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TEXT ©

Len

KUNTZ

The Ones All the Rage

KAMALI NORMA installation at Tampa Museum of Art photographed by mpcAstro © 2016

pictUREs


We Are the Ones That Mean It 1. We are the girls without insurance, without windbreakers. We own the night and fine bluemilk scar tissue. We dress like naked gypsies in a hurry. Stella’s laughter rings the dark. Tanna wants something sharp and hard to ride.

We have stored our questions inside someone else’s mottled skin, without remorse or malice. There’s a light on the other side behind the cresting hill where no cities sleep. We race to see who will get there first.


2. Lacy likes to laugh to herself while sleeping. She can’t take more than three bottles before she’s hitching up her skirt and rounding the bar with her brass knuckles blazing.

First poor sucker she sees gets it. He’s gotta be guilty for something.


3. Wanda wants to visit Poland. She had an immigrant neighbor once, a boy with a ski-ending last name who had but one eyebrow and furry nostril hair

weedy black. But he could kiss good. And he taught her. “No,” he said, “not like that. Like this.”


4. Emma and I used to shoplift for a thrill but now we’re at an indifferent threshold. That bald pharmacist seems to know what’s up. He’s got gray eyebrows. (Two. One cocked.) Emma gives me the head nod but I’m so tired of it. Emma blinks a Your turn, and because she’s right I capitulate. I double over convulsing

while she does the grabbing.

(Baldy trips on his dick.)


5. These are girls that mean it. Nails jagged as glass. Sneers like spears. Spikes scattered just below the blue-veined skin. Bobbie says she’s going to do standup tonight and we believe her

because her father often beats her. She’s been known to orgasm from watching fires burn. Stella likes it peaceful. A gentle soul. Transgender. Reincarnated like every single one of us.


6. He says we should get naked. Really naked. Take it all off. Do Jell-O shots off our bellies. Slurp slow and sloppy. Gluey lipped. I’m wondering whose knife he’s going to get.

Where it’ll end up. In the kidney or in the throat? This chucklehead doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.


Sunglasses Her black eye is a crushed grape behind the glasses, overripe colors that are not sweet fruit bleed free of the frame if she tilts her head which she is careful not to do. She speaks about Jerry. He is tall for his age, smart for his age.

He’s starting to look a lot like me. The black sea inside the cup doesn’t concern me yet my daughter pauses to ask, “Need some sugar?” forgetting—or maybe not—that her sunglasses are dark but not reflective. “Sure,” I say. “Yes, I’ll have some.”


Genie While you sleep I read your arms: flames and barbed ink stitched into your skin as if you are

a totem pole bibliography grocery list or story without pronouncement ‌


Like how the tenant in 14B made the news because he spoke Farsi and learned to fly in Florida, people are on alert around you. Yesterday the ballroom went still upon your approach,

head sculpture by Jaume Plensa ppphhhoootttooogggrrraaappphhheeeddd aaattt eeennntttrrraaannnccceee tttooo TTTaaammmpppaaa MMMuuussseeeuuummm ooofff AAArrrttt bbbyyy

mpcAstro Š 2016

the music stopped and a sparrow dropped dead from the sky. But I am still waiting on you, unafraid, a little bit desperate and dangerous, using both hands and all three wishes, madly in love.

The Ones All the Rage  

Chapbook Series 2 of 7 for OpUS2 Illustrated Anthology.

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