not yr fetish

one eyelid up one eyelid down pushed in smile
long legs short nails lips lips lips shudder
you are that spider in my shower drain i can’t quite step on making jokes about my shampoo
i am pulling punches out of my purse tonight & they are all for you or they would be i swear they would be if i wasn’t turning into a statue in this restaurant
somebody ordered a skywriter or maybe it’s the clouds sending me a message like SORRY IT WORKED OUT THIS WAY WE WILL DO BETTER NEXT TIME but it’s too late for that

hot snail mail

we will develop arthritis in our
thumbs our eyes will stop seeing
things that don’t glow you
glow like that star i’ve been trying
to land on but it’s on fire & i’m
not a fighter my voice coughing
under the pressure of telephone wires
typed letters drifting in space
get stopped by the nsa
how many men in suits know
i want you to fuck me in a swimming pool
does the time apart make the moments
together sweeter you’re sweet on my
tongue when i’m home but when i’m not
i write haikus in this
journal you gave me think about
sending them in pretty
envelopes mostly they’re about
making you come

proximity

he likes to call her baby during sex. maybe all the time. i wouldn’t know; i’ve taken lengths to ensure we never meet. the new presence isn’t the problem; it’s the live-in-boyfriend thing. my roommate says she’s kind of tall from behind & 20 feet away.

realizing i loved you happened 8 months after you realized you loved me, 3 months after you told me about the aforementioned love, and 1 month after you took my non-heteronormative version of virginity. we drove to the softball field for the confession because i didn’t want to tell you in the car. the whole thing was pretty gay.

the single next door used to be empty. now it’s very enthusiastically filled. scrambling for headphones proves pointless. they’re so fucking loud (they’re fucking so loud), i hear her even though i bought the headphones that go all the way into my ear. the kind no one wears running. they have a pretty normal routine of getting up way too early in the morning and waking me up with moans. it’s hard not to wonder how real the enthusiasm is— she can really only tell him he’s so, so, so good at the top of her lungs a couple of times & still mean it.

you don’t sleep. four hours in a night is good for you. so when i’m woken up at seven, you call me and i whisper hello. we talk in small voices because that makes it seem like we’re a few inches away and not 189 miles.

they shower together, but usually they don’t even fuck they have conversations that echo through the bathroom. they wash each others’ hair and complain loudly when shampoo ends up in their eyes.

yesterday blew. you said trying to act normal makes you hurt worse. plus, i joked that you’d dump me if i gained 80 pounds in just my stomach. the body part should have been more abstract, like just in my forearms. as it was, you said if you think i’ll break up with you because of your weight, you don’t know me at all. & didn’t respond to my next 3 texts. we always say we’ll never break up with each other.

instead of reading, i end up fabricating stories about his presumably magical penis.

last night i dreamt about your arms around my waist and kissing you goodnight. when i woke up it turned out your arms still lived in Chicago.

they orgasm together— or at least it sounds like that; i still have my suspicions. when it happens they both collapse into i love you’s. instead of rolling my eyes like i should my nose pricks & i’m crying at stranger’s sex. this is not romantic like crying over how beautiful your orgasm was, this is like a whole new level of pathetic i didn’t know i had in me.

you like to call me baby all the time & i love it. when you’re running your fingers through my hair and i’m wrapping myself around you like a power up in zelda— when we’re together you can sleep through the night.

Detail of Wheatfield With a Reaper
by Vincent Van Gogh

van gogh wheat field detail

Use of Negative Space in Euclidean Geometry

i.

during math class, molly, in a spell of boredom, noticed the secret second way a prism can be seen. her textbook was open to a page with pictures of three different prisms. molly was staring at the cube. as soon as she looked at it her brain would decide which face was the front, but she told her brain ‘wait’ and forced herself to see it the other way. she just concentrated on the back face and lied to herself over and over until the lie became true. on the page the cube did not move, but she felt like she could see it change, turn in on itself. the back face was in front. she wondered which way other people saw the cube. she wondered if anyone else knew you could flip it.

ii.

in small, close, square, white rooms, molly has a thing she does where she looks at each ceiling corner until all she sees is three black lines converging on a point, and she tricks her brain into seeing it wrong so the point is aiming at her. the corner stays a corner but it turns inside­out. she does this to each corner of the ceiling until in her mind she is standing just a few feet away from four suspended cubes which extend infinitely away from her. next she does it to the corners of the floor and then she is floating very near to eight infinite cubes, in a space that is the inverse of the space she’d been occupying until then: her bedroom, empty but for her.

iii.

and on the bus she takes at night to get home, molly stands in the aisle and she peers over the heads of the people seated in front of her into the reflection in the window, seeing the ghost of the illuminated bus interior intersecting everything going by, floating outside, passing undetected through street signs, trees, and people out walking. much of the bus’ reflection is lost against the darkness of the night; what remains is a loose cage made from gleaming yellow bars and hanging fluorescent lights, full of tired-­looking, transparent, shadowed people. molly is of course among them and she smiles on the inside when she sees herself meet her own gaze.

the glorious inexplicability of feeling some type of way

watching videos of spiders wrapping wasps in their webs
evokes an active desire to become passively enveloped

the song “lifestyle” by rich gang feat. young thug & rich homie quan
liquefies itself & replaces all of my internal fluids

between zaytoven beats, i hear crickets competing against police sirens
& i feel so content with the entropy of the universe

a spider & a rapper seem to bear the same intention
carving beauty out of rhythm & what’s been inherited from history

i suddenly fall in love with everything whether it will slay me or not
i decide that someday i will offer you the blue of the moon

An Oral History of Elizabeth Bishop

ghosts

It’s a bad idea to become close to a writer because it hurts to know the truth about yourself. Your heart will be pierced. It becomes suffocating. At the age of eight, in the summer-time, I would swim at a swimming pool with the day-camp group my grandma paid for me to be a part of. Paid for me to get out of the house, interact with others my own age, gain useful life-lessons from the high school-aged counselors managing the camp. In the pool, the older boys would often swim up behind me, putting one hand on my head and the other around my shoulders, and dunk me. Every time felt like death. So sudden. I’d be gasping for air for a full minute after. The way other people speak about you when they don’t realize you are listening. The way other people see you. The words feel suffocating.

I stand in the mirror wearing a t-shirt and underwear, pinching my thighs in different directions. Change my mind every half-second, fat, thin, fat. Turn around, examine ass. Girl at tea-shop near work: I gotta stay away from your work, too dangerous, gotta watch my figure. Tell her I can feel my double-chin growing every day. She tells me to shut up. You’re just a little thing. Clench butt, examine cellulite. Turn around, push chin into neck, observe ease of double-chin. Lay down on bed feeling heavy. Always heavy.

At work, I’ve learned they don’t care a whole lot about who I am as a human being. They don’t need human beings, they need efficiency machines. I am improving as an efficiency machine. Feet hurt less than they used to. Co-workers joke they fantasize about breaking $30 bottles of olive oil, throwing hunks of prosciutto into glass windows, destroying everything. Co-workers bug me for slacking off during a slow period. Co-workers get promoted to managers. Managers bug me for slacking off during slow periods. Managers throw knives angrily into the sink.

Co-worker begs me not to quit because then he won’t have any bros left at work. All his bros have either quit or been promoted. Can’t be bros with a manager. I push my chin into my neck in the bathroom later, double chin, feel like a bro.

Continue Reading →