“Three Oranges” by Charles Bukowski


first time my father overheard me listening to
this bit of music he asked me,
“what is it?”
“it’s called Love For Three Oranges,”
I informed him.
“boy,” he said, “that’s getting it
cheap.”
he meant sex.
listening to it
I always imagined three oranges
sitting there,
you know how orange they can
get,
so mightily orange.
maybe Prokofiev had meant
what my father
thought.
if so, I preferred it the
other way
the most horrible thing
I could think of
was part of me being
what ejaculated out of the
end of his
stupid penis.
I will never forgive him
for that,
his trick that I am stuck
with,
I find no nobility in
parenthood.
I say kill the Father
before he makes more
such as
I.

from ONTHEBUS – 1992

Charles Bukowski

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

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“This Life” by Jack Grapes

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

My wife is getting dressed,

rushing off to see her clients.

She puts a top on that comes down past her navel,

barely covering her pubic hair.

But when she sits on the bed to pull up socks,

the chemise rises up, exposing hair between her legs.

She puts one leg up, resting her heel on the bed’s edge.

Her legs a few inches apart.

Her pubic hair and mound clearly visible.

It’s enough.

This altar. This sacred, secret, sanctified,

whatchamacallit.

I stop by the TV and ask her

when she’s coming home,

do I pick up Josh today,

are we going to David & Gina’s for dinner on Saturday,

should I get bread and milk at J-Market

or what?

“What,” she says.

I’m talking, she’s got her head down working on the sock,

no, I think it’s panty hose or tights,

something like that,

something complicated that requires her full attention

I’m talking but I’m really looking at her pubic hair, her sacred

whatchamacallit, that is . . . . and is not . . . . her,

the embodiment of everything,

the symbol of nothing but itself.

This is when . . . . I think . . . . maybe not . . . . but probably so.

this is when I love her the most,

when she’s putting on socks, half-naked,

paying little attention to me.

“What?” she says.

She’s not even listening to me.

“Should I pick up Josh,” I say,

“and what about the bread and milk?”

Actually, I’m not really talking to her, either.

I’m looking at her pussy

while she struggles with this complicated long sock or something,

her head down, working it fold by fold past her heel

and ankle, then up the calf, over the knee,

up the thigh, finally standing

and jumping up and down, small little jumps,

as she tugs the last part above her pubic hair,

above the navel.

She rims the elastic with her thumb,

gives it a snap, then looks up at me,

finally. She gives her head a shake,

straightening her hair for her clients,

getting all neat and composed and psychotherapeutic,

her sacred whatchamacallit covered by a gauze curtain,

and in a minute, by the dress.

I’m looking at her,

thinking of that Grecian pottery

where Aphrodite rises from the sea,

her sandstone naked body

gravely and glistening in its classical flesh.

“What?” she asks.

“Do I pick up Josh today?”

“Yeah. Is that okay?”

“Yeah.”

We stand there, holding everything

unsaid that seems to float along with the dust motes

made visible finally by the first light of the morning

coming through the blinds.

When you coming home?” I ask.

“6:30.”

“Don’t forget my class starts at 7.”

“I won’t.”

Then she’s off, rushing from one room to another,

grabbing necessities.

I catch up to her at the door.

She kisses me.

I kiss her back. A little piece of sweet lip

in her sweet breath. I keep my eyes open

so I can see her face close-up.

“Love you,” I say.

“Love you, too.”

I stand on the front steps and watch her

get in the car, buckle-up, start the engine,

make a U-turn and come to a stop at the stop sign

at our corner. I walk to the mailbox

on the corner and give a little wave.

She sees and waves back,

then pushes off for her day, her clients.

I have things to do, too.

Have to xerox poems for my students, my fellow poets.

The sun’s not out yet; by noon, the clouds’ll break,

and it’ll be a sunny day,

and the sun will shine

on my wife and on my students

and on this blessed, sacred, sanctified life.

Jack Grapes

© 2010

“THE COLLECTIVE SIGH” by Adesh Kaur

What if I stood before you yummy, naked, and giggling?
Would the little children in Park La Brea grow long noses?
Would the Neiman Marcus matrons buzz for security?
Would the baristas at Starbuck’s charge me extra for a Venti Americano?
Would the poets and writers in the Collective ovate me standing?

I am because….

I am.

I am your breath, your astonishment, your looney.
I am your sex, your howl, your suckling.
I am your dirty little feet, your lilac wine, your green jello.
I am your blood fire shadow-ghost mommy.
And now I shall whoop it out…

I am your favorite.

I am because…. I Am.

I am the poet of your breath.

My heart-lungs are in you predawn computer’s a’glowing.
Soft! The broken-breasted one is typing to save her life,
stiff with the Muse between her legs.
I exhale and she poets herself unto glory be.

I dissolve into the Lady of the Rainbow as she ascends into her art
gallery of brain. I smile whilst she chakras masterpieces of pain.

O dear, a lonely one over there with swollen ankles is unkittening her heels.
Breathe, pussy-cat, breathe.

And in the far away night sky, it is he, he who sings an aria of luminous loss.
You shall possess tunes of eternity, young man. Yes, and I will hum along.

Alas, there suffers a poet inhaling a grief we shall not speak of. No.
This one I will wait for, just up ahead, where all infinity bubbles with joy.
Breath is not needed where her sweet one eternally celebrates.

My compadre poet who breathes fire into mythical creatures as lovers
has done her job well. All applause and brava, Divine Mistress of Phoenixes.

And our Spirit Guide, our Maestro of Genius, our Poet Daddy.
He raises his baton to the terrible beauty of beginnings.
The orchestra holds its breath, but the maestro is untamed and wild.
With a howling crash, he unleashes the music of the spheres into our very souls.
Captain, Guru, Wise Fool, you are our inspiration, our respiration.

And we, we are the Collective Sigh.

Adesh Kaur

(photo: Jack Grape’s Wednesday Morning Class)

All Rights Reserved

© 2010