Books, Bedsheets & Betrayal: 3 Poems by Ruth Christopher

“{bondage & bukowski},” “{ode to a los angeles mistress},” and “{es tan corto el amor y tan largo el olvido}”


{bondage & bukowski}


I’m reading this book—

it’s amazing, really.

my lover bought it for me one night because I wanted it—
my account was overdrawn because I messed up the dates and had to reserve two hotels instead of one…

he’s married and my parents are strict so we have to put the hotels on my card because no one bothers about my records, like they do his.


no one bothers—

but I like it when he ties me with rope—

the rough kind

like you use for cattle if you’re a cowboy

I don’t suppose anyone ties cattle who isn’t a cowboy

no cattle; just pretty girls with double D’s who go for that sort of thing.


it’s an amazing book, really.





{ode to a los angeles mistress}

I could never love you–
studied fastidiousness
pretentious chivalry
rote memorization of wine labels
passing for good taste
you’d never bypass
an opportunity to open the door
freshly waxed BMW
or a trip to the Hamptons
yet your life is anything but genteel
mocking piety
you are typecast
exercise in futility
halfhearted devotion to your art
kept alive by whole hearted devotion
to Old moneyed trust funds
and I hate you for it

I hate that I call you
first thing when my plane touches down
every time–
I wander away
every time–
you know I wander
every time–
yet you’re always there
charged vape in hand
fresh feather pillows
a new scent of massage oil
my favorite scotch of the week
a shoulder to cry on
someone to call in the middle of the night
lunch buddy for excursions to the city
smoking robe ever prepped
like the accompanying espresso maker
someone to applaud my outfits
kudos to free verse poetry
I hate everything about you
(but tell me all the filthy things
you’d like to do
if only I weren’t busy this evening)

I wish I could shout cianara
(and really mean it)
but we both know
I’d be right back next to you in bed
cold toes pressed into your leg
half clothed in your pajamas
next time I’m around
can’t say goodbye
(lord only knows why)
tell you I want to try
living pure for a while
you nod and reply
‘I’ll be here’
tell you I’m in love
you nod and reply
‘I’ll still be here’
steady as the ticking of the clock
and I hate you for it

I hate you for being the perfect mistress
discreetly helpful
intelligent yet kind
loft just far enough downtown
for me to be dazzled
drunk on city lights
by the time I land on your doorstep
your smiling face
delighted to see me every time–
you gently kiss my forehead
patronizing possession
‘how was your day’
innocuous inquiry
a new painting on display
trivial talk
disguising the fact
I’ve been away long enough to forget
how much I loathe you
meek acceptance of lovers & plans
beyond your control
I will never love you
my mistress from the west side…
(but call me next week–
I can’t bear it all without you)





{es tan corto el amor y tan largo el olvido}

I saw you last night—

going up the steps to where they keep the good books.

you turned and our eyes met


not a flicker of recognition passed between them.

I guess I’ve learned to hide myself behind my eyes, like I used to be jealous of you being able to do.


I was in the check-out line with another man

a beautiful man—

you, no doubt, had to hurry home to another woman—

a rich woman.

I know how you survive

you melt us with your songs

conceal your storied scars with facial hair that tickles us when we kiss you and hides all the other lips you’d like to kiss.


I would have liked to say hi

that I don’t love you anymore

that maybe I never did

that I was 19 and you were beautiful

but that I still hope you succeed—

but maybe it would have come out as just ‘fuck you’

so I guess it’s better we didn’t.


you went upstairs and we bought the book and then went and made love and I didn’t think of you once.

Ruth is a poet, student, art model, and salsera living and loving with the ‘Poet Punks’ in L.A. Her work has previously been featured in the Writer’s Edit Press anthology Kindling Volume II. If you’re interested in talking writing or collaborating, shoot her an email:


Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.

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