1 NOV 22:00

Ted Schwartz:        Facebook suggested you as someone I may know.

Jennifer Harris:     i accepted you

Ted Schwartz:        I am a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. I have five

Jennifer Harris:     who do you know that i know

                                  like why did fb suggest us

                                  do we have mutual friends or

Ted Schwartz:        I have anthropophobia. I haven’t left my house in 15 years.

Jennifer Harris:     what’s that

Ted Schwartz:        Fear of people. I don’t like talking to people in person. That’s
                                  why I’m trying Facebook.

Jennifer Harris:     that’s a good idea. you should try talking to your grandkids

Ted Schwartz:        I can usually send emails. You might know my granddaughter. I
                                 think that’s who our mutual friend is.

Jennifer Harris:     who’s your granddaughter

Ted Schwartz:        Melissa Casey.

Jennifer Harris:     oh i know her

Ted Schwartz:        Are you two friendly at school?

Jennifer Harris:     idk not really

                                  we have different groups of friends

                                  i just know who she is

Ted Schwartz:        It’s gotten to the point where I can’t have conversations on the
                                  telephone. I can send emails fine.

Jennifer Harris:     what happens

Ted Schwartz:        I get very anxious. Sometimes I have difficulty breathing and
                                  start stuttering. It’s stressful on the body.

Jennifer Harris:     you’ll like fb then
                                  do you text

Ted Schwartz:        I have a cellphone but I don’t use it very often.

Jennifer Harris:     you should try texting your grandkids

Ted Schwartz:        I may do that. I just don’t like talking on the phone anymore.

Jennifer Harris:     have you seen a doctor about this or anything

Ted Schwartz:        No. The thought of seeing a doctor makes me nervous.

Jennifer Harris:     is it that you can’t or that you don’t want to

Ted Schwartz:        Both.

Jennifer Harris:     if it’s just that you don’t want to I think you should push
                                  yourself to talk to someone

                                  like start small obvi

                                  like talk on the phone w your kids once a week and build up

                                  i don’t mean to sound insensitive but it’s not worth ruining your
                                  life just bc certain things make you uncomfortable

Ted Schwartz:        It’s not just that it makes me uncomfortable. I have physical
                                  symptoms. I fought in the war from 1955 to 1975. I’ve seen heads
                                  explode. I’ve shot men in the temple.

Jennifer Harris:     i really think you should talk to someone about this

                                  i mean professionally

                                  like a therapist

Ted Schwartz:        After the war they briefly had us evaluated for shell shock. I
                                  don’t have it. I just can’t talk on the telephone.

Jennifer Harris:     i think you should talk to your grandkids.

Ted Schwartz:        I’m nervous to talk to my grandchildren. A member of
                                  my platoon shot a man in the mouth once and I got brains on my

Jennifer Harris:     i have to go soon

Ted Schwartz:        Do you have school tomorrow?

Jennifer Harris:     yeah it’s sunday

Ted Schwartz:        I don’t really keep track of days of the week. I haven’t left my
                                  house in 15 years.

Jennifer Harris:     how do you get groceries

Ted Schwartz:        Peapod. It’s a delivery service through Shaw’s Supermarket.
                                  They deliver your groceries for you once a week. You just have to
                                  go online and pick them and put them in your cart and then click
                                  “buy” and put in your credit card number and they’ll deliver
                                  them to your house.

Jennifer Harris:     that’s cool

Ted Schwartz:        If you see my granddaughter at school will you tell her I said

Jennifer Harris:     that would be kind of weird i think

                                  i don’t really talk to her

                                  and she’d wonder why i knew you at all

                                  it would just be rly weird

To Various Persons Talked To All At Once
after Kenneth Koch

my favorite band broke up last night so please don’t expect me to be very entertaining

i watched the documentary ‘pumping iron’ twice today

that says a lot about who i am right now

i’m worried if you don’t have a good time tonight i will feel personally responsible

introversion is a symptom of the times

i saw a car submerged in a lake once, i wonder if the bodies got out

i dont remember which ocean i’m talking about anymore

but i know i mention it too much

i have to watch twin peaks or my dreams won’t be lucid

it doesnt make sense to talk to me that way when i’m your ride home

you’re the kind of kid who sits in grocery store carts,

begs his friends

to push him down the parking lot

i have to call my mom, should i go outside or are there people out there too

i get nervous if i show you this band you’ll think you can love them as much as me

very few things feel my own since i started telling people too much

about myself 

that drug sounds exciting in a way i can’t conceptualize

if i wasn’t so petrified of dying i might try it

i was only trying to trick your friend into thinking i was cool

but if she saw my parents’ house she’d think differently i bet

can you ask if she’s ever kissed a girl

i don’t wanna be weird or anything can you take my drink

i don’t have insomnia, the internet’s just so big

you talk like you lived near train tracks your whole life,
worldly from a distance

do you think we should go outside

do you think you can sort of feel the universe expanding

hyperawareness is a symptom of the times

i saw a pretty body motionless in the corner of this party

i don’t remember

i have to go outside

very few things make sense outside a backyard forest

keep talking to me

various smudges of people vibrating like atoms
have you seen
it doesn’t make sense
i don’t remember the ocean
if i wasn’t so petrified i’d try to trick your friends into insomnia
you talk your whole life

