What You Know For Sure That Just Ain’t So


Their eyes focus on me

on my body

the sweat sticking and stinging

.               here I am dancing

.               foolishly dancing

.               like some teenage thing

They see my face

.               they see my wrinkled face look up

.               I smile they laugh

.               I smile they point

.               I smile they go on

.               always pressing on

.               that tear rolling down

.               my cheek

And he walks away with that blonde

he looks back and

snarls and snares

.               I sulk inside

And outside

the lights splay on my body

he turns and leaves

.               and I think of back home,

.               I think of His words on me

.               and her doing nothing

.               and her doting on Him,

.               my legs bend slightly

.               at the knee

.               I am here

.               I am my mother’s daughter

His fists pummeling her

and my escape

to the culvert

beyond our house,

.               just big enough

.               for me to squeeze into

.               I hid and

.               I screamed

And to the legions

of friends




.               splashing languidly in the shallow waters they heard me

.               they heard what I had to say there,

.               hiding there

His hand grazes my back and he bites

his lower lip

and watches my body

watching for a cue

.               I smile back

.               we kiss electric

.               our tongues

.               wagging and

.               shaking

This is where I am now it’s all the same and

it’s all different and

.               part of me knows this

.               it’s how it always was

The music vibrates through me

.               my arms tense

.               pulsating and  circling

.               the thick veins in his neck engorged

.               and sweat builds

.               in torrents

.               on his brow

.               I cringe but this

.               Is where I’m at

.               that crick that bore me

.               that crick that told me

.               how to be

.               washing away those bruises

.               those dangerous words and

.               her muted cries there

And I feel my dress snaking up

his sausage-fingers wringing my legs

pinching my muscles

in flurries

of lover’s words

gone unyielded.



I’m lifted up on high,

looking down

.               and I see them

.               but now they don’t

.               see me

Like Sargon I watch

.               and His weapons He washed in the sea

.               He sought out the Great Knowledge

.               hung there for nine days

.               He hung one two

.               three four five

.               six seven eight

.               nine

He won He bested them

He won that Great Knowledge

.               Eyeless and toothless

.               He took

.               what was His

And I’ve been given chances

I’ve been given hope

I’ve been dead twice before

been buried twice before

.               but I came back

.               every time

.               and out of all that

.               out of the mud

.               and muck and mire

.               I trudged forth

The beat blossoms into a steady snared procession

the synthesizer oozes its way into me

and back out of my mouth

.               and it spreads into them

.               and they take it

.               and they look and laugh

.               and leap

.               and they eat it and they never quit

His hands riding up further

I feel a trickle of a finger peel my panties away

from my skin

saturated with me


.               with His face

.               His face a new chance

.               a hope that I was me again

.               that I was who I always felt I was

.               and that motel,

.               that chance

.               for something new

.               something better,

.               I could feel the edge of it

.               but it was kicked out from under me

.               His words cutting her deep and

.               her smile

.               behind that apron

.               behind those dinners

.               those candled nights

.               and I couldn’t take it and

.               I left and

.               I found her in the distance

We were happy for a time

but soon she swooned for His words

.               this is how it was

.               I had no idea I could

.               feel that way

.               about Him

.               yet I felt that

.               way about Him

.               and He took it

.               and smashed it

His finger enters me

my chin raises

my lip quivers and

it hurts I don’t want it but I do want it

.               and if I say no

.               what will they say

.               I need his body

.               against mine

.               I need that

.               satisfaction

.               I need to know that

.               I’m desired

.               I need his head poking

.               and muttering mimed words of affection

.               and fuck me’s and fuck you’s

.               I need him

.               to say these things

.               my eyes will shut

.               and I will think

.               of other things

And I’m swept away to that night

the first night He had me

.               we sat in rapt attention

.               watching that man wave his wand

.               forcing those enchanted vibratos

.               those patrolled double stops

Aching through me

I see Him now

and He  looks at me shyly

like he did once before.



I knew He had me then

that night

and we laughed and

we left fucking in His car

He had me:

.               His hands rough like leather

.               on the back of my neck

It was new and wonderful

I never told Him about my mother

.               about my home

.               I suppressed my drawls

.               gone and out

.               burned in a fire

.               He lit in me

.               and I was done with all that

.               my past life

I’m here now

and he pokes his fingers inside me

I rake my hands across his back

and pull him close

.               he whispers to me

.               and I smile and say

.               yeah baby

.               he smiles back

.               nods behind me

.               I just

.               don’t care

He’ll be waiting for me

I suppose

maybe maybe not

sure why not

.               my head numb the drinks coursing through

.               spreading unevenly

.               they passed me around foraying

.               into a world I don’t know

.               they passed me

.               I let them

.               and I grew clunky at best

.               we went to church last year

.               because I felt awful

.               because I felt long-gone

God hates me I’m alone and

I envied those people

with their little lives

their little minds

their little prayers going unanswered

.               but they assume otherwise

.               they assume

.               they are important cogs

.               and little do they know

.               the mechanism broke and

.               has been broken forever

.               it never worked

.               to begin with

The greatest trick He ever pulled

was getting them to believe

it still worked

.               but it doesn’t

.               sitting there

.               in the pews

.               with the neon lights

.               shining down.



