Merry Christmas everyone. Or happy holidays. Whatever you want.
She was a dolled up redhead
with skin that tasted like
drinking cheap gin with a slice of browning lemon
and smoking those thin cigarettes
that never fit in a masculine mouth.
I was in love
from the second I saw her bob her head
out of time
to an Elvis Christmas song
playing out of blown speakers
in a bar as festive as a prison camp
I bought her a drink
and we talked ex loves and the holidays
while I picked at the dirt under my fingernails
and breathed black coffee breath
down her neck when I leaned in
to confess more of my tepid sins.
We went back to mine
cheated at games of solitaire at
my kitchen table of cigarette burned formica
swept clean of a decorative North Dakota commemorative ashtray
and old issues of Hustler and Golf Digest
and a biography of Artie Lange I never finished.
“I’m an artist,”
she said as she lit cigarette 200
and coughed a hunk of flame into the fabric of her VV boutique shall
of rose pink and child snot green.
“A work of art maybe,”
I replied and leaned in for a kiss
that tasted like she’d been licking the cigarette butts
off the floor of a Greyhound terminal in Louisiana.
But there was fire under the taste
that obliterated the detail of her coke nail
digging into my neck hard enough to draw blood
when she pulled me close.
I put on Twisted Sister’s Christmas record
and we made wet, sweaty love under my Christmas tree
made of empty Miller Light cans
and empty packs of Marlboro Golds
duct taped to a hockey stick
to the off kilter rhythm of my neighbour
hammering on the wall and telling me to either
kill that cat or toss it out the window
before he came over and shot it.
Sometime in the heat of the action
we rolled over the carton of cigarettes
my mother had sent me for Christmas
and squashed five of the packs flat.
The next morning we took turns throwing up
holding one another’s hair
and sharing the same toothbrush
while she commended me on my roach free bathroom
and the decorative old laserdisc copy of Top Gun
that I had hung as a mirror.
We sat over a breakfast of instant coffee
and crushed Marlboro Golds
her makeup fading and run down
my teeth feeling loose and a bloodstain
on the lower part of my wrist.
she said, as she glanced at the calendar on the wall
three years out of date.
“I got everything I wanted,”
as I looked at her with the eyes of a child
full of wonder and love
seeing nothing wrong with anything.
We made calls to our parole officers
then phoned around to see if there
were any notaries open
to wed us.
Here me read this poem at the link below!