Maryland Health Club
Cloistered among the ellipticals
nuns climb the walls
to build their modest calves.
Some Greek and Roman living sculptures
make their hay around the free-weights.
Their bronze calves apocalyptic with muscularity.
Whatever it is it looks miserable and I lose it.
Apollo drinks at the fountain.
The water is ice cold and he makes audible wishes between swallows.
Party music clicks on as a new shift begins.
The nuns and I climb the stair to the convalescent home.
I have turned my back on everyone I ever loved.
For awhile, everyone in the narrator’s life is a goat,
or, goat-like. He is not in the mainstream,
but in the slipstream.
He is in a barnyard. He stands at the edge
of his return to form. There’s a pick-up truck
with an artist inside beeping on the horn.
The shot, the pulsate through the arm,
the is this your card, is not hotly debated.
The wind is blowing the hair coming out of his ears.
If you’re going to behave, I’m going
to need you to be quiet.
If unicorns, for instance, existed, there would be
no need for God. Should heathens cross
a blistering, unforgiving desert,
I’ll, for instance, eat my hat.
A self taught vulgarian. More idiot. Less savant. Self published in a thousand penitentiary letters. Went for what felt like years running from several respected communities most wanted lists. Has stolen food for other reasons than hunger. Rehabilitated: for the sake of conversation. Hasn’t ever understood a thing. Couldn’t be more pleased with his (sic) self.
I’M MUCH DARKER THAN I LET ON
Nastasya brings the baby into the porn shop. A real baby. Not a fake molded piece of painted plastic that will never grow. A real baby. Tiny heartbeats & diaper rash. “Hell naw, lady. You cant bring that kid in here,” a pale dead looking guy at the counter says. Nastasya struts by. Cold. High maintenance. My friend. She says she only cries when she takes it up the ass. I believe her. I’ve heard her cry. “I’m a single mother. What the fuck should I do? Leave the baby in the car?” She shields the baby from the porn clerk. She picks up a remote control vibrator. Sets it back. “Lady, I said…” The dead looking porn clerk sees me. I am unwell. I look like Hitler without the moustache. I’m completely unrecognizable. I claw a zit on my neck. Skin breaks. I bleed. I don’t blink. Dead porn guy asks, “Man, you okay?” I respond, “My brain is a hole that floats on a jetstream of airduster.” Nastasya says, “Don’t mind him. He thinks he’s shocking.” She puts a tiny vial of lube on the counter. She says, “I want the children’s discount.” Dead guy chuckles, says, “Just take it. Get out. Both of you.” Outside. In the car. I ask, “Did you get what you wanted?” Nastasya unwraps the blanket from around the baby to reveal her loot. A cache of XXX merch. She says, “Yeah, I’m good. Let’s get the baby back before what’s her name notices we’re gone.” She kisses the baby’s button nose, “I love this baby.” Baby giggles. A beautiful innocent noise. Car sputters to life. We fly through freeway traffic at 100 mph.
Shane Moritz is an American/Australian made of good, honest barbarian. He holds an MFA from Georgia College & State University. He won the 2016 Frankye Davis Mayes Prize sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Presently a Baltimoritzean, he blogs at Total Moritz of the Heart.