Friday, September 30, 2011

Nymphomagic Electroshock

The ice cracks and weeps
black running veins in the road
and it’s warmer, sure,
but this is the worst
time in Alaska
because

the melt-off will take
weeks, maybe
until the end of
May to clear out
from the yard and
meanwhile

October’s dogshit emerges
from the gray stink of
April meltwater and damned
if it isn’t just dirty-ugly, the
dirty ice, dirty snow
and what grass that
shows is as

brown as the
dogshit not one of these
stupid moose-humpers feels
obliged to pick up
when they walk their
dogs

and it was at this time of
year called “Breakup” (no shit) that
I was feeling every second of my
41 years walking out to
get the mail and

I looked
down
the street and
there was this
blonde child
of about
18 or so

her blonde hair
flowing over
the collar of her
puffy blue jacket like
molten life everlasting

when saw me 

seeing her she
waved and
smiled so large
her teeth 
smiled with her

and
most unnerving
of all was
the creeping
feeling

she meant it.


Throughout the
long breakup season
I treasured her
starshine slap
letting it

sustain me though a
fitful drowse of summer
and the sad breakaway from
Alaska that happened that

Fall, when I drove
my family across Alaska
into Canada, through forest
and city and canyon and

settled for a while across
the sound from Seattle, among
some of the most hideous and
warped humanoids I ever

saw in a climate that
was too bleak to be
believed.

It was two months longer
than the longest year before the
Navy ordered us cross-
country to Virginia.

It was in Sioux Falls, South
Dakota, a frozen gray fogbound
sinus of a morning after a day of
winding around the Black Hills and

Mount Rushmore and a sunset chase on
the prairie with my wife and children by
the rest stop before the long straight
deadly dull night drive into a
cigarette-stenched hotel room

We were so glad to be out
of our smelly hotel room for a
free waffle breakfast even though
it looked as if we’d have to fit

ourselves in among a girl’s
high school basketball team on
their way to play a game in
Nebraska

a long way south but
that’s what they do here.

No, this wasn’t at all like
the last time, this time the
smile-blast was buckshot with
meaning as I

motioned her to
go on ahead of me to
the waffle iron and
up went the corners

of an otherwise
undistinguished mouth
and I stood 
caught

dazzled, as she
told me without
speaking “It’s all
right, Daddy, I’m still
waking up but for
this I love you so
very much and
so I grant you
this

“while denying the
vampiric old
slug within you
which would like 
nothing more than 
to rub its soft naked 
decay against my taut 
springtime warmth for 
the sake of affirming 
its value as something
which somehow hasn’t 
died yet, instead

“I affirm and
celebrate the
innocence you so
mistakenly mourn for
gone in everyone, 
especially older teenage 
girls like me and even
(believe it!) yourself.”

and with the
revealing light of
her smile, a wild
fresh wind
blowing, as
the Great
Bukowski
so aptly put it,
breathing life
into so many things
I didn’t know
still breathed
though now I

wonder, did I
have to go all
the way to Alaska and
South Dakota to
experience this or was
it just a matter of
being such a
cranky old Daddy in
form, appearance and
(sometimes) function that
these rare Girls
couldn’t help but
respond?

I never knew such
guileless and sweet-for
sweet’s sake Girls growing
up in South Carolina, they

were as much out for
something as I was,
circling predators competing
for the biggest chunks of meat
from one another

and I presumed that
was the way it was
everywhere

from Mobile to
New York City I saw
nothing so much as
to suggest an
alternative

so I count myself
lucky for being
where I was and
for what I have
beheld

even if I sometimes 

think that the good 
things that keep you 
going are sometimes 
the worst

enabling more
useless struggle against
a decidedly unpleasant
inevitable, still

years after that
first smile among the
rotting ice and  
thawing turds and

thousands of
miles removed from
the basketball
player standing

out amongst her
blandly chattering
teammates with a
singular flex of
Olympian
heart

I still get a
lift from these
visions and (oh
hell yes) I

live for the
possibility
of one
more

maybe from the
pretty young
nurse as I lie
abed

right before
the final
lights
out

I could die
richer than
God.

___________________________________________________________________
From the forthcoming collection Nymphomagic Electroshock and Other Middle-Aged Complaints.
Copyright © 2004, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.