Virtual Virtue - the texts

Keep all your toys in one small box Three Women Who Knew Ken Summer Nights at the Walnut St Café
Experience counts Sarah Victoria New Age Women, Part 1
The Unconditional truth about only half the story Untitled 1 (think of another city) Inside the Girlhood Café
The appalling apple Killer Bill Goes It Alone ('95) Casually beginning these first golden days
Black Traces The Lure of Fallen Seraphim Lady Cinnamon
Untitled 2 (remember before high places) Where I’m at right now The Blues, asked and answered

 

 

Keep all your toys in one small box

The
Jazzed Baby
Dreams
At a phone booth outside the show.
Merchant Angel
knows the score
and the solution.
She calls you back Bob,

Stay
Check the room out
Pick a dream

Here’s your hidden It, your special destination.

We have lived
In different oceans.
Sampled
The sweeter waters of self.
Kept just ahead of the freezer.

Pray to the karma children.
Don’t end
Before the point
shatters colors,
white shades of time.

Finally,
the Pretenders
will get the tip
almost clean.

You need too much to Die getting caught.    top

Experience counts

Get me a drink
Remember, I was easy
I asked for it
all the way
A consequence of the sources of the disease
Funny
I would be mad but what I know is part of the art
as long as you do it right

I have made a very good torture and it all happened so fast believe that
Did you stop looking
that was just me

A lover like ours will never change

We the enemy
View the luxury of disappointments as

AND
or
man

this month
she can’t scatter herself around
again    top

 

The Unconditional truth about only half the story

It was the sincere decade
And Love was the Last Chance Voice
Telling us, basically:
Come Home.
Only a fool doesn't’t hear
the Requiem.
We survived the twentieth century’s deathbed
Elvis’s blue renaissance
made no difference at all.
This is a long-term party on the skids.
I drink my dinner
You watch your thighs.
Brett heard the crisp footsteps raining
and froze. California
ready to crack.
She began to count,
“Twenty eight”
vestiges in her own image.
Strong women,
women with an option on
perfection.
When you’re only two feet away,
you learn the language
without moving an inch.
A true master
ought to know how
to juggle
1,000 people screaming with a billion lifetimes.
We give you one night,
nearly everybody asks for two.
Pieces of those easy things
Deconstruct the body.
bring your house to rest.
Will anyone mourn you again?     top

 

The appalling apple

There are some things
Miss Faith can’t control
There are four myths
and she was always ready to try a new one
Look closely at her
Devoted to glass shoes
And sleeping…
Defrosted and waiting at the street corner
By the unsafe house
A sensual lunch
With those little browning men
She wants five crystal bridges
For a leap of fate
I would do something about it
But a voice called out
The best is yet to
Come. Hot Stuff.     top


Black Traces

Some frail china jar
some yellowed letter
wrinkled, pressed
to lips.

Faure weeps his final opus,
Muted violins accompany,
perfect-pitched, the passionate soloist.

Feel where the hand has touched this page.
follow the black traces.

Autumn is not the same
this year: fewer leaves,
grayer skies,
deep chills.

Like cup to saucer, benign
evenings follow silent and sequenced.
The moonlight through translucent porcelain
appears frosted.     top

 

Untitled 2 (remember before high places)

Remember before high
places, lovers who get
at least perfect.
Woman
all flesh is grass,
take fields.
reach for the light; listen
for wind. Turns
to see her
lot.

Three Women Who Knew Ken

ONE
17 winter days
without you.
icy nights without
your touch
or the warm breath of you
whispering
"Yes"
The evening wind howls
snow
against my windowsill
There's no lake from my view,
only forest.

I had waited
so long for you,
waited to touch my fingertips
to your lips,
my lips to your hand.
Now I lay my hand
on your letter,
feel where you placed your pen,
the loops and swirls,
like the prim Victorian ribbon
I've tied around the page.
My name in your handwriting
is like your hand
on my heart.

These affections,
raw as the weather,
haunt me now.
I hear them everywhere.
Breaking the quiet of the woods
Giving no peace in solitude.