I felt nothing then

He sat hunkered thinking of whatever

He sat hunkered thinking about my fingers

tracing words in the Bible

.               tracing the word love

.               the word forgiveness

.               the word only

.               the word begotten

A smile creeping up like

green-leaved creepers

.               yeah baby

Us leaving

making a mockery of

the whole thing

.               getting up and

.               trudging past them

.               their eyes on me on Him and back on me

.               the wife

.               the obedient wife with no job

.               with no passion

.               with nothing

And I should corral Him

I should own Him

here at least I should know the limits and

He should listen to me

.               while they go home

.               thinking about

.               these two strangers

.               a man and a woman

.               and how she had no control of Him

.               of how it was her fault

.               they left

.               they go home

.               baking their pies and

.               their children

.               watching TV

.               their studies going unstudied

.               they have no jobs

.               but they’ll tell you

.               their job is to be obedient

.               to raise their family

And I can’t be obedient

.               it ain’t in my blood mamma

.               no it ain’t in my blood mamma

.               please leave em

.               ain’t nuthin you gunna do

.               if you don leave em mamma

No they go on living

Go on dying

And they’re dead already,

passing judgment:

.               husbands with their

.               hushed fantasies

.               wishing to seduce their assistants

.               and secretaries

.               they make love with their eyes closed

.               so it’s easier to imagine

.               her aged flesh replaced with

.               the taught and toned skin

.               of a coed bouncing away

.               His troubles seeping

.               His face contorting

.               to a wicked smile

And they don’t have it

they think they do

but they don’t

Their lives are meaningless

.               they rear their young

.               their young go on and

.               they stay on and

.               they press on and

.               they die alone

.               their husbands

.               at the wake

.               thinking of who comes next

.               then there’s a chemical reaction

.               they forget with age

.               and they believe that

.               this is the life they were born for

.               that one chance is all they get

.               that this is it

.               and they fight for this

.               they fight for that

.               they don’t know why they’re fighting

.               then they wake up

.               their brittled bodies soothed

.               in the warm lapping water

.               the only time they have

.               to themselves

Then the demands come:

.               no jobs to run off to

.               the same eleven steps

.               up and down every day

.               lists to check

.               breakfasts lunches dinners to prepare

.               with head nods

.               and smiles

.               misery  skindeep

.               obvious to any and all

.               if they’d just look

But they don’t

they keep salivating

at the sinners

pointing their crooked fingers

at me

at what I’ve done

at my leashless husband

.               the succubus sucking Him dry

.               His marrow emptied

.               the darkred blood

.               dripping from my chin

They want more

.               they want to live

.               to burst free

.               to see the air ripple through

.               the mountains

They want what I want

yet they sleep every night

getting fucked from behind

a quick kiss

to say goodnight

rolling over and ignoring

so many tears

they can’t make them




The end

very much like the beginning

is cold and alone:

.               they sit in a room

.               full of people who care

.               but they care because

.               they are told they have to

.               they care

.               but you’re plugged into the machine

.               and His thoughts

.               dwindle on her ass

.               not on your twisted face

.               the drooping lip

.               the frizzled hair

He thinks of freedom on the cusp

.               so close

.               a chance to move

.               to date

.               to fuck freely

.               His mind emptied out

.               on a platter

And they judge me—

oh they judge me—

his middle finger

wriggling inside me

and I cum quivering

and he says

you like that, don’t you

and I say yeah baby

and he says you fucking bitch,

you like that, don’t you

and I say yeah baby

and he leans in and whispers

and I say yeah baby

.              and he takes my hand

.              everyone looking

.              no one looking

.              shoving it down

.              I feel him hard

.              and he mouths to me

.              and I lick my lips

.              I know what they like

I moan in his ear and

I tell him how big he is and

I tell him it’s the biggest

and the best

and the brightest

and he says fuck yeah

and I roll over for him

and they roll over for them

and He’s at home

wondering where I am

.              feel him hard

.              in my hand

.              stroking

.              and rubbing

.              he gyrates

.              and in the darkness

.              the colored patterned lights

.              missing us every time

.              I tell him what They all want

.              to hear

.              that they are the best

.              they have what I want

.              what I can’t live without

.              pulsating and preening inside me

.              him hearing me and

.              smiling out loud

.              breathing heavy

.              sweaty

.              engorged

I lie to him

I tell him these things because

I need to feel him

.              pressed on me

.              pressing on

.              wondering who he is

.              where he comes from

.              it doesn’t matter

.              it can’t matter

.              I don’t think it ever really matters

.              getting judged

.              on how many men in my life

.              of course I lie

.              I tell them all what they want to hear

.              he doesn’t know

.              he can’t know

.              we all lie about these tiny things

.              never telling anyone

.              who we are

.              never baring our soul

.              always unhappy because

.               we keep these things

.              locked up

And my heart turns over and thumps deep

and I become Fenrir:

