Waiting for Venus to Die

Michael Rothenburg

More food, more sleep, no excuses

Baby beaten to death because it cries

Twins abandoned before New Year

Is she an astral lover or holy song?

Don’t take my dramas, she says

They’re all I have!

Morning heat bends the blinds

Bay shimmers and sparks

Look at me, I’m naked!

Composed in my chair

Listen as tears flash and smolder

Dear She-Ones!

Embrace me in attentiveness

Nubile daughters come with bright eyes

Surround my bed silently, please

Don’t wait until I’ve entirely dissolved

I’m just beginning to like myself

I want to be treasured by a woman

An orgiastic mini-series, bed to bed

That’s how it happened, fixation

Became criminal

Seed spread complex and legend

Still penetrating eyes

Pale quivering lips. Thighs

Wrapped about thighs. Out of breath

Clenching my neck without forgiveness

Maybe it comes back around

After the flesh is cut away

A fish swims from the wall

Somethings mean something

Somethings sweet nothings

Listen to this

Christmas morning

Call me, call!

Bells in my head

I become invisible

Christmas morning

I run away for a few hours

Time marches on

What the hell!

I’m living for myself

Waiting for Venus to die!

Ocean Drive

Candy-colored Deco motel row

Babes in black leotards roller-blade

Afternoon drizzle

Gray velvet doomsday stillness

Sugar cane burning haze

New Years Eve

Antipasto of sliced veal, white beans

Sign of continuing music and grace

Flares, fireworks, random gunfire

I didn’t know she loved me

Years later she returned

Masquerading as another

Woman. I touched her face

Shell of a woman

By the swimming pool

Dark clouds. Tropic winds blow cold through

Luxuriant fronds

A naked man clutches a pink flamingo

Ode to Tralfamadorian Goose

“I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughter-House Five; or, The Children’s Crusade, a duty dance with death

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Global, mother, lover, confidante in bubble, co-creator, wonder!

Gift, release from metal voice, iron clad guilt shackle, shrapnel of lost attachments

Chocolate beauty marks on velvet collarbone, and tangerine breast, blush

Spirit of red earth and air, tongue adoring in my ear drips honey bee sweet care

Swinging hip dance, singing love’s low trance, oh high sensation!

Lays golden eggs on blue moon pillows, cooing transcendent willows in outer space

Forgiving fate unfolding, luscious ripe and lotus great, iris true

Heart, where’ve you been, your swells of daylight ease through freeze of my cold life?

So different from caged bird me, winged dream beyond

Come tell me how we’ll go on, you want to be stroked, I’m at your call, and on, and on

Goddess in cocoon, flesh-mate in caress, secret, soft in down

Transported now, we can outlive, gently now, gentle you, and give, and how, just now

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Shy, robust fragrance of peach, woman, discrete, plum lust

Gush of halo, resting indulgent in patter of me, flatter me, lather me in whispers

Steaming with purple borscht, piroshki, ambitious

Emotional, cautiously, changeable, vulnerable, council of playful elegant pride

Tripping up bloody marching boots of muddy Red Army,

Stinging keys with classical quotes, flushing out Satan, disguised as hope, Cupid

Pecking Freud on forehead, waddling over therapy of rigor mortis

Shuttling a silver harp from heaven to heaven, gathering, weaving, loose ends of life

Vonnegut understood this time, and you would understand it too

Basking in gardens, listless moments, ready to leap upon inspiration, waiting

No single man’s invention, Bacchanalia, Rubens, the feast is named

Picnic, banquet, treasure of favorite desire, unquenchable, hungering, basket of spice

I never trusted women, until she came along, now there’s only you

(She wrecked her car on the freeway, screamed hysterical, mourning a point already moot)

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Following you, following me, in a good old fashioned stand-off

Face to face, shouldering obligation, holstering family, how will it turn out, who knows?

Watching guards change into loons at Lenin’s tomb, May Day

KGB refuse swan egg pastries, Intourist room above staggering stream of banners

White feather quills dipped in solvent of defection, migration

Bodies daily turning up in newspaper pages, history recovering in revelation

Jews and Russians, holes in their chests as big as War and Peace

Infected caverns stuffed with poetry, longing, vodka, roses, icons, fish, horseradish

Making love in secrecy, discovery, uncovering a moist lyrical fetish

Cuddles, wriggles, moans, invisible tundras of memory, raves, a Siberian diplomacy

Giggles, baby talk, pinches, digging nails in buttocks, chirps, sleep

Dream I’m someone else, when I awake, holding you, you’re in someone else’s dream

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Chagall, Poe, Eartha Kitt, Isadora Duncan compose your choir

Painting matrushkas of Iago, Zhivago, Lolita, Jesus, and Yeltsin’s quadruple heart bypass

Looking lost, forever homeward, swearing intimacy, constant truth

Vow your love, won’t take it back, love transient as democracy in real fists of greed

Tossing stone baggage overboard so body, spirit, float, arise!

Fly with radio on, cigarette, rouge-chic, bearing down on pedal of empire’s success

Rushing about, picking caress off gossip pitch of neighbor’s fence

Building fire storm with hug and smile, destruction calling me close, no more than I do

Tralfamadorian Goose!

Bigger than me, the oyster is yours, blue pearl of your eyes

Cherish me, render me, naked in gold-black boundless flesh of this starry night

There’s no one else for me, and you, but you so smooth

Fidelity comes in confession of infidelity, addiction in rejection of past, goodnight

Conclude the paragraph, the verse, the breath, you knew that if

Being here was an experiment the ideal would always remain fiction, that’s right!

This, from an imperfect world, tired of suspicion, you still want him too

Promises, only couplets, spoken in a sinking craft, so when at last, I’m gone, I’m gone