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I’m lying in my bed watching Clueless for the millionth time and you text me “girl, you so cute!’ and I smile unwittingly and toss my phone to the bottom of my bed. I am not going to reply to you. I don’t love you. I want to help you write your suicide note. You send me a shitty YouTube link to a song called ‘reunion’ by some black guy named Maxwell. I picture you covering this song wearing your cute glasses and I laugh and think ‘this is so fucking bleak’ and get up from my bed and make a peanut butter sandwich. It’s February, so it’s cold and I’m lonely, and grasping at any form of human affection I can find. I take your sweet messages and mold them into something that they’re not, that they can never be.
I’m watching videos of zoo animals on the internet. This makes me feel better about being alive and full of cheap processed peanut butter. My phone vibrates and it’s you again. ‘babe! I just got home, I’ll call you in 10?’ you’re studying to get your PhD and I am a smart girl so naturally I want the ph ‘D’. I still don’t reply in hopes that you’ll inquire about it on the phone later and I’ll get to say that I was busy doing very important things that I wasn’t actually doing. 15 minutes passes and you have not called me. I take this as sign that I should get in the shower and leave my phone on my bed, so when you call you get my voicemail and might wonder where I am or what I’m doing. I get out of the shower and have 2 missed calls from you. I am very pleased with myself. I don’t call you back until my hair is dried and I’ve eaten three (3!) more peanut butter sandwiches. I’m watching TV now. A Subaru commercial comes on of a couple on a first date. I think about how you don’t have a car and you ferment your own vegetables. This turns me on and I hate it. I feel lonelier than I ever have before.
TRANSIT I took The Current to Wilmington because your mom and step dad were away for 3 days. You still live at home and I think this is sexy. You just got out of the hospital and still had gauze on your arms so I was nervous to touch you. We watched a Polish film and you made smoothies. You kissed me and said ‘shall we?’ and took me upstairs. I am still worried about the gauze on your arms. I think, ‘I wonder if touching those will hurt you as much as tonight is going to end up hurting me.’
HOMETOWN BLEND I’m walking to the coffee shop from my apartment in town. It’s cold and I can’t feel the latter half of my body. 5 minutes until you close and you shout ‘hometown blend?’ at me. I nod compliantly. You’re sweet, but you make me nervous. You know me too well. You help me more than I help myself.
DO YOU LIKE TO LIE ON YOUR STOMACH AND LOOK AT THINGS UNDER THE ICE Do you like hammocks, apricots, mud, zombies, watching old people hold hands, plays, finding weird things on the ground or in books, do you like the stars because they make me feel small and insignificant and sometimes I need to feel less significant. Do you usually feel happy if not what do you feel most of the time? Do you like ‘Rocky’ or ‘The Godfather’ movies? Do you like to see pictures of people when they were babies? What did you pretend to be when you were little, do you think you’re sort of a sucky person because I do, I mean not as in you are a sucky person but I am and I think that’s sort of okay. Do you like sad songs and do you know the metric system well because I don’t, I also do not know simple algebra, the function of a carburetor, why old women dye their hair colors that it couldn’t even have been to begin with, and why eye contact is scary because it is. Do you like the sci-fi channel and do you believe in the supernatural because I do, do
you want a big house, and if so, for love or for money? Do you like to carve pumpkins and jump in piles of leaves? do you like to say ‘what if’ because I don’t and I think it makes life more difficult than it needs to be. Do you like to color, do you like to talk to me, and do you like to learn about people’s flaws in the beginning or later on? Love or lust at first sight, how can you tell-- who decides? Do you think you’ll be like your parents when you grow up, and if so, does that scare you? Do you think animals understand more than we believe them to, do you think we are different because we are really very similar and not in ways that I could pick up and show to you like, “we both enjoy the color blue, and the taste of raspberry jam, and collecting antiques.” I don’t think any of those statements are true for either of us, though. Do you think antique stores are haunted? Do you think the truth is subjective, do you believe Voltaire when he says, “Man is free the moment he wishes to be,” because sometimes I feel extremely tethered and un-free. AN ORPHAN PAINTS THE RAINBOW’S ELBOW At my show, everyone’s tickets cost the same. When all attendees are seated, a man holding his master’s degree in biology enters. He asks everyone in the audience what their favorite color is. There is only one right answer. If you do not answer the question correctly, the man will take 10 years off of your life. Be careful, because your biological clock is ticking. A rainbow appears and swallows the master of biology whole. An orphan enters carrying a cage full of dead birds. They must not have answered the question correctly. The orphan paints the rainbow’s elbow. Everyone in the audience gets a nosebleed. I guess I have given a whole new meaning to nosebleed seats.
I will move in to a house in the back of your head You’re a cluster of silver cells latching onto the soft of my skin. Your voice is small as my hands and the ink on your arms matches the tooth you don’t have. I’m dead in front of you I’m drowning, broke through the ice. You’re a car’s backseat, you’re the sand, you’re a concrete slab in the sculpture garden on election night when I called you to bring me your love and some champagne. Your love you don’t own it’s not mine to have. I will forget you You’re barely here now. I reach for you in dark places, I count your shadow against the wall. You are clutching my calf You are kissing my neck You are winning.
The Vein It goes pop, pop, pop, on the corner of her forehead, beneath her hairline, stuffed with too much blue blood. She takes two Tylenols and I go outside. I look at the sky. It is blue, too. I think that maybe it is some giant’s vein, pulsating, just like hers, maybe I am just a white blood cell, trying to keep something alive, as best as I can.
Today I forgot to breathe Today I forgot to breathe because I thought I heard your voice in a crowd (it was only my mind.) I trace your name with my finger across my leg, I hope to imprint you in my skin, I hope to impress you with my sin, I hope for you. Today I do not need to live because you are living enough for the two of us.
Communion I lost my mind again this time, it was over Watch me spin (whirling the mania consumes) and watch me fall to the floor in a sweating pile. Just watch me. I’m begging for your attention I’m hungry at my knees. If you would only look down to notice my corpse in reverence bent, you would realize the god you are. And if this fanaticism is the end of me, at least I can tell everyone that I gave you every ounce of ritual offering I could cover in blood.
You’re So Vain A weight A body A miracle, I am crushed and thinking how lucky Carly Simon was to have Mick Jagger’s shoulder to sing on. I am lost in the pools below your eyebrows and in how quickly you have transformed me into a quiet beast humbly moving through your world. This song is not about you. It was written for me.
Hunger Heart Let me sail to you If I can find a ship. You say, if I go to Mars, to take you with me— that you cannot imagine a planet without me on it. But don’t you know that every step I take in my waking life is me trying to work up the nerve to walk across the sea. Don’t you know it’s all for you?
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