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Carla Criscuolo
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Discipline

 

Carla Criscuolo

 

I don’t want James Mogul

to command me to clean his

shower stall with a toothbrush,

or bind my wrists to my ankles

with a length of white cord,

throw me onto my stomach

and fuck me with all the gentleness of

a jackhammer. No, I want him

to teach me to Tango. I want him 

reminding me to always keep my eyes

straight ahead, reaching over to softly tilt

my chin up whenever I forget. I want him to

ride me for letting my arms go limp,

grabbing my biceps and forcing them to lock.

I want him to show me each precise move,

watch as I practice them over and over

with the obsessive determination of

a born perfectionist, correcting me as I go,

telling me to do it again. I want him

to lead me across the dance floor and

chastise me when I accidentally step

on his foot and mumble, “Shit!”

“What do you say?”

“I am sorry, Sir.”

 

 

 

 

 

Denial

 

Carla Criscuolo

 

 

 

I lay the blame for my current fixation

with sex on a number of doorsteps:

I blame it on my boyfriend’s

flagging interest, having gone eight

weeks without any; all the soft kisses

planted on the side of his neck, gentle

nips at his earlobe, and deliberate

caresses up and down his arms

drawing nothing but preoccupied

glances before his eyes return to

the Giants game. (He says it’s okay

if they don’t make it to the Super Bowl

this year because they won last year,

so he’s giving them a free pass.)

I blame it on all the urban fantasy

novelists, whose work I’ve been

inhaling like coke for the last two

months, with their five-foot-seven

Amazonian warrior Goddess heroines

and their gratuitously amorous demon

lovers licking trails of aphrodisiacal

slime across the insides of reluctant

thighs. I blame it on my best friend who

can’t stop yakking about his new found

world of dungeons and cat o’ nine tails,

where dangerous women extinguish

cigarettes on his forearm and make him

say “thank you.” His stories adhere

to my skin like hot candle wax,

the muscles beneath tensing with

the burning introduction of each

new image—riding crops, nipple clamps,

and knots made of leather cord,

items employed during sexual acts

I have no desire to participate in, but

that manage to titillate nonetheless,

every nerve synapse so overloaded

with desire that the means of arousal come in

second to the end of release. I lay

on top of the covers, rest my hand over

the elastic waist band of my worn cotton

panties, and conjure the sharp scent of

sweat and nicotine, the synthetic taste

of plastic, and the searing red feel of

gently abused skin, dreaming of all

the sweet and naughty things my

boyfriend could do to me if I could only

get him to respond with hands and hips

that rub the two of us into ragged breath.

 

 

Wreckage

 

Carla Criscuolo

 

 

1986:
Growing up but hardly have
time to take in the view. Too
busy taking beatings worse
than those my little peach fists
pound out on the carpet, tears
dribbling past my lips as I prepare
the back of my bruised legs
for the next smack of my
mother’s hairbrush, ready
my quivering sense of worth
for the next blow of her
pickaxe tongue.

1996:

Every morning I place
a single blue tablet on my tongue
and swallow it with the knowledge
it is supposed to keep me in
Algebra and out of Central Park
during school hours; draw me
from the safety of my bookshelves
and CD collection into the living room
where mother sits on her new couch
with a bowl of broccoli, her red lips
taking delicate bites when not busy
answering Alex Trebeck. She asks,
“To what do I owe this visit?”
striking with the precision of
a coal miner.

2006:
I’ve dropped a trail of lovers
behind me so I can find my way
back to the roots of this promiscuity
should I ever learn to value
self-reflection, summon the will
to revisit the dry, discarded
recollections infecting my cunt
with a pain so fierce I must keep
my knees closed, shocks radiating
through my legs with every step,
each one a reminder of that old
pickaxe, the ultimate measure
of my worth.

 

 

 

 

Carla Criscuolo was born and raised in New York City. After spending five years in Illinois earning her B.A. in Creative Writing from Knox College, she returned to the City and doubts she will ever leave again. Her poetry has appeared in The Orange Room Review, The Blue Jew Yorker, Main Channel Voices, decomP magazinE, Cause & Effect, Lunarosity, and Underground Voices.

 

 

 

 

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