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featured poets & artists


christina rau

completed her mfa at southampton liu on long island in new york, her work has appeared in art & scope, common swords, and in the writers Issue of the improper. she teaches english and other fun subjects at several colleges.

Dear John

I want to commit suicide
In your claw-footed, white bathtub
To see what red really is, what blood,
My blood, really looks like against
Your ajax-sanitized surfaces.
I want rivulets of blood to seep into
Porcelain pores and stay and stain
In patterns of spurts and splashes.
I want to make your white tub pink,
A pink that lasts after twentyfivethousand bubble baths
A pink that withstands scrub brushes
A pink that matches your water-wrinkled fingertips.
I want those fingertips to trace the stains.
I want those fingertips to wonder why.
I want those fingertips, wrinkles, arm hairs, wrists
To touch and trace, fall into a trance,
Be mesmerized by memory.
I want those fingers to touch a thin, sharp blade
That cuts the stubble clean off morning faces,
That causes red ingrown hairs to form on folds of skin
Along the neck and cheek.
I want that metal blade to be cold every morning.


Second-Hand Skimming Through Personal Ads, or Overheard At The Coffee Shop At Noon

She likes moonbeams, masturbation,
And puppies
Long walks on eroded beaches,
Shells, broken, sticking out of sand.
Lesbians need not apply.
Single, except for a husband.
White. Hispanic. She’s Asian,
Looking for a Jew.
She likes to salsa.
She teaches salsa.
She’s allergic to salsa
But loves to eat Mexican.
She would love to
Eat a Mexican.
She likes to travel, play tennis,
Watch kiddie porn.
She’s eighteen.  Twenty-five.
Thirty-nine.  Age is only a number.

Professional.  Outgoing.  Intelligent.
Pleasantly plump.
She likes a man with a tan,
Preferably rich,
In spirit, of course,
Although cash certainly doesn’t hurt.
Seeking long term relationship.
Friendship.  Someone to talk to.
Someone who will listen, laugh, grunt, breathe,
Commiserate, console, confide.
Divorced.  Hates sweat and gasoline.
Seeking fun-loving, wild time.
Likes to cuddle, caress.
Likes cats.
Wants love.
Will settle for a one night stand.


The Deal (part 1)

Sycophant, sycophant
Lusty sycophant.
          He talks to hear himself talk.
          Bad skinned sycophant.  Am I
          allowed to talk about other people's
          bad skin problems
          when I have those tiny bumps
          everywhere?  They're spreading.  They
          won't go away.  They're not
          contagious.  They're not dangerous.
          They just won't go away.
Sicko-fant. Sicko-fant
He sashays into place with divine
Have you ever gotten laid?
Do you know the cost of gum?
Is there a world outside of  your ingratiation?
Do you know what home means?
Can I buy you a beer?
Can I give you some NyQuil?
          Amen to that.  Amen Amen.
I am talking to God.  He has no
          sycophant. He accepts no Visa, no
          Master Card, no American Express.
          Keybank can kiss Her ass.--closing
          God's checking account.  She can
          close your whole bank down.
He's always around.  She watches all.
          Prayer helps.  Especially with promises
          God's own amusement is the freedom
of choice.


Why You Shouldn’t See The Movie Version of RENT, Ever

You saw Rent on Broadway
And you know the story behind the story
About how the director tragically died on opening night
And you take full advantage of the ticket lottery the director set up
So that poor students and cheap people like you
Could actually see a Broadway show
So you figure that nothing could be better
Than seeing Rent for five bucks at a matinee
In a movie theater close to home
So you get all excited and mark opening day
On your calendar.
Then one day you see the advertisement
And you get all gushy and mushy inside
Because it’s just so great to see the entire original cast
Together again,
But upon closer inspection
You say
No way in Hell
As you spot Rosario Dawson on the poster
And you scratch your head and wonder
Why Why
Because Rosario Dawson wasn’t on Broadway
And was not part of the original cast
And you already vowed to yourself about eight months ago
That you would never to go another Rosario Dawson flick again
No matter how enjoyable or fun loving she was
In Josie and the Pussycats.
Yet you still remain on the fence
About seeing Rent the movie
Because you’re one of those people—
You know every word and you know what
3 hundred 25 thousand 6 hundred minutes really means—
Until you start to see Rosario Dawson
All over the television doing interviews
And she keeps saying what Rent is all about
And you keep having to buy a new TV set
Because every time she says
Rent is just about love
And young people in love
You bash your TV screen in with a nine iron
That you went out and bought specifically for
Bashing in the television when Rosario Dawson is on
Because you don’t play golf—
The only golf you’ve ever enjoyed
Was Happy Gilmore—
And new TV’s are getting expensive
But you can’t seem to avoid hearing Rosario Dawson
Because she’s on every single show imaginable
Giving the same exact interview
About how Rent is about love
When you know and the original cast knows
And every one who has ever seen Rent knows
That Rent is about young people who are
Poor, have no electricity, and—
How could Rosario Dawson forget—
It’s about people having AIDS—
Yeah, that’s one pure love story right there.
So you finally decide you won’t see the movie
Which means you won’t have to break the promise
You made to yourself about eight months ago
To avoid Rosario Dawson at all costs
Because she once dated the guy
You’re currently dating
And you found that out
When you were at the Blockbuster
And pointed to Sin City and said
That was a sucky movie
And the guy you’re currently dating said
Yeah, but she’s a nice girl
And it all comes out about how they met
When he was in L. A.
And they both went to some seminar
Which you always refer to as
That cult thingie
Which he so does not appreciate
But you vow to continue to call it that
Until he admits that he dated her
Because he says it wasn’t dating—
It was him taking her out to dinner
And hanging out and spending time together
Which is exactly what you’re doing with him right now
And he calls that dating
Even though it’s been about eight months
And you act like boyfriend and girlfriend
It’s still just dating
While with Rosario Dawson
It was just dinner.
So when the guy you’re currently dating
Asks if he can take you to see Rent the movie
You say
Why don’t we go see Shakespeare in the Park instead?
And he says
And you get all excited because this year
They’re playing Two Gentlemen of Verona
And even though you haven’t seen it, you’ve heard good things
But then you go to get the tickets
And you exclaim
No way in Hell
Because who’s staring back at you in the box office poster
For Two Gentlemen of Verona?
None other than Rosario Fucking Dawson.
So you refuse to get the tickets
And then convince yourself that
While she’s in New York she’ll track down
The guy you’re currently dating
And they’ll start having dinner again
Which in your mind translates to
Having hot Josie and the Pussycats sex
And then they’ll go off and attend another
Cult thingie
And then will hop onto the next comet that flies by
And all you’ll be left with is
Your CD of the original cast recording of Rent
That you can play on heavy rotation
To avoid having to watch TV
To avoid hearing Rosario Dawson
Until the movie bombs at the box office
Because word gets out that
It’s not just about love
But it’s about transvestites dying
And young people having no heat and
Struggling to make it on their own
In the heart of New York City
Which really is a great story if you’re not expecting
Just love, young people in love,
Especially on Broadway, far from Rosario Dawson,
Where it belongs.
And as you start to think about Rent
You realize that there are worse things in life
Than getting blown off for Rosario Dawson
And that most probably when
The guy you’re currently dating
Gets back from his comet
He’ll take you to see Rent on Broadway
And he’ll apologize to you
And he’ll say he doesn’t really like Rosario Dawson anymore
And he’ll swear never to watch her movies again either
And he’ll finally declare that
The only person he ever wants to have dinner with again
Is you.



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