for J.D. Rage


I pick up a Xeroxed flyer
for a show by someone I know slightly.
Her photo shows her in leather, chains, sunglasses,
with a mass of black hair.
And I think, This is where
I want to take a woman for a date.


So my date and I ride over a bridge
to an unlit neighborhood
and find the venue in someone’s apartment.
The living room is a theater.
The woman in the flyer is the feature,
and she’s a good performer,
because when she rants she makes sense.
My favorite piece of hers is not about violence
but about love, about loving someone
who doesn’t love you back.


I don’t know what my date thinks
of all of this: the long ride to the frontier,
the non-venue for a show,
the ranting that makes sense.
She seems to like me well enough,
but there seem to be other things on our minds.

Thaddeus Rutkowski is the author of six books, most recently Border Crossings, a poetry collection. He received a fiction writing fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.