Buffalo, New York

by Elysia Lucinda Smith
Copyright © 2017
Published by BlazeVOX [books]
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without
the publisher’s written permission, except for brief quotations in reviews.
Printed in the United States of America
Interior design and typesetting by Geoffrey Gatza
Cover Art by
First Edition
ISBN: 978-1-60964-274-7
Library of Congress Control Number: 2017930014
BlazeVOX [books]
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Kenmore, NY 14217

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One Act
People’s arms press
the springs of their chests into
tight coils.
They fold their brows
into the mechanism
called listening.
We are not even trying when
(Hear: please) we’re trying.
We pull through our teeth
nuances of the morning’s meal.
We put on sentences like shades and sun
dresses. We stack ourselves
with the nearest mother-fucker
searching for the small drummer:
the percussion of dying
with a little patience.


Dear, “Nice Indiana Girls”:
maybe you’ve been taking it
up the ass this whole time,
telling God it’s not his hole
to worry about, fudging
the rules but not enough
to be afraid of consequence
maybe you’re a panther
at games Friday night
for school spirit or
your first Little Black Dress—
you girls hit Starbucks,
Target, Old Navy, and Check!—
then you’ve got the school spirit
on your face, whiskers and red
lips and red ring around
the rosy, Chad’s dick
with a faded pink necklace
and maybe someone takes a picture
of Chad’s dick, maybe Chad does, or
maybe someone takes a picture of you
sucking his dick or just you
in your black spandex
to remind you that
the whole world is behind
the bleachers with Chad
after the football game,
your bright school spirit like
your very own halo, your mouth
sweet and wet with ambition.


Bitter Puppies
She said: if you don’t sleep with them,
that’s what they’re like.
They mope and whine, but
they still follow you around
like you’re going to give them a rub down.
It’s all expectations. You expect
to be yourself and be appreciated.
And they expect you
to have shaved down there.
I spat into the sink
as Ellie slid from her place on the counter.
She went into a stall to throw up
while I held the door shut.
It was all weird in college. I mean,
I’d only asked if sex hurt.


I was culling the hood
of Chad’s stout penis. I let him
rub me all over and perched
like a slutty cat on the arm
of any sofa that would hold.
He’s the first boy
I opened willing for. I remember
the few hairs growing. Sloppy,
sloppy but good enough
because he found the clit
I’d found myself
a year earlier
but this was the half life
of teenage desire, the point in which
I didn’t go down but let boys
finger me, but never sex, not sex
or blowjobs because they
are for Jesus, the pure
body of Christ flexing
in white taffeta
before a fountain of wine.


My sober self bent
over Paulie’s damask draped bed.
I saw in third person: green goddess,
triangle of sweat, a blowjob.
I geeked out to My Friend,
Stephanie because I made him
look me in my eyes.
Paulie pumped and pumped
and it hurt because something
inside me is slightly crooked
but I loved it and
took it and five dollars
for cab fare back to my hotel—which
I also told Stephanie, and
then we high-fived or made-out;
I don’t remember.


Dimitri bought me a guitar
for your birthday, he said; when
I said, I can’t accept this—it was
four hundred dollars at least—
he threatened to smash it.
The night before, I’d picked
out the red dress and I
let him tell me, no,
the purple one, even though
we didn’t know each other.
I drank a gin and tonic on top
of half a bottle of wine and
blacked out in our back yard
and maybe I asked him to fuck me
but when I woke up in his bed
and everything hurt I decided
not to cross the hall to my own
but to pull him inside me
which is funny now
that I think about it and was funny
last weekend, when I gave my brother
“The Whore Guitar,” still unstrung.


