The moon can be a knife if you ask it—
you stare and smoke, waiting for heartache
while your skull scratches muscles, wanting out.
A man’s heart always knows when it’s beat.
I doubt I’ll ever know another man
who smokes, drinks, or whores as much as you.
As if those habits weren’t enough you write
because you think there’s still some glamour in it
though you’ve seen the same workshops and stiff shirts as I,
the dried up women years removed from sex
with only verse to keep them warm—and I say
what’s the harm in that, feeling closer to an iced-over clairvoyant
than to you. I’ll teach you to bullshit verse,
if you teach me how to bullshit the world.
And if stars can wretch their bellies out and rest them
on the counter of the local coffee-for-a-dime diner
you can surely learn the way to an academic’s heart.
But it won’t take an academic to know
your tongue belongs in a glass case, hammer
dangling nearby on a string. It won’t take
long for police to come in blue costumes
with ice picks instead of guns, arrest us both.
With cuffs sinister and scissoring into our wrists,
you will ask me who snitched, your face bludgeoned
and bloody, your eye swollen as a plum,
and I will answer poetry. That bitch you call a love.
When you laugh, the pigs will squirm as if tasered in the heart—
A man’s heart knowing when it’s beat.