Jazz Virgin and other Poems- Liz Balize


Jazz Virgin


Susan, with her china-white skin 
relaxed
down to lace bra and panties—

“Have you ever heard this?” she asks

… sets the album, drops the needle
in the groove
We wait till bass fills in the room 
sending time and silence empty-handed, down a hallway

Susan lights a joint 
settles on the bed
ample legs begging apart
She sucks in deeply
impounding clouds  
Head thrown back
Thick glossy hair—
loses gravity
Eyes half-closed, shadow-heavy
clear and blue like piano
The walls of muted trumpet
stutter-hush over cymbal and the snare
Crackling over scratches

We are barely there

Susan exhales
fog, to a frail moon
Only her sultry voice still holds me tethered


Have you ever heard anything— like this?”

Miles flows
around me 
Smoking 
on the floor of Susan’s room
lying clothed and drunk
Soaked 
with the chords and wonder

I never hear him coming

Miles takes his time


The Wind Does What the Wind Does

I don’t think about it any more
I take out the trash
noting
Sticks caught in the crotch of a tree
The wind does what the wind does
breaks weaker branches down
does not care where
it leaves
them
on its invisible way

Days do what the days do
They don’t count themselves
worthy as they go
to release
the afternoon
to evening—
an artless
emptying
to a low spot
where tears tend to pool
if I’d let them down

“You know,
in that low spot
out there…?”
Where it’s hard to see
Where its hard to care

They take heart
out
divide it by energy
for sadness—
I haven’t got

Watched the clock go round
wipe out my little plans
with relentless hands

…and I never got dressed today



Moon Metal

She rises above the bay
on her wake—on a Tenebrae of carbon
Then bolts back 
careening cross blue-black—
through her lucent clouds of hair
from which on radii spray a diaspora of stars
Mistress of Metallurgy
tempered, tampering
Darkness forged to alloy with light

Men have always wondered…
how anything could be so round?

To arouse a sullen tide
her fingers palpate night-water’s lead
tingling light of limbs so spread
to her lover!

Close him in—
a pewter path of trembling touches
that ends in the small of her back

Men so wooed, still shudder
“How anything so tender…?”

could expose such stone!

She eclipses the sun!
She commands the sky!
…to hone his steel on that!


I Will Deal With This Tomorrow

I hear it
half in the bag of blankets
with an empty glass of wine
dumped
Between my thighs–
the furnace rumbling on
cat purring on my lap

“What the hell!”

That foreign sound!

…of water in the winter?
Far too cold for rain
more like a forest stream’s refrain
I start to think of birds– Then it occurs– 

I have a problem in the basement!

Wading into the waters of Lake Laundry
Glancing warily for those wire snakes
suspended from their rafter’s limbs
about to spit and snag me
with their lightning strike

Slamming that button
to make it go–
away–

Defeat
dripping off
jeans and unders
A clothes line pinned
with curses

Ah yes.
The smell of the Tide …
going out
on another day

Find other work by Liz Balise on The Blue Nib

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About the contributor

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