The Future, Low and Weary
She was killing a piece for quite some time, nicknamed
it the L.A. part, cigarette and Camero, going out to the desert.
You step further into the hallway, jet-lagged, dragging her body.
Others' houses are thrilling, their reek of air and presence. Once
you hid in the doorway, startled Mother when she passed.
Once you went to Keats' house, where he was bled and liked
to sit in two chairs. The gone don't know they're gone,
know what they meant to a pillow. Even this one
with the unfinished tattoo on her ankle, vinyl dress on the floor.
Not feeling is an organized process of pools, Demerol, freeways
a living fiction. Why has the death mask lost its tradition?
Preservation is a picky thing; how effective is a face really,
save the expression of the Queen. You're friend, she's a goner.
You hoist her onto her bed and she will lie, saying nothing was ever
snorted. She'll need out as soon as she wakesthe dishes
with stuck cheese, coffee, chances at a straight flush, crumpled
twenty-dollar bills, the abortion. Everything is too heavy to handle,
even a body, those miserable days in school, the boots still in their box.
Never Leave a Rhinstone Unturned
The fancy singer chirps at her own boob jokes,
then sits in a white chair to sing about
Smoky Mountain life while she picks
a diamond-studded auto harp in her sparkly lap.
She's always been like that,
beginning poor and happy
then wigged and marveled,
a bride of future earrings
or ungraspable Tennessee grit
stuck beneath her plastic finger extensions,
and talk of trucks like lovers gone away.
A show or isn't she
unnecessary background singers,
purple curtains, rhinestone banjo,
the beauty-singer business quality
of this atlas of music and self-promotion,
lip-glossed storyteller, pretty songs,
and possible theme park braggart.
What hurts most here
my sister wore a wig and stuffed chest
in Mama's cream-colored church dress,
and pretended to be the one-woman triumvirate:
glee, mascara, voice for fringes,
puffy sleeves, wireless microphone, and farmland.