Another morning
is too much.
I pray for forgiveness
as I cinch
the noose tight.

TWO
For the first five minutes
after they unlock the door
at the Ten Cat Tavern
and let her in,
she goes straight to the ladies room
and cries her eyes out.
Relinquishes all emotions
to the toilet paper,
flushes away
like a binge-and-purge
of her heart.
"bulimia of the soul" she jokes to herself
think of how much else
in her life has been washed away:
by water, by time, by doctors.
Pulls herself together,
puts on her face,
goes out to the bar
to get her double Jack Daniel's
and pay her percentage from last night.

She likes him right away.
He's at the far end of the bar,
searching out his ideal-
it sure isn't her.
So she starts checking out the regulars,
while he puts the moves on a short blonde to his left.
But she can't stop watching him.
Tries casually to catch his eye
each time she goes
back to where they keep the kegs
and earns a fast twenty .
He plays it so cool,
but doesn't score with the bimbo
Still there, he's perfect for the set-up:
never-met-anyone-with-eyes-like-your,
betcha-real-heartbreaker,
probably-too-much-man-for-me-to-handle,
why-don't-we-get-outta-here
and-give-me-a-chance-to-find-out?

He can't do any better tonight
and she never leaves alone.

Likes him so much she would have let him
a second time for free.
Blows a double hit
to shut up the voice
that wants to beg him to stay.

Next afternoon,
like an alley cat
back at the door where she's fed,
she at the bar, promptly at 2.

THREE
I dread the dark
when I am alone
Night appears to me
as pink lights in the distance.
warm safe spots I can see
but never reach.

Night moans
like my lover,
calling my name
and stretching out his arms
in the darkness.
He promises his heart
as he begs for release.
But his pleas echo
nothing more
than a bitter love song.

Night is my fears
of love unrequited-
life unfulfilled.
Abandoned to the vermin,
my fears are like predators,
roaming wild-eyed and hungry,
searching out their next victim.
They arrive at my door and find it ajar.

At sun rise
I take him
at his word
His heart cools
slowly in my hands.    top

Sarah Victoria

When Sarah Victoria was five
she played "Success,"
dreaming of dust jackets,
her name in gold on the spine.
She wasn't going to have
a usual life.

He parents smiled,
told all the relatives:
"our baby girl
is someone special,"
imagining what a beautiful bride she'd be.

When Sarah Victoria was ten
she grandparents read her poems
protesting The War and said:
"You're such a talented girl.
You will make a very exciting wife."

When Sarah Victoria was fifteen
her favorite teacher
took a special interest in her.
The she wasn't a little girl anymore,
didn't speak for a month.
"Girls get moody,"
Mother explained to Daddy.

When Sarah Victoria was eighteen
she went to college,
got a boyfriend,
did her laundry on Saturday nights
and dreamed of academics and ambition

At Christmas, her parents glowed and said:
"We're so proud of our baby girl...
don't let that boy get away!"

When Sarah Victoria was nineteen
her favorite professor bedded her,
told her they had
such a bright future with
so many choices
(but never mentioned his wife).

When Sarah Victoria was twenty
she made her choice,
leaving behind college,
boyfriends,
laundry baskets,
baby girls of her own,
everyone who was favorite or special.

She got as far away as she could.

Now Sara
works in a graham cracker factory
and isn't famous ...yet.

But Sara steals
jars of honey,
sneaks bags of crumbs
home with her from work.
At night
she bakes them into tiny men
and gives them
to the neighborhood children
who come to her door.
her voice tempting,
"We are warm
and waiting
for someone
to eat us."    top


Untitled 1 (think of another city)

Think of another city.
Payoff in cold hard fears.
Fingers in the dike.
Is it for performances or
packages (or both at once?)

The rewards of intimate years
hold you. release
a penny, not just a hand. Tough
not to live with the middle man.

L' elegance de l'overture d'homme.
The power of his most civilized passion.

