I can sweat
more than you can.
I can dance
through more pain
than you will ever know.
by the end of the night
every woman
in the first ten rows
will want to sleep with me.
and for this
my feet are slashed
by a drunken mob
of gypsy guitars
because I stroke
the silk smooth thighs
of their sisters
before a swooning crowd.
in this bloodbath
of sangria and swirling sequins
I taste my father's proud pathetic pain.
but I will never die.
I will burn holes 
through this stage.
I will make you believe
that I am ready to pass out
before launching into
another burst of dance.
and after thirty seconds
when your lily white hands
are tired of clapping
I will stare
at an invisible spot
six feet above you
and take

flying horses
 it was some time
 after the third
 or fourth beer --
 the one I knew
 I shouldn't finish --
 that the gentle spinning
 turned to turbulence 
 and the streetlights
 became fireflies
 I could never catch.
 outside my window
 the crickets sang
 knowing all along
 that the flying horse
 would never leave
 and that the lights
 dimmed promptly 
 at midnight
 the exact time
 that I had planned
 to leave my body
 and ride
 above the traffic
 above the turbulence
 into the paradise
 of sleep.


perfectly prime
it defies superstition.
I slow down
and stare
beyond its two digits
into the rain
and beyond the rain
into the number:
tells me
that my luck has finally changed.
is a perfect dozen.
is a month of Friday nights.
is a guitar string
wrapped around my longing
for another song.
thirteen is where you live.


I expect it to crumble
any minute now.
not that I would like
to see anybody hurt
but a choreographed implosion
would be so nice...
soft and surreal
like the kiss
I never gave you.

(c) 1998, by Paul David Mena

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