Cynthia Arrieu-King




Frequent Contact With People
Who Would Be Third World Dictators
But Haven't Found Their Islands Yet

The pony took a crap right onto my feet.

By then I wasn’t breathing right, and thought I'd stab the wind,
              and brush away a tear.

The sky banged on my hood and told me the light was red.

He never brushes away his white curls.

I sent flaming paper cranes, I sent ultimatums, I sent things
              from one place to that mother.

Those rain-clouds splashed dirty tea on me, hissed learn how to walk.

She walked him through ten successful armed robberies on the cell phone:
              Don’t cover your face, just smile.

And the dark was rich in red stars of essentials burning.

Ridges formed by trucks forced me to pull over for the ambulance.

Three other moles fucking with my perm said don’t you hate it
              when people ask you to tell the truth?

I sent you a message you never got and you sent one back I didn’t get either.

Let's not talk about bad things. Let's only talk about good things.

I'm lost in stories of these Kings of Matawa.

The dead are left to rot under sheets, no big.

The rest asked, logic as procedure: Who is the president? Are there fish in the sea?

Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he’s buying.

I know I live a spoiled life when it’s a relief to lose all my music.




A ride on your thighs is meant for me, a flesh seat
fringed, supple. While you edited footage together

from a scene, you caught a headline on the screen, said
"Is the war really over?" I wait. You wait. I couldn’t

believe it, and to make it true, held my breath.
The possibilities form a primary list of what is peaceful:

The trees stand around in stunned luminous green kites,
thousands of them hung in accepted error. A pond a boy

drowned in, now a huge declivity in a field. Earlier,
I cut bandages for your foot and held the toes still.

It looked like you had chewed one up with your teeth,
let the nail soak rain. Until, what? I know your ills wane

in blood, fingers ten messages etched. You sleep.
Whoever thought you'd be thinking all this through me,

and I'd be in your daydreams, like skewed weather
while we sit side by side? There flashing in a pink scale

stuck to your plate, silver salmon space suit, the dinner
I'd hate. We read on the government veranda: Three new

pluton planets born this morning have to memorize
what is meant by chewing their rounded orbits, five

hundred miles across, big enough for hurtling back
to where they'd been before. Minimal work.

Ceres, Charon, Xena. And then (in my mind), we
fly across sky, blown free of these invisible glass feelings.




The Best Price You Can Get

I slept pretty sound then. But,
As if someone had taken a busy pool at noon
And put it next door at midnight, small cabbages of sounds
Un-leaved themselves, one coarse waxy hand at a time:
Someone shouted she’s a whore, ran to his car and sped away.
The gas can kicked across the street, impromptu soccer,
Voices merging and throwing hard bottles into
The thought of a donkey we could visit the next day.
My mother scolded me for something at a store from thirty years ago,
For hiding under the clothes of a carousel rack.
Sun clipped itself at a million angles and widths
To help the fevers go down about faith walking
Through routines of answering to reality.
Then the neighbors all roared at a joke you or I might have liked
But couldn't hear. And before their fits spilt like candles knocked off,
They streamed into their house and shut it up.
No one uttered a thing about the best price you could get for this.
I didn't go over your sweet lips again. Night held its own.
Pauses, and desires got distanced until the minds folded their own sleeves
Like laundry and together, or, simultaneously, we all slept.