Five Poems

Someone Sets a Lady Straight

Love is a crock. You know it, for you are
Intelligent, and truth is what you make it.
If you are dumb and wish upon a star
I’ll deal with that, so long as you don’t fake it.
To give each other ease cannot be wrong—
Should we conjoin, you’ll like it when we do.
Yet now you say you cannot go along,
And question me, and worry it and chew
Upon my goals and motives; my intent.
How did this darkened cloud of doubts arise?
I do not think your passion is all spent
By any means. You must be telling lies.
When you are once again yourself, say so
Then we’ll continue. Otherwise—I’ll go.

A Middle-Class Affair

The difference between courtesan and whore
Is miniscule, excepting for the pose:
The whore will give you value, and no more.        
The other one is proper to her toes.
Her interest in you, and the things she’ll say 
When questioning your life in every cranny,
Mix flattery with nonplussed naiveté—
You’d think that no one ever grabbed her fanny
Or said a dirty word in front of her.
Yet how she loves to bring them to the game,
Hoping she’ll cause your prurience to stir.
Of course she’ll never actually name
The thing she wants. For it is up to you
To see her prissy chattiness is phony.
You’ll then be one of the most favored few
Who share her bed, and pay her alimony.

The Bargaining

Imperious, you look at me and say
Romance is for the weak, the middle class. 
Red roses, blue smoke, violins that play
Cannot ensure a first-class piece of ass.
I’ve lots to offer you, should you respond—
Mechanics aren’t all of it, you know.
I’m not a flesh machine. A magic wand
Draws feelings from dead roses in the snow.
What’s wrong with beauty, show and artifice?
What is the full summation of your theory?
There’s more than just saliva in a kiss;
Your ruminations soon will make me weary,
So shut up, show me just what you can do
And I will promise not to romance you.   

Rent or Buy?

Sex has become a simple rent or buy,
Fair value offering for every act.
We turn the cell phones off, strip down, soon sigh
For everything we think the other lacked!
But still we’ll rent again, just for the day.
Far better that the briefest lease be reached,
For lengthy terms might make one party say
Too much, and then the contract would be breached.
Our bargain’s now complete, and payment made
In currency of pleasures we exchanged.    
The memories of these will fail and fade,
This sale was final; no discount arranged
Just even trade between us, then we’re free.
Don’t be so childish, we’re adults, aren’t we?  

Hothouse Love

You lock your women in your mind’s dark room
One like another, greenhouse flowers, forced.
Give some brief moments to each honeyed bloom;
Take all your fill, then go your way, divorced.
You want to place me in your transplant bed.
I won’t compete with colors or with sizes,
A prisoner under planting lights. Instead,
I’m waiting here, with spices and surprises,
Wanting you there, to sniff the scented air;
To think on what I’d like to share with you.
I challenge you, with arrogance to spare,
To touch my satin skin, beneath the blue
Dome of chiseled sky; stroke all my limbs,
Conduct your worship, then sing all the hymns.


About Sally Cook

Sally Cook’s is both poet and painter. Her work in both disciplines may be described as idiosyncratic, representational and colorful. A recipient of a Margaret Eyer Wilbur fellowship, she has received several scholarships and awards for both her painting and her writing. Cook’s essays and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Barefoot Muse, Bumbershoot, The Chimera, Chronicles, Contemporary Sonnet, First Things, Iambs & Trochees, Lucid Rhythms, The New Formalist, Pivot, The University Bookman as well as in Pool and The Hypertexts. Featured poet in the fall 2007 issue of The Raintown Review, she was nominated by that publication for a 2007 Pushcart Prize. Her poetry may be seen at The New Formalist Press. Recent awards include third prize in the Best American Poetry Challenge II for her poem "As The Underworld Turns" and several prizes and honorable mentions in The 2007 World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets Contest. Whether writing or painting, Cook keeps a sharp eye out for the psychological portrait. To quote her, "Art is a lonely path, and promises nothing. It is neither a group activity nor a special club for the over-educated. If weaving compelling images satisfies you more than anything else, then you are probably an artist or a poet. Good luck to you!"