In His Life

in his life jennifer juan

You Get Less For Murder

I’ve tried digging the nails you helped me paint,
under your glowing ground floor to dig deeper.
I wanted to pick parts of my idealism away,
in the hopes that I could plan an escape.
I broke a nail.
Your lips launched on the stinging sensation,
until my frightened finger was calm,
and only shook because it was shy.
I’m getting used to the idea,
like I became used to the in-out-in-out night time respiratory adventures,
and the face you try not to make when I tell you I’m willing to cook.
I count both, the breaths, the culinary reluctance.
Both polite, both pushing my heart to keep up the good work.
I see your stomach ache face in milk sans soy,
and your name is spelled, subtle in the presumptuous playlist we made.
I think…
I know, I’ll love you forever.
I just hope you can love me too.


Comparing And Crediting

Even though your eyes
have nothing in common
with the pollution and pain of the ocean,
I see them in wanderlust waves,
dancing to the dunes
and lapping at my legs.
You have no connection
to my compulsion to breathe,
no matter what I’ve told you.
Sometimes I feel it’s me doing you a favour,
but I’d honestly be doing it anyway.
Wouldn’t I?
I’ll still let you take the credit,
for the air arranges neatly in my lungs,
no longer pushing and shoving,
since I first breathed for you.
I could easily pick the sun
from a line up that included your smile,
but as bright and beautiful as all things are,
I’d only pick the sun to escape
the gracious glare of your glorious grimace.


The Incarceration Of Mimi

Everyone loves a sing song,
you have them every night in sing sing.
Pad the planks of your prison palace,
butterflies break from the boundaries,
and your eyes plead,
when your lips can’t,
for them to return for you someday.
The grotesque glamour of the diamond dragon,
tail trapping a princess,
in a kingdom she couldn’t explore.
Perhaps, all that glitters is your spirit,
still shining, and still standing,
under more strain than your smile will show.


Keeping Up

The stars are shippers,
kept young by the scenes we play out,
and the dreams we send up,
and the arrogant apprehension of our affection.
We know we have an audience,
and we play like Kardashians,
the cosmos slipping off their seats,
while we cut to a commercial.


Withdrawal

Let me imagine,
that my path is more,
than a million alarms,
a million commutes,
a million missed moments,
lost to traffic jams and unpaid overtime.
Let me be more than a widow
to my dreams,
parted prematurely
by the death knell of kneeling to reality.
I’m not ready to weep
for the wishes on wasted, defeated stars,
or to blow out the candles on every ambition,
carefully constructed with optimistic oxygen on fantasy flames.
They told me to dream in dollars,
but the American Dream, is unavailable in my country,
or in the country of origin,
or anywhere.
Exchange my investment at the post office,
and head back home.
Coppers smash through the windscreen,
of a car I’ll never afford,
on the road to a house I’ll never own,
in a tepid town,
that doesn’t open up to “my sort”.
Won’t you give me one more moment,
to pretend something could change.
Let me get my fix,
of the aspiration I’m addicted to.


Scrubbing, Spritzing and Holding

She can scrub my lipstick from your collar,
nude stained when nude,
vanished by vanish.
God damn it, she tries.

She can spritz my perfume from your coats,
the virtue of vanilla never appealed to you,
in scent or in sex,
but God damn it, she tries.

She can hold you hostage in your home,
hold you to your vows.
More than my lips and candy bling are stained on your soul,
but God damn it, she’ll try.

I wait, will wilting, painted and perfumed,
for the cautious, callous call.
I start scrubbing and spritzing too,
holding myself hostage,
but in my heart,
I know it’s been too late, for too long,
and God damn it, I’ve tried.



Little Frances

You were sweet as cotton candy,
so they pulled and picked,
your time,
your smile,
your life,
until your stick,
fell to the fame,
and those very same consumers,
threw up an ending,
that Hollywood would never approve.



Inauthentic Apparel

My shirt,
with low morals,
and an even lower neckline
spread rumours all about town.
She said that we’ve had every single man,
in every single place,
and every single hole,
in every single way.
We? I ask you.
I wish she had invited me along,
I could have done with a change of schedule,
from Netflix binges
and self pity.



In His Life

I’m no McCartney,
but he had Lennon looks.
Yellow couch with all our secrets,
made redundant by a room full of news.
We deviated from the map we sketched,
ran past the landlord,
changed the locks on ourselves.
Bloody brother and sister,
not born by bone,
glued by a tempestuous tenancy,
and game nights.



Technophobic

I type your name
on my tongue every chance I get.
I’ve slammed the backspace key
so many times that it has stopped working,
leaving no choice but to download you,
and cry, consumed by your virus.
If you were to say that I wasn’t your file type,
or that I didn’t fit in your drive,
or that you couldn’t spare the run time
then I could delete every devoted daydream,
send myself to sleep mode,
yet still,
you leave me warm and whirring.



Nothing But Longing

His eyes firmly on the camera,
glazed and distant,
as his patrons preferred.
He felt a sensation that he called tiredness,
but today, he couldn’t pretend
that it was anything less than apathy.
He went through the motions,
fingers down his chest,
fingers through his hair,
fingers on his unmentionables,
but despite his fingers,
and those of others exploring his body,
he felt nothing but longing.
He couldn’t wish for an ending,
so that he could go home,
because there was no home to go to,
and nothing to do when he arrived there. There was an apartment,
of course,
respectable in size,
and tacky in décor
according to his own inner monologue,
and the criticisms of occasional hook ups,
but it wasn’t a home.
It wouldn’t be again,
until his little bird,
returned to the nest.



You, Or Nobody

You were contained fire.
Light and warmth, without destruction.
You cooked the raw ingredients of my making,
without burning the flavour I thought I had lost.
Before you, I had heat everywhere but my heart,
I thought of thawing, but it wasn’t who I was,
or who I told myself I was,
to keep what lay underneath safe,
from hungry hands under the table.
I knew,
it was you,
or nobody.
That was the exact request of the recipe,
no substitutes,
no stand ins,
or nothing rises,
and nothing shall be devoured.
I know,
without you,
I am charred, and tasteless.
Our flavour has lingered on my lips too long,
that I crave you more with every second.


© Jennifer Juan 2016

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