Saturday Apr 01

Denise-Duhamel.jpg Denise Duhamel's most recent poetry titles are Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009); Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005); Mille et un Sentiments (Firewheel, 2005); Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001); and The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999). She edited, with Maureen Seaton and David Trinidad, Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry (Soft Skull, 2007). A bilingual edition of her poems, Afortunada de mí (Lucky Me), translated into Spanish by Dagmar Buchholz and David Gonzalez, was released with Bartleby Editores (Madrid) in 2008.  Most recently, she wrote the collaborative 237 More Reasons to Have Sex (Otoliths, 2009) with Sandy McIntosh.  Her chapbook Abba: The Poems, co-written with Amy Lemmon, is forthcoming from Coconut Press.   A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, she is an associate professor at Florida International University in Miami. 
Amy-Lemmon.jpg Amy Lemmon is the author of the poetry collections Fine Motor (Sow's Ear Poetry Review Press, 2008) and Saint Nobody (Red Hen Press, 2009). ABBA: The Poems, a chapbook written in collaboration with Denise Duhamel, is forthcoming from Coconut Books. She is Associate Professor of English at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.


Why Men Don’t Call

Just when I thought he was really interested, he goes
to an ashram in India—no meat, no cell tower,
no Interweb. The bouquet he’d sent dropped its last flower
onto my unblinking answering machine. I suppose
it was my fault for loaning him my copy of Eat. Pray. Love.
I twisted on my yoga mat and roared. I hated 4’33’’, Cage’s
silent horror. I counted the days till his retreat ended, enraged
that my expensive highlights would be dull, barren of
brilliant blondness. Why couldn’t he go to an internet cafe?
If he loved me enough, he’d borrow a bike or hike to civilization,
however long it took. Our love was a developing nation—
fragile, untested. What if some pious brunette whisked him away
for romance in her hip pad in downtown Toronto?
I hated my dowdy wardrobe, hated my Wal-Mart toaster,
hated the way I couldn’t stop thinking of him. A poster
boy of detachment, my therapist looked bored, gaunt. “O
Canada” played on his ringtone. “Excuse me, I have to take this call.”
The gall! I stormed out, then returned to ask,
“Do you have any ABBA on you?” Pulling out a flask,
I waited. He handed me a book on Abba Arika, Talmud Scholar. All
I could think of was Rufus Wainwright singing “The Name of the Game,”
his sad pale cheekbones. I wondered if my love was losing weight,
gaining flexibility, trading asanas with a new soulmate
while I chain smoked and packed on the pounds, cheap cookie shame
and Nutella angst larding my thighs. Then one day, in the mail
an old-fashioned love letter—and a picture of my beloved riding a donkey
in Nepal. “I hope you understand—I had to find myself—” the writing got wonky,
a lot of self-involved scribble. I popped a can of ginger ale
and went on Fish-in-the-Sea-dot-com, trolling for dudes
who knew who they were, my digits suddenly alive with possibility.
Schooled in John Gray’s Mars and Venus, armed with humility,
I made the first move, sequinning my blue tooth to give me attitude.


It’s Complicated

My boyfriend had thirty girlfriends on facebook
and hundreds of hotties on his Myspace page.
He was a playboy who worked for minimum wage
while he waited for his big break. I mistook
his virtual flirting for sloth, his nebulous ambitions
for latent greed. Apparently, he had lust down pat—
I spied his accounts as he peed, his urine a splat
on the rug. Why did I always fall for musicians
or poets or other lost artistic souls? I considered
that cute MBA I’d dated, then remembered with envy
how my college roommate lured him away when she
visited me in Cincinnati, the greedy thing. Embittered,
I googled her. She looked a little chunky on her blog
“This Chick Digs Chowder.” She was married, but not
to a CEO. Her husband was a fisherman from Penobscot
Bay. They lived in Halifax, built their own log
cabin-themed diner. My boyfriend and I would never
marry. He wouldn’t even put “In a relationship” as his status
on his profile though he lived in my apartment gratis
and I paid the cable, supported his every endeavor,
even his networking site dalliances. When I confronted him,
full of wrath, he hummed ABBA’s “Money, Money, Money,”
subliminal as neon. “I’m just having a little fun!” He
protested. “Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to the gym.”
He curled his bicep, a gesture I used to find adorable
but now made me retch. Stunned blank by his pride,
I went to the computer and logged on as him, pushing aside
pop-ups and instant messages from gothicpearl99, deplorable
whore. I changed his profile. “About me: I’m into love scams,
unprotected sex, gluttony in all its forms. I refuse to work,
even while ‘doing it,’ happy as long as I get off. I’m a jerk,
deal with it.” Then I logged out, not giving the slightest of damns.