A Memory from May of Ninety-Degree Heat
Of you and me
in your mini cooper
(i never asked what you thought
of the tape i made you)
Of walking down to the lake,
wishing to take your hand in mine
quietly (i didn’t)
you lead: I think this is the spot…
I follow, parting budding green
branches until we reach a stony
shore (i knew i’d never hold
your hand on that shore)
Of rippling skips and watching you
wade in barefoot (i stood ashore, alone, afraid)
I dig for the perfect instrument:
flat, smooth, a saucer of a stone.
Of winding up like an old-time submarine pitcher
then swish, plash, plop—
(my heart into stomach acid)
I got over you. I can’t move backwards.
turn green wax
leak into the
our stones shift
my feet so
I clutch your
you cry out:
you’re too late
Self-Portrait as Newton’s Cradle
kinetic spasm eye twitch, adjacent bodies
graze, something rests anxious on taste buds
kiss me heavy without hesitating
hands roam, gliding over talc skin
is this okay as elastic surrenders breath in
it’s pulse on pulse, soft exhale yes
shh relax chests tremble swaddled muscle
aches oneness, press fluttering valves on lips
flexing together colliding halves
two complete, see it’s easy to touch
I Ache (serrated edges)
3 am and i ‘ m coming down. m y naked feet cold on bathroom tiles. arm hairs perk alert. i ’ m shivering and i won’t stop. 3 am just m e hunched over bathroom tiles gripping m y skull. last week i was given a new knife (branded C K on the handle) as a gift for being a groomsman in m y sister’s wedding. i cradle m y crying initials. then they’re scratching at m y hand. it wants. i know it’s want. i cradle it because it cries but i can’t hear over the sound of the smiths, silence, everyone asleep but m e (i ‘ d like sleep, but there’s more night yet). it shuts up when it digs in m e, digs out the part of m e i lose to bathroom tiles. i ‘ m leaking onto bathroom tiles. a piece of m e i need to lose. i yawn for my loss. eyes up, looking down, i ‘ m on tiles. i look so pretty outside m y self. such color, so pretty—the things i am when i ‘ m not trapped within. m y naked feet in the splash zone. m y self, m y mess to rinse away at 3 am
if this is a cri for help, please hang-up now.
sis dial 18002738255—
he might be Grammy worthy
but Logic isn’t right
i don’t ♪feel out of my mind♪
i can’t get out of my mind
what constitutes a crisis
“suicidal gesture” seems like semantics
but i saw how that girl died in 13 reasons
why would anyone use a razor blade that way
last i loved said get out
of your mind, Connor
but in mine it’s crowded music festivals sweat stuck
synapse kick drums dry heave serotonin
upchuck poisons into overflowing toilet
stagger to sink hydration
wobble up to face
what constitutes crisis, i asked the jester
in the mirror, he reminded me of Heath,
Hemingway, no brains Cobain,
his eyes jingled off-key, told me
i’m just suicidal jesture, pouting
not quite shotgun mouthed
but still quite the crisis
at risk, but still kicking despite it
Eleventh grade, you fall in love with the same girl as two other classmates.
One classmate that loves her punches another who loves her in the nose.
And the former kid breaks the other’s nose,
But the latter kid’s nose breaks the former kid’s hand.
The broken nose kid asks you,
Terrified, if you love her too.
I don’t. We’re just f-f-friends. And half of this is true.
All quiet and mushy, pretending
Tender words can conquer fists,
Typing texts, declaring love:
You mean you’ll love her
Better than broken nose kid and broken fist kid can.
What you mean: please l-l-love me instead.
But she doesn’t. Words can’t fight for you. She won’t love
The kid who doesn’t fight.
Until she does, who knows why
You bite your lip
Kiss her against the basement wall
At some shitty christmas party,
When she tells you there’s an open bed upstairs,
That you should come with her
And love each other now,
You lie and say
I’m too t-t-tired. I’m too drunnnk to love you now.
The girl across the hall
Stops by your dorm
To bring you pizza, or was it french toast?
When she invites you over for jello shots
You feel like running.
But she’s beautiful,
Kind, and you don’t know
Why you’re awkward,
Refuse to fight.
So you tell her, I u-u-usually go home on weekends.
Some months later, over house party bass,
Well, kind of your friend,
Jokes that you never talk about girls
Or how much they want to fuck you
Or how much you want to fuck them.
He jokes with you, calls you a fag,
Laughs at your straight face,
You’re less fun when you’re not drunk.
Concert, summer after sophomore year.
Not the one where she
Threw up on herself and ended up in emergency care,
The concert where she wore overalls, back when
She had blonde hair she wore in two braids.
When she danced with you
Your fingers locked each other in
And before she left,
She kissed you, said goodnight and
From fingers entwined to fingers
Locked on iron barbells
Heady hormonal trances to breath
Control, reps, gain
Seventeen pounds, 157 pounds all
Because the girl you loooved in 8th grade told you
She was most attracted to guys with abs, biceps.
Now you wonder the damage
You’re capable of, what might happen if you
Swing back. But you don’t/can’t/won’t
You please stop crying because the corners of your eyes keep drying out and the skin keeps Dying
And it’s an awkward place to have to apply lotion to.
Please, please stop the spreading numbness in your chest
And heat that labors in your throat
From hyperventilating lungs.
Running, from fighting,
Even though sometimes a fight feels like all you need.
Someone to hurt.
Someone who could hurt you too.