hierarchy

Standard

they told me your status in the pecking order
was higher than most and there’s some
sort of evolutionary, primal instinct that
kicks in inside my loins
aided and abetted by big blue eyes and
a smile that says “you could come over
here if you wanted to but i’m not sure that you will”
so inside this context i had a choice
and it was like a choose-your-own-adventure book
but i couldn’t read ahead and see what
was waiting for me
what it came down to was seeing what i have
in store for me when the time comes,
when it’s time for me, too, to “settle down”
and “raise a family”
there are, at this point, two choices available:
i will choose to be a wife just like yours
at home with your kids while you’re begging
me not to leave you alone in your hotel room
six thousand miles away and you lay my clothes
out on the bed when i insist on not
sleeping too soundly next to you
or…
i will choose to stay strong, single,
independent, free, untainted and alone
i will not tolerate this bullshit evolutionary excuse
that me, men just like you, you all just can’t
help yourselves. it’s biology it’s darwin it’s just
the way things are and who can argue with that?
i can, that’s who, because i’ve also cured myself
of the biological drive to kill and cook the first
living creature that crosses in front of my face
so you know what? i think you can do your
part to keep your you-know-what
you-know-where it should be
because me, me and my sisters, we’re forced
to adapt to the changing whims of the patriarchy
we have to have our jobs and cars and apartments
these days in the jungles of concrete and student-loan payments
because your evolutionary-retarded ass might run out
on us at any minute for someone like me
because if it’s me or not, those big wide eyes of yours
will always wonder at the newer, shinier model
it’s greed, lust and sloth, plus a few others
all rolled up into one tiny little gene package
that says “it’s just the way we are, baby,
but i still love you, she didn’t mean anything to me”
the servant can’t ask for more soup as long as
the master knows there’s other servants out there
to be squandered
so what do i do?
i take what i can from you and remind you
every once in a while of the power i hold
in the palm of my womanhood and
remind you that evolution is no excuse for me
and i make you beg for me since,
within this paradigm, it’s the only power i’ll ever taste

the wedding

Standard

(dedicated to adam and myung-hee)

it was january, far too cold for blossoms of love to peek and
greet two young lovers in the church in the village
of four hundred people only, but we bundled up
and slipped through the snow to witness
the life of two made one.
cross-cultural the essence of time made intertwined
with my guest and i as we sat behind the lady with
the big hat and watched the bliss on our groom’s face
the unending joy on our bride showered on us all
from aisle and altar
i reflected briefly on my own life (how could i not?)
and sank inside one biblical phrase that caught my ear:
love keeps no record of right or wrong
it was spoken in not one but two languages that day
not one but two hearts would keep record of those words
and i would try my best to do the same

snowflakes were our blossoms that evening
my guest and i found the reception hall
we gabbed and giggled and mingled
but while the bride and her groom danced
i caught a brief glancing instant of
what it must feel like to know
the person who you’re holding
in your arms at that moment
in front of all those people
is the one that you would hold
in your heart
for eternity
and in one simple instant
tears flooded and rushed to my eyes
and i couldn’t imagine knowing
that truth for longer than that instant

my brain was broken apart with discussions
of freemasons christianity patriarchy infidelity
good music bad movies floundering relationships
as my guest and i resumed the deconstruction
of everything we knew and quoted our favorite
movies in the spontaneous combustion
of like-minded individuals
and i knew i would have the arduous task
of reassembling it all when i got back home
kind of like putting back together a rubik’s cube
when i was a kid because i was too frustrated
too impatient
to do it
the right way
what is the right way?
i asked my guest and he replied
“be a good you, that’s all anyone asks, is for truth”

we stopped watching watches and meandered back through
upstate new york with bad singing voices and an un-need
to get any certain where by any certain time
the catskills and the hudson at the newburgh-beacon bridge
slowed time down for us and we imagined our future selves
in future houses hidden in those rolling hills that wrapped their
furry bodies around our car
and when the road become no longer familiar we kept driving
straight through to see if we’d find a point of focus anyway
and we did

soon the triborough bridge ended and the disjointed
disfigured weary manhattan skyline brightened
for a moment and smiled and hugged me
like i had been missing for too long
and it was glad to see me again
i hugged it back with a whoop
and a yell
my apartment arrived at my feet and pulled me
in for a big wet smooch hello
my guest departed with promises of
future infinite road trips to nowhere in particular
i dropped my bags on the bed, my boots at the door
my need for the world outside at my feet and
settled back into the obvious
the ordinary comfortable familiar.