Two poems by Cynthia Good & Art by Virginia Vasquez
Off Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés
On the elevator. I am allergic
To his dog. We exchanged nude
Selfies and saliva. He says, I love
To wrap my arms around you twice.
Though I’m not sure he’ll want me
If he knows lust disguises my weak
Sense of self. Fruit gleams under
The lit green awning. Pigeons flutter
Too low between buildings
As the waiter clears bistro tables
Of fig jam and half-eaten croissants.
Voices at the Café circle like cigarette
Smoke. Don’t objectify me. Please
Objectify me, here in the bone
Cold scent of piss on Rue Jacob.
naked except for socks, slipping,
twirling on the wood to Dido
and Vivaldi, reading glasses
flying off her face as she spins.
Punish her because the music rattles
the windows, for gaining weight,
punish her because she’s drinking
from Nick and Nora while others
work three jobs and raise children
in one room motels on Buford Hwy.
What gives her the right to wash
her own sheets, touch her own skin
like it’s chenille, to climb into bed
alone, her vagina like a strawberry
sliced in half after days in the fridge.
What right to think such thoughts.
Because she doesn’t need anyone
to change the burned-out bulbs.
Punish her arrogance, tone deaf
freckles and mucus in the morning.
She can’t clean up her own mess,
the hair on the white tile. She read
a body loses up to 100 strands
a day. Punish her because her religion
is the rain and she prays to the ocean,
leans on posters of women wearing
roses, smoking cigarettes and not
giving a shit. She worships paintings
of nudes, and clay statues made
by her grandmother before she was
born, and Basquiat’s billboards
of green teeth searing into yellow
eyes atop a red skull. Punish her for
charging for work she never knows
whether anyone will buy. Punish her
at 50, for falling in love with her own
aging, the small breasts she used to hate,
her widening, cashmere thighs, because
when she’s had enough rest or coffee –
she is beautiful. Try taking her down,
off her gleaming parquet platform
in her room with a view, where
she acts like she’s nobody’s queen.
Virginia Vasquez is a writer, multidisciplinary artist, educator, and collaborator. Her piece “Divine Alignment” was inspired by the spiritual significance of the connection and duality of the divine and masculine union.