Charles Borkhuis


Today is already yesterday.
-- Dominique, Affair in Trinidad

counting my heads
till the simulacrum come home . . .

skim off the scream
just enough voltage to view
all those strings dangling
across the body of a thought
(if I woke up dead
would it be much different)

limping between steamy sheets
I took some lead for a punk
now my pencil's jealous
(no more love notes
to silent streetlamps

now there's only half a heart
to tell us apart
my better self is lying
in mum's freezer with the shrimp scampi
but that's another entrée
I haven't got the guts to spill

though it appears I'm unraveling
with each step that's just how I
put myself together these days
famine or fetish
someone's always dancing in my shoes

I loved you once but I
just can't place your face
maybe it's the rockets' red glare
or has sex erased all the answers
left us standing around the pool
with the usual type-casts

everything is as it was between us
frozen in the afterglow
where you show up in next to nothing
and the gods cozy close for a nuzzle
tell me is this the body politic
or just another formaldehyde kiss-off

truth is my arms are getting tired
who else would have paddled
your boat this far from shore

growing lips on my unopened letters
yeah I've got the talking disease
now all the birdies fall from the trees
and I can see the veins in the mirror
signaling to me in advance
(hope I don't take the plunge
into the soup before it's ready)

a woman's voice trails
up a shaky staircase
"where have you been all your life"

"with you my love" I answer

"time for a change" she smiles
opening her wings inside a blue cocoon
and crawls out as a new kind of bug

everything's going backwards
faster than I can count
little red balloons escape
from my lips someone just
turned his high beams on my face
but he still can't read my thoughts

I'm only shooting blanks now
but it's ok this side of paradise
smoky letters appear
across my receding hairline

a cop bends to take down
my final whispers (why should the last
mean anymore than the first
or the middle for that matter)

but I'm happy to oblige
"eh buddy . . . " I say
(remembering alfred jarry)
"got a toothpick"