skin is improved, smooth in the dim fake Turkish lamplight;
heavy perfumes like a spice market, but no selling going on —
merely the lease of a few minutes of the illusion
intimacies unsanctioned and inappropriate and called-for.
I could hear Mercedes calling though I don’t remember what she said.
The lease of a thigh wrapped around, and a warm breath;
release of a thrill that goes stale as a cold crust
in the night air
in the car
in the hotel room.
In Adelaide there is a den where
there is a den
growling packs of businessmen a long way from home,
black tresses and shimmering stockings and unfeasible shoes, delight,
There is a den, upstairs, or downstairs; night invades it.
She unpins something, arms twisting backwards like pale cranes
the feathered kind
once more around the pole and lo, she lets it fall to the floor
every turn around, a little more of her shows
the gilt on the busted wooden acanthus and her eyes look shiny in the half light
This is a thousand miles from intimate, though it
feels a bit closer at the moment, with her smile on fire.
All this fakery casts back;
somewhere there was a temple, vestal, where rites of cold marble
whispering tendrils of night air kept at bay with sheep-fat candles;
then, there were white walls smoked black.
Here, the impurities are not a veneer,
and yet here, unintendingly we worship; Venus, Kali, kundalini.
Tonight she will be with someone
and not performing
though she wonders whether he will know. Where there might be Kali,
there could always be an ending.
A poem, 2007. Thanks to Mercedes.