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William Bailey

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Freehold, NJ, US

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12 Got Married

by

William Bailey

Thanks for telling me 12 got married the other day,
itís only taken me five years to build this wall and I was growing tried of it anyway, while I wasnít happy, the pain had died down and I stopped shooting junk last spring.
Thanks for telling me she got married and was dressed in white lace looking simply beautiful.
Still as slim as ever.
I remember green was her best color and she love to write in it as well
long letters from Delaware that filled a box in my bedroom, From under the bed I would pull it reading songs sheíd sing to me
My fingers ran over the pictures, of us, together in so many places, at home, in love
But thanks for telling me she got married,
I was seeing my therapist once every other week and now find that I am lonely for our weekly chats, and she need a new car, Iím glad to help with payments.
I donít need to replace the knives yet plastic works just fine
and I could trade in the Turbo for something a bit slower anyway,
but thanks for telling me
12 got married
Itís been years since Iíve heard her name spoken
Iíve changed all my friends and rarely come to the city at night.
My phone numberís unlisted and I only drink in gay bars
Sheíll be honeymooning in Montreal you say
staying on St. Catherine street.
She will spent time in the old part of the city and ride the horse drawn carriages there
Lunch outside in full days sun cafes
Dance late at Rock Heads Paradise
Come back to her room and make love to exhaustion
then write, with her back to the rising sun,
songs of his beauty
sip white wine and remember his taste
slowly wake him and start it again.
Thanks for telling me 12 got married
now stop crying and help me with this wall
I know I put something useful behind it.


What do you know?

by

William Bailey


What do you know as we move down this street
One more place to run from
Filled with folks to meet
Iím not doing this
Iím not going to that place
Itís more like unremarkable again.
Grainy video shot on state of the art 1960ís cameras
Everything looked so wrong
We donít remember that way, do we?
It all seemed clear or Technicolor
Do you dream in black in white
Or just on Sundays in church?
I have the same dream every night
Itís always mid-week and Iím always in high school
I think itís a nightmare but I canít be that limiting
I need to have more options.
Pat Buchannan and Rush Limbaugh in blackface might help
But its always Huey Newton and Malcolm X reflected back in the glass
I come in from my latest daydream and ask if love will keep this moment alive
You laugh at me and go back to reading the Fountainhead
I know I canít compete
How you want Roarkís rape,
but I can only give his idealism,
and that has become tattered over the years
torn from me by round bodied women with unlocked backdoors
coxed out of me in the backseats of expense Bavarian cars
by slender fashionable Asian sinners with cocaine
and magnum bottles of Cristal
I long ago traded integrity for a water view and hardwood floors
But returning to the factory taught me I had to give it may all
And you became my role model
Or was I just waking from one more bad remake?

We could get lost here

by

William Bailey


We could get lost here, outside of the nearly completed works of art
by so many young and tender thinkers.
We could fall down the pathways of shortsighted verse and clashing colors
Landing in a place where no prisoners are taken and you canít get a drink before six.
I came home to my fatherís house only to find broken bottles and sketch pads filled with images of the neighbor lady naked
I never noticed she was so beautiful.
she ran me out of her cherry tree ten summers ago
yelling about broken branches and informing my father.
Mean bitch, I thought
Little did I know
my father could draw so well.
Family is filled with so many secrets
Like my brotherís hidden dresses
Or my step-sister employed by the government
to inflect pain on people for information
and her own sexual fulfillment.
I spend two summers in a small town surrounded by people shooting heron.
Well, some did cocaine
And that was alright,
At night
In the pool
But I never understood the heron addicts
I was paid to
Summer internship
Can you type?
My education was worth something it seemed.
But I get to far from the point
How come there are no bars open until six.
And why canít you seem to find your way home to me.

