American Corduroy

by Corbin Wamble

I remember nights of Imessage insults driven through sprinkled streets,

            two white trash wanna be’s dueling with roman candles,

carbon dioxide limping off recycled apologies,

            snaking from the muffler to the window of loves

infallible four door sedan, its crash tested, top safety rating.                        

            Close the garage it's time

to get to business.       Darling

            if I told you I longed for a nightmare, would you believe me?

speaking like a broad who gets off on being tied up

                                                                                                spit on

 

there's a kink between the window and the muffler keeping us alive,
            it's the thrill of suffocation, that ever so incandescent phrase landed

on panting lips, ‘choke me’ revolving like an elegy to innocence; the animalistic intent

            can’t stop won’t stop

thrill of looming death, fingering pink piano keys in a dire spring,

            that blonde matinee of american corduroy, clasping starlight and butterflies,

trudging through heavy air, fascinated with the way each stuck to her skin, butterscotch scars

            sprouting honeysuckles; we would have been beautiful if it wasn’t for

 

                                                                                                                                          God and                       

                                                                                                                        the IRS.

 

 

There’s news,

           

            the old hound you loved is dead.

Milky eyed and mean muggin gray, she blindly wandered the house,

            sack bunting loose shoes and goring table legs,

her trash compacted face wrought into that extraterrestrial pecan swirl.

            A seizure took her while I worked, she died alone in the living room

looking like a botched acid trip, her spellbound smirk half relieved,

            half terrified, the scent of unbrushed fangs cloaked in expelled bowls,

hoisted to heaven in a black leather La-Z-Boy.

            I imagine this to be the pinnacle of modern death, hairy pride and

 

                                                                                                                                           the diarrheal

 

                                                                                                                         ascension.

Do you remember

            the night we went dancing?

your dress too tight to drop it low, my pride

            to high to admit you were taller than me in heels,

 you tugged at coattails as if the

            existential wind were inching up your skirt,

trying to cop a feel with a newly cracked Pabst

 

                                                                                                gripped like a rose.

 

When we leapt off the porch to go to the shore,

            I gave you that hackneyed promise

I’m still convinced is worth something only once,

            that first time I expelled it out of instinct       starved wolf pack depravity

like a promise to God in a moment of terror, you can’t shut it out,

            can’t mute your own repression, can't cannibalize your own words

 

                                                                                                                                                not anymore;

 

You returned it on the zenith of the bridge, steel tongue grafted over the inlet,

            the charter vessels roaring in sync with boiling passion

 

                                                                                                                        You spoke reluctantly,

 

as if choking on something you’d been meaning to say

            but never could

 

still to this day

            never could;

 

                                                                                                                        held over my head,

 

some

                                    meant-to-be-broken-take-twice-a-day-with-food-promise.

 

I went on huffing salt as if trying to wake from a dream,

            staring over the sapphire expanse of the Atlantic,

wondering how such darkness could mirror the stars.

In the gravel lot years before we parted, the sky was a snapdragon,

            citrus clouds seemed to stare with fiery eyes,

 I knew it was just God watching me make mistakes,

            cloaking wisdom with peregrine wings.

You always hit your head on the roof of the car,

            there was a trampoline rhythm to it,

the sound became our heartbeat, alive and drowned in darkness,

            neon lights leaking from the dashboard,

filling your eyes with psychedelic splendor.

            I stroked your feline back, wrenched over and

dazed in pure love politeness, under spell in shoulders boney grip,

            you levitated in the wake of disaster

like a cherub in the eye of a hurricane,

            voice echoing convictions in a tired rasp.

 

At christmas,

            my signature naughty-coal-in-stocking-maneuver,

we’d already bought presents so we exchanged

            in a neutral parking lot armistice,

awkward tears brandished

            brash hugs like credit card payments

or post-holiday-poor-gift-returns.

            We retreated to separate bunkers

each confided to their own secrets

folded neatly into wrapping paper cranes.

 

Those promises were solar flares bleeding off

            tight lipped best-left-forgottens,

like that old hound and her milky eyes

            silently promising me she’d live forever

while we watched movies she couldn’t see or hear                                                  

 

                                                                                                or understand

 

on the La-Z-Boy that would soon hoist

            her to high heaven

in a far too comfortable throne of death,

            a vaguely capricious catafalque, singing

Goliath silence, swallowing her final breath with leather lips.

 

            It's true I can’t sleep, I’m constantly rewriting my last words,

trying to nail a final epilogue

            perhaps best left to silence,

like the hound and those acorns of tragedy

            softly staring into the finality of forever,

a wedding dance with eternity,

            cauterized in the cerebral cortex of I

                                                                             the adopted father

listening to tongue kissing rain

                                                            weeping on the roof

 

untrimmed nails still drumming on the laminate floor

            her spirit still bowling through the halls at night

nailing mahogany pedestrians like a blind yellow cab.

 

 

Tragedy knights itself, quickly becomes

                                                                        the sainted,

                                                                                                the sublime,

                                                                                                                         the sole inspiration,

 

sitting here in this candle light,

            low and sorrowful, my passion

far greater than over prescribed

            pesticides can withstand, far greater

than pest control can massacre termites

            or ants or junebugs, far greater

than a warhead could depopulate

            the Earth, far greater

than the toll and howl of severed species

            of humanities ceaseless conniption, hence the bottle of

Jack resigned to the nightstand;

            I’d like to stick a tattered rag inside,

hear the growl of a zippo striking flint,

            let the grief stricken crash fill the fuselage of my heart,

my face pieced together by firelight,

            think Poe at a lectern lamenting for dear Lenore.

Corbin Wamble is a writer from Delaware.

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December 2019

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