Nickole Brown

How to Seduce Superman


This Manual Is for You If

You never met your
minimum balance
never ate mayo
never went a day
without seeing yourself
in mirrors
hardly ever recognized
your own reflection
always wore too much
sometimes ordered
sandwiches with no mayo
when you bit
into them left
red lines of lipstick
on your chin and
a half-kiss mark
on each bun
your reflection in the café
window saying nothing of
your features that appeared
when a black car passed
and disappeared
with a white one
always sat with your
legs crossed
your strobing
reflection here then
gone then here
again.  You pick up
your drink from the top
by the rim
the straw cradled between your
pointer and middle
pick up your sandwich
bite into your own
kiss, look outside and think
something then
nothing wondering like this
always then the waiter
calls you miss,
you unfold your legs,
breathe in then out
the door.


Tip #1: Home and Garden


one cat,
one dog,
gerber daisy
girl next store,
you get it.


Tip #2: Making A Bed To Lie In


Not just king:
California king, endless,
nine pillows,
nine hundred geese
plucked.  Downed
wall-to-wall, fluffed,
feathered, bleached and
white, and I mean white,
all white, white so white
you could milk it, white so
white he’d never guess
you snore.

Think a place to tuck,
to snuggle, to suck the bright
ambition from day.


Tip #3: Kissing

Make it

A non sequitur
zest, something he’s not expect-
ing, all tingle and pock and tongue
tuft radish to zip
him from the sky, to
etch and peck and pucker him
straight out of his cape,
not just some hickey but a
radiant bruise, a flashflush of delight,
a come here said
slurred, one breathe allowed
sounding like kumear,
or from a distance
fastflying as he does
sounding like kumquat,
best zest-maker there is,

you tart little orange, you
bright light fruit.


Tip #4: Hygiene & Other Adorations

Wear lipstick
the color lipstick always is
when a woman is blind-
folded and the white
tips of her front teeth
show through.

Wear lipstick to
shame a month’s worth of Sundays,
lipstick to match his
bikini and boots.

And for Christ’s sake, brush
those teeth, swab those ears,
soak the secret
pluvial folds.  There’ll be no plications
he can’t sniff out with that bionic
hound dog nose.


What To Say As He Details Various Escapades, Escapes, & Rescues

You peep.  You peabiddy
baby doll.  You Biblical, cosmic sweet-talking
staggering long stalk of a boy.
What good news?  What grin fit
to split and what dream ready to quake?
What odd and exiled kiss landed just here
on my worrisome V of a forehead, on my
downy caul of a cheek, on my spreadwing
collarbones, on my ear that can
pick your voice so keenly from the air,
as if those silver hoops of mine had a
mercurial pulse all their own?  How’d you
get those seed pods to burst so soon?  What salt
of seas following?  And tell me again, what exiled
airlessness? And truly, now truly, how did you
find me?  I found you?  Stars uncrossed and perfectly
asymmetrically aligning since when?  And soon?

Your breathing, Superman, your strongwarm
blessings here and here and oh,
right here.


What Not To Say, Ever

Let’s buy a grill, my boundaries
aren’t flexing as expected, I haven’t
got the nerve, you told me it was a
short trip, where have you
been, you didn’t call, you nearly jerked
me baldheaded, right up by the roots, can I
ask you not to, do you want to play
ping pong, I saw you looking at her with your
lazerblues, I know what you’re thinking, you can
but if you
I won’t be
here when you
get back, I have to establish
boundaries, you need to take your phone, I need to
borrow your car, you need to switch your cellular
provider, I have a sore throat, I am cold, I am
cramping, could you plug in the heating pad, please, put it
right there, and run to the store for some aspirin too.


What To Buy As A Gift

Figurines, toy
heroes, mint condition
unopened thirty year-
old box.

Or things with jagged
edges, loose teeth:
chainsaws, hedge
trimmers, dynafiles, steak
knives, things he can practice on,
throw at himself
then dodge.


A Note On The Ice Palace

Your eyes will
crystalize.  Your tiny nose
and ear hairs will
crystalize.  You will be a radio
exposed-skin warning, a ski-sloped
snow bunny, a Midwestern good-bye
waist of a girl giving up all shapeliness
for down feathers, all figure
for comfort, nothing but flat
boots and chapstick and hat head
say goodbye to your hair-
doo days.

Do not stay
long.  You know you’ve worn out
your welcome when the spit stops
mid-achoo, flashfreeze
sneeze in the air.


What To Wear Out Walking

An Ao Dai, that long
Vietnamese flyaway schoolgirl
on a bicycle
Flows down
to your knees but with a slit
cut straight up the sides.

Looks good walking, even better


A Note On Cryptonite Poisoning

He’ll say I have a condition.  He’ll never
explain, never complain, turn the color
of an octopus on ice.

He’ll pull back, say things like but you cannot
 feel compassion without imagining what I feel,
and that is impossible

He’ll run as slow as a chess player in the park, say
God was filled with wrath so much that he sent his own son
down to kill him

You must not allow his metabolic hatred
to turn inwards.

You must not talk to him before the movie credits
are over; he wants to know who did what, and why.

You must not wake him before eleven a.m.; he needs to
dream, and more importantly, he needs to dream deep
enough to forget he is

You must not say all his Clark Kent days were good—
they weren’t—say he had some okay ones in the bunch.

Do not pretend to know all the superheroes, but stack
the comics by his bedside.  Feed him

pumpkin pie, then ice down sweet,
carbonated beverages.  He will have headaches, and
very, very bad headaches.  In this case,
do nothing.  Do not touch.  Go quietly
to bed.  The pain is
vascular, hallucinatory, bad enough to slap him
flat.  Tell him you love him
twice.  If he is half-awake, he might hear you
say it


If Your Mother Says

You can do
better.  You don’t know where
he’s been, what he’s
carrying, when he’ll ever
come home.

Hang up the phone, try to forget
her, let it occur to you Merlin,
sorcerer swordstone hero
of your man, is also a merlin,
a bird, a small dark
falcon, also known
as a pigeon hawk.


When It’s Over

You will bloat.  You read a fortune
cookie fortune, a thief of the worst kind,
but it’s too late. You will slide down the
hill, gray, those lonely breasts
down with you.  You will be too
weakhearted to buy
a thing; you will be left with
catscatscats. Who to spoon you your Thanksgiving
pie?  Who to notice the flesh sinking in bone?
Dry crepe of wrinkles, vague recollection
of moon, how he held you
there, how gravity didn’t matter
back when.


Nickole Brown: Bio

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