Shedding My Night Skin

I caught Ambiguity behind Her mother’s minivan one night
            after another dog-day shift at the grocery. My mind stuffed
                        with questions, her eyes gushing sexy. Or was it mischief?
Eyedunno. Starry Night mixed modern with cloversmoke as
            her snake-bit lips sealed mine. Clapton won’t play guitar in montage –
it’s too soon, we shut the music off. She said

Come with me, tell no one this secret, so I followed –
            Deep said the rabbit hole, I’m a nowhere man lost in secondhand –
                        some nights some backseats some hookah pipe
some strippers meld like mind’s eye tripping acid –
            I didn’t find the exits soon enough. Ambiguity’s baked to 450,
flying like a bird, higher than the ceiling. Carnivals don’t spin,

clowns don’t dress drag. Disco lamps aren’t a pair of bass grooves
            shoving my face into leather but here I sit as she says
                        Who needs sleep? Sleep is for the weak.
Call me a Lilliputian; call me a Hobbit. Purple haze thick as venom,
            laughter of stray cats shrieks slowly as purses vomit their contents:
plastic, inanimate, pestilence and famine plops shamelessly before me –

Some dreads, Goodwill grunge girls shout You don’t count. You’re just a boy –
            In a few years boys won’t be needed anymore.

                        No shame in defeat if spirit isn’t conquered –
I’m Nick Carroway in Gatsby’s nightmare policed by Lady Gaga
            and examining the purse I ask: What exactly is Bitch magazine?
Who is Pink? What is Skins? And why these strip clubs? Shut up, she says,

            You wouldn’t understand.

All right. You want to embody selectiveness in Suicide Girl bodies?
            You want to be catty hermaphrodites, expressive as glaciers?
                        Tell you what: lose sleep in your disco-dark strip clubs,
licking lollipop lips like hungry wolves, or Red Riding Hood
            on the wrong side of things. Go ahead, spread MTV sexuality –
worship Madonna wannabes to teens bewildered – that channel

stopped spinning real music years ago. Three billion women on this Earth;
            why nurse grudges on just a few? My toy box features novelties
                        like chivalry, soulmates, some kind of connection in
a tornado of excess, a world of convenience
. Sleep for the weak?
            Then coffee for the walking dead; ecstasy for volatile sonic youth.
My kingdom for stability and other inane metaphors. The words just escaped

as I ran for the nearest exit. And fast I ran – bolted the door, pounced
            the couch, flipped on the television – gave halogen no leaks in my
                        blanket. Some survey shows young girls 17-25 are susceptible
to sex drugs rock ‘n’ roll and I’m supposed to be surprised. But I’m not.
            I’m too mudstick for stone hard zagging; so tired of bad romance
Not even Jesse James’ gorgeous mistress can make me stare now.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Cardinal Sins.

Josh Crummer is a graduate student at Central Michigan University pursuing an MA in Creative Writing. His work can be found in college magazines Cardinal Sins and Central Review, and also in Bare Back Magazine and the one-shot charity e-book From the Dark Side: A Charity Anthology.

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