HE’S THE KIND OF GUY
WHO ROMANTICIZES BOOKSTORES
and yet here we are.
Through the window, we see a carousel
of greeting cards, a shelf of new releases
and bestsellers, names we recognize but have never read.
He says, More libraries and bookstores should stay open
late. They’re great alternative date spots! Meanwhile, I watch
the employees pacing, sweeping the same corners, missing
their own dates for ours. It is an ugly night in a bloated city:
The streets are packed with poorly parked SUVs
and the sedans and trucks forced to navigate around them,
bicyclists jumping onto the sidewalk
to avoid being another statistic on the morning news.
Brick sidewalk, unmaintained.
Think about sinking through like that city bus,
right in downtown during Monday morning rush hour,
revealing decades worth of rotting infrastructure.
And we’ll talk about the bus,
but we’ll never talk about why it happened.
And we’ll never read the books we bought,
rushing our choices because the store
closed earlier than he thought it did.
GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, GIRL
Last night I dreamed that I was a dozen cats:
a cat queen versus a rat king, tied by the tails.
The We-that-was-I destroyed everything.
A NOVELTY, ON HER RETIREMENT
Electric skin, Cotard delusion, whatever.
I’m ready to move on.
This has been traumatic enough
without having to play actor,
without having to build myself up like
a real Christmas tree: dated spectacle,
Only survived because I am pagan
and I worship the dirt that I should
be buried in right now—
What, with my hands as cold as they are.
Neurotic nodding and thanks and
how many thanks have I said to the same people?
Are they counting? Are they relieved when I stop?
I know I am.
I also worship the Moon and the tides she controls.
As such, I cannot be washed away,
only whisked. Find an island only accessible
via another island,
Still, I become a Jenny Haniver:
dehydrated, dried, displayed.
UPON HEARING ABOUT THE GHOST SHIP FIRE
I remember telling a friend at an open mic
that a similar tragedy is bound to happen
in Pittsburgh within the next five to ten years.
At the time of this writing, it hasn’t.
But I can no longer afford my rent,
and that friend and that open mic
are no longer around.
Take a second to feel these pomegranate breasts:
elicit trypophobic fascination and do not look away at the front tooth chipped
while drunkenly chomping through a piece of steak and hitting the fork instead.
The words whistling through the gap are what you need to hear. These fruits
need to bear little truths gasping indulgence, the only sacred language
our broken couple religion will acknowledge.
Same old, same old: your angles and your words and the way
your hazel eyes flash, breaking your perpetual neuroses for just a second.
To see that expression again, I will do the same tired motions forever,
but let’s try something new, anyway. Close those beautiful eyes,
drop those fumbling hands, let me whisper a new story in your cute little ear.