Witch Hunt: The Database
To begin exploring the nearly 4,000 records of accused witches and
documentation of witchcraft belief, select any of the options listed
Characterization: sex, demonic, white
magic, folk healing, maleficium.
Unnatural beings: demons, faeries, inanimate object
devil, insect devils, female, male
fairy, unspecified devil.
Demonic pacts: anti-baptism, body and soul, sex,
devil’s mark, head and foot, kisses
devil’s bottom, sex, want nothing,
possession, libel, sloth, impatience,
hysteria, sex, boisterous conversation,
laughter, perversion, gossip,
gluttony, impudence, overtly fragrant,
unexplained bleeding, sex, exhaustion,
asymmetrical breasts, short hair, silence,
questionable dress, free-will, slatternly
behavior, voting, sex, not voting, yelling,
general maelstroms, strange smells,
body hair, sex, aggression, not smiling,
smiling too much.


First Date—Age 20
I’m biting my lower lip
in anticipation. I’m looking
through my eyelashes
for several reasons: first,
I’m like a rabbit, please
walk with less noise. Also,
I’m unsure as an umbrella in May.
Be ready for our date
with a waterproof coat.
The puddles are too large
for me to cross unaided.
Don’t bother knocking
unless you know the meaning
of chivalry.
(Again through lashes low.)
I’m so very sorry
to bother you but
I also have weak ankles and
I’ll need you
to carry me lots of places.
Can you?
Do all this and I know I’ll feel
it: the electricity between us—
the friction of our big bodies
two feet apart, still wearing
the wool from winter.


Let Me Tell You How I Got These Scars
I can ride this goddamn bike,
you’re not supposed to forget
how to do this. I’d fallen
over and over—nearly eight times
and kept thinking: I can
do it. I know how. Get back up,
you silly girl!
There had been no thinking earlier,
my goofs from “Bike Gang” laughing,
mooning each other on the bank
as I rode straight into the river
because I heard the mews
of two drowning kittens.
I emerged in a foam
of PBR, backlit by a Shell sign, lifting
the two slick bodies.
With each squishing step, I am:
sparkly with want, with what
is to be, with what is soaked
in the toxic brine of the White River,
pulling trash from my teeth.


Pants on Fire
Senior Year of College climbed
herself through windows and schlepped
across dewy front yards between
the hours of 4:30 and 7 in the morning.
Senior Year was wearing hard femme
on her face and did the kind of stretches
at the gym only for noticing, Here
is my butt; These are my cute boobs—
and so on until Whitney caught wise,
made that look like: I’ve been more
than kind to you and I didn’t expect this
feeling of betrayal and I didn’t know
I loved you until you hurt me.
Senior Year didn’t ache with shame,
not at first. At first she went out
with her roommate, live music
at the record store and some girl
too soft to be there, covered
in paint and looking for the restroom,
made Senior Year stare and forget
for the dangle of a lyric or two
that Senior Year was having a hard time
of it. Freedom: was it
the bare-assed all-ness of taking
what I wanted when I wanted it?—
or infliction, the figure of myself
in the twisting, silk-like conversation.


The Green Girl Goes Out
after Kate Zambreno

all out, in sequins, an entirely
sequined dress no matter
it’s against the rules
of the handbook. The green girl
spends two hours primping
and could never be a vampire.
Without a mirror, she’d die.
The green girl puts on and
puts on and puts out and puts
on until she can see herself
clearly: a sequence of smudges
someone dared give a name.


Sex! Sex! Sex!
Today even the methane
pools in hot waves, is
two long fingers caressing
the arched back of a trash can.
You know the deep heat
of summer, how it resonates
between legs or cups a hand
to the softest parts of you
whispering want want want.
Sex is everywhere. Even waiting
for the bus. Even finally walking home,
the sunrise: brightly colored panties
slapping the face of the sky,
an unmistakable flush,
clouds like cigarette smoke.
Even the flies seem to hover
in some post-coital embrace.
Even the subway steam slips
itself discretely under thin dresses
and is an undoing.
The ordinary condensation on a glass
drops into a circle on a napkin—some
horrible oroboros. The repetition
of the ‘o’ again, your darling. She sighs,
reclines, curls a finger like flame.
Shake your head, that magic eight
says you are sinning even as you step
or perhaps that was the corner man
a bellows into the waning day.
You keep walking. Even summer drags
itself after the siren call
of an ice cream truck.