When I haven’t been kissed in a long time,
I walk behind well-dressed women
on cold December mornings and shovel
the steamy exhalations pluming from their lips
down my throat with both hands, hoping
a single molecule will cling to my lungs.
I sneak into the ladies room of a fancy
restaurant, dig in the trashcan for a napkin
where a woman checked her lipstick,
then go home, light candles, put on Barry White,
and gently press the napkin all over my body.
I think leeches are the most romantic creatures
because all they want to do is kiss. If only
someone invented a kinder, gentler leech,
I’d paint it bright pink and pretend
Winona Ryder’s lips crawled off her face,
up my thigh, and were sucking on my swollen
bicep. When I haven’t been kissed,
I create civil disturbances, then insult
the cops who show up, till one grabs me
by the collar and hurls me against the squad car,
so I can remember, at least for a moment,
what it’s like to be touched.
– from “The Splinter Factory”