Two Poems by Robert James Russell
Hands reaching out to touch me
they shimmy up
pouring out like
chubby children lamenting.
My cement room.
A room, simply.
Grasses reaching the sky
in transient mobility.
So much promise,
my own desires gone.
Lost but not quite so.
I want my own.
on my neck.
She claps her hands and
begs that little monster to kiss her.
Little twisted lanyards
of searing pain and heartache
spread thin across a velvety rope
decaying in the musky humidity
like the long-gone caress of a lover.
His hands rough,
not like they once were.
Gray strands interwoven
in his chestnut hair.
changed some over the years.
Not as sweet now.
MY STYLIST AT SUPERCUTS
(published in Thunderclap! Magazine, March 2011)
You don’t seem too thrilled to be cutting my hair.
You sigh a lot between long-winded dialogues
about your husband, the electrician, and your kids who are
mostly good, just bored. You tell me they have “idle hands” but
I’m not entirely sure you understand the meaning.
You make jokes about
how little time you have to yourself these days –
the recession has hit you hard and you
are working a second job at a bar called Figaro’s.
“It’s alright,” you say sighing again as you
trim the back of my neck with the electric razor
the buzzing loud in my ear.
Your youngest son Eric is a real athlete, you say.
You tell me how he’s “going to be trouble”
because even now the girls are all over him.
“And he’s only ten!” you shout.
The entire time I’m nodding and
watching your nervous ticks – you tuck your hair
behind your ears bite your bottom lip and
rest your hands on your hips.
When our eyes meet you look away quickly –
either I’m not good enough or you’re not,
I’m not sure which.