Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Detached From Inhibition

An out-of-town
business trip to
New Orleans and
a dying marriage
is a bad combination.

I was surrounded by
shouts and laughter
attached to people
who drank enough
to become
detached from inhibition.

Every few steps
a new flyer was
thrust in my hand,
guaranteeing
sensual delights
at reasonable rates.

(Anything extra
to be negotiated later.)

The pain was heavy
and dull, and
all the unanswered
calls home
just dragged the blade
slowly
across my heart.

Of course,
the weakness won.

I found myself
skulking down
a slick, black alley
looking for an address.

The muffled bass
from a party inside boomed,
and from the shadow
a teenage voice offered:
“You looking for a massage
girl, man?”

I nodded, and he gestured
to an unlit stairwell,
save for a red glow
up at the landing.

The wooden stairs
creaked and groaned,
“don’t do it”
“turn around”
with each step.

At the top of the stairs,
a locked screen door
let me peer into
the empty space,
lit red,
with loud music pumping
from an unseen speaker.

I rang the bell.
Rang again.

Heart racing
and I almost left,
but I rang again
and an older Filipina
with steely eyes
and flawless skin
came to the door:
“You want massage?”

“Yeah, but how much?”

“I give you good massage. Come in.”

“No, but first, how much does it cost?
Are you the only woman here?”

“It’s okay, I give you good massage.”

“But, are you the only one here
who gives the massages?”

Either I confused her
or pissed her off
as she left me
standing there
on the landing.

Did I insult her?
Was she going to get
her boss to come
and kick my ass?
What if I got naked
and they stole my wallet?
Or just took my clothes and
threw me out into the street?
Or worse, what if they
held me down
and raped me
and filmed it and sold it
overseas?

Whatever strange impulse
that sent me up those stairs
also sent me flying
back down,
out of the alley
and back onto the crass
vulgar sensuality
of Bourbon Street,

where I never felt
so safe and
so grateful.

(Written for #OpenLinkNight at dversepoets.com, where only the best poets are online now!  Go join the fun!)

52 comments:

  1. "back onto the crass
    vulgar sensuality
    of Bourbon Street,"

    Oh how I miss Bourbon Street. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much - anyone named Torres is alright with me!

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  2. This is GREAT, Mosk! Love those protesting stairs, and the relief at the end. Man, can you tell a story, my friend. :)

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    1. Thanks, de. Oy, I can't believe I did that. Majorly oopidstay!

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  3. Great write, Buddah! Very vivid, and I love the tenseness you fill the lines with. I'd say I been there and done that, but...

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    1. Thanks! And be glad that you *can't* say that! Hell, I don't even think I've told Mrs. Moskowitz that story! Maybe she'll read it here.

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  4. dang...you barely escaped brother....sorry but i laughed at the wrong time thinking about the vid going overseas, but only because those same crazy thoughts would be going through my head...and maybe a bit of relief of the early feelings of feeling so helpless and far from home when things are not going well...

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    1. Thanks, brother. Yes, I laughed at that image too, only 'cause that's how my mind works too. Yes, it was all one big cry for help! Great desserts in New Orleans, though!

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  5. Very vivid. Sometimes real life is just too real eh!
    Great writing Buddah!

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    1. Thanks - it was a vivid time, indeed!

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  6. Those thoughts would have sent me flying out of there too.

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    1. Yes, but the eternal question: what the hell sent me in there? Thanks.

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  7. that's some experience, wow.

    BTW, you are the second one today to talk about handing out fliers, but it was for something else.

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    1. Yes, trust your gut - fear's there for a very good reason!

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  8. What a great story--so nicely done throughout--and although this piece for me was about the story more than the lines, I loved

    all the unanswered
    calls home
    just dragged the blade
    slowly
    across my heart.

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  9. Thanks so much. I personally don't think it qualifies as poetry, more like prose with line breaks. Yes, my little heart went through hell that year (so long ago).

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  10. Now that is a new theory on relativity.
    Hot truth!

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    1. Agreed, E=MCgetthehellouttathere! Thanks!

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  11. You speak such holy truths Mosk ... and no matter how much we might like to pretend we would never find ourselves in any such situation - ahem ... oh yeah, great poem.

    http://leapinelephants.blogspot.ca/2012/05/no-more-than-bird-with-piercing-voice.html

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  12. Thanks, this is pretty much reportage for me.

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  13. Did a great job of going through all the emotions that took you there and brought you out.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, since I hadn't thought of this one stupidity in years.

