"Style" by Kat Giordano
 

it’s true what Bukowski said about style –

it really is the answer to everything:

 

it’s late. we cross paths in front of a 7-11

at which point I lunge forward, swiping

your wallet right out of your shorts.

you’re stunned. you say what the hell

and I simply stammer, paralyzed

by my own shock at what I’ve just done.

there is no getaway. the cops are called

and that’s how you remember me.

 

now, the same scenario: near-midnight,

the 7-11 on Smithfield, me and you,

only this time, a hug instead of a lunge,
so that my one hand is poaching your wallet
and the other remains innocent, gently rubbing
your back as I try to place the musk of your collar

out of my mind. I whisper have a wonderful night

and then disappear into a cloud of smoke

and it’s only five minutes later at the register

that you realize your wallet is missing. I vanish

without having to answer for it, forever

a mirage in your memory, a fleeting moment

where you ached something awful in your jeans.

 

mess is inevitable. the real moral duty

lies in making the right one: a fucked-up thing so loud

it can’t be contained in a grimace.

 

when Hemingway blew his brains out,

I was into that. Plath, too. hell, anybody

who leaves behind a note should earn some points.

life may be precious and short and singular

but style is holy, a smoke bomb in my coat

to be set off only when the time is right,

something symbolic, or maybe televised.

that way, it’ll count.