A masochist learns to sing the Stones by Brandy McKenzie

A masochist learns to sing the Stones

When I say yes, I’m not sure what I mean
any more. It could be this: a dark room,

some others, Mick Jagger crying over a lost love
no one remembers these days, his love and money

missing but his coats hanging warm. It could be
me, naked and singing along, waiting for the next

blow, waiting for the blood to dry. I asked for this:
the floggers, the paddles, the flower-shaped perforations

on my skin and the burgundy that blossoms there,
shiny with infinite depth, the swirl of worlds

emerging from my limbs. It’s not birth,
but some kind of disappearance, some emergence

from the clouds of the sealed self into this world
of warm air, warm flesh, the satisfaction of chosen

wounds and a woken memory of being
alive. When I said yes, I missed her. What

I asked for was you and me and this moment
of skin hurled against the living, and then the live

flesh torn lightly open into a song about missing
the heat of a perfect companion, creating its own

galaxies of light and darkness, these drops that come forth
from my own eyes, whispered dry with your own lips.

In a dusty past narrative, Brandy McKenzie has published poems in more than three dozen literary magazines, won various awards, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and worked on the editorial boards of three different nationally distributed literary magazines. These days, though, she mostly works as a paralegal, teaches critical thinking and writing to community college students, and tries to provoke conversation about the strangeness of our shared waking dream.