The Rusty Toque | Issue 11 | Poetry | November 30, 2016
TOO MUCH BLUSH IS ALWAYS A GOOD LOOK
lo has a body made for sex
skin of henna and lips an invitation
looks delectable in a dress half off
even though I finds girls more pretty than hot
me and lo and lo's beau go to a strip club in bushwick
where I’m red-lipped and underdressed
and get a dance from a russian ballerina
skin like skim milk who gives me her phone number
elizabeth knows how to dress
well, stands with her back bare
spine curved, on the sidewalk
waits for me with the shy, sly expectancy of
someone who knows she looks good
though most often she hates her body
says if only she could be small
at the party, she keeps her velvet gloves on
ben likes my body
in nothing but pearls and prada heels bought on sale
he has nice lips, hips, smiles, what
do you want, he asks and I tell him and he does
breaks belt over skin
leaves pretty red welts
I cry, not sure if it’s his touch or
knowing it’s the last time
before I leave new york
I crumple kleenex, take off revlon lips
gather silk and lace and stockings slightly torn
for a bin behind the salvation army warehouse
where pavement glitters with glass
and walk three blocks to get a bagel
thinking I won’t need lingerie in grad school
though I might
you’re into meditation
and I’m into your cock
your michangelo proportions
and golden hair lit up
you’re six feet tall, all-american
easily wounded when I ask
you about the history
you think I misunderstand intimacy
but I’m in love with physical beauty
you’ve been accused of too much empathy
I don’t tell you what I’ve been accused of
you come, whimpering like a girl
and I come, resenting you
I wake up with a bruise
size of a thumbprint, sweetly purple
biting down while you followed the eightfold path
you tell me you’ve been sitting for five years
what a way to put it.
think about not thinking.
pins in my legs, ache in my back, pain that glides
the kind you swallow, a little nervously
knowing it gets worst
there’s a Buddhist story about the two arrows:
first one pierces skin, hurts
but the second is your own
making: your own self-inflicted
sparkling kind of suffering.
Buddhism is nice in that it encourages questions
an investigation, they call it, and no
one gives you the answers.
well, they do--
but it’s not the answers that matter, it’s the asking,
or maybe the intention behind the asking.
so what if the world isn’t just
pacifists and idealists and ascetics?
like me, an aesthetic, into
fucking, the light at dusk,
waking up to your jawline,
golden hair lit up.
I used to have a sex blog. I had fans:
this is my favorite blog of yours, someone
wrote. It was my favorite too.
why even have lovers
if you can’t write about them after?
It felt honest until it didn’t
turning one-night-stands into
unlocked doors, writing splendor
until there was too little.
In high school you played water polo with chlorine
coopered hair that stayed in place when touched
I had my first kiss with a boy who took ecstasy, kissed until
our lips swelled—and me, wondering if it was supposed to be
(you’re the one who makes it look easy
and I’m the one kneeling before a water glass,
thinking: I’m wrong, I’m always wrong
always doing it wrong.)
An older version of myself will
live in a brownstone apartment
german shepherd and wall of books
the lover will have died first--
a mountaineering accident
I’ve thought this through.
you can’t love someone unless they’ve hurt you.
compassion is grand on the winning end.
A man heard me read a poem once, said:
I was expecting it to turn sentimental
at the end.
he liked it.
LAURA YAN is a writer, artist, and wanderer. Her essays and journalism have appeared in GQ, PacificStandard, GOOD, Longreads, Penthouse, Jezebel & elsewhere. Her fiction and poetry have appeared (or is upcoming) in Foundling Review, Elastic Magazine, Newer York, and Lonewolf Magazine. She’s a MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia, & tweets @noirony