January 26-February 1, 2004: Adrienne Lewis and Adam Liszkiewicz

week of January 26-February 1, 2004

Adrienne Lewis and Adam Liszkiewicz

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Adrienne Lewis

Bio (auto)

Adrienne Lewis is the Managing Editor of Mayapple Press Her works have appeared previously in various print and online literary venues, including Fusion Cardinal Sins, Controlled Burn, White Pine Review, The Driftwood Review, and Poetry Midwest The recipient of the Raymond Tyner Prize for Poetry in 2003, her first collection of poems (Coming Clean) was released last fall Lewis currently lives in Saginaw, Michigan with her husband and son while attending graduate school at Central Michigan University
Visit Adrienne on the web here

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Adrienne Lewis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Perfect Mistress

I like to think of my mother
and the way she looked in old photos:
Hair shining as though it were pulled
through midnight skies, her frame
sporting the latest fashions He would buy her flowers
then, send love letters signed with his secret acronym
She showed me these things once, 
late at night, after the gin and tonic had taken hold
We sat on their bed turning pages
and captured moments in our hands;
And my mind slowly slid the envelope off
a message: He had been married
when they met Details were left out, 
but across the chenille spread, sheaves of messages
worn thin from handling lay
between us; the ellipsis of the affair was shared The next day she drank pots of coffee, smoked a pack
by noon I knew enough
not to mention how lovely she looked
at the dinner dance in ’72, how I could see her
raven hues in my prom picture And later, she never said a word
when I too dared to love someone
I shouldn’t have
and, with a child on the way,
came home to tell her all about it.


Like so many, on our knees we prayed to sin
– Gerry LaFemina

This time last year I was falling
down a flight of stairs into darkness
A face blackened the light siphoning in
from the bar next door His laughter crackled
and I let an obscenity slip towards him, drag him
into me, pressed against the wall for support The kiss
took us over And over
the shitty jukebox playing downstairs
he looked down on me with disbelieving eyes Like Saint Thomas
putting his hands in the wounds of Christ, he fingered my hair
making sure I was real I was saving him
from another night alone on the couch What he offered was a kind of Eucharist,
a broken body given freely without remorse If only I had pushed away the patin
of his hands cupping my face My breasts
longed for fire to dance across their dark halos though
Angels may have watched
us caught in our whirlwind Hanging behind a veil of reality,
they might have seen us hardening, against one another,
souls lost to the overstated thrill of the kiss, what thirty pieces of silver can buy,
the glorious way it feels to do something you know is wrong
(Anathemas was previously published in The Driftwood Dreview)

Tongue in Cheek

He doesn’t realize
I’ve heard about the girl, her pouting
babysitter face and body
made for manipulating into new positions
of enjoyment I can understand the desire
to sink his teeth into something
that won’t bite back, can’t
because she isn’t his wife He still probably thinks about it:
the ruffle of sheets as she would leave the bed
guilty about what they had done He doesn’t know
I’ve been there: Lying alone, listening to
the shower running, washing away
sins from the person I cared for
And so I tell him about people we know
who are grazing the flame of infidelity,
testing the inferno
to see if they like it hot He chews slowly
on this food, swallows a sip of beer
and says it seems like no one knows
how good they have it at home.

Easy Out

Imagine for a moment the jeans you used
to wear to high school dances still fit
Denim edges unfrayed with belt loops
intact, you can easily glide them
down over your hips
and thighs, past the point of no return–
where you have to make a decision
to kick them off or have them settle loosely
around your ankles in an embarrassing pile
that says, I’m not ready to commit to this
Would you ever take them off, 
begin to dress again
in slacks made for comfort: elastic
waistbands ever-expanding
without stonewashed buttonflys, 
the easy out
(Easy Out was previously published in the chapbook Coming Clean, Mayapple Press 2003)

Adam Liszkiewicz


Adam Joshua Liszkiewicz is a graduate fellow in political philosophy at Rutgers University, and prose moderator at Enter the Muse (www.enterthemuse.com), a critical forum for writers His work has appeared recently in Word Riot.

The following work is Copyright © 2004, and owned by Adam Liszkiewicz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Dust and Dandelions

My grandmother’s word for the white puff
that succeeds the dandelion’s flowers:

money-stealer In the summer
she warned against coming too close to one,

would brush one hard from your shoulder How else to explain her youth?

Imagine all your money swirling
like dry cotton caught in a gust,

crowds of men shaking fists at the sky,
a woman kneeling, weeping,

and the word will become yours.

A Quarrel

Evening: envelopes and stamps
.spilled on the table like salt .The tall maple at the fence

quarrels with the sky, opens
.a shadowed space, denies it again .There is no descent

my dear, no rising,
.no accomplishment to speak of .The emptied merely awaits filling

as the full awaits use,
.as the dog barks to be let outside,
.as my hands wear against the door.

The Uplifting Truth

full-bodied hair
builds a full-bodied soul

.from the back of a bottle of Pantene Pro-Vitamin hair gel

People long for the days of the noble
bouffant, the virtuous mutton
chop The musings of prodigious
hairy prodigies loom over us like beehives,
casting long shadows over the days we fill
with our spiked purple hair
Our souls are flat as a bald philosopher
deflating us with the nausea of Sartre What could he know of existence,
the foundation of noble things,
he of the Uncle Fester persuasion?

We long for the days of the Platonic,
long-haired lecturers smelling of pot,
when Pomade was a thing revered,
when James Brown was king of our Soul We long for full-bodied characters.

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