Portrait Poem: Ariadne
Lone Star’s got a new design — on the nostalgia route.
Ariadne puts hers down on my one mute speaker
while the active speaker’s got A Kiss In The Dreamhouse
jamming out of it. Curious
Ariadne paces the room. Examines everything:
ball point pen, a broken wooden rabbit ear off a doll
that I’d taken home from Saigon fifteen years ago …
Picks up a pocket journal. A poetry book. She’s got
these big glasses that seem to zoom her in on everything.
Where’s the story? She’s asking me questions,
“What kind of old spice do you use?” I don’t know, I say,
Classic. Do you want some? Ariadne glistens her
underarms. Puts the thing down. Sips the can of Lone Star.
She’s bored, I can tell. Trying to strike up a conversation
when the response’s at the end of it. I first met her—
I don’t know where. She’s a reader. & what’s profound
to me is when a reader can’t sit still. “Yeah, I only look
through the pictures.” Thumbs through a selection
from these old fantasy guides — the one about Ghosts
that my sister found dumpster diving at a dead man’s house.
Sips the Lone Star. Puts the tall can down.
Ariadne’s got a high curve on her back
& she’s got her fist centered beneath it, at her spine
as she examines the room. She smiles as she takes a seat.
Bites her thumbnail like the famous opener from Shakespeare.
Is this weird? I want to ask her. She shakes her head.
“No.” Then gets up again. Puts on a plastic king’s crown.
Golden yellow. Crooked plastic gems. Picks up a tear-out
from my old singer’s song-journal. “I like Sophia.
I haven’t seen her in a long while.” Then sets herself down
on the wood floor. Picks up an issue of Licorice
a friend Erin’s home-made zine bound together by cut-outs
like a three-dimensional collage. It’s these little windows
of light that tie us together, the poem, the Tarot, the collage.
Looks through the zine w her back on my bedroom door
& that crown on her head with her eyes like refugees
in those magnifying glass frames. Takes off the crown.
Lets her hair down. & checks inside the crown — like
Estragon’s boot in the Beckett play. Nothing to be done,
says Vladmir — the first line. & so the crown
rests on its head on her lap as she thumbs old drawings—
her left hand still dawdling a can of Lone Star beer.