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The McHugh Suite

R.M. Vaughan
From:   Invisible To Predators. ECW Press, Fall 1999.


rub the ends of my fingers it is starting to be November      now stop
before dinner any undressed friction     has consequences
and there is so much food in this house
it puts a poor boy to shame, it says - sneak a right hand under
his belt, dart your half angry cock expertly
be safe as keys in pockets -       then wait
till so, so much talking later   with linen napkins, white jazz    and no
arguments       I'm just in the door


5 wine red truth-tellings he spilled on bone white lozenge tile
any sensible faggot would understand to be Signs: looking forward to Christmas
fear of big dogs
the phrase "benefit of the doubt"
my alcoholism, handled like parchment       the Magna Carta
wiping, wiping      every crumb and spot met with damp cloth      hand towels
      by the bed I shoulda ran, remembered Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo      doubles
chasing doubles, too many blue twin sets on blondes
   shoulda seen the water tower only leads down after up      lateral
is a luxury (and I have so few, I guard myself      no
                I never do)


because the blushing stopped with kisses
(and nerve ends at lips like to be bitten, like to swell
feel sour and rough      as if facing winter gusts
only to wet, in instants      on chins or the roots of necks)
I trust you enough, throw my tongue across your incisors
past the tiny saws       meeting the dull, heavy molars with grace you cut the blue hamstrings      take the meat
fat and bloody in your cheek      walk away, spit the hot triangle
of exposed muscle down the sink       rinse with orange and gin
     change shirts, worry about bleach vs. plasma      reflect
on the ease of a boyfriend who only nods or shakes
          prefers books to talk

living room

touched by the generosity and muscle of my limbs
you pull the four points of my starred body     handhandfootfoot
over you, over your duck-stuffed sofa
my extremities fixed contrary to the line the couch marks
between comforts - pinwheel      from dining (left hand) to living (right
hand) to reading(left foot) to making love (right foot) little me     I'm highlighting your interiors, I'm an asterix
I'm compassing your terrain     I'm being a top -
and now you don't like that


as is so often true, boudoir reverses parlor
and you like that      now
break me on the wheel, my four (close) quarters under
you     wait for a tongue     or a mallet from my elbows expect a chicken bone click of sound
like fresh ice snapped off car windows legs follow, splitting open in muddy circles of milkened
pink      surprising hints of silver my stomach, finally fiat and ideal (in stillness)
takes a punch, a quiet punch
the way pillows mask gunshot inside my skull, the busted cave      a cupful of brain
gray and fishy      projects nothing      despite
        halogen sconces, oil lamps scented with mille fleurs,
            2 bails of gold wax, floating in finger bowls,
    or eyeglasses from Italy
... you see, I'm impervious to backlighting but you      leering like Plato, know
there is never enough light

front door

dismissed with a hug     so unerotic, almost
paramilitary (excluding the subtexts)
I am remembering Helen Gurley Brown's notes on elegance:
   face the host, not the door    the last thing you see (of him) must be
wood and numberplates    never the stairs    your face means goodbye, your
back says Thank God    Thank God, and wasn't the salmon mousse
underdone? I'm learning to leave sideways, honestly

R.M. Vaughan's works copyright © to the author.

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