Iggy Pop on the Roof of 7-11

When you stopped loving me
the sun kept doing its usual thing
and the moon did not fall into the
ocean.  I got up and went to work
and had an average day.  I stopped
at the market on the way home
for cough medicine and dog food
and rented three videos on the
special Super Saver plan.
I watched the movies, fed
the dogs, worked on my novel,
and hoped it would do better than
the last one, which I think is used
for tissue paper in low-rent motels.
There was no sudden sympathetic
storm, the electricity did not go out,
lightning did not strike (twice)
although I stood in the yard for some
time and waited in the cold coldly.
The dogs, all three of them, did their
business and followed me inside.
The earth did not shake at midnight.
The ceiling did not collapse.  And when
I finally fell asleep, I dreamed that
Iggy Pop was playing in a dairy barn
for no one but two Holsteins and me.
I danced through the stacked bales in
boxers and a wife-beater shirt--this
passes for pajamas in Southern California--
and forgot to hold my breath until it
stopped.  And later--this is still part of
the same dream--I drove back to my
house in a John Deere tractor while
Iggy Pop writhed on the 7-11 roof.  And
I did not drive off the overpass although
you stopped pumping for me and started
pumping for Jill.  I took one breath and
then another and still I did not die.

Little Art [A Disaster]

A fool might bury beer in his manicured back yard,
wait for the welcome dark, then dig it up
and crouch there on the weedless lawn,
glug it down until it is gone.

A lesser man might slake an endless thirst
furtively at first, clink carefully
from county to state courts, cutting deals
with other socialites, equally well-heeled.

Almost handsome.  Almost sharp enough to cut.
Almost devoted to a wife and sons.
Almost violent, almost brutal some might say
when he did what he said [and he said such awful things].

What god pinched together, lawyers pricked apart:
an angry woman and a man with little art.


When I was blonde, I did not have more fun.
I bedded wild-oat boys who smashed guitars
in crappy bars, then wed a man with honeyed lies
who tried to flush our child before its birth.
I had his money and my colossal blondeness,
but every fall the skies squalled dark and cried
when I would not.  Are you surprised?

When I was blonde, I loathed the upkeep,
the highlights, the time spent in a padded chair
with someone else's hands wrapped in my
hair.  While I was there, he screwed his paralegal
to his desk or up against a motel wall.  Not hotel.
Did I mention he was cheap?  And I was hot
and blonde and smart, but still I did not know.

Evening:  This Side
in Response to S. Armitage

She sneaked out the picture window
into dirt, slid along the house
like a shadow bent by streetlights
to skirt the road  [Fifteen.]

At Anderson's Arena on Bon View,
all the cowboys roped and drank
and puked.  St. Mary's church
on Central Avenue handled the rest--

marry, baptize, bury, and regret.
His hair burned gold under
harsh arena lights, and a rope curled
in his hand, an extra finger, as his

edgy gelding ratcheted beneath him.
The swinging ropes, the steers,
the cowboys' flashy western shirts.
What was his name?  She has forgotten hers.

That was her town, her sordid little then,
her little love, her first unbuttoning.
Ten years and twenty waitress jobs ago
she hit the road.  [Fifteen.]

A little love can go a long, long way.

    Jennifer Olds 2008