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Laura McCulloughListen


A Dirty Poem About Oral Sex

A poem is a public space, the camera telescopic and dependent upon angle and focus. Here, there is a woman's mouth all O and invitation, anonymous, and non-demanding; there, see a man's hand around his cock, so hot, it's cold and dangerous; take it, baby, and like it. They're aware of being observed by us in this poem, by society; they wear clothes of erotic power play or are imbedded in a feminist neo-capitalist narrative of sexual currency or a Baudrillardian simulacrum of symbolic exchange—there's a mouthful to swallow. I hold that on my tongue and think of Baudrillard on his knees, his head bent over my back, the nails of his hands digging into my palms, the lens of this poem zooming in on our beautiful knuckles and freckles and spots and scars, and one finger, whose is it? With dirt under the short nail, a small arc of accrued black: sweat, skin, particles from the garden one of us knelt in earlier that day, and you, who watch us, who is reading this poem, I see you lift your hand to your face and run your thumb nail across your lower teeth to clean it: we're glad you see us because we can not see ourselves.


Statistics and Grace

Once, I stood behind a woman who didn't have enough money and had no cards to back her up. You could feel the heat coming off of her, a subtle stench like a feral cat in a cage. She grew loud, and when that didn't work, quiet. I wanted to give her what cash I had, but the anger in her was a barrier I couldn't pass. According to the US census, less than 10% of the population has a masters degree, less than 1% a PhD. By the look of her, what did she have? I don't know, but she didn't want my charity. At home I get down on all fours—no, that's the wrong phrase, a cliché, meant to provoke notions of power or prayer or dogs—I lay on my side, knees tucked under me—have you ever seen a baby sleep—grateful for the suck and the pleasure of pleasing. I've got money in the bank, though not a lot, and a master's degree. I'm safe; I know who I am; here, let me make you feel good, too.




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