New Poetry by Lyn Lifshin

TANGO WITH HIM AND HE LEAVES A STAIN

it’s indelible,
he’s glued to your skin,
then, that staccato
pull away that leaves
dark skid marks.
“ dumped by,” I
want to say his name
but it ought to be
on t shirts, a warning,
revenge. He’ll hold
you so close you
can’t breathe, leave
you panting with no
thing but a dark
indigo. Each scar a
Rorschach he was
wild for, then
tossed. Wild for
the chase, a hunter, he
sees what he wants
thru the cross
hairs. He uses his
charm like a
gun. He’s a dancer
who can turn. He
moves into you with
his eyes, his
bolero. Everywhere
he was you are
not what
you were


“THAT CRAZY MAN ON THE TRAIN”

a girl with a butterfly
on her tawny skin
laughs, “he ought to
get himself into bed
and sleep it away.”
From Dupont metro
center, waving some
thing in his left hand
and shouting out
“lights,” or maybe,
“blights” – a hand
grenade, a notebook,
some bomb camou-
flaged as a book. A
woman near him
was laughing, a good
sign I guess. Maybe
they’ve been at a
party or just went out
and had too much
to drink. I like that
better than supposing
something in what
he’s shaking has
something to do with
how he’s jerking
his hand up a la Heil
Hitler or maybe
he’s just wondering
if somehow on the
metro there’s a men’s
room and maybe he
really needs it


I CAN BARELY CONCENTRATE ON THE STEPS, HIS EYES HIS
LIPS MYSTERIOUS AS THE LIPS OF HORSES

there was that poem he
says, the one, you know
Juarez and the porch.
It’s volcanic, it’s a
different language.
It’s code. This isn’t
Austin after too many
margaritas. Do you think
I want it to be? Want
you to want me? Be
the leather jacket another
picked up and carried
gently? When you
say “you fascinate, you
are invention,” I’m
astonished. I’m the addict
I knifed my way from
being. When you’re
a drug, a dangerous
rumba no one comes
back from with what they
had. And our words
pelt, a tattoo, a brand.
I’m dazed it’s not the swirl
of the dance spinning
and I know if I don’t wake
up this could play
out as you said
and you know I am gold
________________________________________________________

About Lyn Lifshin

A former Ray’s Road Review contributor, Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, Lifshin published her prize-winning book about the short-lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness.  Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog, Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems .  NYQ books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also just out: For the Roses – poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle.  And Tangled as the Alphabet,– The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet Press. Just released as well : Malala, the dvd of Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Forthcoming books include Luminous Women: Eneduanna, Schererzade and Nefertiti: Femina Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems.

 

Her website: www.lynlifshin.com.