January 2002
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Mz. Dog


Medusa, look at me: I hardly  recognized you now 
that you scrapped 
off the tattoos & shaved  your head bald, letting 

each snake go snicker-snack 

into the tub - how 
the media 
sensationalized  the scandal of 
your bath.
My fingers slip - slide all over  your lips: you say you do not want 
them inside so I assume you 
mean mouth - the night  you left me, I masturbated to 
the scene where Susie 

Sexpert hustles out 

on the street in virgin
machine, falling  asleep with my 
trousers around 

my ankles & yes,

in my dream you went 
through with your 
operation - in a black  rubber dress 
but something 

went horribly 

wrong - you came 
back from Switzerland 
with a mongrel  bitch grafted onto 
your hindquarters - 

saying I could 

sink my teeth 
into your veins 
above your six  hatchling breasts - feel 
you all big 

'n pregnant rubbing 

your latex cock, hard 
hardening between 
my hands - you'd  think I've never been 
good with my fingers. 

They lose their 

balance - slip right into 
you - never telling the time 
I first french kissed  you in long red hair, electric 
blue go-go boots 

& see-through blouse 

while reeking of 
patchouli oil - got junk 
sick all over you - in your lap,  your hair, on your bed 
while I kept trying to pull 

my fingers out but they

kept sliding in, my thumb 
going up side to side to 
side knocking my hand back  & forth between your 
fingers & falling in again - I never 

told you I once found an 

entire box of sweet-n-low & it 
took me an hour to 
eat the entire thing ending up  jealous of you because 
you spent my last $25.oo on 

this "plastic purple penis" 

2 weeks c.o.d. & I was 
hallucinating so much 
I thought the latex was really  part of you - no one writes 
dildo poems, Mz.Dog.

I never told you next to 

my bed there is a picture of 
you & me in Halloween 
drag near an old black  sixties Chevy looking for 

someone who could sweat
-fuck like a dog.

Approaching the hotel  she called home 
I thought I could feel the 
hot sky hang  between the old gray 
buildings - perhaps 

I was born behind your 

knees, Mz.Dog? 
- perhaps I was born crawling, 
what do you  mean when you speak of the 
passions of a mad dog?

Once there was an oral 

girl - into barking into 
biting a lot - who grew up 
not with two  breasts, but six (this was 
not an inconvenience 

I might add, for the strange 

can always be
made exotic with enough 
body paint + liquid  eyeliner) & great big hands 
she used to push 

down the sidewalk as she 

loped about - it was 
that great summer moon, 
a fearful lemon eye  that kept us all sticky goo 
that night, I must 

write for you. I must 

The night seemed muffled 
the copper glare  of street lamps erect overhead 
sway in place 

a robot's dildo wriggling out 

of the street's 
heinous anus like a jelly 
eel. How much of  our energies have been 
taken up in this vanity? 

- the streets are long - we 

hurry from lit pool to 
lit pool - someone has 
scrawled Purgatory in  crayon on the pavement 
at our feet.

"Purgatory" marks where 

a woman was 
assaulted - beaten to 
death, Castro, August  1985 - no detectives in 
sliding door suits 

woke me up at 3 a.m. telling 

me my sister 
was dead - it must have 
been a private wake,  ravaged & wet, stained with 

exhaustion - do not speculate 

on motives, Mz. 
Dog, I am not interested in 
what you have to  say - you say the streets bleed 
more than you 

or I - more than broken 

bottles & worn out 
veins, but after the click/click 
of her heels over  drain grates, after the body 
bag & early 

morning street sweeper washing 

her blood out 
to sea; Damn you ghost of 
gala rhythms &  dental damns, I am still waiting 
up for a sister 

who will never come home 

wearing her dharma 
lizardskin in these electric 
light variations - once there was a verbal 
girl who kept 

her tongue on her sleeve 

who never talked, 
but whirled away waiting 
for an emotion  to fall out of the sky like heat 

Mz. Dog - she was my 

dominatrix, but you 
are my Fury - how many dance 
floors have  we been to? A hundred years 
ago our parents would 

have murdered us - filled our 

spoiled bodies with 
bullets as we stood, backs to 
a pock-marked wall,  calling us "el queer
bourgeoisie" - the eaters of 

the poor - but now she can 

afford to be a bee-bop 
crooner, finding her "lost 
wandering Blues" soul  in the tune of 'Ma' Rainey, 
absorbing it all 

like a chameleon & I 

-I  - I had always wanted to 
play richard iii (all  that untapped evilness 
made reading Romeo/

Juliet as exciting as a cheap 

porno) do you 
understand? - it's so simple 
it would be laughable  if it weren't so sinister - there's 
no difference than 

when I put on all black & steal 

the stage & spot 
light, Oh simple words - for 
this generation,  whether we call ourselves Bare 
Back, Roaring 

Girls, or New & Lost, infected 

with too much 
as if a tongue could be an 
antidote, we have  found ourselves beyond the 
glare of glamour, 

single glory with out 

style - humorless - ghost 
of lips & cocks, do you know 
of guitar strings &  blues? - that crooning woman 
who first forced me 

to sing out on the street with 

a head full of lice - ghost 
I have long played out your 
pantomimes in dark rooms,  surrounded by shaded anorexic 
dancers eagerly 

imitating - you have made 

me a leash from all the 
pubic hair that you ever 
plucked out so that when  you snap your fingers what 
else can I do 

but pucker up & bark like 

a dog? Ghost of 
mademoiselle & shaking 
bones, you would  leave a broken bottle on 
the street as if to 

turn my feet into ragged 

lips - shredded 
kisses - do you remember 
that blood oh,  ghost? - that fluid like black 
outs - street 

corners we would both wait 

for? Damn ghost, 
you have destroyed more 
of my friends, unbraided  their hair as they cut a pound 
of flesh from 

their stomachs their legs, until 

all I have left 
are there beautiful skeletons 
dressed  in retro flares of 1970s red/

Once there was a junkie & 

a whore & a moon 
that would not have us - is 
it true no one suffers  like the poor? Not you, Mz.
Dog, not I? - remember 

our ears like a shattered radio, 

remember the 
alternating jolts of 
current? - remember dancing  the vibrato? - the electric blue 
go-go boots? remember 

the beat? - beware - beware, 

Mz. Dog. She 
will rip your very bones, so 
they will say, "she couldn't  play shit, but she made 
it sound so good."

(c) Zachary Chartkoff. All Rights Reserved.

See Zachary's work in our Fiction section.