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Michael Wolman

 

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Romance in Our Century

I like to take things slow,
she’d told me
over Italian. (No kissing
                            on the first date.
                                       So, I asked,
                                       when do I get a kiss?
                            At the end of the second, she replied,
                            —if we’ve had enough face time;
                                             and the third tooth from the middle
                                             bit into her lower lip
                                             in that way that slays me
                                             usually (but with M______,
                                                               who is a 6, tops,
                                                               merely earned a return
                                                               smile from your
                                                                                                   s truly).

                            Sure enough, at the end of the second,
                            in the parking lot
                            outside Moon Smile Thai,
                            it was my lower lip
                            she bit into,
                            gently—
                                     a nothing smooch, really—
                                             after she’d peeked around
                                             to make sure no one was watching.)

You can imagine
my surprise, then
when, on the third date,
between eps of 30 Rock
—Season 2, Disc 3—
a moment after I leaned in
for our second kiss
she was all over me
like a trollop
                              on meth.

And a moment after
that, we were
                              naked
                                          in my bed
and she was asking where
I kept my “protection,”
and then I was above her
                 and inside her
                              and she was squealing
                                             and my fingers
                                                            tangled in her sweaty hair
                                             wreaked of latex.

I was just hoping for a kiss,
I told my sister
the next night.
Maybe some tongue.
To be honest, I was bored
                                                            after 3 minutes.

                 Wow, my sister says.
Yeah, I say.
I’m lying there on my back
with her on top of me,
mmm-ing and oh-ing, twisting
in delight, and all I’m thinking is,
I’d rather be watching the next episode.

                 Wow, my sister says.
Yeah, I say.
                 I can relate.
Yeah, but you’re a chick.
                 You said it, not me.

And then she asked me,
                 Was it M______’s lack of pulchritude,
                                your sad libido, or
                                the high quality of the show?
All three, I answered
honestly. If she had been
                                as hot as J_____ and
                                it was Season 4, not Season 2,
it would have made a big difference

                                                                                but maybe not big enough.

 

self love

last nite
bored and naked
and bathing
in the stale phosphorescence
of my laptop
i flipped off the lights
turned on some tunes
closed my bedroom door
opened my web browser
and
instead of writing this poem
well
googled myself
b4 i went 2 sleep

and its not
that im ashamed exactly
its perfectly normal
ive heard
everyone does it
its just that
that was the 3RD TIME that day
and
its getting addictive
and
well
i think i might have a problem

yeah i know
theres youtube
and craigslist
and itunes
and the onion
and gawker
and other things gawkworthy
like
well
we wont go there
(even if i do)
(ok www.youngshavedandasian.com)

and yeah
my face is already on facebook
and twitter
and tumblr
and ok
okcupid
not 2 mention
theres my
my 4 email accounts

but lets face it
none of those
reveals the true me
the me that
people i know
or dont know
can find
by typing
“michael wolman”
into
the worlds most popular
search engine

great googily-moogily
how i love thee!
mine eyes go all googly at
the simplicity
the primary colors
and
im feeling lucky
that im named what im named
rather than sumthing prosaic
& prolific like
dick jones or jane smith
or muhammed or jose anything

or should i say
i USED 2 b thankful
until i found out
there r 5 or 6 other
michael wolmans
on google alone!
shameless & shameful
impostors
“nomerical” twins
googlegängers
who live in texas
(hullo ur jewish!)
and r
mma/ufc analysts
(hello ur jewish!)
or who write
992-word
(yes, i counted)
reviews of the expendables
on imdb
or
worst of all
some israeli dude
named DAN wolman
who made a movie called
my michael
which
even tho its not called
my michael WOLMAN
still effs it up 4 all my fans
who arent schooled enough
in boolean basics to
put “michael wolman” in quotes

great googily-moogily
how i love me!
how do i love me?
let me count the ways…
ok google
u do it…
apparently 3,930!!
including
a number of unfortunate finds
like my results in
chess tournaments and
logic-puzzle contests and
if you really dig
something
google’s omnipotent net
captured in 1997
and will not release:
a picture
from the local paper’s
sports section
of
17-yr-old
skinny
pimply-faced
“distance star michael wolman”
in shorts that
reveal a little TOO much
of the real me

but i shouldnt worry
right?
its not like
my ex-girlfriends
ok ex-girlfriend
is still googling me
right?
i mean
i only do it 2 her
once a month
ok once a week
tops
and thats no more
than i google people
i used 2 go 2 high school with
or girls i dont even know
like rachel mcadams
(she was naked once)
(“rachel mcadams
‘the notebook’ boobs”)

but i admit it
no one gets
my juices flowing
like “michael wolman”
cause lets be honest
googling yourself
is endlessly rousing
and A-rousing
and potentially surprising
(a new hit today!
what did I do?!)
self love without the hassle
masturbation without the mess

[btw i think we just stumbled
upon google’s new motto…
“google: like whacking
without the mess!”]

and yes ok its
narcissistic and
solipsistic and
hedonistic and
self-important and
self-indulgent and
self-absorbed and
(hold on
lemme google another one…)
vainglorious?
ok maybe that too
basically it comes down
to this:
if the greeks were alive today
(the ancient dead ones i mean)
or if they had had
the internet back then
narcissus would have met his end
not by a reflecting pool
but by a glaring screen
ie
by googling
himself to death
filling that beautiful empty
white box
with his beautiful self
(“narcissus greek mythology
‘implausibly handsome’ hero”)
and clicking refresh
over and
over &
over
again

 

Analysis

My shrink, Dr. Morris, also sees a shrink,
Dr. Bronstein, and Bronstein sees
Stinson, whose therapist
gets treated by
Jane Garraty, who has a Psy.D.
and is unfailingly patient
and a patient
for fifty minutes—no more, no less—once a week
($150/hr., but actually $150/50 min.
(thus, if she’s being exact about it
(and she is)),
$180/hr.)
of Sheila Gilliland, A.P.R.N., N.P.P.,
who keeps a Venti non-fat caramel macchiato on her desk
and a black-and-white lithograph of Death Valley on her wall,
and who sees Diana Marchano, M.S.W., on Friday afternoons
from 4:00 to 4:50,
when Diana packs up her thermal coffee mug and her laptop
and heads home to her husband,
Garrett, who’s also a therapist,
and they discuss their patients’ tragedies
and their own.

