THE FORMER REVEREND
He said he was a liar, so deeply
in love with himself
that his fortunes had increased while
he avoided gay sex, drug use, and memories thereof.
Despite the scientific method, he still said
time couldn’t evolve an organ like the eye
that plants sexual thoughts about men,
soldiers who look gay to the confused ego.
The brain rut
of falling into sin and failing to feel
shame creates twisted love,
gay bars in every mall at the end time.
Self-abuse he admitted later on,
drug-taking in the telling also turned up.
Can a sexaholic love?
On Divorce Court his wife’s loving eyes suggested yes.
His own abuse a childhood flash that flowered
every spring. He fell heavily. He fell among thieves.
He forgot the chirp of his car’s remote or how
he bought his personal trainer’s love.
A NURSE WHO LOVED HER PATIENT
I know my nurse loved me.
For hot mouths and months
we knew no shame.
A few encounters
beyond camera’s eye
did not harm security
but panting love went on
my love your cell phone’s
flashing eye in bytes
of time lights
your body’s picture
and your husband’s name.
Love letters I hid
inside the ceiling
with my knife, recall
the drug of love,
the sex so quick—
You lost your job. They fired you.
Your husband left
or you left him, TV
crews and reporters,
I listened hard,
you loved that fact.
The other memory
dropped though you
knew what I’d done,
love choked just as I
cut my mother’s
neck that time with a blade.
I burned her room
just to increase
the smoke around
your eyes and still love
swells, my muscled arm
rippling in your sight.
FRED ENGELS AND MY TEENAGE UNCLE IN DIFFERENT FIELDS, AT DIFFERENT TIMES
The earth a slaughterhouse, red snow
like the grape juice at Auxerre in ’48,
left on the street. Herr Engels cuts
across the field where his mistress
Mary waits, white arms open,
holding the bottle she already tastes
but the greatest pleasure he knows
is not training for revolution
or how she will please him tonight
but fox hunting, blood-sport in the field,
his horse above the hedge, landing on snow,
playing with millocrats.
The cotton spins into the night
and the god-ridden capitalists leave
the fields bare. He’s a godless millionaire.
Children drink cheap schnapps in the open streets,
at night when Mary eats tipsy-cakes, drinks ale.
She says, I’ll never leave you alone again.
I’ll never weep like those young women do.
Does she know when he clutches for her at night
that history is a snow goddess
who walks on corpses in a red, red field?
Before the fall of bourgeois snow, he feels
bored, puts his hand into her cleft.
They drink Château Margaux all night.
The bottle open on her lap, she seals
his reach with just one kiss. The left’s tedious
scruples do not bother him in the dark.
This sleeping French girl knows nothing
about him—lying splayed in the field
he sees the snow left purple with the dye
of the cotton mills belching at night.
The reactionary victims would not know
even after the melt that dialectical
materialism was a field whose crop
only grew at night. For example
my uncle knew they buried all the bodies after dark,
after ’45. He’d never tasted Château Margaux
or considered the angel of history.
Digging was hard too in Siberia, in frozen
earth. My uncle used a blowtorch
to warm the grave. He had trained as a mechanic.
Now he fixed a simpler problem—
open heat on permafrost.
FAILED STATE, 2007
She holds one son and grips the wheel
below the helicopter’s racket. Sean
and Jayden wasted on her man as the cops
flutter above her rattling brain—
she checked out of Promises early.
From TMZ video you know all this.
Like an unregulated angel she sweats
the influence of her goddamn dad.
She puts the boy down and touches her head.
What she wants she wants now, Brit guns
it to the convenience store the kids
will sit and oh shit she has no money but
a British accent’s like a credit card, right?
Death and fat and puffy paparazzi
crowd her quick into the truck.
When she attacks Dano,
bald and umbrella-wielding she spits
on every sloppy-waisted fan
who wants her to die like an angel bleeding
in lockdown whose last hit
she can’t recall, driving, eating, wasted.
Maurice Mierau is the author of Detachment: An Adoption Memoir, and Fear Not, which won the ReLit award for poetry in 2009. The poems here are from Maurice’s new book, Autobiographical Fictions, out with Palimpsest in the fall.