What he really wants: by Sarah Rae

Women.  That’s what he wants.  Women of all
shapes and sizes.  Mexican and American.  Maybe
even Polish, like the blond upstairs.
He wants them at his funeral, crying their eyes
out, so he can look down on them and smile and laugh
and remember and feel proud that he’s kept them
coming back for more.  Coming back, for the parts
of his body they say they like the most.  His eyes for
Maria la Amarillo.  His chest, La  Metiche Americana
de la vecindad. His hair, Sherry la Americana
de Michigan con the black Trans Am.  Pilar la vieja,
para todo, for all his body.

They all like his dick.  Yeah.  He knows how to please them.
They always come back, especialmente la Amarillo
con las tetas magníficas.  With those amazing tits.
One look at those mothers, with or without clothes,
and he has to fuck her!  Even though she stalks
him all the way to fucking Chicago from Indiana,
where he used to live después que llegó,
after he arrived.

¡La pinche Amarillo!

Fucking crazy, that puta.   He remembers that time when
she finds him with the night waitress from Joe’s Family
Restaurant and then starts throwing
all his pinches cosas at them.  Whatever she
can get her hands on.  His wallet.  The Virgen de Guadalupe
candle on the table (Gracias a Diós the flame goes out).
Empty Modelo Especiale bottles,
algunas con beer still in them.  His Ricardo
Arjona CD’s.  The half-finished jig saw puzzle
on the table.  The picture of el Cristo
del Corazón Sagrado su mamá le mandó de México,
con the rosary de madera con oro,
gold-painted wood, that his mother sent him from
Mexico.  She even tries to throw the
glass-topped table.  Fucking whore!

Maybe Alicia will be there.  La cubana
rubia de la Habana, nació como un hombre.
Born as a man.  She wants an operation, but
doesn’t have el dinero.  ¿Siempre una falta
de dinero, verdad?  Always the money.  Always
the fucking money.  But she sure can suck dick good,
even though she still has hers.  And her blond wig looks
a thousand times better than Maria la Puta’s
dark roots.  La Puta always lets hers go too long,
always lets her nail polish get chipped.  Alicia
goes for manicures every week, gets her nails painted pink.
She really knows how to take care of herself.

With Alicia he can relax.  ¡En fín!  With her
he feels at home.  Like he can be himself.  Who he
is he really, and what does he want?  Fuck if he knows.
All those pinches questions won’t let him sleep at
night, make him get up, pour some more Cuervo and turn
Arjona up loud.  Or maybe the Buena Vista Social Club,
so he can dance by himself, pretending he’s with Alicia.
No importa nunca.  It doesn’t matter, doesn’t have to matter.
She understands todo el tiempo.  Con ella
el tiene simpático.  With her there’s no need to pretend
los vatos en el DF were only friends, the ones he talks about
from his childhood, the ones who still call him on the phone,
the ones las metiches chingadas always
gossiped about,  the ones su papá threw him
out on the street for, made him sleep on the chingada sidewalk
in front of his house for.  The fucking concrete sidewalk!
The fucking memorias of the beatings.  His father.
The way his face clouded up right before.
His eyes.  Dark beams of hate, like a fucking laser gun.

¡Ay, Alicia!  Please be there.  Por favor.  To remember
the nights he goes to see her after he’s finished with the pinches
mujeres, the women always fighting over him.
Todo el tiempo, problemas con ellas.
But he can’t give them up, he knows.  They come in
handy sometimes, buy him beer, give him money, sometimes
talk English for him to landlords or la policía.
He’ll never ask Alicia for money, she’s
too good for that.  El tiene demasiado respeto a ella.
And some of them are decent lays when you need them,
can give good head, though never as good as Alicia.
But, chinga, it’s too damn hard for him to see her sometimes!
He has to go way past dark, so no one can see
him going in, call her in advance, make sure
she’s there.

¡Ay, Alicia!  Her apartment, clean and neat,
with the red sofa, the black lacquered dining room table,
the gilded clock de Cuba, the chirping parakeets,
the show videos, the tarot cards, the café con leche
she makes for him just the way he likes it.  Mostly
hot milk, just a little Nescafe mixed in, con
sweet pan dulce.  With her stories de la Habana
and how it is to live like a woman but be a man.
To dress like a woman, con orgullo, with pride.
The way he can joke with her.  It’s the best thing.
The way she can talk in that high flirty voice like a woman
about things men talk about, with the same words they use.
Sín problemas.  Nunca con problemas.  If only
he had the balls, the fucking cojones, to live like her.
What he really wants.  Ay, Alicia.

He sees her now, looking so much better
than las fucking putas.  She’s wearing those
rhinestone earrings he got her for her birthday,
that high class fur jacket, that deep red lipstick on her
luscious lips, those perfect pink nails.  That blond hair
that feels so good against his skin.
She’s crying and crying over him.  ¡Hijolé!
Tears are running down her face and
fucking with her make-up, but—¡ay!
she still knocks his chingadas socks off. . .

Light the candle.  Listen to Arjona.  Sing along.
Un twelve de Modelo y la botella grande de Jose Cuervo
at his side.  Jesús Cristo on the wall, the cross on the chain
around his neck.  A jigsaw de las montañes
on the table, like the ones surrounding the capital,
the ones he used to see from his barrio
every day as a kid. The video of Alicia
dancing con su sexy red dress at El Gato Negro.
Muy sexy, lo mejor de todo.

Raise a glass.  Sing along.
Déjame decir que te amo. . .

Sarah Rae lives in Chicago with Maya, her beautiful bilingual cat.  She has worked as an English teacher and guidance counselor in high schools near Chicago, and is in the process of earning her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans.  Her poems have previously appeared in Tata Nacho Press, the Poets’ Corner section of the multilingual arts website fieralingue, and Solamente in San Miguel, an anthology of literature about the town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  She is thrilled to make this appearance in the innovative, dynamic Burlesque Press!

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