Shopping, Yearning, Returning

Department Store Fictions
by Jason Whitmarsh, from Tomorrow’s Living Rooms

The mannequins are all in love with you
and too depressed to say it. The cashier
flirts with another cashier, who eyes you,
who eyes the sales rack of wool pants.
Behind each mirror hunches an old man
watching women adjust their skirts,
their sunglasses, their hair. Small dogs disappear
on the escalator. Everyone leans forward
at the perfume counter, asking to be touched.

Mannequins (Paris, 2005)

i like my body
by E. E. Cummings, from Complete Poems 1904-1962 

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new

Matt (Paris, 2005)

by Jason Whitmarsh, from Tomorrow’s Living Rooms

That last love poem I gave you, I want to apologize for that. It was
crudely put and several of the metaphors leaned too heavily on sea
life. I love you so much more than that. The best part of the poem
was the beginning, and that had nothing to do with you, or me,
or how much either of us loves each other. It was just a line from
another, better poem. Most of the poem sounds defensive, like I've
been accused of not loving you, or you of not loving me. Not that
I think I don't love you, or you me. I don't. Still, one could read a
poem by someone else and it'd seem more authentic—you'd be more
likely to think that poem was dedicated to you, I mean, than to think
mine was. One could even argue, too, that by studiously avoiding
your name or any identifying traits, I was making this poem fit for
more than one person, like women in general, or a second wife, or
your very attractive sister.

[Thanks, as usual, Garrison!]