God Guy Buys Me a New Purse

“Open your hands, if you want to be held.”
-Rumi

If your hands are closed or, worse yet, clenched, where does your lover lay the present? I wrote a poem to that effect once and it’s quite profound, especially if your lover is Rumi’s THE Lover and the presents are all the good gifts of god.

I have this sort of boyfriend—this man who loves me unreadably as I have shattered his heart many times. Maybe in this unreasonableness for exactly that reason, he is exactly like god. Jokingly, (sort of), I told him he should buy me a new purse because I was soon to be acquiring a lot more stuff—gifts from actual god. I was (sort of) joking, but he said, enthusiastically, “OK!” And I might accept. I don’t want all the sticky little strings that are attached to love-in-desperation presents, but unlike with god gifts, I can keep my fist clenched for this one.

I can keep my fist clenched. He can go ahead and hang my new Hermes bag on my one outstretched arm.

-M. Ashley

Uber Gangster Heaven

In an Uber, coming home from an appointment an hour away, stuck in traffic, the driver spent the first half of the ride telling us how important unions are and how he went around stumping for the union all the time when he worked at the Albertson’s warehouse, and then in the second half of the ride, he told us how he wants to get a collage of American gangsters tattooed on his leg (he had tats all over, including his face). He wanted everyone from Al Capone to El Chapo (not an American gangster, but I kept that to myself), to all these relatively current drug lords I’ve never heard of, and then somehow we ended up with him telling me how crack is made (or so he’s heard) and how much Percs and Fentanyl cost on the street (or so he’s heard). When we got to the destination, I told him that that ride was the most fun I’ve ever had in an Uber by far, which is a fact! I told him he was fantastic and gave him a big fat tip. My male friend, more conservative than I, was not thrilled, but I was in Michelle heaven!

I love people so much.

My only regret is that I forget to tell him he needed to add Jimmy Hoffa to his tattoo. Dang it!

-M. Ashley

God Is So Gangster (poem)

Behind the big desk in
The big office, one shock of
Lamplight making the dark
Wood desk shine. The carpet
Greenback green. God in
Wedding white suited.

Big men come to the big office
Stand and stutter in front of
The big dark desk, hatless hands
Clutching for something to cover
Their crotches with as they go
Begging. Help me. Help me.

Help me
They say.

God says no.
No. No. The question is:

How can I help you
In a way that helps me?

-M. Ashley

The Bridegroom Cometh (poem)

I don’t even want to be kind to this
Sad man. If my god were to come

For me in the same moment this
Sad man grabs for my hand in the

Parking lot, desperate now the date is
Ending—and my god were to show up

Between the parked cars all masculine in
Twilight purple, head to holy toe, I

Would wrench my hand away from this
Sad man and give myself to god rirght there–

Slut-in-the-parking-lot—while the
Sad man cries and watches me

Fucking my way to apotheosis, spread
Eagle on the hood of a dirty white Prius.

-M. Ashley

God (poem)

There is a guy on my street.
He has an orange muscle car.
He lives in a sky blue house.

He warned me once about mail
Thieves–a couple in a gold junker
Slinking from box to box at
Night, pilfering birthday money.

He is a nice fellow.
He keeps his lawn nice.

He takes his orange muscle car
Out once a week–rolls slow
Down the block. Our windows
Shake. My dog barks.

It’s Sunday.
The whole neighborhood
Knows it’s Sunday.

-M. Ashley

Un-Whole (poem)

It doesn’t have to be good.
It doesn’t have to be whole.

You will never know
What you never knew. Any god

Who tells you he’s honest is
A malicious liar. All gods lie

A little. We are eager for god lies
And lying gods prefer to keep us

Eager and (mostly) un-disappointed.
They tells us that cracks in the vessel

Are natural—Inevitable—beautiful.
They teach us we must appreciate

the cracks. We need the cracks, we
sing. We need the cracks

To let the light in. But why, gods—
and be honest:

Did you make the vessel opaque?

-M. Ashley