La dolce vita is a touch
a renaissance of a ceaseless
indulgent
song.     top


Killer Bill Goes It Alone ('95)

Why am I so hungry to be
on the outside. I'll
take four good reasons like
twenty services
to consider - grand whispers showing
not promises you feel. Agony in the snow
fragile barriers
these are double treasures

his fragrance since Rome
is like a wildcat's

This trip seems over. Some things
stay out of control. The postman
shoots pigeons at Beaver Creek.
desires only the sting
of juniper. What sights his love has to offer

A shadow of the bear     top


The Lure of Fallen Seraphim

Joey

He wakes at five.
Sheets cling to us like
curtains to steamed windows.

Damp from the shower,
in borrowed shirts and socks,
his torso
shivers beneath my plaid flannel.
Stands of damp hair.
like a balding man's vanity,
streak his chest.
Flesh rises,
pricks up
the hair on his abdomen,
bristling at the suggestion-
"Do you want my pants?"

Jimmy

His red guitar's named Sue.
Playing from her
heart until it hurts.
With dark calloused hands
his sifts the Mississippi mud,
washes it blue.
"Lou, gimme a Crown Royal and cream."
His stomach has been gone since '48.

The music comes across like chrome,
blinding and hard.
The drink spreads through his gut,
molten steel.

Al

"Oh yeah," he sighs "I was a
handsome boy." drags deep off his cig, flicking
ashes over some congealed yolk,
and hacks into his coffee.
His face softens
in folds, neck
disappears, shoulders almost
touching his ears.
He finishes the shrug, rubbing
eyes with sausage fingers, then
whispers to himself:
"And I especially like them
girls named Flossie"    top

 

Where I’m at right now

Ali poses a question, lips parting,
Oh
my God
What's
This? virgin romeo.

WILD RAZOR overlooks nothing.

Just say: Hard Practice.
Comeout and play the way you really are.

The Daddy In Red.

the most you need is
more comfortable on low.

Shut up and spawn.    top

 

Summer Nights at the Walnut St Café

4:05 P.M.

“Therefore, he needed the tangent release of excess drink and sexual
indulgence.” from the introduction to The Collected Poems of Hart
Crain
edited with an introduction by Waldo Frank, Liveright
Publishing, New York, 1933.

She read it aloud
to the others at the table.
Where did that leave her?
Hart's mother,
or later Frank's sister
(or Truman's Tennessee's, Cheever's -
did you know about him?)
The one left
holding the bag.
Executrix
of his-story,
indulging herself
in laundry and dirty dishes,
tangentially releasing her identity
to his growing glory,
I'd never do that for any man
unless he wrote alot
about me--
you know, nice things.

10:14 P.M.

Now don't get me wrong.
I mean, I love my inner goddess
as much as anyone,
but I still don't hate men.
I'm outta sync with the program.
Is there a 12-step for this?
Some sorta
"Love Me, Love my Vulva,
Hate You" ?

Just don't ask me
to live according to the flow
of the tides or stop waxing
my legs.
Here's to girls
on their one night.
Drinking coffee
instead of beer
and sharing
the cake.

12:48 A.M.

I just want to run with you:
My wild wolves--
The womyn who sing about their menstrual flow
The womyn who display as art their menstrual flow
The womyn who taste their menstrual flow
then offer you some

I just want freedom.
To spend a million days
with no greater worry than what's for dinner and is the laundry ironed?
God, I love to iron:
shirts pants sheets pillowcases tablecloths even towels, in front of
and endless soap opera that runs from dawn to dawn
that only breaks for Oprah,
that's still there when I'm up at 3a.m.,
that's already in progress when the kids leave for school.
that is never preempted by world announcements, political upheavals
or O.J. updates.

I just want a holiday where I am awakened by the quiet rumblings
of the caterers and I surprise Victor,
dressed for dinner in nothing but my new sable -
Nikki is my goddess role-model.

I just want
breakfast.     top

New Age Women, Part 1

Mary Sue
& Barb
have Victorian skin
and Rocket Scientist Bodies.
Precious Perfect girls,
How's they ever get this extraordinary thing like a salmon?
dancing
Limbo babies at the sun rise.
It's ART if the chemistry's right
when nobody looks
twice twice

When you think
the blast is yours.

