I Have Been a Liar

 

I have lied, a cowardly man,

a lover of your kind; merely in mind;

movie-making, I have spent my seasons

coming, counting time by tissue:

quivering cock, finger-clenched, crazed.

A man like me is not a man, really.

I have been a liar.

 

I dream my cock into your cunt,

fill it with cravings, thrusts, cum,

caresses, silk calls, mortality cries;

twirl nipples into pink ziggurats:

re-erect, re-enter, rear-end, (realize

where your eyes gaze goes my heart)

a man like me is a coward.

I have been a liar.

 

 

To the Man in Terminal B

 

To the man in terminal B, as I walked to terminal C,

in Logan at 2 am on July 20th, 2015. There are rocking

chairs, and you sat in one, in your pin stripe suit.

Your hair freshly cut, your face buried in your hands,

your wedding ring flickered in the bad lighting.

I was so glad you were there, so I was not alone.

I felt for your grief, as I shared your grief. I walked

with grief, leaving my luggage in B to go to C,

trying to walk faster than grief on this night vigil.

I am to be here all night, awaiting a flight away

at dawn. Does your grief break like drowning surf

as my grief does for me? Am I sorry for you?

No, I am. I am sorry. Your phone balanced

on your knee, as if it was your life or my life.

 

 

My Smart Phone Is Ringing

 

My smart phone is ringing. It is not the sound my phone makes when it really rings. Nor is there a record of a call. In the call log. There is no call. But the smart phone is ringing. But not funky like my ringer. Weirdly, faintly ringing. Loud enough so you can’t escape it, but so faint I picked up the phone to look under it, as if the sound was coming from the wood table. I covered my ears to see if the ringing was just in my crazy head. No, the smart phone is clearly ringing. The odd thing is this is not a known ring-tone. It is not one that comes with the dozens offered by this phone. Last night I listened to all of the ring tones a few times, and the closest is the old-fashioned one, like metal crickets rubbing their legs across the table to my grandmother’s black rotary phone on the table with the chair with the lion’s heads. It sounds just like the ring of my grandparents black Bakelite phone back when phone numbers began with letters like JA.  There’s was JAckson-1-6643. I’ve tried to turn off all sounds in the damn phone. And I did. But this sound, this grandparent ringing, is defiantly still there. I am in a remote cabin on an island and I am not connected to wi-fi, so I can’t ask Google why the phone is ringing and ringing so you just barely hear it. It has been 24 hours now. Who is calling? I put the phone in the other room, but that means as I check for texts from you every five minutes, that I have to go in the bedroom. In the tiny silence between rings I keep hoping it will stop. And the tiny silence seems longer and longer, which tells you where I am at here alone with the fucking possessed phone. I wondered if it was some sort of emergency call thing. But how to answer it? And there is an emergency, now that I think about it. But how could the phone know about you? I can’t answer it, or turn it off, and it is not you ringing. It isn’t you calling. It is not the sound my phone makes when it really rings.

 

 

Tom Paine

TOM PAINE’s poetry is upcoming in The Nation, Fence, Forklift, Hotel Amerika, Epiphany and elsewhere. “A Boy’s Book of Nervous Breakdowns”, a new collection of stories, was published in October by LSU. He is an associate professor in the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire.

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