the best of 52|250's fourth quarter

Week #48 – Tainted love

Week #48 – Tainted love

 
tainted love by David Ohlerking II
  TAINTED LOVE by Linda Simoni-Wastila    
 

Tainted love is stained love, a dirty jeans love, mucky
under nails and knees from garden dirt and worms
slippery, slickery things compost-heaped, grubs chewing love.

Tainted love is tinted love, a greyer pink love, edges purple
from necrosis, halitosis, the lack of osmosis, a hypoxia
of the heart hardened boundaries kind of love.

Tainted love is skinny love, skinned and thinned weak
broth love, fight veneered, resentment adhered, salty-teared
nicotine-laden cloud love, breathed in and cancerous.

 
  The Secret by Michael Webb    
 

“So, do you want to know my number?”

Her brown eyes flashed eagerly at me. Her bracelet shone in the dim light of the restaurant. I felt like she almost wanted to tell me. I hadn’t really thought about it, but now that she had asked me, I wanted to know. Some questions you knew could never be answered- what if Napoleon had won at Waterloo? But others you didn’t know could be asked, until they were. And once they were asked, the possibility existed they could be answered. I had told her my number. I thought about inflating the total before telling her, but I didn’t. My number seemed a little low. I didn’t expect her number to be zero- that seemed impossible. I didn’t know what number I wanted hers to be, either. Was 5 too many? 10? How many should she have? Would the thought of others who had come before make what we had different? Would knowing I wasn’t the only one imbue the act with some sense of corruption, some taint of ill repute? Would I compare? Wonder if I was better? Was there any difference between assuming the number wasn’t zero and knowing what the number was? It was stupid, but now that I knew I could know, I wanted to know.

“No,” I told her.

“Good,” she said. “I would have lied anyway.”

 
  Writer’s Block by Kevin Balance    
 

I love you. You don’t love back. I give you these verses. You put me on the rack.

You take my thoughts and spin them to all the wrong words. You take those words and order them in all the wrong sequences. I can’t to write a sentences saves my life. I list three actions and you spit back running, to love, parallels. I describe a scene, blushing red, and you spit out a dangling modifier. I give to you and one spits up disagreement.

Back to the masters I go. Read, reread, mimic, write. Oh Laura. Petrarch. Deep breath. Recompose.

 
  Tainted Love by Guy Yasko    
 

– Would you mind turning that down?

– In a minute. I’m listening.

– 80s pop was all about record company hegemony and falling microchip
prices.

– I don’t care. I like it. Try the broccoli.

– Broccoli, the easy-to-ship vegetable, the logistically-friendly
vegetable. You need something like that when you’re getting rid of local
producers.

– Do you enjoy anything?

– I enjoy you.

– Do you really?

 
  Traveling Mercies by Len Kuntz    
 

My daughter enters the room with unborn child showing inside sweater like a tub and I am think, This is all wrong, my baby having baby, one just sixteen years and the other creature floating in fluid, a strange alien astronaut, same as ones I have seen in American television programs when handsome actor doctor says it’s girl or boy, “Look, right here’s the evidence.”

My baby is pawing her baby, a basketball player dribbling wrong who will be called for traveling. I know American basketball rules. Holding ball too long inside palm is named traveling, a penalty. And who should pay this penalty? My daughter has no boyfriend. Some lewd man just shoots his seed in my poor baby. He holds knife to her throat and it leaves a mark like this > from the pressure of the tip, an etching of his crime. Abortion is fine, I say, it is legal in such cases, but my daughter says, no, life is life.

I am crying, weeping hard as my daughter comes across the room. I think she will slap me. I have told her how hard it’s been to make something of ourselves in this country, and now this. It is a bad sign. The child will be evil. That’s what I said, such a cruel bastard I can be.

But now my baby walks up. She takes my tear-soaked hand, places it on the mound that is moving and jerking inside my palm, and says, “See?”

 
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Forward to Wk #49 – Cold front