A Would-Be Blanche DuBois Writes of Pens and Pent-Up Lusts (To Be Read With a Southern Accent Over Sweet Tea, Spiked with Just a Dab of Brandy) by Tawni Waters


In my youth, I craved hard candy and melodrama
fantasized razors releasing my blood,
but now I am more practical.
It’s the flood of words that saves me each night
from this proverbial mortal coil
from the boiling of my gray brains
the straining of my silken soul
against this scratchy skin-bone corset.

Last night I rose above my body
one letter at a time
suicide by keyboard
and when I slid back home

I pantomimed resurrection.
When I asked about you and me
the tarot showed two figures flailing
from a tower, and every hour
every minute
I wonder what you’re doing now.
Furrowing your brow
committing suicide by guitar,
writing a song called
“Ten Reasons I Don’t Need Her.”


Not one of them is true.
You need me more than I need you.
And let’s be frank.  That’s saying something.
I need you like a horny needs a toad,
like a cactus needs a flower,
like a grenade needs to explode.
I need you the way
my fingers need this pen.
I’ll rip away the pages,
scrawl it again and again and again.

I need you.  It’s killing me. 
I need you.  It’s killing me.  
I need you.  It’s killing me.

But it’s not.

Suicide by lust
only ever happened once,
and it had something to do with trouser buttons,
choking, and spiked punch.
The victims were inexperienced.
The crime scene was a prom.
And you and me, we’re too good at this
to ever get it quite so wrong.
You will never kill me softly,
or hard, or otherwise.
You will simply torture me

waterboard me with your eyes.

The truth is you adore your whore
white teeth, wise quips, lush lips.
You and me, we both know
your favorite sin’s my hips.
At the sight of me
your breath gets thick.
Your rebel flag unfurls.
All hail to our confederacy.
All hail Southernized cowgirls.

A confession.

(File under “pathetic but still true.”)
I’d rather sprawl here on this bed half-drunk
and think of you than kiss some other mouth.

Maybe I should move down South,
adopt a sexy drawl,  smoke cigarettes,
slam bourbon,
never admit to anyone
there’s a man who
made me crawl.  I was tall,
but then your lips moved,
said my name,
and honey-child,
it’s a cryin’ shame
but if I’m Dixie

you’re the night that drove me down.

(You can’t raise a Caine
back up when she’s in defeat.
The Southern belle from New Mexico
takes her bow, retreats.)

All the bells were ringing.
Na na na.