When I asked him to turn me on he said:
1. Turn yourself on.
His voice had that flat affect lovers get
when they’re done with you.
2. You’re burning through men, my mother warned.
Like there was a limit.
Every day, a fresh opportunity
to ruin some poor man’s life.
I was on fire.
3. I’d take a bullet for you, he told me once.
And meant it.
I didn’t answer.
I tasted loneliness at last.
4. And he, behind me,
palms on my ass, riding.
5. (That night) I fell asleep with the TV remote
between my legs.
When I awoke, he was gone.
6. If he knew what I would write about him,
he’d have hated me sooner.
7. Sometimes, the person you’d take a bullet for
is the one behind the gun.
(for Michael Cohen)
First published in The American Journal of Poetry, 2017
After you kicked me out,
and moved Vicki in,
I spilled my guts to the Armenian drug dealer
at the Glendale Galleria.
He told me he’d fix
my Porsche, pay off my credit cards, keep me
in cashmere and coke,
if I’d let him.
He’d dress me in silk that grazed my ass,
said he liked the whiteness
of my thighs, said if I were his, he’d keep me
out of the sun.
There I was, strung out on dope,
all lanky, pale-skinned
The Armenian drug dealer bought me
4-inch Louboutins and a leash,
a Stetson to shade my face.
I let him move me
into his condo in Glendale.
The Armenian drug dealer liked to drive
the freeways, had business
in San Diego and Oceanside
and San Juan Capistrano, liked the top down
on the Beamer, liked the way my hair whipped
in the wind. He liked fucking me
in his 3-car garage, pinned
against the hood. He could do it for hours
when I’d let him.
The Armenian drug dealer liked candy on his arm,
that was loud in the bedroom. He liked my ass
raised on a pillow, legs spread
like a Gullwing Mercedes.
I let him do anything he wanted.
He wanted me to tell him about you.
I told the Armenian drug dealer
how you wrapped Vicki in my mother’s embroidered shawl,
how you gave her my grandmother’s amethyst ring.
How you used a rifle to make your point.
How you could only come if you tied me up.
How you papered our bedroom with lies.
The Armenian drug dealer wanted to storm your house
wanted to tie you up with the same ropes you used on me
wanted to rip my mother’s shawl from Vicki’s shoulders
wanted to take the rifle out of your hands
wanted to bring back my grandmother’s amethyst ring.
So I let him.
From JUNKIE WIFE, Moon Tide Press, 2018. First published in Plume, 2017
Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume, Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, Diode, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, HOBART, Poetry East, and elsewhere. She’s the author of four poetry collections; How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter Here, (2017), and Junkie Wife, (2018), the twisted tale of her first, doomed marriage. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.