.               He envelops me

.               takes me

.               my fangs gnawing at His hands

.               as they bind me tighter

.               to that rock

.               in that place

.               where Fenrir lies still

.               where I lie still

.               that place deep in me

.               no one knows about

.               that grayed water

.               heathered up around me

.               I’m lashed to that rock

.               a river flowing from me

.               I sit and wait for him

.               to undo me

.               to finish me

.               sitting there in the darkness

.               bound, he waits

.               we wait

.               looking at one another

.               our souls bared

.               our teeth flashing

.               intertwined

.               in some great cosmic dance

He tells me it feels so good

and he wants me to suck him

and we lock eyes

he says fuck yeah,

I want your mouth on me

I say yeah baby

I say not here

he says let’s go upstairs

he knows the guy who owns this place

.               a hand slapping my ass

.               fingers dug deep

.               feeling my hand on him hard

.               he leads me and nods

.               walking.



We enter a door

the stairs leading up

he kisses me:

I want your mouth on me, he says

.               yeah baby

he pushes me down and

I take him

.               there was a willow tree I could see

.               from my window as a girl

.               I’d climb so high

.               I couldn’t get down

.               I’d escape on that tree

.               looking into her bedroom

.               she sat motionless as He napped

.               she sat brushing her hair

.               she sat thinking                deepdark things

.               my thighs squeezed against

.               the gnarled bark

.               a breeze tickling my face

.               I laughed and inside I knew I’d leave

.               she had no power

.               no insight

.               no introspection

.               she sat motionless

.               crying inside in torrents

.               her insides turning

.               she saw me staring

.               eyes locked

.               I was there on that bed

.               as He napped

.               and she was me

.               free in that tree

.               my hair her hair

.               and from her I came

.               I was already gone then

His hands against my matted hair

a smell like beer

fuck yeah, he shouts

.               gleefully

.               loudly

.               I take him

.               he cums and I tell him how

.               good he tastes

.               and he asks me

.               if I liked it

.               I tell him yeah baby

He smiles and whispers

our legs taking us further up

I feel sick now

.               my stomach pounding

.               my face dark

.               the lights before me extinguished

And I ask to use the bathroom—

a great sprawling room with

fine furniture before us

a sheet draped over a large window

—and he says no

.               I tell him I need it

.               he says no

.               I say yeah baby

.               he says no

.               I feel lightheaded

And I see. her sitting

on that bed still

and I’m her on that bed

she replaced me

and took to that tree

.               hanging there for nine days

.               for that Great Knowledge

.               she’s still there hanging

.               a spear in her side

.               me in her place

.               lashed to that rock

I feel vomit come up and I

can taste him

the bitterness swallowing back down

his shirt coming off

his hands on me

.               I say no

.               he says yeah baby

.               I know you like that

.               you dirty cunt bitch

.               my hands waving him off

.               his pursed lips laughing

.               like a thundercloud

I go under and come back

I ask him for help

I drank from a cup

from a cup He gave me

I drank from that cup

.               my eyes go black

.               like coals

And I see the door open and

two men come in

nods all around

I said yeah baby before

now I say no

and nods still nodding

heads nodding like puppets on strings

.               nodding

.               nodding

I said yeah baby

hands on me

hands all over me

no matter where I turn

I see her

.               in a reflection

.               in a shallow puddled pool

I see her in me

I see her cold body

.               dead and gone

.               and soiled as food

she’s gone but never really gone

.               released for a time

.               always going back

.               sitting on that bed

And my eyes go black

.               yeah baby

.               I said yeah

.               anyway.

~ by yearzerowriters on December 7, 2010.

8 Responses to “What You Know For Sure That Just Ain’t So”

  1. A long one, I know. Apologies to all y’alls’ eyeballs in advance.

  2. One of the most beautifully powerful poems written. Bravo to Robert James Russell for an absolutely delightful read. Yes, it may be a long poem, but every word and every phrase holds so much meaning.

  3. Phew, a challenging read. I like the build up – prolonged/controlled. Is that MidWestern Gothic, then?

  4. Splendid. Esp part IV, about the mundane routine of life, when Time is still passing by.

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