Image: “Man Mood,” by Richard Vyse, watercolor, 2018, 6 1/2×8 in.
I Will Bring the Whiskey
BEHOLD: Love on its last legs. We fought over a balloon
for the last helium shot. The victor’s truth
would rise highest. She asked,
Have you ever written with such haste
that your meaning appeared
not as words but
Her question rose toward the ceiling
and cast a shadow over the room.
Maybe, I said. Yes.
But the intention
My answer kissed her shadow, burst,
and disappeared from sight. It smelled
like war long after the smoke had cleared.
You and your explosive
truths, she said.
You used to
We waited for something to give.
Silence opened for my turn:
When push comes
most drink. Few tell
We Breathed on purpose
Refused to blink
Drew the curtains.
Obituary for Gerald
Gerald went by Gerald even when he was young. As a boy he set out to read the entire encyclopedia. He was adamant about doing only one thing at a time. In his twenties he played Russian roulette on Sundays. When he married Ava she forbade him from playing. He wanted to die until he found a new hobby. He chose bird watching. Toward the end he learned the call of the common loon because he thought it sounded like a wolf with a flute.
He made the call at dawn every day and one resident in his building wondered how a loon could survive in the city. He was not a fancy kisser. Ava said he was lightning incarnate. She could never trust his absence. He wondered if God spoke with an accent. Gerald wrote letters to those he loved that began For You and ended Always Gerald, some of which contained only a pair of parentheses in the letter’s body. He explained to his daughter I am sharing my silences with you. Madly was his favorite adverb. In his will he wrote Please refrain from using “pass” in reference to my death. I prefer punctuation. When he was found dead M was open on his coffee table. He never got past “Macaw.”
When it was learned that Aphrodite
had been fooling everyone with lipstick
the Greek gods convened to discuss the ethics of makeup.
Hermes, who secretly liked Aphrodite better with lipstick
said “Makeup should be permissible if it looks natural.”
Zeus, however, remarked with paternalistic fervor that faces should be pure.
Aphrodite asked “Should the Goddess of Beauty not
define beauty herself?” She looked to her husband for an ally
but Hephaestus was just happy to be there.
Resident hippie Dionysus responded in a drunken stupor
“Not in a democracy!” A majority nodded in agreement
and ruled that Aphrodite was in the wrong.
During the deliberation concerning punishment
Zeus ordered Poseidon to wash Aphrodite’s face
with the power of the sea in order to purge her lips of lipstick.
Poseidon refused on account of the punishment
being an egregious use of water. In a fit of white-hot rage
Zeus zapped Poseidon’s sea, which fried all of its creatures.
This was how the gods invented seafood jambalaya, which the Spanish
later stumbled upon when they could not find saffron for paella.
It was also the first and last time Zeus cooked.