pearls

Facefirst 2

Posted in pantoum by maggie on 2010/04/09

My face makes the nicest toilet bowl when I laugh.
One that won't flush.   But keeps on getting used.
Do I laugh too much?   It's the only face I have.
So what.   That ain't the worst of me abused.

I keep on getting used.   Just can't get me flushed.
But though no one else raised a hand, mine was sincere.
So what, that ain't the best of me gone bust.
It's what I do for fun.   It's why I'm here.

And I'm sincere, though no one else raises a hand,
not even you.   Hey, can't you spare a joke?
It's how I have my fun.   It's what I'd planned,
there's nothing else to see beneath the cloak.

Can no one take a joke, not even you?
Look at me, poking my lips with a fork to behave.
Beneath the veil, there's nothing else to do —
unlike a good girl, my laughter is all I gave.

It's how I behave, scraping my lips with a fork.
I wasn't born that way.   I've been restored.
I gave my laughter, like a good girl now I work
once held down, spread out, got my laughter poured.

I've been restored!   One's never born so whole
as if laughter and alcohol were next of kin
once held down, spread out, substance in control.
I laugh at that.   That's me, bottle of gin.

Like next of kin, my laughter's pure alcohol
teased off yellow brittle broken teeth.
Next bottle of gin!   Laugh!   (Just me, that's all.)
Destroy my body, laughter's still how I breathe.

My broken teeth, they laugh the way I meant.
That sometimes even helps me pay my dues,
breathing straight even when my body's bent
as though I laugh at what, for whom, of whose.

It pays my dues, to laugh the way I'm taught,
like writing poetry, like laughing at the attempt.
Whoever, whatever, I laugh more at than not
since laughter written down is laughter dreamt.

I laugh at the attempt, like making up verse
in bloody leather black on barbedwire white,
in forms I've only dreamed.   Could it get worse?
It's damaged!   That's the reason it's so right!

In razor white on bruised and burning black,
I laugh.   I really laugh.   It's how I purge.
That's right: it laughs, I do it damage back.
It's my self-portrait, my most basic urge,

and yes, how I do purge: I laugh up my guts.
I laugh so damn much, it's all the face I have.
It's how I see myself, no ifs ands or buts —
A toilet bowl, that would be me when I laugh laugh laugh.

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