Portrait of Two Friends
Painting Portraits of Two Friends
for J
We paint in doorways, paint on doors.
We paint in ditches, complain
of sores.  We paint in dorm rooms, paint
indoors.  We paint and laugh,
paint ourselves in corners, paint in bars,
paint for money,
two painting whores.
We paint in dentist offices.
We paint and eat.  We paint and keep
quiet.  Paint is cheap.  We paint and play
and think and paint and paint and paint to cure our
boredom.  We paint our-
selves up to look like monsters.  We paint
our sisters.  We paint our closets.
We paint the emergency room.
It's all in white.  We paint
until the fumes make us feel un-right.
We paint across cities, far away from home.
We paint fingernails, cars, books, streets,
until our hands are dead and we amputate our feet.
We paint the air.  We paint poems.
We paint close.  We never paint alone.

The Girl Who Said I Had to
Believe in Jesus or She'd Leave Me
She left.
She went right,
far right,
so right
that all her nights
are Christ-drowned,
her mornings
insane with prayer,
and her children,
if she has children,
are storms of Jesus

I lived in Canada.
In Québec.
Where even the lampposts
gave me respect.
Where I'd spend days
in tunnels, drowned in dark.
And the women
had perfect necks.
And the days were so cold
that there were no insects.
And the language itself
felt like art.

The Homeless Man in Back Watches
the Feminist University Professor on Stage
He leans against the summer,
Bibles for shoes, and listens
to each word, the way that you
listen in church when you don't
believe in God, but you have
to go to the sermon if you want
any of the food.  He takes
a smoke break, nothing to smoke,
leans against tree, and listens
to students learning belief.
    Ron Riekki 2015