The Poetry Project

Two Poems

Anthony Thomas Lombardi

delays & departures in an airport bar with Amy Winehouse

a Bop

at some point the question of the guillotine
how heartbreak can turn you heelxxxxxbefore any judge
or juryxxx she shivers so hard the pinup on her bicep
seems to singxxxxsullen & operaticxxxxxa kind of warble
i haven’t heard since a womanxxxxxlike a storm
cleaned out every corner of my own heart

you can’t rival the dead for love

everywhere bladesxxxxthe lime wheel on an untouched
glass of seltzerxxxxa wish like a razor whistling
under-tonguexxxxshe wincesxxxxthe sting of citrus
kissing broken skinxxxximagine gettin’ what we ask for?
points out the bruises on our kneesxxxxripe plums
the coins gleaming from a nearby fountain
a bed of severed crowns crawlingxxxxxup the wall
have better luck spittin’ up dice

you can’t rival the dead for love

the departure board blinksxxxxa sandstorm rages
in her glassxxxxbubbles whorlingxxxxwisps of smoke
need to use the loo right-quickxxxxher heels clickxxxxoutside
a night so pure the trees preenxxxxxi catch the glow the moon
shucked offxxxxxa scythe in the skyxxxxxour plane a silhouette
dancingxxxxxxxxxxxxxxacross its face

you can’t rival the dead for love

Italicized refrain is a line borrowed from Jazz by Toni Morrison.

taste of cherries

xxxxxxafter Abbas Kiarostami

my mother would always say love ain’t supposed to hurt
xxxxxxxthen she would put me through unpronounceable pain

it wasn’t her faultxxxsometimes we are mean & strong
xxxxxxxlike liquorxxxxsometimes we are softxxxa sorry could break us

like rainxxxxtoday i choose softxxxi am trying to
xxxxxxxhave a picnic under this cherry treexxxi eat the fresh

-picked cherriesxxxsuch peak ripeness i wish i had
xxxxxxxsomeone to share them withxxxxmy neighbor

asks for a light & introduces himselfxxxwhat dumb
xxxxxxxluckxxxxxhis name is mikexxxa hard tea dangles

from his mittxxxan actual mittxxxxhe is
xxxxxxxshoveling snowxxxi feel a wild nearly cruel

tenderness for mikexxxxi imagine him offering me
xxxxxxxsome of his teaxxxbefore i imagine myself declining

i’d take a drink from someone i don’t know before someone i do
xxxxxxxwhich i find to be the cleverest way to reveal myself

as a former stumbledrunk what a shamexxxno one else
xxxxxxxhears this pulitzer-worthy quipxxxxxxhey i’m enough!

is it enoughxxxwhen i die my gravestone will read
xxxxxxxwhen he walked into a room, he did not light it up

it’s been 32 years & the most romantic thing
xxxxxxxi’ve been called is recklessxxxthis is unforgivable

is that the best i can doxxxxxxhow dare me
xxxxxxxi’ll save it for a rainy dayxxxxright now i’m having a picnic

& listen the tree is lovely but it’s blocking my view
xxxxxxxit’s got to goxxxxhold onxxxxxdo you hear thatxxxthat voice

there’s another side of the treexxxwhere is itxxxclose one eye
xxxxxxxcoming fromxxxxwould you really give up all these cherries?

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