after Britney Spears
The camera pans—is this still
Mars? Oops. Gloss-
lip. Oops. Long-lashed eyes
gazing between the scraps.
Guttural purr. Oops I.
Did. It. Again. White girl cuts
center-stage, tiny athletic body
in a red catsuit. Bass
pumping. I played with your heart,
got lost in the game. How many times
have you watched a girl get pushed
into an arena? Oh-baby-baby.
Too many times. It’s winter and we are
away from home, watching MTV on cable
that is not our own. The NASA team watches
the alien ritual commence—what must they be
thinking? I’m supposed to be turned on,
even at eight. I know this. Oh-baby-babyy.
Some Cirque du Soleil nonsense is happening
in the background, but maybe
I was turned on, in a practiced way—not
as I would later understand that mundane
fever. Not blood-thrum or cheek-dusk. Not
father-son-and-holy-ghost. On TV, the girl twirls
out of her temple, whips off the white astronaut’s helmet.
They speak as though they know each other—did he
come all this way for her? There’s something
I want you to have. The red planet
burns ceaselessly beneath them. Aw you shouldn’t have.
Lost, the man looks at her and she looks at him
back. Smiling in the red—is this what it means
to be found? Oops I
did it again to your heeaarrrt! The three of us
watched this all unfold like
we watched anything then: taking notes
on style. For my own part, I knew
I wanted to be both that boy and
that girl. I wanted to kiss the edge
of some urbane cosmos, rack up stories
like cold marbles in my pocket, dance
in a sexy space chamber of
my very own. I played with your heart,
got lost in the game. I wanted to break
a beautiful man’s heart and
look fucking great