Liz Axelrod

Poems, Essays, Reviews, Stories…

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The Wait

vaveylaa_Sitting__waiting__wishing_by_nebulaskinI’m waiting

My existence running away at the mouth with foul words and thoughts of connections lost in the stratosphere of my minuscule patience. I wait and wonder at decisions made while razors slice the dead ends and I’m shiny and moist with electric strands rolling down my back. I wait and ponder thoughts of jumping rope and skipping while hating games and work and making senseless meaningful chatter to complete the wait.

What cents left over when I pay for my day I use to figure out how to end the wait, and is it worth the effort?

Does he know I’m waiting?

Senselessly I wander through my cluttered life, opening doors and closets, catching boxes carefully packed with the past before they fall to the floor and block the door while waiting and wonder what it feels like to want to date and why I long for eye contact when there’s cyberspace and robotic devices and the biggest thrill of my week is hands running through my hair at the salon.

I wait and think should I get massaged and use the last of my savings on closeness that means nothing and why do I wait? Why do I wait to be taken seriously when I want to frolic and play with passion and freedom and doesn’t he know I’m not looking for clutter or commitment?

I wait and fill my time (I have no time).

I wait and my days are filled with waking working lugging learning how to fix another cog in the never ending nightmare of a new server.  I wait for cables and wires and connections and outlets while fitting in new responsibilities with the time earned from those faster connections.  I wait and think – why does it take 45 seconds for Outlook to load and when did 45 seconds become eternity?

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Game Day

I had my coat on
               Ashes, ashes we all fall down
The sidewalk Mica glistened
Inviting trips through rabbit holes

You came down the stairs looking perplexed–
You leaving?

Of course.

The mason jars are empty and the waxing moon
wants me to be alone.
You don’t want this red peacoat on your bed.
It’s old and tired and the button’s loose.

Flickering on and off like those nights in cars and bars and lips that just barely
made a statement.
                 Purple posies we all fall down.

You said – “you’re the only one I’ve kissed”
And it’s a new year today
Tossing dice and losing tights we tumbled
needing water
And I know you didn’t finish

My regrets are for the second coming of the holiday and wishes like scorpion stings –

This song is not to be voiced in the back of your throat.
It’s not to be lumped in the circle with those Ring around the Rosies and the Dancing Nancies
You wish you could be anywhere else but here
Anyone else but YOU

Facing front-to-back, the sun strong through those light curtains
I need shades for this bright morning

Back-to-shoulder I traced my finger down the coil of your Deltoid, Teres Minor (very minor touch)

Parched and dry
Split and splitting

The day broke with pennants and passing balls from one field to the next
Dirty dishes in the sink and I know how to clean my own mess, thank you.

He said “you don’t know how to be casual”
I said “You don’t know how to care”

It wasn’t worth the pennies tossed in the fountain, the copper gleaming from the bottom of the turquoise cement. I reached in and tried to pull it back. My hands got wet and waterlogged and you said this is all about my assumptions?

As if my assumptions were the cause of all deceit and arrogance.

And yes.
I don’t do Casual well.

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Brooklyn Rail – Jan 2012

by Liz Axelrod

Joseph Salvatore
To Assume A Pleasing Shape 
(BOA Editions, 2011)

An innate sense of sadness and joy runs through Joseph Salvatore’s To Assume A Pleasing Shape. Salvatore, an experimental fiction writer and creative writing professor at the New School (where, full disclosure, I met him through his teaching), plays with form and language to create a mix of strong, sensual, and satisfying journeys. The stories are brushed with just enough intellectual insight and humor to conjure visions of our own self-worth and the lengths we go to create the relationships that sustain us. Told by multiple narrators—a gay man, a goth girl, an anthropology professor, a husband, a young student living abroad—the tales are filled with a warm mix of tension and desire, and at times a coldness, as if the author wants us to step back and analyze the origins of those chilling moments.


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