Hadley Suter

On the Street, In Clothes: Thinking about how good it’ll beTo walk down the street with you!Meaning you will walk right next to me,Wearing clothes, and me there, too!In clothes! Of course, and we’re on the streetTogether—people, behold!Out in the world, before we got old,Not young, but not yet discreet. Crazed through children’s-playground-waiting, hoursOf upskirt selfies sent to others—A joke! Sent straight to the trash-cloud, yoursAre coming soon, as per your druthers.I wish I could tell all these mothersThe drunk of your musk and its powers.I wish I could call all my brothersAnd say, “Hark! ‘Tis your sis’ he devours!” A boy brings the battle to my bench.(Would those brutes take to you well?)I see my son, his anger a’swell,Clock the other with a clenchOf the fist and a curse you taught him,Watch—they’re going to eject usRight out of this jejune jungle gymBefore I set my ictus. I break up the fight or pretend to,Scurry off, scooter in tow,Before the boy’s mother starts to crow—No time to tie kiddo’s shoe.Back home at the stove, all the lights on,I pretend to cook for three.There’s another wretched fantasy—Like “walking in clothes,” it’s poison. Just an hour or two is all it takesFor scenes of walking to fadeFrom reveries into foggy wakes:Whence whittled the sharp cruel bladeOf imps and impossibilities—The former mask the latter.“Let’s go to sleep,” and my son agrees.I doze despite his chatter. Flick of the eye and kick to the spine:My son next to me in bedSpasms the chant back into my head—Curse of the Real! I repine.The day’s poem becomes an aubade,In doing so, sheds its charm.We’ll never go walking arm in arm.Your soul is the street I’ve trod.
Twisted: Look, I’m trying to write a pornographic novelHere, instead you’ve hooked rings around me, they’re runningOn repeat, they’re right here, revolving in my hovelOf a mind: cooking meals, making babies—stunning!You’ve twisted me from the task at hand. Sunday: a day for writing, instead I’m bitingMy lips, my nails, my shoulder, just how much olderWill I be when it comes, our fated next sighting,And I’m stuck here wondering whether to be bold orWhether you’ve just twisted me from the task at hand. I want to smell like you do, taste like you too, doThings to make quite sure you take your turmeric, toRoll around in your neuroses—my morning brewTo take me back to love—and to writing, too—youHave twisted me from the task at hand. And all the details of this pornographic smutSmoke over, they melt over, into the lily-white wax of my love,Smite me as they soften, passion to passion, butOne kind to another, dirt to sky—the octave—(You’ve twisted me from the task at hand.) Octaval ascent from smut to sublime: Words toThe source of words, or else it’s a plunge: Art to womb,Brain to heart. Like sending Athena to her tomb.Either way, it’s the octave, the octave, not youThat’s twisted me from the task at hand.
Hadley Suter teaches French at Barnard College. Her essays and reviews have appeared on Counterpunch.org, Alternet.org, Truth-Out.org, and in the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Journal. Her poetry has been published in Two Serious Ladies, She/Folk, and is forthcoming in JERRY magazine.