce. All your neighbors will snicker

when they see you and whisper about you

and some guy named Bruce.

I will purchase crotchless mail order underwear,

embroider your name across the backside and send them

to the most repulsive man in your office.

I will photocopy my buttocks, scan them

onto your computer, and send them out

on the Internet, with your name and E-mail address on them.

For you, my friend, I will do anything.



©2000 Deborah Byrne and Nerve Publishing


Girls Who Will Never Marry

We howl. Dance snaky.

Faces red under a pumpkin moon

Our arms fly, release

Milkweed threads into alfalfa-scented air.

Possum play possum under loblolly pines

Cicadas have long shut-up

We are choke cherry starving for love

Below a sky wired with stars.

Barn doors are never locked and we

Want to lay with teenage boys

Who smell like quarter horses, feel

Hands and knees wedge our thighs apart.

Fingertips still stinking of saddlesoap

Will find a way to make us scream

Tempt us with a sweet deal

Make us sing songs of invented sin.

Come morning, hair spiky with hay

We hear the devil-tap of hooves

Watch the boys fade away, vanish, merge

Into an otherwise slow wooing of life.




©2000 Deborah Byrne and Nerve Publishing


Services Rendered

Girls need to have Bactine

sprayed between their legs,
David Anderson

told us, it gets rid of girl-germs.

So Paula and I shimmied down

our undies with the days

of the week on them,

she was on time, I was always

a day or two behind —

spread our legs and let the boys

atomize our germy parts.

Grateful we had neighborhood doctors

diligent in their work to make the world

safe, we made them rose petal

lemonade and tuna sandwiches.

When night had our parents in bed,

we snuck out, made torches

from sticks and rags soaked

with gasoline. We ran

with David and the boy docs,

through the neighborhood

naked — jumped hedges,

our torches lighting the sky

as we leaped by Andromeda,

Cassiopeia and the Pleiades —

laughing as we told the boys

we touched ourselves

and stirred their lemonade

with our fingers.




©2000 Deborah Byrne and Nerve Publishing


The Spanish Boys at The Hotel Manx

They prepare French dip sandwiches

for exhausted whores on the fourth floor.

Take smoke breaks in the air shaft near the kitchen.

They listen to sounds and feel vibrations

from the honeymooners’ room two stories up —

comment about the wife’s nice ass. No door on the bathroom,

they know the husband can see his wife pee

if he lies in bed just so and looks

into the mirror on the wall.

They chatter about the oily bellhop

who sells them to men visiting the city

without their wives. One of the boys laughs,

tells the others about the bellhop’s shrunken cajones

caused by childhood mumps. They look down at their laps,

laugh madly like a padre taken up by a bell rope.

They walk the Tenderloin Friday and Saturday nights

in heels so high pain rolls in their backs.

Their all the way home toes hurt, sometimes bleed.

The wigs make their scalps itch and smell —

the dresses, too tight, always too tight.

They hold hands, talk about paella, the way Auntie makes it

with saffron from crocuses she sprinkles with rain water

when the moon has moved between two hills

above the crayfish stream where an Uncle first kissed her.

They know the stars will hold their secrets

and they’ll marry girls taught by nuns to sit straight,

brush their hair a hundred strokes each night,

and only look when not being looked at.

When they’re old, they’ll sit

in parched plazas near fountains

filled with rasping locust leaves, drinking wine

from vineyards planted by ancestors who never

had to leave the land. They’ll look at boys

who walk by — especially ones who’ve come back.

They’ll know the look in their eyes —

so innocent they believe only the stars

know where they’ve been.



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©2000 Deborah Byrne and Nerve Publishing