Today's poem is by Jay Nebel
The Cleanliness of Porn Stars
Suppose the desert feeds on a mammoth
sea of algae, a breathing lake
of ferns, the water reaching up at us,
crawling through sand and red rock.
Suppose that in twenty years Phoenix will survive
without the help of neighboring states,
won't need the Colorado or the giant aqueduct
straining its jaws through miles of earth.
Suppose we should drill Alaska
until it's gone. Screw it,
my UPS driver suggests, we won't need oil
in seventy-five years anyway.
Suppose we aren't headed for the apocalypse
and these desert flowers thrusting purple in my face
are evidence. I've been a fool,
stood on the diving board and refused
to jump, wheeled a shopping cart
through the aisles, my adopted son
dragging me from the list toward strangers
stranded next to the toilet paper
and apple sauce. I want the faith
of the blind hamster who sniffs over the edge
of the kitchen table and pushes off,
to believe as some of my friends believe,
in jumbo neon crosses and radio stations,
in the palm against your forehead,
falling backwards and underwater
revival, in the cleanliness of porn stars,
that when the knife enters the cake
it will exit sans batter and entrails.
I want to believe in the black sand and vermillion
waters in the aftershave ad,
in the smile on the life insurance salesman's face
as he hoists a trophy of brain-flecked antlers
with his clients. I want to believe in his clients.
In an ordinary glass of beer
and the last seventy-five cents in my pocket,
in the black-eyed cigarette girl with an anger problem
who is the most beautiful woman
I've ever seen, in the warmth of my sweatshift
and the certainty of survival
of the manatees. I want to believe
as my neighbor believes
when he stands out all night in his bathrobe
watering the roses, mascara running
into his mustache, waiting
for his partner to come back.
I want to believe that in an hour
my son will walk through the front door
and look at me like I'm his father.
Copyright © 2015 Jay Nebel All rights reserved
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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