At the bottom of my old dank toiletry bag
I found your blue toothbrush,
crusted with greyish,
vaguely minty-smelling toothpaste,
and with a thick black pubic hair--
like a quiet bolt of black lightning--
caught in the worn and splayed bristles.
First I felt an old pain heave and roll
inside me like a dead tree in a river,
and then I felt a stale hate
brushed suddenly Colgate-fresh,
that all those months of scrubbing
had apparently not erased,
but merely washed down
to the blotched and forgotten
toiletry-bag-bottom of memory.
And for one sharp minute you were here again,
with the bed sheet creases
imprinted on your morning face,
your faint smell of nameless flowers,
and a frothy white grin as you brushed your teeth
and told me of your day’s goals,
stacked precariously with ambition.
But then the fridge hiccupped; the image shattered
as easily as an iPhone screen;
the silence closed round me again like mist;
and I flung that poison arrow straight in the trash.
But we all know plastic lasts forever
I Don’t Give a Fuck about Bach
I had just finished unpacking the last of my stuff
and decided to put on some celebratory Bach--
Italian Concerto in F Major--
and let the mesmeric stream of lucid music
wash over me for a minute.
When I opened my eyes I saw the bottle
of Jack Daniels on the bookshelf
alongside the minor poets,
and decided to have a swig to celebrate the new apartment
and soften the sharp echoes of the empty walls.
I took a big gulp and only then,
as the unexpectedly sweet fire touched my tongue
and throat and belly,
did I notice the two fat dead flies
drifting near the bottom of the bottle
like dead planets drowned in amber poison
or like a colon preceding the thought: pay more attention
and then I heard a knock,
and my new neighbor, burly and blonde,
all jaw, pectoral and faux-tribal tattoo--
like a muscle-wrapped package of masculine insecurity
delivered to my door—with chlorine blue eyes,
told me, Turn that shit off I’m trying to sleep.
What, that music? I croaked,
throat suddenly dry as a week-old McNugget,
But that’s Bach!
And he blinked once, as if I’d addressed him in Swahili,
and then he pointed a finger the colour
of uncooked sausage at my face and said,
I don’t give a fuck about buck.