All Images Copyright of Artist
STACKEDD welcomes poet AJ Dent to our pages. AJ takes an edgy liberty with prose so we paired her work with the images of French street artist come art world darling, Miss Van, as they are both artists working in with strong ideas regarding sexually, fun and women in control. -MDL
Afterwards, off into the night he rides, booze and tattoos,
smokes and chokes ringing my throat,
out through the window into the 3am air, smelling
of cold sweat and bike tires and my period,
having wrung his socks of the rain
on my hardwood floor, staining my sheets
for the fifth time, dishes in the sink bulleted with burrito beans,
fan turning its head around like an owl, never looking directly
at us, side-eyeing the blow jobs, blowing our breath back
onto us, beating on the window panes, mixing
this exhalation of bodies with the breeze,
back into the night, into summer’s mouth.
It’s all forbidden, poorly hidden, smitten,
feels like we’re dumpster-diving atop a skyscraper
and finding hot springs, excreting sheets of steam
like heated city gutters gargling, pigeons flying into cars,
rats at the wheel, garbage bins drooling
with pizza boxes, hearing voices on the next street
close in, we are filling each other’s faces
and muffling our own screams.
When I saw the Victoria’s Secret bag
on Valentine’s Day, I almost giggled
at what was surely a gag. Perhaps perfume?
But I pulled a bra out of the pink tissue paper
by one strap as if a dead rat by the tail. Each cup
had to be at least two inches thick and here
we were, having dated for three years. Three years.
Purple lace overlay on smooth black foam
that would’ve been put to better use as
kneepads for my rollerblade trips. Three years
of his head on my chest as we slept, of us
in swimsuits from Minnesota to Mexico.
I had to try it on right away, he said, mouth shiny.
Clearly fake cleavage that made it hard to breathe
occurred. I can’t remember his compliments
but he was pleased with himself.
He knew that once the bra was unhitched,
my boobs would go back to their nonchalant ways,
right? Yet he thought I could wear it with anything,
long as he was around — simple cotton tees
and humble sundresses suddenly looking
stylized for Jessica Rabbit.
But god forbid the men’s button-ups I favored.
Come the start of winter, he’d begun
shuddering at my unshaved legs, calling my outfits
“homeless” while on my body.
The first time we’d ever met we’d laughed together
at the matching holes in the knees of our jeans, but
he no longer found such outfits fun.
Somehow three years later his skin was new,
a steampressed Express shirt tight around his biceps
making my peasant-skirt face look even older, as if
crumpled up from being dropped off a footbridge.
Two months later I moved to the west coast,
a couple $10 bras from Target in my suitcase. One
teal, one tan. When I wear them, it’s to help keep
my tits warm behind their mere centimeters.
I’m OK with not flying the same way
as a Victoria’s Secret Angel
when me and my boyish body
can pull off Peter Pan.
at first i was logical and figured the bar’s servers give a little lollipop
to everyone with their bill as a free mini dessert, but
then the Manny’s i’d had with my jalapeño burger started talking like
maybe this was a sweet wink, an invitation to ask her out to a show,
to twirl her teal locks and place my hand over the Iron Lung logo
on the back of her jean jacket, to pass the watermelon Dum Dum
back and forth until our tongues taste the same, to go shopping for glasses
together and set their cases side by side on our nightstand
to make them spoon like us, but really then again if she felt anything at all
it was probably just sympathy for me, munching and sipping alone
in the corner booth on a drizzled-out Tuesday evening and plus how egocentric,
egotistical even, id-driven completely, really, to think someone being paid to be nice
was smiling for any other reason than that paycheck or the miraculously
retained softness of their own soul or the possibility they got laid
that morning, and besides it’s borderline harassment to ask someone out
while they’re working, what a terrible position to put them in,
the opposite of the gesture at hand, the translucentesque dollop of sugar
on a stick wrapped in colorful wax paper almost akin to how i am right now,
curled beneath a fort i made for my cat and me, a comfy cave of wonders
i’d love to have given her in response to my candy surprise, but
better to tip big instead and allow her to continue to live
without ever having to learn i am the biggest sucker of all.