A Well-Deserved Vacation
by Belinda Roddie
Each - stressed - syllable - provides
the ambiance of a small restaurant,
where spaghetti is twirled into your hair
and the forks are tipped with fool's gold.
Your meal is free, courtesy of the chef
with the grin and the lazy eye.
Eat up before the wife finds out; kiss
the waitress before the wife finds out; take
two ladies back to the hotel with you and
let them regurgitate your poetry -
your hackneyed odes to a century
that brought you technicolor war
that brought you tanks and cigarettes
that brought you politicians choking
on their own manhood
sweet sweet sweet
rich and full of nutrients
but still a carcinogen roiling
your stomach more violently
than the cannoli.
You used to write your own
stories without relying on nostalgia
and the magazines that kept you hard
and happy. You saved up so much
money for this trip abroad, and now
here you are, new millennium stranger
clinging to the mirage that vintage
actually means better.
This - is - a Saturday night
and each - syllable - matters
when you fail at an affair,
when the women walk away
giggling at the spirals of your
hips, the desert of your lips.
I don't pity you, you with
the marinara sauce still staining
your forehead. Use it to tattoo
your mantra of a better time, of
a better era, when you could fuck
everyone without consequences,
when you could smoke without the
fear of scorching your lungs, when
you sat in front of the television
with your belly distended, and you
dreamed of Italian cuisine from
the comforts of your dirty couch.