University of Southern Indiana


Michael Waters

“Mind if I take it out?” our host inquired
In that casual manner in which men
Once asked if they could smoke, even as they
Touched the struck match to a dangling Lucky.
We’d thought his choice of movie odd, Euro
Soft-core porn with some boyish ingénue
Who nonchalantly doffed posh lingerie
Whenever boredom licked its pouty lips.
Some men wore masks. Some women brandished whips.
“Um, yeah,” I choked, as my wife shot a look,
First at me, then at the undone buttons
Of his jeans, then back to the pixeled screen
As though a warning of coastal flooding
Had begun its beep beep fiery flashing.
Our heroine was again unfrocking,
Offering revelers her bare buttocks.
How burdened with desire must someone be
To require release in such lackluster
Company? Goodbye, we murmured, & thanks
For sharing the foreign film from Netflix.
We admired the unbridled performance—
That 42” wall-mounted TV
A window into a theme park of pain,
Its flesh-tones so lifelike, the skin so pure
You’d swear you could reach in to caress it.

Michael Waters Michael Waters has written ten books of poetry, including Gospel Night (2011); Darling Vulgarity, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (2006); and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems, finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize (2001). His poems have appeared in various journals, including The Yale Review, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Georgia Review and Rolling Stone. Among his awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation and fellowship residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Tyrone Guthrie Center (Ireland), Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland), and The St. James Centre for Creativity (Malta). He is professor of English at Monmouth University and also teaches in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. Waters lives with his wife, poet Mihaela Moscaliuc, in Ocean, New Jersey.


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