Poetry

Living As a Lesbian on the Make

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Living As a Lesbian on the Make: Poems by Cheryl Clarke  



living as a lesbian on the make



Straight bars ain’t so bad

though filled with men

cigarette smoke

and juke noises.

A martini straight up and jazz

can take me beyond their static.

Alone she came in denim and a

magenta tee

hair cut to a duck tail

ordered Miller’s and smoked two

kinds of cigarettes

sat at a table close but distant

was pretty and I was lonely

and knew she was looking for a woman.

All through the set I looked at her

until she split in the middle of it.

I almost followed her out but was too

horny to leave the easy man talking

loud shit to me for a seduction I’d

have to work at.

The music sounding tasty

saxophone flugelhorn bass and drums

hitting familiar riffs

the titles escaping me.

              

  







©1999 Cheryl Clarke and Nerve Publishing

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nothing



Nothing I wouldn’t do for the woman I sleep with

when nobody satisfy me the way she do.



kiss her in public places

win the lottery

take her in the ass

in a train lavatory

sleep three in a single bed

have a baby

to keep her wanting me.



wear leather underwear

remember my dreams

make plans and schemes

go down on her in front of her

other lover

give my jewelry away

to keep her wanting me.



sell my car

tie her to the bed post and

spank her

lie to my mother

let her watch me fuck my other lover

miss my only sister’s wedding

to keep her wanting me.



buy her cocaine

show her the pleasure in danger

bargain

let her dress me in colorful costumes

of low cleavage and slit to the crotch

giving easy access

to keep her wanting me.



Nothing I wouldn’t do for the woman I sleep with

when nobody satisfy me the way she do.

  

              

  







©1999 Cheryl Clarke and Nerve Publishing

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working my way back




to



your face



        arriving



redolent



 such a pretty back



to old memorializations



        butch-femme     s-m



        maitresse      ou      esclave



        vanilla      chocolate      strawberry        neopolitan



throat deep



full bush to ears



the same changing


  

              

  







©1999 Cheryl Clarke and Nerve Publishing

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Cucumber



The texture of cucumber repulses my lover.

But last night we’d forgotten our toy.

I spied a deep-green firm cucumber

in our hostess’ fruit dish.

I stole it to our room.

I made the room dark.

The drums outside became more than themselves

and syncopated.



I rubbed the perfect cuke with a ginger oil,

knelt near the bed

and lulled my eyes closed.



The toilet flushed.

Her steps.

The room filled with her sex

as she knelt upright before me

and faced me squarely,

hazel eyes searing the brown dark.



Anchoring myself against her with one hand

and with the other pulling aside the crotch

of her bathing suit.

And felt her there.

Bent and put my face there

to make certain of wetness.

She was surprised at first by

the coolness of the lube,

but I assured her she could take it.

Soon she had no question, even talked to it.



    “I finally learned a way to make you eat me,”

     I spoke back in a voice not my own.

  

              

  







©1999 Cheryl Clarke and Nerve Publishing

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Untitled



Must every odd and ordinary object

be a trope of lesbian desire?

(I am guilty of that too — with cucumber and palm leaf.)

The dailiness of desire

and how sex can be fit into the strangest places,

a poetry of itself to be sure.

Sometimes better left unuttered

to an unwary public,

or vengeful editor.






The poem “Cucumber” is reprinted from Experimental Love © Firebrand Books, 1993; “Living Like a Lesbian on the Make” and “Nothing” are reprinted from Living as a Lesbian © Firebrand Books, 1986 with permission.

  

              







©1999 Cheryl Clarke and Nerve Publishing

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