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I almost had a wet willie once
but as it turned out I didn’t have
a willie. I was wet, though.

Trouble n’ow
a’brewin’
midst the broad moonl’ght
if ‘ is for a letter
let the letter be sp’te
if ‘ is for nothing particular
let the nothing fill what’s left of your inbox

On Monday, happenstance occurred. Happenstance, I say, because I’m not sure I believe in fate or destiny, puzzle pieces fitting together just so. I see a yellow sticky note on my office floor. I leave it there for several hours. I have things to do. In the mid-afternoon, I pick up the note and take a look-see. I’m jolted to see it. His email, the asshole, who ruined the name Steve for me, although I never liked it anyway. The one with no affection for me. His email, who I’d finally forgotten. His email, written down a year and a half ago just in case we ever started communicating again, still waiting to be typed in my compose box.

He’s not much to me, not even painful to think about. He’s nothing. He’s an asshole. He is Steve.

He facebooked me a few months ago and I told him to never contact me again.

I’m not sure why I can’t bring myself to throw the sticky note away.

the days of his domination are over
the days of him going too far
the days of me pretending to be appalled

now he’s genuinely startled when I take him too far
he crumples as a child dropkicked on green grass in the early spring
he fetus-hugs himself
licking his wounds
the ones I’ve created

too much info
is never enough

Someday we are going to have
two point five children.
This is how they’ll be: myopic Caucasians
with updraft hearts and thistle carpets for hair,
curious challengers to the world at large
who will know the truth
about where half their chromosomes came from:
sitting in a lab with an issue of XY, Kleenex, and
a paper cup.

They will have a succession of stepfathers
and an uncle who is closer than the others
who pays child support.
They will know the story of your disconsolate womb,
and how I pressed warm washcloths on that
meadowed belly, pair of us holding hands
watching chick flicks under a lavender afghan,
talking about these future offspring over ice cream,
far-flung and foolish hopes of children
until the day we were serious.

On the unimportant holidays, maybe I’ll arrive
with belated birthday gifts in hand,
tousle a few heads. When they’ve gone to bed,
we’ll sit with lacrymatory mugfuls of spirits,
uncertainly thankful for
the shapes we take.

© Joseph Harker

All about me.

In one word describe how you currently see yourself:
homely

One prominent nickname you were given:
ML or in my other life, Lo

One strange fact about yourself:
I hate constrictions of having to come up with one response when I mostly have several responses to questions, some of which are mutually exclusive.

One bad habit?
Not washing my hair often enough

One thing you can’t tolerate?
Wordpress monster avatars that appear as my picture on some blogs. It says it saves the new avatar but then the monster shows up. And the monster looks like he’s smiling. Like he’s a happy monster. Ugh. See Bindo’s site for my monster-faced comment.

What that sickens you?
Tidiness, rinsing with salt water

One thing you can’t forgive?
Bryan, for telling me there’s no hurry to complete his contest and then calling me every 5 seconds to see if I have selected a winner.

You have difficulties with…?
grocery shopping and bullets found in my door

What turns you on in a man physically?
Tall, hair on head, brain optional
What turns you on in a woman physically?
overalls

What is a turn off for you in a man physically?
A small oh-my. Short and/or without hair.

What is a turn off for you in a woman physically?
scabs

Have you seen the white light at the end of the tunnel?
I try to block it out with my sleeping mask.

One drink you’re never touching again?
Pledge-flavored herbal tea

How many countries have you visited?
A lowly 2 countries.

How many countries still on the list?
All of them, although I might wait a minute before heading over to Somalia or Afghanistan

One word to describe you a random friend.
Sevenlicious

One word to describe your partner.
N/fucking/A

One word to describe your latest ex.
Smelly

One word do describe your soul mate.
available

One word to describe your nemesis.
Sevenlicious

Your future in one word
freezer

You’re stranded on an island… One thing you’d want…?
liposuction

One word to describe this tag
time-waster

One thing you would like to say to the person on your mind right now
Wanna cuddle?

There’s no way to avoid life’s cruel, incessant lashings. Here’s what you do when difficult times descend:

• You carefully examine the rubble of your cookies. Your immediate thought is that you could never overcome this woeful obstacle.
• You put the cookies out of your sight for 35 seconds.
• You can’t get the cookies out of your mind. Your immediate thought is this is an unacceptable position to be in and dammit, you’re a strong woman who’s over come unexpected cracker crumbles and apple mush.
• You search your mind and soul.
• Endless time passes. Perhaps upwards of 15 seconds.
• And then. Your eye catches the box of tissue on the corner of your desk.
• You take your package back out and excitedly dump the destruction of your cookies on your tissue.
• You pick through the rubble and eat what you can, savoring every sweet bite.
• You say, “fuck the rest” and expertly through the tissue and cookie grains away. You don’t need that shit. Now you can get back to the full-fledged, good-time cookies still waiting for you.

Bryan has answered seven pressing questions (seven, because he refused to answer any more or less because of his ocd). Enjoy.

1. Do you find Nestle Crunch bars slightly more satisfying than love? Be honest.

When I was young, I did find Nestle Crunch bars more satisfying than love. But, truth be told, love to me then was make believing my high school girlfriend at the time (we’ll call her Melody Eclair) was actually a sophomore named Bo while a certain third wheel rocked herself crazily in the corner of my black Chevy S-10. Now, when pressed, I’d have to say the only thing I find more satisfying than love is a good creme brulee, so long as the layer on top gives you that little crunch.

2. What does it mean if a guy has medium-sized feet and squinty eyes? Don’t lie.

It means orgasm is probably out of the question for all involved.

3. I haven’t gotten a text in hours. Why is this happening to me?

Because you say things like, “I thought you’d never wanted to hear from me again,” “cooooooookies,” and “my dog peed on me.”

4. When are you going to provide me with a homecooked meal again?

You’ve requested Hamburger Helper of the Cheeseburger Macaroni variety. While technically this meal is beneath my level of skill, I will make this for you next Tuesday, with brownies for dessert.

5. Who would win in a break-neck, all-goes fight between bindo and Val?

I’m going with Val. I have a feeling she knows how to throw elbows. Bindo would get distracted by something depressing and write a wonderful poem about it, though.

6. Who let the dogs out? And what the hell was up with all the coconut in the Bahamas?

You let the dogs out, just the same way that you lost your room key and foolishly thought that, because we spent thousands of dollars to go on a trip together, I wanted to spend time with you. As far as the coconuts go, I didn’t see them. I was more impressed with all the men in speedos, which I don’t think you noticed because you hadn’t hit puberty yet.

7. Don’t you secretly wish you had a Blackberry Curve instead of dinky iPhone?

Never. All your readers who have iPhones should download the free App “words with friends” and challenge me, PoeticGrin, to a battle.

A good date is always a bad date for a writer. I get a rush of delight when I realize things have gone horribly awry and I’m stuck in a situation that I will be forced to endure for another 53 minutes. It’s sweet, the taste of the meat of him, the reassuring thought that I own this story now. I can twist and spin and create a reality of terror and delight for myself and, hopefully, my readers.

I had a date yesterday. It was very awkward until we started making out. He had squinty eyes and was a bad kisser. He wore a pimp ring on his finger. I admit to liking it.

Let the snow fall down, half a foot
let the rain fall down, half an inch
freeze, five hours
serve with slippery roads
and unbecoming falls from grace.

SOB with me

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