best friend

he says
you’re his best friend
and yet
he could not walk
ten feet to hear
your set. don’t
take it personally. it’s
not you, it’s him. he
cares about nothing
so much as his
unlovely, unloved self.

actually, that’s not fair.
I’m sure
his mother loves him.

house blessing

I didn’t psychically cleanse
your new home before
you moved in. I wasn’t sure
it needed it. I didn’t feel
any bad vibes. maybe they
didn’t notice me because
I wasn’t going to live there
full time. but now I hear
how you are beset with fears
and worries, some of which
I believe I can rid you of.

the space is not just a space,
it’s a repository of all the emotions
that were previously felt there.
if the prior inhabitants were anxious,
or quarreled a lot, or angry,
or depressed,
all of that psychic residue
remains behind when they
move out.

but these lingering spirits
are no match for me. I’ll
put out bowls of white vinegar
in every corner of every room
to soak up all the bad stuff
and then toss it out the front door
far into the street. I’ll smudge
with white sage and incense,
and tell all the things that bother you
to get out and stay out.
I’ll obtain dried herbs and
special waters, and wash your floors
to sweep away all the nasty things
that bug you. I’ll hang a horseshoe
twined with red ribbons
and evil eye charms
over your front door
so that no one even thinks
a bad thought in your direction.

I’ll weave a protective wall
of peace and harmony
to keep you and yours safe inside.
no one and no thing will dare
to try to get you
when I’ve worked my magic.
don’t worry, baby. I’ll fix it.

the sticker

I’m so glad
I never got around
to putting your sticker –
your very popular, instantly
recognizable, well known sticker –
on any of my instruments or
other possessions. after the
falling out we had – entirely
due to your reprehensible actions,
I might add – looking at it would
make me sick. you said
you did what you did
to me and not other people
because I would forgive you
right away, and other people might
hold a grudge. boy, you were wrong
about that. I will hold this grudge
till the end of the world
and beyond, just to prove
you wrong. fuck you, and fuck
your stupid sticker.

Spanish dancer

She sang along to a track
that sounded like a cross
between reggae and tropicalia.
her voice was not great:
too nasal, and her pitch
was iffy at best. but she
was human sized, and it
was obvious from her
thin cotton dress –
so artfully pulled
off the shoulders – that
she wasn’t wearing a bra.
I didn’t particularly care
for her act, but I know the
front row appreciated
the eye candy.

how I lost without even playing

that goddamn scorecard has been up
in the back room
for months on end now, if not
a full year. I fucking hate it.
every time I see it I am reminded
of how I didn’t go
to the games night and instead
went to a women producers meet up
because there I could share
my latest work, an outlet for
the other side of my art
that I can’t get out at
the open mics – and I remember
how when I finally arrived
when the game was almost over
and gave my wack excuse,
saying “it only happens
once a month”, the game creator
snapped back “this only happens
every six months!” and I was
duly chastened. I haven’t
been back to the women
producers meet up
since. and now this scorecard mocks
my pitiful excuses and
how I’m always trying
to have my cake
and eat it too.

the veil, lifted

I see it now: I was never
the one. she was always
the bright-eyed doll, the queen,
the evanescent moon around which
you orbited. I almost can’t
blame you. she’s blonde, she’s
pretty enough. she fills out
her clothes nicely. she plays
a mean guitar, and wields
her voice like a weapon.
no, it’s myself that I’m mad at
as usual, for daring to think
that your dark weirdness
was directed my way. I
could not know, but I
should have known.
it’s never me.

sacrificial rites of passage

I’m done
sacrificing myself on the altar
of those who never truly
loved me.

I cut out my heart with a knife
and gave it to you, and
you discarded it like
a dead bird you found
outside your window. okay,
I said, and turned myself down
a notch or ten.

then I crammed my hollow body
in a box and mailed it
C.O.D. to my mother,
who refused delivery.

so when it comes to
the old Aztec ways,
I’m over it. give me a
hot new death and a cool,
clean slate, maybe a
scalpel this time.
tell the gods they’ll get
their pound of flesh,
but the contents of
my skull will stay
a mystery.