I’d Offer You a Piece of Me

but I’m out of salt.
So, instead, I rip out the page I’ve been writing

     The punch of typewriter keys reminds me
explicitly of a job I once had. All I did was type
"Dear John" letters for ten hours a day. Now, every time
I sit at the typewriter, my fingers tap out those letters,
like a tap dancer that only learned one dance.

and stuff it in my mouth. A napkin catches
the ink dribble from the crook of my lip
as I frown. This tastes nothing like clouds.
But the imagery was so fluffy. Instead,
the tang of iron and copper floods my mouth.
Tongue or blood? I don’t know. I didn’t write either of them.

The vodka burns
on my desk, and it becomes apparent
that it wasn’t my cigarette that I lit. Flames lick
the page from my desk, and I imagine the flicker
of light inside my eyes. Erasing the fire, I write it
where it belongs, and take a draught of vodka.
With a fresh piece of paper, I gaze blankly.
Swallowing smoke instead of vodka,
I give up. I need more salt, so

     There was a time when I would walk the streets.
During the daylight. Nights scared the hell out of me.
This was when I couldn’t afford both cigarettes and a pen,
so I would smoke, and use the burnt out butts
to write on gravy stained napkins.

I grab some from the kitchen,
and season the page after I’ve scribbled stanzas
speaking sporadically of rainy Chicago midnights
and perfumed hookers and writing poetry
with a needle and thread. I bite the corner of the page,
testing the flavor. Cutting my lip, I see the red
begin to cloud, blotting out the stitched hooker in Chicago.
Not one to waste, I lick the page. As the flavor
bursts across my tongue, I realize what
my writing had been missing.

I reach into a desk drawer, tucked underneath
where only I can find it. My hand brushes against the wooden
grip of my Colt .45. I slide my hand
and wrap it around the solidness, pulling
the bottle of whiteout from the secret drawer.
As I unscrew the cap, the bitter tang of chemical
threatens to burn my nose. I dip the brush once,
twice, and dump the bottle on the page,
taking care to spread the whiteout until
the rocky texture of white is everything,

     Once I stayed at a cabin in Montana, where
I served my residency. It was short, because of bad weather.
A blizzard came through and erased everything. Outside
the cabin, the world had ceased to exist.

and safely contained on the page,
fenced in by the darkness of my cherry desk.
Little tiny bits of hail fall from the
salt shaker. I use more vigor than I ever have pushing
a pen. Tearing a small piece from the corner,
I place it on my tongue like a wafer,
letting it dissolve, sitting back to savor the taste.
The tingle of a blue sky right after rain,
with a hint of sunlight peeking through an elm.
When I swallow, it becomes real:
words don’t matter.


One response to “I’d Offer You a Piece of Me”

  1. I love some of the images, and the asides are a great idea. I have to reach on this one, and came back to it several times. Requires a bit more contemplation from me, and still not sure about some of the images, but interesting…

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