I am tremendous fun at dinner parties
I say this as a joke but it’s true, I talk
and hardly pause for breath, a ticking metronome
of story punchline setup story and only rest a moment
for laughter, a lull like a singer riding the backphrase
still knowing when the downbeat will crash like a wave.
Being funny is my blood, you see when we annoyed him
our father would lunge to the side, pinch us, the weight of him
creaking the linoleum beneath our feet. He’d grab and twist,
folds on our arms that would go purple the next day
now I bruise and don’t remember how, blotches of aubergine
and jaundice-yellow like I belong under a lamp, under a klieg light
like a bassoonist at the open of The Rite of Spring. It was written
too high, you know, so they would play it badly and in dissonance
but Stravinsky didn’t know how hard those players could work,
how badly they needed to learn how to scream.