The problem with poems is they don’t love you back –
bring soup when you’re sick, draw a bath when you start
awake like a car alarm from a nightmare. Nightmares
they can’t contain, requiring language for
the stretch of gray matter you go skimming along nightly,
fingers combing through
language for when the dream pins
your shoulders down
and you push there
against your inability to scream.
You’d rather be on a beach
disbelieving in the sanity
of surfers, how they fall
and do it all
over again, for the rush.
You flirt with one anyway,
magnetic, spider-fingers where they tap
inaudibly on the table, you chase the feeling greater
than what you conjure up alone,
that built-in thing, that maybe. Sure you know
the ending, where your insides
spangle, everyone’s rosy-cheeked, everyone’s
in danger of committing
to something they don’t believe in –
little love names, little heart.
Sure you’ll invite one up – your little
untethered want –
Las Olas / Waves
We take a local airline
and my travel outfit’s all wrong. The puddle jumper
the mountains, which are green, and you wait at the bottom
of the collapsible stairs
to take me to the place, which is perfect in that gay way —
coffee table books of Greek nudes,
a chemical-clean pool, and today’s tropical nostalgia
runs into tomorrow
while we try playing house. I could watch you
light a cigarette forever. I’m too
self-conscious to cook together. I remember
the word for onion.
I watch you cut through one, layer by layer.
I’m interested in little violences.
How a plant by the river shivers up its variegations
if you run a finger
along the leaf spine. When I say it feels manipulative
you say I wonder why.
You like that I know things about biota. Lizards climb
the shower walls. I cup them away
from the creeping soap water. All this time make
you nervous. Another
slow morning and you smile into another drink, another
elaborate way to go down
on me in the kitchen. Wine spilling out
on the counter, my hair in the sugar
which the ants have invaded. It’s not a cliché
if I’ve never done it like this.
The two act play repeats. We’re running out
of things to say
so I talk in Spanish. The South American accent
comes back to me. Andean. You take
another work call. I swim out too far. Balance in the undertow
on the underwater
rock formations grown up like little volcanoes. Like witch castles.
Slip and slice open
my right hip and left knuckles. I say hola, Olas. Hola.
I came out to where the swell
overtakes the boulders
at high tide. To the left
the lulled, hazy hills of the peninsula
and to the right
the Pacific’s open mouth.
Low wind, the hush
as waves vacuum air back – then reach
long animal arms
up the sand until their tips
evaporate like hunger
in mid-day heat.
A man comes, hurls rocks
at the rocks; his wife complains
the sand’s singeing her feet.
Three Russian girls from the hotel
unwrap their hair
and strip to thongs. Far out,
a fishing boat, a line where
the blanched green
darkens to blue; one
low cloud swells,
doesn’t move. Ocean
of infinite change and stasis –
how much of it
never touches anything else?
Corinne A. Schneider is a working poet from the Great Lakes / Rust Belt. She writes poems, essays and other ephemera from the House of Sex, Death & Taxes. Her work has recently appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Bone Bouquet, Coldfront Mag, So to Speak, and elsewhere. She lives in Washington, DC with her cats and partner and writes about international solar energy markets for a living.