January 24, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

He saw my
picture in a
magazine and told
me he wanted
to take me down
the Mississippi
hollering poems and
blowing weed, he
sounded crazy
and I wrote that I’d
never been
beaten, that I was
a bitch

He sent me
pain and lust
for 19 days, his
aloneness, how he
wanted to fall
into blue water.
he said my letters
fell apart
pressed to his
skin. In March
my arms started
melting and

I drank the
Chateau Ausone
he sent, by April
my face was
burning. He sent

me his so that in
Concord I could
just think about
him while the
river was
But I didn’t
think he’d
come, writing back
checks, stealing
hamburg, staggering
with a torn suitcase and broken
shoes from California.
I didn’t know where
to keep him

and I got drunk on
cognac before he
fell thru the

He taught me
what men did in
prison. His

eyes weren’t mean
and blue when he said how
we would live in a
house of shells in
the ferns in
Big Sur
high on poems

he said we’d eat the
colors off Point
Lobos, dark
wine and succulents in
bed. I could
hear the
seals afternoons
we lay in a blur
of nutmeg
watching the curtains

his head on my
belly telling me about
women who
stopped mattering

that’s when it
started getting
scary. One
waited five years after
getting a short

I wouldn’t even
take the bus
across town
tho I dreamed I’d go
with him
to Yugoslavia
and Mexico

he kept getting busted
and moved under the
stairs with
dead moths

drinking beer
and not coughing
Then he moved
out into
the trees

came leaf by
leaf in the morning

fog was what we
needed, a blur to
lie down and
lie in. I
never liked his
poems as
much as I
pretended, not
even the ones
he stole

but I loved the
stories, how he
made love in
coffins, stood
on the roof of his
house screaming
at stars
But he kept
breaking into
places. Once
I held him 4 hours while
he cried

Next morning he poured chocolate
on my lips
and ate it and
talked about
going to Montana

we could live in a
wooden hut in
Canada with my cats

only nothing was
getting better
he vomited blood
and black things
If he came in
late I thought
it was over

He’d just laugh
We’d take a bottle
out into the
huge weeds
and collapse

other things fell
too, leaves
he’d slam into
chairs with
cigarettes, burn
holes in everything

I set the clock
ahead, wondered
how long this could
go on, the snow

coming and I
watered the mail
when he went to
get better

and didn’t
by October I
couldn’t move

whenever I went
there were
tentacles, his
eyes in the

I tripped on his
arms and then
cut out for Colorado

he couldn’t just
stay in the
leaves, children
said he smelled
like fire

ladybugs lie on
their backs now the
wind is rising

I’m not
sorry that he

or that nothing
could keep him

*Lyn's website:


paisley said...

i'm not quite sure why,, but this continued to suck me in.. i have never known a man like him,,,but i suppose in my own way,, i have always been looking... tentacles.....

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