love

Sally was a sloppy
leaver.   she was good with the
notes,
she wrote them with a large
indignant hand.
Sally was always indignant, she was
good at that.

and she always took most of her
clothes,
but I’d open the bottle
sit down and look about–
and there’d be a pink slipper
under the bed.
I’d finish the drink
and get down under the bed
to get that pink slipper and
throw it in the trash
and next to the pink slipper
I’d find a pair of shit-stained
panties.

and there was hairpins everywhere:
in the ashtray, on the dresser, in the
bathroom.   and her magazines were
everywhere with their exotic covers:
MAP RAPES GIRL, THEN THROWS HER BODY FROM
400 FOOT CLIFF.
9 YEAR OLD BOY RAPES 4 WOMEN IN GREYHOUND
BUS-STOP RESTROOM, SETS FIRE TO REPOSITORY
DISPOSAL UNITS.

Sally was a slopping leaver.
in the top drawer next to the Kleenex
I’d find all the notes I’d ever written her,
neatly-bound with 3 or 4 sets of rubber
bands.

and she was sloppy with
photos:
I’d find one of both of us
crouched on the hood of our
’58 Plymouth–
Sally showing a lot of leg
and grinning like a Kansas City gun-moll
from out of the
twenties,
and me
showing the bottoms of my shoes
with the circular waving holes
in them.

and, there were photos of dogs,
all of them ours,
and, photos of children,
most   of them
hers.

every hour and twenty minutes
the phone   would ring
and it would be
Sally
and a song from the juke
box, some song I
hated, and she’d keep talking
and I’d hear men’s
voices:

“Sally, Sally, forget the fuckin’ phone,
come on and sit back down,
baby!”

“you see,” she’d say, “there are other men   in the
world beside you.”
“your opinion only,” I’d answer.
“I could have loved you forever, Bandini,” she’d
say.
“get fucked,” I’d say and hand
up.

Bandini is manure all right
but it was also the name I had given myself
after a rather   emotional and childish character
in a novel written by some
Italian in the 1930’s.

I’d pour another drink
and while looking for a scissors in the bathroom
to trim the hair around my ears
I’d find a brassiere in one of the drawers
and hold it up to the light.
the brassiere looked all right   from the outside
but inside– there was this stain of
sweat and dirt, and the stain was darkened,
melded in there
as if no washing would ever
take it
out.

I’d drink my drink
then begin to trim the hair around my ears
deciding that I was a quite   handsome man.
but I’d lift the weights
go on a diet
get a tan,
anyhow.

then the phone would ring again
and I’d lift the receiver
hang up
lift the receiver again
and let it
dangle
by the cord.

I’d trim my ears, my nose, my
eyebrows,
drink another hour or two,
then go to
sleep.

I’d be awakened by a sound I had never quite
heard before–
it felt and sounded like a warning of
atomic attack.
I’d get up and look for the sound.
it would be the telephone
still of the hook
but the sound that came from it
was much like a thousand wasps
burning to death.   I’d
pick up the
phone.

“sir, this the desk clerk.   your phone is
off   the hook.”

“all right.   sorry.   I’ll
hang up.”

“don’t hang up, sir.   your wife is on the
elevator.”

“my wife?”

“she says she’s Mrs. Budinski…”

“all right, it’s
possible…”

“sir, can you get her off the
elevator?   she doesn’t understand the
controls… her language is abusive toward us
but she says that you’ll
help her… and, sir,…”

“yes?…”

“we didn’t want to call the
police…”

“good…”

“she’s laying down on the floor of the
elevator, sir, and, and… she has…
urinated upon
herself…”

“o.k.,” I’d say and
hang up.

I’d walk out in my shorts
drink in hand
cigar in mouth
and press the elevator
button.
up it would come:
one, two, three, four…
the doors would open
and there would be
Sally… and little delicate
trickles and ripples of water lines
drifting about the elevator
floor, and some blotchy
pools.

I’d finish the drink
pick her   up and
carry her out of the
elevator.

I’d get her to the apartment
throw her on the bed
and pull   off her wetted
panties, skirt and stockings.
then I’d put a drink on the coffeetable
near   her
sit down on the couch
and have another for
myself.

suddenly she’d sit straight up and
look around the
room.
“Bandini?” she’d ask.

“over   here,” I’d
wave my hand.

“o, thank god…”

then she’d see the drink and
drink it right
down.   I’d get up
refill it, put cigarettes, ashtray and
matches
nearby.

then she’d sit up again:
“who took my panties
off?”

“me.”

“me, who?”

“Bandini…”

“Bandini?   you can’t
fuck me…”

“you pissed
yourself…”

“who?”

“you…”

she’d sit straight
upright:
“Bandini, you dance like a
queer, you dance like a
woman!”

“I’ll break your god damned
nose!”

“you broke my arm, Bandini, don’t you go
breaking my nose…”

then she’d put her head back on the
pillow:   “I love you, Bandini, I really
do…”

then she’d start snoring.   I’d drink another
hour or two then
I’d get into bed with
her.   I wouldn’t want to touch her
at first.   she needed a bath, at
least.   I’d get one leg up against hers;
it didn’t seem too
bad.   I’d try the
other.
I’d start to remember all the good days and the
good nights…
slip one arm under   her neck,
then I’d have the other around her
belly and my drunken penis
gently up against her crotch.

her hair would come back
and climb into my nostrils.
I’d feel her inhale heavily, then
exhale.   we’d sleep like that
most   of the night and into the
next afternoon.   then I’d get up and
go to the bathroom and vomit
and then she’d
have her turn.