This must be like death

by

William Bailey


All of those Saturdays are lost
And most Sunday morning too
I remember slightly dancing at seaside bars
You moving your body to those Steely Dan songs
Magnetic tension pumped causing erections in the air
It was easy to get you naked then
And I loved to undress you
Then I hit a blank spot and canít recall
I know we made love but canít see you beneath me
Your smell is gone
And my mouth has no memory of you
I canít remember you calling my name or reading the Sunday Times the next morning.
I fade back on Monday
Dinner plates in the dishwasher
The crossword puzzle half done
Iím dressed and driving sometimes
This must be like death
Hell I think, not able to remember you and all those weekend moments.

And Iíll feel loved?

by

William Bailey


Is there anything more, ever?
Can you come down this road one more time for me?
Can you play one more Coltrane record before we stop?
Iím standing on a balcony of a condominium in a major American city watching the sailboats
Was I ever young?
My Korean girlfriend is naked on a white sofa drinking lemonade
The summer sun has tanned her skin to a deep golden glow
She looks like a young earth goddess, legs up and breast firm
The paintings above her head look like Picassoís but are those of some struggling young local.
I look back to the sailboats, remember her taste with a smile, and think of you.
Why is it always this way
Why do I end up talking to you when there are so many others.
Why do I think of you when in a moment
Iíll part her hair
Sheíll moan my name
And Iíll feel loved?

Why

by

William Bailey


It rained and it was over?
I stood there with an orchestra blasting in my head and the only sound to escape my mouth was Why.
Five years of loving gone in a New Haven rain storm
Washed Chalk marks from a city street.
Five years later I find myself on the other side of the continent
in a hot tub living out boyhood fantasies.
With the sun pouring over lemon and orange blossoms
Air seeping in through a cracked sliding door
Scenting a lightly air-conditioned room
Naked bodies thrown on an oversized bed, like casually tossed laundry
Half smoked joints, cocaine stained nipples, and empty gin bottles
Graduate school for the decadent.
How fast we grow up.
Naked and adrift she lifts a head to ask the time
Then spoons into the body behind her.
It never rains in southern California
but there is a raging fire someplace near.
Someplace someone is feeling something
Somewhere someone is having an emotion worth recording
Someone is experiencing an event worth remembering
Somewhere
Someone is asking why.

carry some of that load

by

William Bailey


Why donít you let me come to you and carry some of that load
My back is old but still strong
I have worked all my life and know how to pace a day
I picked in the fields with the midday sun burning down on me
Never stopping as my box and bag filled
I turned a lave to make the axel on the new sports car that your mother drives
I could help you carry those things which hold you down
I worked for a cobbler once in Italy fixing ladies shoes mostly
I was young and smiled at by the customers, asked to carry packages home
Work was a reward in my youth, in Italy
I hardly felt exploited in the arms of those older women
as they took me in their even older husbandsí beds.
They came and cried, talked about feeling old, and forgotten at 40
Their soft hands touching my 23-year-old face
asking if I thought them beautiful
And I did
and told them,
and delivered their shoes for a year and a half before moving to Paris.
I think I could work for you carrying some of that load
Iím no longer 23 and you far from 40.

Those overly complex moments

by

William Bailey


Those overly complex moments that we use to call sex are over
I have found myself walking down heavily trafficked streets in nothing but an oversized
wife-beater pushing a shopping cart filled with empty beer cans in the blazing sunlight,
singing "here comes the bride" very loud.
Or that was the thought as I road passed the man in my Beemer,
breaking the law by 30 miles an hour
itís the only crime I have left.
Why would you think my end would be so tragic?
After all you loved me once, was your thinking that far off
Could that great mind of yours have made so major a miscalculation for so long?
I have been thinking of you
and so many others of late
I age is forcing me to confront my demons
That or the lack of a sex drive has me taking up a hobby.

Something you wanted to say

by

William Bailey


There could have been something you wanted to say
I was there for the moment,
on loan like a book from a central library
or a borrowed cup of sugar from some kindly neighbor women
in a once imagined community of housewives
so much like you and your mother
there I was and there you stood
Two feet planted in your right and reason
Armed to the teeth with past failings
How could I fight against this?
I seem to be at my best when Iím alone
Free from personal complications
My greatest ambition
to finish the next chapter before falling asleep
My greatest fear
that you leave me in a dream.
you forced me to the crowds with shaking nervous hands
and I gave it my all,
or all that I was willing to give
regardless, it failed to matter in the end.
and even now you stand there
silently
demanding
and Iíve lost all I thought to give.