It is recommended by associations of therapists
that therapists see therapists
the way doctors see doctors, because
Hey,
we all have problems
we can’t solve ourselves.

But
Does the shrinking grow forever outward
like a hall of mirrors,
each relying on the next to see himself?
Is there some Grand Head Shrink at the end of the hallway,
at the top of a mountain—
sitting cross-legged
behind the head of a sturdy leather divan,
stroking his long white beard,
gripping a notepad with one hand
and a fountain pen with the other—
so wise that he can see others in the mirror,
and also himself.

Or is it one big tangled net,
a criss-crossing, intra-referring, maladjusted family tree,
each intersection distanced from the others
by two or three or six degrees of separation?

Or one giant loop
circumnavigating the globe,
a many-spoked wheel
spinning in perpetual motion,
powered by its neuroses;

Or maybe a group of intersecting loops—
Olympic rings
of colorful characters
and champions of methods:
the 100-meter CBT,
synchronized DBT,
the psychodynamic marathon,
the twelve-step decathlon,
couples figure-skating,
group ice hockey (pads
—and padded bats
(but not padded walls)—
needed for Freudian slips),

With me, M.S., N.P.P., counseling
Diana Marchano, M.S.W.,
at one point on our little circle,
at one vertex of our octagon
(STOP, I tell her.
Stop trying so hard to be
in control,
at peace,
in love.
),
reflecting her theories back to her
and being left blind once again
after that light goes off
when she leaves.

 

My Chef-D'oeuvre
by Nomar de Guerre

When my mind goes blanco,
               all too often, ab initio
                               reverting, inter alia, to a tabula rasa
                                                (sine die, no less!),
                               the bête noire of every artiste
and I’m searching for that mot juste,
just English cannot always—
                               What’s the word?…
                                                (Is there a word?)
                               …oh right—
suffice.

Ipso facto, I must tour the linguistic world
               —Bon voyage, I mutter, and mine lingua francas from
               terra firma and terroir miserables alike—
in search of that etymological pied-à-terre,
               on the qui vive for that sui generis import,
the crème de la crème immigrant, who,
on the strength of his
                                                (or her, for it could be a female inanimacy)
savoir-faire,
slips through our peau de soie defenses
                                                (or defences, if those are your colours)
and into our own perfectly sexy lexicon.

Ergo, like with my wine and my champagne
                                                (If it eez not from Champagne, it eez NOT champagne!
                                                Vous Americanes avez le cervau d'un sandwich au fromage!)

I parle Française, faute de mieux;
               Oui oui, indeed it might be
               a wee bit fin-de-siècle or effete
                               —maybe outré or recherché,
                               or even
                               (pardon my French)
                               shittée
               but it is also de rigueur.
                               C’est la vie, n’est-ce pas?

Or, perhaps worse
                                                (if there could be something worse
                                                than acknowledging the par excellence-y of the French),
I visit Rome and do as they did,
                  digging up our Latin roots even though
                  they are dead and brown beneath the tree.

I may appear, prima facie, guilty of treason,
                  persona non grata to those purist ingrates,
                  a traitor to my own fecund roots
                               —Chaucer, Shakespeare, Keats, Yeats, Eliot, Eliot,
                               and over 1,066 other prolific progenitors:
                               literature’s ne plus ultra
but I offer no mea culpa
                 because any such accusation
                 is an absurdly a priori casus belli;
instead I exhibit this ex parte rebuttal,
                 a wicked reduction ad absurdum:

Trust me, I beseech thee, since ab obo
my literary sedition was a fait accompli, and
                               like the French
                                                (and the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh…),
I blame the English
                 language inadequacies that forced
                 me to stray;

For while I can tolerate the leasing of
vox populi from those populist Romans
                 or a Teutonic blitzkrieg or zwei,
                               and I won’t kvetch about the occasional
                               schlep of the tongue, even by a goy
                                                (And from whom better to borrow
                                                haute couture or beau monde or beau ideal than the ever-galling Gauls,
                                                those soi-disant seigneurs of amour propre?),

What does it say about us
                               —about our linguistic pride, our Emersonian self-reliance, our own ample Wordsworthiness—
when we borrow gemütlich,
                 an ugly, tongue-tattering adjective meaning “warm and congenial, pleasant or friendly,”
from the Germans of all people,
                 those führers of sangfroid, stoicism, stolidity, and
                                                the occasional achtung-grabbing
                 sturm und drang?

From the shores of Dover, Montauk, Sydney
                               —from chalky cliffs, snowy sands, pearly Opera-House marble—
                 and on behalf of my fellow Anglo-native tongues,
I wave the white flag.
Gemütlich” was the (decidedly un-gemütlich) coup de grace
on our etymological identity;

There is but one thing left
for any self-respecting Englisher to say:

Oy vey!

 

Michael Wolman Bio:

Michael Wolman received his Bachelorís from Duke University and his MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. He has been published in Word Riot, Defenestration, the Big Jewel, Grin & Tonic, and the SN Review. He wishes his last name were Wolmanstonecraft. Contact author.

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