Jeffrey McDaniel

Rookie (1967 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

When A Man Hasn't Been Kissed


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.

When I haven't been kissed in a long time,
I sneak into the ladies room of a fancy restaurant,

dig into the trashcan for a napkin
where a woman checked her lipstick,

then go home, light candles, put on Barry White,
and press the napkin all over my body.

When I haven't been kissed in a long time,
I start thinking leeches are the most romantic

creatures, cause 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

in a long time, I create civil disturbances,
then insult the cops who show up,

till one of them grabs me by the collar
and hurls me up against the squad car,

so I can remember, at least for a moment,
what it's like to be touched.

Submitted: Thursday, February 14, 2008

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