The faces we put our lips to
smelling dead skin cells
veiled in shampoo residue
arms by our sides
then palm holding neck
fingers scrunch and tangle with strands
deep breathes between tongued kisses
teeth knock; we giggle
awkward and falling
Written Saturday, 8.27.11.
This poem was inspired by a poetry prompt exercise – write a poem around a line from an existing poem. The line I used was, “The faces we put our lips to”, from a C.D. Wright poem in “The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets”:
Now is when we love to sit before mirrors
with a dark beer or hand out leaflets
at chainlink gates or come together after work,
listening to each other’s hard day. The engine dies,
no one hurries to go in. We might
walk around in the yard not making a plan.
The freeway is heard but there’s no stopping
progress, and the week has barely begun. Then
we are dressed. It rains. Our heads rest
against the elevator wall inhaling a stranger;
we think of cliffs we went off
with our laughing friends. The faces
we put our lips to. Our wonderful sex
under whatever we wear. And of the car
burning on the side of the highway. Of jukeboxes
we fed. Quarters circulating with our prints.
Things we sent away for. Long drives. The rain. Cafes
where we ate late and once only. Eyes of an animal
in the headlamps. The guestbooks that verify
our whereabouts. Your apple core in the ashtray.
The pay toilets where we sat without paper. Rain.
Articles left with former lovers. The famous
ravine of childhood. Movie lines we’ve stood in
when it really came down. Moments
we have felt forsaken: waiting for the others
to step from the wrought iron compartment,
or passing through some town with the dial
on a Mexican station, wondering for the life of us,
where are we going and when would we meet.