Our power is not
one
love
hand
laughing
or some chilly old metaphor fest

Real women go barefoot in the fog.    top

Inside the Girlhood Café

If I make a bigger compromise
of things in my life
the sweet river promised
warm chocolate
&
why if Alma is LA FISH
Alexander is DE PAW.

Honey,
your bedtime partners will improve
so go to the hygiene hotel &
take this tender torch

Here's every hell you need
a smashed mango
that looks south

Are you spending
too much time as the garden girls?
you want variations on the theme
of milk and Daddy
coffee with smoke

Don't shun the legend
Because it had Generic charm

the world's cross with a twist inside

You try it Jennifer
& choose
The upside changes
everything     top

 

Casually beginning these first golden days

a variation after Frank OHara's "The Day Lady Died"

I don't just get into the new thinking
I heard what Verlaine whispered
although Bonnard stopped me on the spot
New Easthampton on Bastille Day
I do a lot of Gauloises
and die with Miss Lady under Genet's ugly 1959 sun

Back from her Friday walk
on the street with Brendan Behan's tobacconist
she asks for a malted liquor, going up to get it.
Her new name is Linda Day
Dinner is a bottle for now
and sleep came straight off the avenue
John is sweating Strega and leaning for the door
Patsy's doing 5 stick face drawings with Griffin
for the Poet's store
I must post the writing by 4:19
at 7:15 I know the quandariness of my keyboard
Because Mike's picayune play doesn't go
with the three new songs by Mal Waldron
I go see the little Ghana Theatre.
Stillwagons's shoeshine once had practically
carton after carton of Verlain
once Hesiod, Trans. Richard Lattimore
but I don't think a life will
balance the World
bank then the days
yes even the breathing
and have a 12:20 stroll alone 6th Lane
I buy Le Balcon and Les Negres
feed a hamburger to Ziegfeld
while muggy people ask
where am I in the park and for who
Will everyone get up and look

    top

 

Lady Cinnamon
The woman who works in the coffee factory
and lives on Halsted Street
in the projects under the El tracks,
drinks espresso only on Saturdays
in a certain dark cafe.
Its scent mingles with her own perfume
of coffee grounds, shadows
her as her lingers over
the demi-cup. Her skin's rich
and warm when she rises
to walk into the Chicago night.

The train runs all night;
sends rust crumbling
onto rooftops, windowsills,
drifting into bedrooms.
Lingering dull orange flakes
still warm in the breaking dawn.
The metal strains to resist,
surrenders and is crushed.
The scrap metal yard smells of age,
age and abandonment. At four a.m.
the boilers are relit
in the factory, flames
heat from orange to steel blue.    top

 

The Blues, asked and answered
    for Sterling Plumpp and Billy Branch

Take your SOB's
and stick them
up your POV.
It's time to face the music
and sing,
cause we are the ladies--
Daughters of Blues.
Before Billie
and long after
we knew that men
were the best reason
to sing 'em.
That a gardenia
fits behind my ear
than my behind
fits at a desk,
but a microphone
in my hand
don't hafta be
no needle in my arm.
I'm a boogie girlchild
born on Maxwell St.,
baptized with
polish and onions,
christened in
Crown Royal and cream.
My godfathers are Jake and Elwood
as much as Elmore or Muddy.
And my godmama's Bonnie
as good as Bessie.
When Big Mama
handled Janis that velvet
ball and chain
she wrapped it twice
around her neck
and flung herself towards Graceland.
But I'll follow no backwoods boy
picking out "Baby Please Don't Go"
on a one-string cigar box.
And I'm no spandex babe
standing 12 feet behind the guy in the suit,
inflatable mouth
moaning ooh, ooh, ooh
baby, baby, baby
sha-
la-la-la-la-la-la.
Your spotlight will find me
center stage
my name in front of the band's
on our latest CD.
Don't need no man's son
to rescue my soul
cause honey
i've already set it free.
Take Five.     top

 


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