Hymn to Aphrodite
Look, Aphrodite, man. Look. You know who your father is,
and you’ve got hobbies, which puts you two up on me.
Yes? Yes. So going out of your way
to break my spirit with adversity,
given our respective circumstances,
seems heavy-handed for a goddess known for subtlety.
Come on, man. Just: Come on.
Leave your father’s gorgeous house,
take your father’s stylish car (if ever before
you took a single one of my calls without
screening it, take this one, please)
come down in wings and darkness
and get here in time. Smile,
if you can find the energy,
or the time to wipe one over your deathless mouth.
(It’s one thing to tell a god to smile but where I can’t command I will ask:
with all that you’ve got to smile about, why refuse?)
But go ahead and ask me: What’s
the matter now, Sappho, why
this round of calls, what’s the new
pain lodged in my ghoulish heart,
fine, fine, “What’s her name this time, girl-chick,
whose kiosk in the mall did you hang around too long
after her shift got over, before her ride got there?
I’ll have her car
idling in your driveway
before she has time to pray to other gods.”
A dick move, if you ask me,
bragging like that.
Look, just get here, okay? Because (1) I gave you
my only set of spare keys years ago, (2) You know
I’d do the same for you if you needed anything,
so just fulfill what needs fulfilling and don’t
drag out my emptiness
just be a fucking friend, like you said
you’d be. Okay?
Oh, fuck, man, fuck me, fuck fuck.—
Some guys get to sit across the room from you
and listen to the sound your mouth makes
(jesus don’t say things like that),
I just mean: you laugh sometimes, and it sends
my heart on walkabout. It’s a chest cavity panic.
I mean the minute I catch eyes of you there’s no
thought left in me,
gag me, fuck me up—: look, I’ll confirm all this
low-grade fever, this skin-ruining crush is pure damage
Status: Knees week, mom’s spaghetti –
you know the rest,
and I’m bitch-sweating yikes, and the shakes
they’re coming on quick, no letting up, and it’s all over
for me, I’m fourteen seconds south of dying,
I’m fully offline;
but this piece of shit (me) isn’t going anywhere, Hiiiiii –
IMPORTANT ROCKS, DO NOT MOVE
I like her purse.
It’s well-ordered and free of sand,
and she’s not stingy with a spray of perfume,
but that girl’s dumb as hell.
She wore a dress once, oh my God,
you remember the eclipse on Cyprus?
It was like that. A national event.
That dress was an emergency.
It’s no good, I quit,
Mother or whomever else is concerned, I
officially resign from
weaving, and all other work,
blame God, if you want,
just let me lie here on the tile
God has almost
killed me with
that boy’s face. Have you seen it? Who can weave, at a time like this.
Everybody says their girlfriend is hot.
Armies of girlfriends, some on horses, some not,
bobbing just outside of port on the Girlfriend Ships,
Whatever; everyone has to say it, but can’t all be right.
Take Helen (please!), whom “all Greece hates”
hot like burning, and so knows from fine,
what did it take to get her to leave,
a top-ten husband, universally agreed-upon
as one of the best, from people who normally
can’t grind out one nice thing to say about a man.
shut up her house,
threw her kid out the window,
turned her parents out into the street
(which, incidentally, any one of us would do
at the prospect of a thorough dicking at the hands
of a face like that. If faces can be said to have hands, which
they can’t) on Aphrodite’s say-so.
That sort of dick-longing is adaptable,
and aerodynamic. It reminds me
of the last girl I dated.
How to put this? I’ve seen my girl’s face and your man’s.
I’d sooner watch the turn of her steps
or the side of her face than your whole boyfriend,
who on his best day looks like Kashi cereal.