When the Cock Crowed for the Fourth Time
He was the 30-second man
when it came to the bedroom;
she, the 30-minute (or less) meal woman–
at least when it came to the kitchen
(so long as it was someone else’s).
Yet somehow the kids not only got conceived but fed,
for it was all in (a percentage of) a day’s work.
Life with him was a monologue–
& she was his captive,
if not captivated,
He was a one-man show,
playing the same role
year after year:
Death of a Mailman.
His lamentations were the worst kind of junk mail,
for they couldn’t just be tossed in the rubbish.
How she wanted to stamp him out
& send him packing via airmail.
Drinking was the only thing that kept her
from going postal,
but when she’d finally had her fill,
she left him for a man of much fewer words,
only for him to leave her,
having had his fill of listening to her tell him
about the windbag she’d ditched.
He’d dreamed of Jennie—
all those years in the camp.
Hoping to see her beautiful face again
was what had kept him going,
but when he was released
& saw that her outward appearance
he realized he hadn’t loved her,
but only the memory of the image
that had once made her career.
He’d won the Powerball with 1 ball
but lost both his balls
when he met the woman of his night dreams–
a girl who saw a goldmine in his family jewels,
for when he gave it to her,
she let him have it
& took the rest–
all 7 pounds of flesh–
& his child support became
My father’s epitaph had been a lie,
engraved into a stone tablet—
just like the 10 Commandments.
Both had been used to control beliefs.
David’s wealth was prolonging my father’s life,
even as he was enjoying my father’s wife.
Like Mary Magdalene,
I’d been visiting the empty grave of
the man my mother had practically deified—
the man whose blood would redeem me
from psychological incest.
For the sake of her soul,
she would not divorce,
but she would kill.
For the sake of Patrick’s soul.
she had preserved the body by
keeping him hooked to machines—
a mechanical embalming.
Mother Mary had been Mother’s idol,
but now she saw herself as a martyr—
a saint but not of the Catholic kind.
Mary & Clary—
a widow & a divorcee—
both being rid of their balls
(having cut the chains with
arsenic & ink),
no longer had a man to keep them warm,
so they decided to keep company
with needle & yarn.
And it was when they took a class at
The Knittin’ Needlers
that they realized they’d become their mothers
who’d made their fathers miserable
(which explained their only childhoods).
They each lived a double life,
sharing the secondary one.
They each had a spouse,
who knew not what their other half did,
for their lovemaking
was merely the tapping of keys.
She’d loved a 0;
a 10 had loved her.
Because the 0 had come first,
she lost The One.
She had been raised to put her marriage first,
& in so doing,
she had put herself second.
Her children could never imagine a Father’s love,
having never seen it in their own.
She married him for security & got love;
he married her for love,
but because he couldn’t give her security
in anything but his love,
she changed providers.
No one knows everything about the one they love,
but they can choose to love what they know,
& when what they do not know is revealed,
they have the right to make a second choice.
Pinky Tickles penned greetings for anonymous givers—
cards for every anni, quarrel and bicker—
cards for divorces and broken engagements,
for the neutralizing of toxic friendships,
and friends-with-benefits relationships.
There were cards for congrats
on being canned like a tuna,
or sacked like a potato chip;
for being kicked to the curb
by roommates growing herbs.
There were cards for bad bosses,
“You’re welcome” cards and “Sorry…not!”;
for unhappy birthdays and ugly afterthoughts.
There were unsympathy cards for deadbeat dads and
“Don’t Get Well” cards for mommy dearests;
“Happy Lonely Valentine’s” days,
“Santa Hates You” Christmases,
and “Thank You for Climate Change”,
for those who fired up the works on Independence Day.
Pinky was a minus sign in a plus-sized biz suit—
a fractious little number—
but the day she finally got some shag,
her heart bloomed into a redrum rose and
her words became sweet as a lollipop gag.
Merry and Kate,
two of a kind of something fine,
walked into a bar quite late,
both with something big on their minds.
“Congrats, Kate,” Samson, the bartender said,
then, with a deferential look at Merry,
“Sorry to hear the news—
that’ll be a lot of baggage to carry.”
Merry, with a nod, mumbled,
“This pushover needs a hangover.
I’ll take a double of whatever you’ve got.
I’m not feeling so hot.”
Kate, giving her minute sister
(as Merry had been born one minute later),
a big hug and a kiss of air above her hair,
went to dance–
all curves in tight pants.
Kate, feeling celebratory,
cut up the invisible rug like she was on happy drugs,
whilst Merry drowned in emotional purgatory.
“I feel like my life is over,” Merry said,
a couple of towheads came in and saw the twin,
looking the lost part of lost and found,
and slid onto the stools,
resisting the urge to wildly spin around.
Olive and Vinny, friends of the twins—
been married for years, it seemed like—
they even sort of looked alike.
Merry called them the Dollangangers.
They didn’t get it.
“Look up “Flowers in the Attic”,” she’d say,
but they never did.
“What’s wrong, Twinnie?” Olive asked,
ordering a martini,
and Merry, feeling quite contrary, said,
“I’m getting married, I guess.”
“Sorry to hear that, old girl,” Vinny said,
with a shake of his head.
“Wish Joe was a better fella,
but you could’ve done worse—
at least he isn’t a male nurse.”
They looked over at Kate, and Olive asked,
“Well, what’s she got to be so happy about?”
“Oh, she’s finally getting divorced,” Merry said,
then held up her glass and added with a pout,
“Bartender, pour me another—
just enough to knock me out.”