Amy Gerstler



Pressured Speech


do you still mouthe those crazy names
you called me in the throes?

ideas and associations arriving thick and fast,
growing more dense,
digressions becoming
more abundant?

remember that small pink motel,
rigid starfish
lined up on its window sills,
sand on the floor,
partial views of the sea
and a claw footed bathtub—
you, nude,
on the faded, braided rag rug,
seeming so Zen
about everything     

afterwards, hands on your hips demanding:
"do you really intend to drive
in that condition?"   

why does a burnt-out beehive seem
the perfect model of my consciousness post-you?

your beautiful collection of celebrity brassieres
your emotional usefulness

you won the perpetual deliciousness prize
though you did not seek it
for the chance swaying of your dress
and your crooked, first-ray-of-daylight grin     

indulging our mutual love of drugs and Ethiopian
shade grown coffee and all night cafeterias while the music instructed us—
we really let it push us around

it smells of winter
in these bleak streets
but I will never leave.

when a fresh letter arrives,
I do not turn pale and tear it open
with trembling hands.
I do not open it at all
just in case you were wondering

did you know:
once a thought is complete
all neurons fall silent
waiting to be called into play
when new thoughts arise
(if any ever do…)