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  14. Thank goodness for your own personal wake-up call. If you hadn't happened, the next morning you may not have waked up at all. A fine write!

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  15. OMG! I was scared for you Brother Poet! The weakness is one thing...almost always manageable...but when you add anger and a pissed off sense of rebellion and I'll show you...well, the best of us have been led down certainly ally's...and the very best of of us survive them to write wicked weaves like this!

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  16. I was just one lucky duck, I'd say. Thanks, Tasheleh!

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  17. You never cease to amaze me with your stories and the telling of them.
    This one leaves me wanting to scold you.
    Well done my friend.

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    1. Puh-leeze! I still hadn't hit rock bottom yet, that was to come in another 6 months (see http://ihatepoetry.blogspot.com/2012/03/she-looked-me-in-eyes.html). Then I scolded myself plenty! Thanks for the kind words.

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  18. Nice retelling...sometimes we don't really know what we want in the first place...glad that you are safe after all of that ~

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    1. Glad I listened to my inner chicken. He's saved me many a time. Thanks.

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  19. A good thing in that moment that reality shone it's way through the alcohol haze. Good piece of story telling here!

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    1. Thanks Ginny, but I can't blame it on booze: I was dry 4 years at that point!

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  20. Wow,this was an insightful read, and undeniably well written.
    http://leah-jamielynn.typepad.com

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  21. You weren't going to find what you were looking for there, my friend, unless...

    I am thinking of Jim Carey in "Liar Liar" when he is beating himself up in the men's room and somebody walks in and, shocked, asks him what he is doing. With a wicked grin, he answers, "I'm kickin' my ass!" Sometimes, that's just what we set out to do.

    Thanks so much for your comment on my poem "Bulldozing the Spring." I saved it to my special comments file.

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    1. Thanks, I didn't know what I was looking for, so how would I know if I found it?

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  22. Glad you (or the subject of your story) had the good sense to leave that place. It pains me (and many of the locals) that so many people judge our great city by Bourbon Street which is a cesspool. (Except for the residential end, of course.)

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    1. Naw, I loved Nawlins, esp the architecture of the French Quarter. Gorgeous!

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  23. oh heck...glad you made the escape in time.. it's easy to fall in all kind of things when things are not going well and you're not feeling loved..felt...

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    1. Thanks for the sympathy and I did myself a lot of damage in 1994. And 1999. and...

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  24. I sure enjoy how you confidently reveal yourself through poetry. :)

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    1. Yes, and just think, these are the stories that I choose to tell. The other ones.... sheesh! Thanks, Andrea.

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  25. Replies
    1. Thanks Laurie, The intervention was divine, even if the intention wasn't!

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  26. Love how the fantasies went from positive at the beginning to really terrifying by the end! You can really tell a story, Mosk. And without pulling punches. Glad you got back to Bourbon Street unscathed, and unmassaged...

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    1. Thanks, Andrew. I did get back to Bourbon Street unscathed, but when I got back to my hotel, I gave myself a massage. Such a lonely life...

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  27. Great tale--and I am paranoid enough to totally believe it could have happened--you could have become an unpaid porn star in Micronesia. Bottom line is, things like that make it awfully hard on guys to think straight. It's the idea that everyone else is doing it, yadda yadda, plus being emotionally vulnerable at the time....anyway, I think this works as poem because so many of the lines break so naturally, there's internal rhythm and a lot of incidental slant rhyme, and, mostly, because it just feels like a poem to me. (I'm such a pro. ;-) NOT.) Enjoyed it much, Mosk.

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    1. Thanks, hedge- I don't know how to write a real poem, so I take your comments as high praise. I write like I talk, except I don't say "um" so much.

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  28. where do I start?

    "dragged the blade slowly across my heart"
    "muffled bass"
    So wonderful, made my heart race too - till you made it safe to the street!!

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    1. Thanks! You're so lucky you're a woman, therefore much too smart for such stupidity.

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  29. vivid picture indeed. glad you got home safe & sound, and no video oversees! *smiles*

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  30. Anonymous11:23 AM

    This is some great storytelling, Buddah. Sounds like a close call indeed. Loved the ending:

    "also sent me flying
    back down,
    out of the alley
    and back onto the crass
    vulgar sensuality
    of Bourbon Street,

    where I never felt
    so safe and
    so grateful"

    No one ever thinks of Bourbon Street as being a safe place, but I suppose everything is relative, even degrees of danger.

    The opening stanza was so sad but an excellent step inside the door of this man's world.

    rosemarymint.wordpress.com

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