Juliette Binoche

You should be at a poetry slam but you’re not.
You couldn’t face another night of polite smiles and 8.5s,
Drinking cider getting beaten by oneliners
From a guy who lacks a basic grip of irony
Who thinks misquoting Kerouac’s as hip as he aspires to be.
You’re in a Dean Street clip joint.
Outside neon rips the sky
Like screaming tears from every dream that travelled here to die.

A hostess who looks like Juliette Binoche demands a drink.
You say cognac and a hostess dressed like Lana Turner brings you whisky
And asks for fifty
When you only have a twenty.
Juliette says “that’s plenty, you can pay the rest with your hopes,”
Puts a notebook on the table,
Opens it, lights up and tokes and passes you her smoke,
Chokes on her whisky, strokes her wrists distractedly
And clicks her pen
And then you say

“I want to rhyme with holy fools
whose only rule of poetry is flow
where verse is free
And wordsmiths badder than the worst of me”

Behind the thickening membranes of her eyes the light retreats a little,
Fingers tighten and she whispers “start again”

“I want to suck the sacred poison from intoxicated skies
Philosophise with rent boys
High five the hell-bent and the heaven-sent
And stent the city’s arteries
With sycophantic merengues to the high priests of the moshpit.”

She dissects you with her disappointment.
Her words infect you, dripped from lips injected
With so many years of intravenous hurt
“There are more lines of poetry on my face
Than in all the rhymes that you will ever write”

And you remember:
You should be at a poetry slam
And this is why you’re not,
Your superficialities and artificialities,
Your shiteness, triteness, emptiness and skin deep sheer banalities
And you say “I want the pain to stop.”

Juliette Binoche unbuttons her shirt,
Opens a condom,
Throws the rubber on the floor
And slides the foil across her chest and takes your hand
And presses it into the blood,
Peels back a flap of skin
And your fingers slip like toes
Through the sand on the last beach on earth
And as her heart contracts beneath your palm she says
“I want the pain to start.”

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