He said an orgasm felt like standing
under a shower head and having
this urge to pee. Said anyone could
lose it quick by getting their hand
dipped in a bowl of lukewarm water
as they slept. Only he had gotten
pubes by then—the rest of us bald
as newborn babes. Zipped in my bag,
I tried to stay awake, accompanied
by slow refrigerator hum—afraid
that someone would make me come.
Banned meat infected with mad-cow disease
on sale at the Circus Circus where just last week
a clown was caught spraying fecal matter
into the smorgasbord.
Must’ve taken weeks for them
to nab him, and who knows where I was by then—
my platinum Seiko left on a sudsy counter
in that Winnemucca john pawned
within the hour.
The last of my quarters gone
with those cherries from the “loosest” of slots
as I crawled back to a lifestyle destined
to fail out there in the suburbs
of the Wild West—
Virtuosos playing on the jawbone of an ass.
Vodka bottle open and my pants already off.
Nothing in sharp focus on that hand-held cam.
as someone’s being raped, someone else gets hunted
down—helicopter searchlights coming through
the trees where all the birds are singing
because they think it’s dawn.
TU CHE LE VANITÀ
The third shit of the day sure to draw blood
up against a hole inside the Peep-O-Rama—
a smile that belonged on a showroom floor
coming straight toward me. Who can afford
to stop for a slice and a can of pop where blue
pashmina skies seal-in the city’s heat hotter
than a hawker’s cart of candied nuts? Money
enables us to pursue our own ideas the voice
on the radio said—a subway saxophone cry
no match for Prada shoes that saunter on past
Bryant Park where a man starts screaming
bedlam from a Bible—its pages gilded gold.
TIMOTHY LIU's most recent book of poems is OF THEE I SING (University of Georgia Press, 2004). He lives in Hoboken, NJ.
Copyright 2004 Timothy Liu.