CAFÉ DES ARTISTES
by Diana Rickard
Reading about Freud and arguing to myself
about the origin of you-know-what
it felt like I was eating wontons in peanut sauce
with a small-boned girl from a broken home.
It’s in these lopsided interstices you tend
to ingratiate. Across the street windows
are like religious emblems, a collection
lining the joints, swelling exponentially.
Our friends impinge like waiters
and even your derision seems rabbinical.
I still believe in TV shows: the boy,
the jugular, the disaster that happened.
How real, you think, it all must be to me, leaves
too vivid with light, “pretty” and “quaking”
the butter-mashed yams and the movie
Blow Up; the way you said “apoplexy”
angrily and without spitting.
“I don’t want martyrs
-- I want convictions!”
a successful man hissed
in the West Village
while you read about “the biological
system of love,” it’s rootedness
in bodies unlike your own,
diffuse with freckles and uninspired.
Your teeth hurt in winter, and each night
you watch a drama of a woman
with hair and clothes similar to mine.
You are orificeless, memorizing chunky words,
bawling about the remoteness
of my subjectivity, building an unwholesome
reliance on the computer’s thesaurus.
Unattached, quietly ill,
you see his face, her face.
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