The Rose of Sharon isn’t really a rose, but it’s still a flower as real as the name you whispered in my ear in a voice rubbed smooth by a thousand hours of midnight and smoke. The space between real and imagined is a close as your breath on my cheek. What is real are your eyes that burn as blue as gas flame and all that I imagine when I close my own. The memory of your breasts, like “the ghost of a rose under dew” haunts me for months. This is real: If I could touch the milk of your skin, luminous under blacklight, it would be real as my own. The fire of your hair enflames my mind where what is real becomes hotter because it is not and where the Rose of Sharon blooms over and over and over.
Larry Oakner is the author of several books of poems, including SEX LOVE RELIGION (Blind Tattoo Press) along with the forthcoming chapbook, The Canticles of Private Lucius Swan, (Pen & Anvil Press) as well in Red Eft Review, WINK, The Oddville Press, and many others. Oakner lives in New York.
We hooked up on a drunken night somewhere in Bergen Op Zoom, Holland where I told them all outside a club they don’t know how to live this isn’t how you party, you drink soft drinks first, in a soft and nonchalant environment where you talk and joke and nag each other while it hopefully plays Springsteen or something sexy and old school like that and only after you’re faded you head to the dark corners with the loud music and that unbelievably obnoxious congestion of intoxicated young morons stepping on your shoes and spilling their drinks on your self-ironed shirt and it was the first time we talked as well, though we’d seen each other a couple of times she wasn’t interested and I was heartbroken from a previous lover. In the club we pretended to be brothers, who the fuck knows why and she kept bringing me girls and I kept failing and we drank more because of that and somewhere inside the laughing throat of this night we all were she danced with a black fag who danced better than her and I watched her suddenly with the predatory eyes of an intoxicated horny man looking at a beautiful woman and she noticed, she noticed because I made sure of it and she brought to us a beautiful angel, she was an incredible blonde dutch girl with crystal blue eyes we kept looking at as if we were on drugs, her skin incredible, which we kept touching, and the dutch angel kept laughing but then she told us she was sixteen and we both wordlessly agreed that it was immoral to try for a threesome and while the herd thinned in the club, dawn now, tired and sweaty and completely shitfaced I got in a fight with some Turkish blokes who were kind of right to fight me because I was hitting on one of them’s girl and she kept me back, kept me from getting my ass handed to me and I pushed her aside but she pasted herself against me again and said look at me, and I said, the fuck you want and I looked at her and she kissed me, our mouths watered by our saliva and after, in our hotel room we had an incredible time having sex which is a rare case with me to be honest, kissing her thighs, the tattoo that said “fuck you” right over her clit and in the following weeks we were six roommates in this house and my room’s window looked outside on the back of the building, over a roof she’d place a straw chair on where she sunbathed and read her book of self-improvement and we talked at times, me from the window, her there almost completely nude, me shirtless, trying to look cool, smoking a beer on my hand, noticing her face while she narrowed her eyes because of the sun and then she lost her dog back home and she got sad for a long long time, nothing would help, long talks deep into the night at Saturdays, the drugs I’d bring to her, the ice creams and then she decided to head back and look for her dog which is such a stupid thing to do when you’re 28 and at the same time such an amazing thing, you can’t help but judge it and be amazed by it. And she’s in a flight now, piercing through the clouds and I don’t care all that much, but it’d be nice to ride those bicycles one more time with her through these brick-paved streets, these beautiful western European roads and forests and hear her sing and hear her say those things she was so convinced were wise and I just hope she finds her dog because it’ll be such a shame otherwise, y’know?
Painting you With strings of good feeling Streaming over your lips Lips stretched in that so-quiet smile Come on your eyelids with thick lashes Some even lands in your hair Dripping now down your cheek Tongue ventures for a taste Those are my babies Wiggling along your skin Eyes open Those doe green eyes warbling space And your giggle I love you I kiss you Love is too small a word
She: How am I dressed in the best pic you have of me? He: In a black t shirt and jeans with slits in the knees.
She: What do you like in that pic? He: Your hair, how the ends are jagged and uneven.
She: In that pic, do you think I am wearing a bra under that black t shirt? He: Yes.
She: What excites you, about me? He: You are different from other women.
She: How am I different? He: Your power is amazing. I think of your big red brown bush against your milky white thighs and belly, and think, that’s the source of your power. It all flows out from there.
She: How else am I different? He: You are bold. You like risk. You enjoy toys and gadgets. Sex as theater, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, and experimenting.
She: I don’t need you or any man to tell me what I am, who I am. I know who I am. He: I understand.
She: It does excite me to have power over men, to be with a man and see, hear, and feel him begging me…for love.
Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press. He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,629 others across 44 countries.
twice now twice you cum hard, shaking, redfaced eyes rolled and i’m soaked my nipples the hardbrick spires on castles keeping watch for woman waft for cunt heat drinking in your ganja’d mouth-spit at random i love this new piercing thanks who said that? your…voice…what nobody here on my blow-up bed in a new town’s gathering dark my legs need a shave and my pussy needs or something and your brain is fucking my mnemonic mound, still, from your bed talking dirty nasty to me before like on cue there’s a mirror in this 3-day favor, apartment from old friend of old jealous girlfriend now calmed to sweety & catch-ups my red-eye then uber then here key under hall table dr teal shower i’ll open for biz and the pre-deposit outcall dates from the site we all use, on th’ morrow but i’m not… finished with you yet one more …one on the floor, feet against wall on each side of it, the thin glass silver sheet reflects every hair and avowal and every oh fuck rrrrrhhhrrrraaaawwrrrrfuuuuuck and jackhammer pistonwrist and soffffft kittentongue gentle fingertickle i’m my own star in solo messy there to bear witness to horny and alone and heat of my place in time butt arched, pussy splayed soft rubbery queefs like panther growwwwwl my cat my Familiar a whisper of pee its first froth an evening tidepool ‘neath my cheeks asshole eager for undulation for Agape for full redpink rose fingers deep in each, meeting my eyes in incestuous self discovery i’m close to shitting my legacy of small betrayals and i demand your face in my trough
ATAVISME pt. 1
a slip through a side-door psyche into a friend’s father who paid discreet potboiling sums to eat my unwashed ass & drink of my stream, its yellow coiled lava of alcohol and nicotine stench he of a black-mold america that lives to fuck and kill its young i to play his memory’s daughter new now to college and hugs love you see you at break i to wear some clothes he stole from her closet black halter top, with the underarm rip so maybe soon tossed panties, not her best so perhaps not missed stained first with my shit, set to dry.. makeup, his congealed vision of female youth tremor explosante fixe undulating hips smell of girl Ekstasis the labial gate soon slick soon wet his guilt a string tied to white balloon floating around her old room over the house droplets drop his savored menarche his dream in dark basement he readies the camera, mini-dv and i see Ellen’s smile my eyes through her mouth daddy we shouldn’t it’s not right the sad quiet sigh of old snow its angels long gone
Zoe Gold is/was a linguistics majorette, former meth-dive nude&toy-show stripper, escort, unrepentantly ratty pornstar, author & nice Jewish lezzie who got through it well enough to wrap up her DIY tell-all, coming soon to an online bodega near you. twitter.com/ZoeGold69