A Beat Too Long

A Beat Too Long

by Eric Evans

Selections:
AcrobatMix TapeUntitled #99Scream, They Told HerA Beat Too LongTerraform(ed)

Acrobat

The things she does in my head are
  beyond science, beyond explanation

    she's an Acrobat in the circus of
      my lust, the way she defies gravity,

        and rewrites the laws of physics. She
          spells out my every secret wish

            when she twists her body into all
              the letters of the alphabet. The things

                she does in my head are beyond reason
                  or hope - she could wrap her legs

                    around me three times while speaking
                      Latin and I'd still have one more

                        dance for her to do while standing
                          tiptoe on the bedpost.

10/30/98

Mix Tape

I've never made a mix tape, never told
the short and musical version of my
life. But I will one day. I'll make
one for my wife and convince her of Al
Green's awesomeness. I'll play her
the Bill Evans song that's been with
us on many dark nights and one of the
tangos we've danced nakedly again and
again. There'll be hardcore for those
long drives home, Motown for the short
trips to the store ("love child," perhaps?)
and Tom Waits for everything in between.

And while I'm at it, I'll make a second
tape, this time for my funeral. I'll
copy Coltrane's acid-dipped "om" and
Elvis Costello's "I want you" for every
(then girl, now woman) who felt my heart
wasn't good enough to treat properly.
They'll hear Marvin Gaye's "What's
Going On" (because people still won't
have their shit together) and anything
by Curtis Mayfield (just to make them
listen to that voice). I'll be dead to
the swirls of five-dollar D.C. punk and
the futuristic sounds of a man named
Blount.

7/13/99

Untitled #99

There are no frozen eggs for the
poor, no heroic bastings, no acts
of surrogacy. No mice are killed
in their name, no studies done in
their honor. The poor are on their
own and damned for the consequences.

There is a refuge in sex, a calm
in its twisted limbs and measured
thrusts, a transcendence removed
from stored ovum and sperm, like
leftovers from an unfinished meal.

There's no beauty in clinical
fusion, no nature in release
suspended in mid-arc, nothing
pure about consummation as an
afterthought, an appointment no
more important that a haircut.

12/4/99

Scream, They Told Her

Scream, they told her, scream
and help will come. So, she
screamed like the day she was

born and probably louder, calling

after life to never leave her.
She screamed like she was told
and was fucked all the same,

in the middle of the day. It
may as well have been the middle
of the street for all anyone

cared. She screamed like she

was supposed to and all anyone
heard was just one more thing
they didn't want to hear.

4/10/99

A Beat Too Long

Pull back the slipcover of perfection
and reveal a hundred or so mistakes
harnessed and molded into shape. Before
me rests a jigsaw puzzle of mismatched
limbs and uneven eyes, veins that
won't stay hidden and one breast that's
heavier than the other. Her skin is
raised with ridged reminders of old
cuts. Her teeth weren't always so
straight.

Put it another way,

I have a record, one of many. It skips,
first song, first side. It's barely
noticeable, just a second jump that
no band could master, a cut in the
groove that's like no other. The song
is incomplete without it, a beat too
long and a scratch too short. It's
the scar beneath her bottom lip and
stupid story that it belongs to.

9/23/99

Terraform(ed)

Their Mars will not be our Mars, its
metal-like core shaped into wrought
iron fences to keep out the rabble and

the common, except, of course, for the
ones who keep the place clean. How much
the same Martian slums will look, how quickly
sides of the track will be carved,
the classes strained through some

planetary sifter. How soon before it
all goes to Hell? Their Mars will not
be a place of new beginnings or a great
leveling but of more of this and none of
that - same shit, different planet.

12/10/99