Dirtbag Sappho

Hymn to Aphrodite

Look, Aphrodite, man. Look. You know who your father is,

and you’ve got hobbies, which puts you two up on me.

Yes? Yes. So going out of your way

to break my spirit with adversity,

given our respective circumstances,

seems heavy-handed for a goddess known for subtlety.

Come on, man. Just: Come on.

Leave your father’s gorgeous house,

take your father’s stylish car (if ever before

you took a single one of my calls without

screening it, take this one, please)

come down in wings and darkness

and get here in time. Smile,

if you can find the energy,

or the time to wipe one over your deathless mouth.

(It’s one thing to tell a god to smile but where I can’t command I will ask:

with all that you’ve got to smile about, why refuse?)

But go ahead and ask me: What’s

the matter now, Sappho, why

this round of calls, what’s the new

pain lodged in my ghoulish heart,

fine, fine, “What’s her name this time, girl-chick,

whose kiosk in the mall did you hang around too long

after her shift got over, before her ride got there?

I’ll have her car

idling in your driveway

before she has time to pray to other gods.”

A dick move, if you ask me,

bragging like that.

Look, just get here, okay? Because (1) I gave you

my only set of spare keys years ago, (2) You know

I’d do the same for you if you needed anything,

so just fulfill what needs fulfilling and don’t

drag out my emptiness


just be a fucking friend, like you said

you’d be. Okay?

Fragment 31

Oh, fuck, man, fuck me, fuck fuck.—
Some guys get to sit across the room from you
and listen to the sound your mouth makes
(jesus don’t say things like that),

I just mean: you laugh sometimes, and it sends
my heart on walkabout. It’s a chest cavity panic.
I mean the minute I catch eyes of you there’s no
thought left in me,

gag me, fuck me up—: look, I’ll confirm all this
low-grade fever, this skin-ruining crush is pure damage
Status: Knees week, mom’s spaghetti –
you know the rest,

and I’m bitch-sweating yikes, and the shakes
they’re coming on quick, no letting up, and it’s all over
for me, I’m fourteen seconds south of dying,
I’m fully offline;

but this piece of shit (me) isn’t going anywhere, Hiiiiii

Fragment 145


Fragment 156

I like her purse.
It’s well-ordered and free of sand,
and she’s not stingy with a spray of perfume,
but that girl’s dumb as hell.

Fragment 22

She wore a dress once, oh my God,  
you remember the eclipse on Cyprus?
It was like that. A national event.  
That dress was an emergency.  

Fragment 90

It’s no good, I quit,
Mother or whomever else is concerned, I
officially resign from
weaving, and all other work,
            You can
blame God, if you want,
just let me lie here on the tile

God has almost
killed me with
that boy’s face. Have you seen it? Who can weave, at a time like this.

Sappho 16

Everybody says their girlfriend is hot.

Armies of girlfriends, some on horses, some not,

bobbing just outside of port on the Girlfriend Ships,

Whatever; everyone has to say it, but can’t all be right.


Take Helen (please!), whom “all Greece hates”

            hot like burning, and so knows from fine,

            what did it take to get her to leave,

            a top-ten husband, universally agreed-upon

as one of the best, from people who normally

can’t grind out one nice thing to say about a man.


           shut up her house,

         threw her kid out the window,

            turned her parents out into the street

            (which, incidentally, any one of us would do

at the prospect of a thorough dicking at the hands

of a face like that. If faces can be said to have hands, which

they can’t) on Aphrodite’s say-so.


            That sort of dick-longing is adaptable,


            and aerodynamic. It reminds me

of the last girl I dated.


How to put this? I’ve seen my girl’s face and your man’s.

I’d sooner watch the turn of her steps

or the side of her face than your whole boyfriend,

who on his best day looks like Kashi cereal.