American Corduroy

I remember nights of Imessage insults driven through sprinkled streets, 

               two white trash wanna be’s dueling with roman candles, 

carbon dioxide limping off recycled apologies, 

               snaking from the muffler to the window of loves 

infallible four door sedan, its crash tested, top safety rating. 

               Close the garage it's time 

to get to business.          Darling

               if I told you I longed for a nightmare, would you believe me? 

speaking like a broad who gets off on being tied up 

                                                                                                                       spit on 

 

there's a kink between the window and the muffler keeping us alive,
               it's the thrill of suffocation, that ever so incandescent phrase landed 

on panting lips, ‘choke me’ revolving like an elegy to innocence; the animalistic intent 

               can’t stop won’t stop 

thrill of looming death, fingering pink piano keys in a dire spring, 

               that blonde matinee of american corduroy, clasping starlight and butterflies, 

trudging through heavy air, fascinated with the way each stuck to her skin, butterscotch scars

               sprouting honeysuckles; we would have been beautiful if it wasn’t for 

 

                                                                                                                              God and 

                                                                                                              the IRS. 

 

 

There’s news,

 

               the old hound you loved is dead. 

Milky eyed and mean muggin gray, she blindly wandered the house,

               sack bunting loose shoes and goring table legs, 

her trash compacted face wrought into that extraterrestrial pecan swirl. 

               A seizure took her while I worked, she died alone in the living room 

looking like a botched acid trip, her spellbound smirk half relieved, 

               half terrified, the scent of unbrushed fangs cloaked in expelled bowls, 

hoisted to heaven in a black leather La-Z-Boy. 

               I imagine this to be the pinnacle of modern death, hairy pride and 

 

                                                                                                                              the diarrheal 

 

                                                                                                              ascension. 

Do you remember 

               the night we went dancing? 

your dress too tight to drop it low, my pride 

               to high to admit you were taller than me in heels,

you tugged at coattails as if the 

               existential wind were inching up your skirt, 

trying to cop a feel with a newly cracked Pabst 

 

                                                                                                  gripped like a rose.

 

When we leapt off the porch to go to the shore,

               I gave you that hackneyed promise

I’m still convinced is worth something only once, 

               that first time I expelled it out of instinct starved wolf pack depravity

like a promise to God in a moment of terror, you can’t shut it out, 

               can’t mute your own repression, can't cannibalize your own words

                                                                                                                                                               not anymore; 

 

You returned it on the zenith of the bridge, steel tongue grafted over the inlet, 

               the charter vessels roaring in sync with boiling passion

 

                                                                                                              You spoke reluctantly,

 

as if choking on something you’d been meaning to say 

               but never could

 

still to this day

               never could; 

 

                                                                                                              held over my head, 

 

some 


                              meant-to-be-broken-take-twice-a-day-with-food-promise. 

 

I went on huffing salt as if trying to wake from a dream, 

               staring over the sapphire expanse of the Atlantic, 

wondering how such darkness could mirror the stars. 

In the gravel lot years before we parted, the sky was a snapdragon, 

               citrus clouds seemed to stare with fiery eyes,

 I knew it was just God watching me make mistakes, 

               cloaking wisdom with peregrine wings. 

You always hit your head on the roof of the car, 

               there was a trampoline rhythm to it, 

the sound became our heartbeat, alive and drowned in darkness, 

               neon lights leaking from the dashboard, 

filling your eyes with psychedelic splendor. 

               I stroked your feline back, wrenched over and 

dazed in pure love politeness, under spell in shoulders boney grip, 

               you levitated in the wake of disaster

like a cherub in the eye of a hurricane, 

               voice echoing convictions in a tired rasp. 

 

At christmas, 

my signature naughty-coal-in-stocking-maneuver,

we’d already bought presents so we exchanged 

               in a neutral parking lot armistice,

awkward tears brandished

               brash hugs like credit card payments

or post-holiday-poor-gift-returns.

               We retreated to separate bunkers

each confided to their own secrets

               folded neatly into wrapping paper cranes. 

 

Those promises were solar flares bleeding off 

               tight lipped best-left-forgottens,

like that old hound and her milky eyes

               silently promising me she’d live forever

while we watched movies she couldn’t see or hear

                                                                                                         or understand

 

on the La-Z-Boy that would soon hoist 

               her to high heaven

in a far too comfortable throne of death,

               a vaguely capricious catafalque, singing

Goliath silence, swallowing her final breath with leather lips.

               It's true I can’t sleep, I’m constantly rewriting my last words,

trying to nail a final epilogue 

               perhaps best left to silence,

like the hound and those acorns of tragedy

               softly staring into the finality of forever,

a wedding dance with eternity,

               cauterized in the cerebral cortex of I 

                                                                                     the adopted father

listening to tongue kissing rain

                                                                      weeping on the roof

 

untrimmed nails still drumming on the laminate floor

               her spirit still bowling through the halls at night 

nailing mahogany pedestrians like a blind yellow cab. 

 

 

Tragedy knights itself, quickly becomes 

                                                                                the sainted, 

                                                                                                         the sublime,

                                                                                                                                       the sole inspiration,

 

sitting here in this candle light, 

               low and sorrowful, my passion 

far greater than over prescribed 

               pesticides can withstand, far greater 

than pest control can massacre termites

               or ants or junebugs, far greater

than a warhead could depopulate

               the Earth, far greater

than the toll and howl of severed species

               of humanities ceaseless conniption, hence the bottle of 

Jack resigned to the nightstand; 

               I’d like to stick a tattered rag inside,

hear the growl of a zippo striking flint, 

               let the grief stricken crash fill the fuselage of my heart, 

my face pieced together by firelight, 

               think Poe at a lectern lamenting for dear Lenore. 

Corbin Wamble is a writer from Delaware.

©2018 HighShelfPress. 

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