Don’t analyze me, complain about my size,

or conclude I’m an idiot with cat breath,

don’t glibly flash frowns or smiles

over this octopus stew and ginger beer.

We’ve tangoed together longer than forever,

so don’t defer with those sly eyes or

grin with trust in your silver tongue.

I’ll splurge for diamond and platinum rings,

feared by everyone, for I’ll soon own

the Vatican. I know where cottonwoods

pray to depressed skies, when cardinals sing

to their shadows, why perfume lingers in dark

gardenias. Infer what you wish, label me a mouthy

misogynist as you flaunt that creamy

cashmere bikini. Be a chess master who thinks

ten moves ahead, pretend you’re an hourglass

with a brain, but if you leave this restaurant,

consider yourself a pariah, not a devotee.

Meander, object to any abuse of power, prolong

this negotiation, state No comment, and I’ll

order an arrest warrant. Or hesitate no

further and blithely marry me as I charge

my star-drunk cable fans ten thousand bucks

a head to attend our wedding on Mars.



I’d rather pay a demented dentist

to yank out my teeth, smoke

opium with meth freaks in gas

chambers, or kiss a pimpled murderer

from Leavenworth than placate you

by offering my ring finger. I wouldn’t

say Yes if you waltzed in here

and offered me my own country.

Because your bravado is not backbone,

it’s a straw gun cocked with a limp

hammer. Don’t you realize your

bluster repels me when you try

molding my compliance like clay?

As sure as I’m a femme fatale,

I’ll never plead with you to stop

muttering threats when you suddenly appear

like Spring’s mist on an antique mirror.

So don’t call me your sexy devil

and spread empty wealth in my path

like so much caviar on a black croissant.

I pity you, and No, I won’t marry you, dear

Donnie boy, because I own that smoldering

boutique in hell reserved for clients who

embarrass their sold souls by loving

no one but their charred reflections.





I admired him the first time his squinty

eyes haunted mine the first day of high school.

I had to guess about goosesteps he practiced

in khaki uniforms, but he inspired me

to achieve glory playing the piano.

I’ve foxtrotted with plutocrats, conversed

with cockpit bombers, never studied

schoolwork, and I know acrobatics

of linguistics like braids of the son

I’ll sire two years hence. Knowing

the statements were a barricade against

my friendship, I avoided Lyin’

Ned and regretted—twenty years later—

when he advanced toward me and leaned

in to address my chin: I’ve misjudged

you, Daniel, you’re not a cutout of yourself,

but a ballerina disguised as an ogre with duende.

Spray some starch on your beret, thin yourself

from the herd, and join me on the roof

where orchestras blame the moon

for a terrible night. Don’t be a body on the pyre.

I trusted him after endorsing him for President,

and he instructed cronies to testify I owned

gun gardens, a statement framed with his eely

smile. You gotta know where the line

in the sand is or you’ll never fulfill your godly

destiny, he glowed, smiling that last lie,

shanghaiing me to the supermax on the river.

David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.