unfortunately typical song lyric

by D.A. Powell

iron carbide permeates my sleep
razor against strop
the metallic screech of brakes
at each shingled whistlestop
and the iron horse careens through the night
like a bullet from a pistol shot

if I were a train, I’d shuttle back and forth
between you and the boy I love
if I were a train, I’d smash through the wall
of your bedroom
and the firetrucks would have to come
to put us both out

electric lights compete for my attention
they pulse on and off
like the chopping blade of a Cuisinart food processor
that wants to break me apart
and stretch me like the glutens in winter wheat
if you think you’ll knead me
then just press “start”
and if you think you’ll eat me
then have a piece of my heart

and if I were a quilt, I’d cover more than one man:
I’d be on you and the boy I love
if I were a brush, I’d smother your face
with shaving cream
and the barberchair would pump you up and up
close enough to feel the blade

there are atoms smashing in my brain
they refuse to stop
until the mushroom cloud begins to rise
in my bikini crotch
and the sand on the beach is a smelting pot
this little atoll is getting hot

and if I were a nurse, I’d attend to you and
I’d sponge your body like you’re the boy I love
if I were a clerk, I’d wait on you hand and foot
and chest and thigh
and I’d wrap your clothes in parcels
of the finest butcher paper

if I were in love, I’d be in love with you
and one or two others who’d substitute
when you and I had had enough
of the smell of each other’s soap
and “no more tears” shampoo

ooo, ooo, oooo

—for Jascha. & at least one other

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