Male pride

by

William Bailey


Who are you anyway?
coming Ďround here looking so good
The Georgia sun pulling the color up out of your skin
My golden Barbie with almond eyes
Man-toy in the promise land,
you called yourself laughing at me.
Eyelash wand in one hand advanced degrees in the other
What was it math, computer science, and another about logic
I could never keep up with you
I was your girl toy in the end and thankful for it
I was silly to leave, my manly pride, and grad school blinding me
Your offers from everyone and everywhere overshadowing mine
I could have picked out furniture and colors for the condo
Walked the dog and made the bread
What difference does it mean whose the better paid
Weíre not my parents
You loved me yet I walked away
Angry, hurt, and done
Male pride intact

Affairs

by

William Bailey


I would never want to think of you any other way
then the way I think of you today
Strong smile, smooth face with just a trace of age at the eyes
Itís hard to think of you any younger or ever getting any older
Your body, slender and firm like the athlete youíve become
Your hair always a mess
How long have I known that face
Since we were both teens in that small New Jersey town,
In our twenties in that south Bronx slum,
35 at a Dublin pub,
50 at the Conrad in Chicago,
You paid the bill and we stayed naked all weekend
I memorized your body
you took pictures of mine.
What did you do with those photos
A reminder of your sins
Or a way to keep me from growing old?
Did your husband ever find them
Or did you burn the evidence as you taught me to do.
I smile at my wife and she asks me what Iím thinking
I lie and go back to my daydreams of you,
Naked and dressed
in and out of my life,
always my first love.

I Wanted to Grow Old with You Once

by

William Bailey


I wanted to grow old with you once
sitting in parked cars on the Jersey shore
Making plans to runaway to Paris
once there writing that moving American novel which explained all
finding what was missing from life by experiencing it.
Together pounding a beat
as the Atlantic played rhythm in time
crashing over stone jetties
timeless moments collected like grains of sand
welcoming the morning sun by covering your naked body with my own.
I wanted to grow old with you once
crossing the Hudson River in our rented sailboat
Your summer dress pulled high, my smile reflected back in your Raybans
How many perfect days could we count that seasons
they seemed endless.
Reading Henry Miller aloud on the riverbank
Feasting on cold chicken and bottles of white wine
I could have lived with you forever there
Counting clouds, and sails, and your tummy hairs.
You told me that you loved me
and nothing else would ever matter as much as that.
I have grown old since the last time I saw you
My face is lined with many regrets
Iíve given up white wine and Henry Miller is dead
These days I never go to the shore
Iíve given up driving and sailing
I take the subway to most places
I get to Paris once every two years or so, but never want to stay
I have grown old without you,
in a marriage,

I have Never Stopped Loving You

by

William Bailey


I have never stopped loving you,
but thatís not to say I have never loved anyone since.
You were just always there
In the background
Dim light surrounding a moment
The reflection off a downtown building
That cloud passing over as I ran down crowed streets late for work
I never stopped loving you
Or thinking about you
as I moved from place to place
and body to body.
I thought about you as I looked down on countless asking eyes
Or was there only a few?
I rode a bike outside of Dublin once
Got dangerously drunk
And woke up in the arms of a red-haired women
How classic.
She said she found me passed out
crashed into a tree
a bottle of vodka leaking out of my backpack
Her goal she said, was to save the bottle
I was incidental
I loved her at once
and came to know her as Thorís illegitimate daughter.
I discovered she loved vodka and jazz
Not CDs
records
Big black vinyl
Her apartment was filled with them
Miles Davis, Charley Parker, people I never heard of
African jazz, Estonian jazz
underground jazz from China.
All records.
She was going to Harlem she said
Iím going there to play jazz with all those deep, dark, black men
who blow out pain, frustration and beauty through the end of a horn,
like Jackson Pollock painting a masterpiece
or James Joyce baring his soul with a pen.
I want them to meet generations of Irish Catholic pain and oppression
Then, together merge our scared naked cultural backs into one beast,
pound a beat that unifies a planet, and
Blow out a note so sweet it makes Jesus cum (come).
She would play her songs into the long Irish night
Hair dancing over her shoulders like a summer fire
her naked five foot frame playing alto sax
like some Druid priestess summoning her flock
and me sitting there patiently at her feet
waiting for the messiah to knock at the door
or the neighbor to complain
and you were forgotten for that summer.

