Two Stories of the Word "Like"
Her body consists of the word “like”:
not really a word, but a movie.
Her entire face: The Story of Like.
The young woman beautiful, but by shopping standards,
the chosen ways of understanding celebrity stockyards.
It can be told from her cadence, the speed of her voice,
and each unfinished thing she buys--
the thin scarves sleeping around her neck,
her knee-high boots stitched in separate shades of thigh,
her long coat gutted for the warm winter grass.
It costs money to apologize to one’s clothing.
It’s impossible to heal the body
or even a kiss with the fake word like.
And after they reveal the days of charred milk
and charred likes between mourning doves, the woman abandons
her blighted sweaters but keeps their one-syllable names,
writes them down for when they become
the most obvious part of a talk-crowded room.
“Like” is a password for the alien roulette log-on sites.
“Like” is the name of a birthplace and the city where one tries to live.
“Like” is a favorite food, favorite activity, favorite color.
“Like” is a determined height and weight and hair style.
“Like” is the end of one’s life calling from its still far away ruins.
“Like” is what lures men to the next car theft link.
“Like” is the exact sound of lips moistening.
“Like” is an ectoplasm that stalks you into your sleep.
“Like” is the sound of someone who doesn’t want to stop talking though he has nothing left to say.
“Like” is a story that affects everyone:
A woman meets a man who uses and applies her favorite word. They are attracted to each other. They both possess faces and age ranges approved by the culture of magazine cruelty. They each have a job, though jobs are smaller than they used to be. Money is also smaller now, flaccid. They date each other for a month of mostly one word and get married. They do not own a house. They do not own their bodies or their lives. They build from their combined moisture two already obsolete children. There is no place for their tiredness, their goals, not even the sleep they’ve lost. Money gets smaller until it disappears. One day all that’s left is the word like and somehow it is everything.
Rob Cook lives in New York City’s East Village. He is the author of six collections, including Blueprints for a Genocide (Spuyten Duyvil, 2012) and Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade (Bitter Oleander Press, 2013). Work has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Caliban, Fence, A cappella Zoo, Zoland Poetry, Tampa Review, Minnesota Review, Aufgabe, Caketrain, Many Mountains Moving, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Colorado Review, Bomb (online), Sugar House Review, Mudfish, Pleiades, Versal, Weave, Wisconsin Review, Ur Vox, Heavy Feather Review, Phantom Drift, Osiris, etc.
Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum & The Albright-Knox Art Gallery.