By Mickey Cesar
Perhaps I should build next Spring
a lean-to by the river
just up from the power-plant
near the turnpike.
nighttime sour-earth smell.
fertilizer. diesel exhaust.
I could bring everything I need:
a towel. pens. notebooks.
pictures of the girl I loved
a few bottles.
everything I need to drown in.
I could spend all summer
watching Orion chase the horizon,
singing with cicadas
and down-shifting semis.
Return to mud and mosquitoes.
become certain of my opinions.
and drink some
with nobody watching but God.
By Beth Dorsey
This is my mother's wedding dress,
a sheath of cream
satin that kisses the calf
mid-way. This is the matching
she wore with it, it
buttoned in a path
of pearl stepping stones up
the smooth white brook
of her back, these are her cat-
eye glasses, her long
dress gloves, her veil, her Audrey Hepburn
shoes, this is her dress that threatens to rip,
as I try to coax it up over my hips.
appointment with elsie
By Matthew Porubsky
you make the hour trip from home
across the prehistoric sea floor,
where you spend your off-time
scraping teeth and sleeping
in purple moonlight with exes,
to angel's house on 27th street.
you talk to me on the screened porch
with flagrant lips and jewelried teeth
about ghosts and holy hosts,
and rain on the 4th of july.
the angel's security deals out stud
with a righteous 5-aced deck
while she giggles in the smoke
playing with her toes.
we all drink tequila and fold every hand.
i follow you inside for a brown bottle
and watch you strangle and struggle
with the bottle top and ask,
"where's all the muscle, elsie?"
"i needed quick cash," you say,
"so i took it to the pawn shop."
after several sticks and shots
angel takes her security to bed
and you stretch on the loveseat,
rubbing your skinny wrists,
and read me the dictionary while
i wear your watch and watch
your lips read and tongue tip toe syllables.
i give you every definition
in hobo-boxcar terms
and take off your socks when your eyes close.
you hold my hand to a pinstriped bed
and bowtied down pillows,
haloed by street lights and a fan's hummm.
we slip in sheets and you tell me
how you only broke nails when you ran track
then purr like a kitten while i rub your back.
- Mickey Cesar and Beth Dorsey both live in Lawrence and are working on English degrees at Kansas University. Matthew Porubsky lives in Topeka. All three will read their work at 7 p.m. Friday as part of the 2004 Lawrence Poetry Series. The series will present area poets every Friday in April -- National Poetry Month -- at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.