I have Known You in the Night

by

William Bailey


I have known you in the night
singing complex math equations in your sleep
as I looked down on your perfect face,
a lovely mouth forming soft sounds
wondering what bridge,
what road you were constructing in your dreams.
Did you ever go to Scotland?
Did you stand on the Hoover Dam at sunset to watch the flood doors open?
Did he love you as long as you thought?
Thank you for the Brooklyn Bridge, Frank Lloyd Wright, and poured concrete.
I use them often here in my lectures on rationalism

I have known you in the night,
those green eyes closing just after we kissed.
Your pillow gone, covered by a sea of rich black hair,
your face the history of Ireland come to life.
You, to me before the robes, and crosses came
when we ran naked through the trees
when the trees were naked with us too.
Like the trees and those of us painted blue, it could not last.
Did you build your bombs for the IRA,
did he come to save the republic as we lost Liam to the storm of his own madness?
I will only recall the nights and stories, tales of CuíChulainn, and great deeds
You standing naked and blue paint beneath my finger nails.

I have known you in the night
calling out my name with a string of others.
I was a deity for a moment
placed between "oh God, and Jesus", there was me
lost for the moment only to land in some distant place
with your skin, again golden from the sun
slanted eyes and freckles holding two continents in your body
and the future of the world in your soul.
You had to be Mary, yet who then was able to know?
Where have you gone now, with so much to choose from?

I have owned you in the night, those soft green flames flickering up at me
Your body moaning for me
My heart screaming not to end
This fine old movie just a rerun
Served up with stale beer and broken chips.

Self Satisfaction

by

William Bailey


I bought a BMW 335 just to impress you
Then drove it 1500 miles to your front door
I beeped the horn with the windows rolled down
blasting your once favorite song from the incredibly impressive stereo system
It was loud, and it was red, and you could not have missed it
I drove back home all 1500 miles after delivering my well crafted message
I recited your response to my car card
You damming me for my good fortune and good taste
Angry that you let me go
I was aglow with self satisfaction .
Later I learned you had flown to Paris with that bold head kick boxer that week
The car caught fire and ran into a tree not long after that.

Asian Girls

by

William Bailey


There could have been something more,
I know you ran out of time
but there was a turning point coming soon.
I recall you standing over broken bridges and raging rivers,
Bombed out homes of marginalized voters,
Old classmates who saw God naked,
And a parking attendant who heard Zippy Livni making love from a back seat of a Volkswagen rabbit.
So, now what?
I thought it was you, but later found it was that fat redhead from New Mexico.
Forgive my confusion, but you did move out
Taking my medication with you.
Sleeping with her was an accident, but enjoyable,
And I think this is suppose to be an apology.
I spent 18 months in rehab yelling at my father
Who wasnít there,
in rehab,
but I yelled anyway.
It was good for the soul.
I never yelled at you but should have.
Hay, whereís my medication
Or, why did you give that fat redhead your key?
After rehab I spent four years importing cocaine
Not having a habit made it so much easier to sell.
Iím sorry but Iíve always had a weakness for Bavarian cars
And big breasted Asian girls
They both seem to follow coke like crows to shinny stones.
Ok this might be a confession
to you, not the police
burn this later.
Things have gotten much better
I did marry the fat redhead.
She lost weight and claimed she never met Zippy
That was good enough for me
But the Asian girls still want proof
And will only speak Mandarin when sheĎs in the car.