“Two Old Broads” by J.B. Bernstein

J.B. Bernstein


talk on the telephone bemoaning
our fragility, senility & amazed that we
are still alive surviving Medicare, losing
hair in clandestine places, not remembering familiar faces…

Then the topic somersaults &
skids into lovers of times past: Tristan
& Isolde, Anna & Count Vronsky, Alfredo & Violetta,
Leopold & Molly
. We are still enthralled
with the tastes, the smells, the touch of men who
metamorphize us as if longing in the Garden of Eden
sucking on the fruits of love.

Even terminal illness or a seventy-year-old
who walks with a cane, others who bring us their “once
upon a times,” their tired masculinity, their myth-making, even
men who are catheterized, crucified men who crave more but live
with damage women, men who reside across the border
all desire us as we do them, light fires in us & mire
us in their half-demolished lives.

& there is always the one who
will crisscross our whereabouts forever…better than On the Road
with Kerouac
& more titillating than Travels with My Aunt.
Each of us in love with one of the above…
two old broads sister-like languish in the language
of intimacy & poetry, artists & medieval writers like Chaucer
& his Wife of Bath, the next doctor’s appointment,
sleeping too much, too little, mostly roaring at ourselves for being
us, for strutting our tainted bodies with just a bit of fuss &
savoring       salivating       quenching our thirst
on every solitary moment…

from Rattle #21, Summer 2004

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