Three Poems by David Lawrence
Tanked

The optimum plunk of your being here
is held back by your reserve.
I can't see the fire in your eyes.
The shades of obfuscation
are lies.
I know you still burn for me
like a Lucky Strike.
It's a slow fire,
lethal.
I fill my lungs up with you
like I'm in a fish tank.
I am swimming around the glass
choking.
You could be so breathable
if you just let
your gills
down.


The Wild West
There's something about a cowboy that stinks.
Is it history?
I never smelled the past.
It smelled me.
Caught up in the nostrils of range rustlers
I want to kill Indians
and wrestle steer.
It is the suicidal part of me that's not Arizona.
They don't kill themselves
in open plains.
Death walks around the floorboards
like mice in abandoned apartments
in New York.
I jump up on the podium like a lecturer
on Hart Crane,
push aside the bank robber,
throw myself on the deck,
hang myself from a rope.


D.H. Lawrence

You take the lion's head off your shoulders
and have no head.
There are lions in my background
that ate salamanders.
I never said my family had taste.
They liked to change colors.
On the African plains
I looked for my last name.
It used to be Lowenkron,
Lion's Crown.
I changed it to Lawrence
because I wanted to be the author
of Sons and Lovers.
Except that he was a skinny tubercular man
and I am a scrappy Jew,
king of the jungle,
who knocked out a big
black man
in a four round fight
at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

David Lawrence