Except We’re Both Dustin Hoffman

I kick your arm awake, say “all the geniuses are dying”

well wait 

were they geniuses before we found their journals, 

crude stick-figure drawings with the heads all blacked out. 

You don’t say it but your brain is trying to kill you

& I get nervous, sit in the jumping line of sunlight on your bedroom floor.

I’ve heard a lot about where you see things in rivers you can’t unsee 

& the only reason you’re best friends is because you both saw that body floating
downstream & promised not to talk about it.

You throw your pillow at me, say this isn’t funny because you’re serious,

ask me to tell you more.

I say I fell in love with it the way you fall in love with anything.

You say we’re old enough

to buy train tickets on our own, we could do that, we could

spot bodies in the river together all afternoon.

On our way to the train station you say 

“you ever feel like you’re watching your life happen

to someone else; you’re just watching it

and you’re not even that invested in the plot or the characters

but you can’t change the channel?”

We don’t have suitcases & we sit across from each other like 

well wait

have you seen The Graduate? 

You know how at the end

after Dustin Hoffman fights all those guys so he can get the girl

right after she kisses the boring groom  

and he runs out of the church holding her hand, and they’re laughing and sprinting, 

and they feel like they’ve finally done it right—

maybe he’s starting 

to fill the hole, the chest-wound that just kind of happens when you’re 20 

but then they’re sitting in the back of a crowded bus, her in a wedding dress,

him in his suit, and they’re grinning and laughing at first,

but then the adrenaline of the moment fades, and the novelty of the chase fades,

and they realize they don’t have anything in common and the movie

ends with them both staring straight at the camera looking as bored 

and uncertain as anyone who has just made a grand mistake.
And I look at you, and I ask if you’ve ever seen The Graduate,

and you say no.

I push my head against the window.

Inventory at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Chelsea Hodson

it’s hard to feel okay when you are thirsty and far away from home

you pull three matches out of the pack by accident
shrug, think ‘fuck it,’ light all three
you are thirsty and you miss your boyfriend
experience a distinct sense of discomfort regarding the fact that you exist in three
too aware of your body
feet are too far away

your head hurts
something something serotonin
on the train, sit down next to an older lady
who promptly gets up and sits by someone else
wonder if you were touching her without realizing
or, if you smell bad
or, if she thinks you are a prostitute
in your high-cut skirt and faux fur jacket
never mind it
slink down in the seat
close your eyes
you are thirsty
you miss your boyfriend
you want to go home

nowhere feels like home
pay rent for an apartment that you rarely sleep in
visit once every three days to shower and grab clothes
sometimes notice a cockroach
fight sleep on the train
feel dizzy every time you stand
your head hurts
something something serotonin

cough a little, stand up
jelly legs
ignore phone calls from your friends and family
it gets dark early now
your face hurts
your lips are chapped
something something cold weather
people are getting worried about you
people only know fragments of your life

you are thirsty and
you miss your boyfriend

we once saw a group
of ten or fifteen teens from
the projects stealing citibikes
‘they’re probably gonna throw them in the river’ you said

hope they did
and hope that
years from now I will come back
to New York and remember
kissing that boy who Wasn’t You
by the same river and how
his kisses were different from
your kisses, the quiet ones
you give me in your bedroom

and how I didn’t miss his
kisses but I missed yours
and how I didn’t miss him pressing
me against the fence wall of the
overpass for everyone to see
and how I didn’t miss him kissing me
by the dying sharks at Coney Island
cringing slightly but still

and how I missed kissing you in
your kitchen smoking by the stove
while the sunrise filtered through the curtain
and how I missed you singing old
songs that made you think of me
while I laid quietly, nervously, hoping
and how I missed the way we stayed up
all night gripping each other as though
we would never see each other again

how you couldn’t stop kissing me

if you try too hard to make
your romance like a movie it will
feel just as acted

one time a boy wrote a
love poem for me to send in
the mail but he forgot to put
it in the envelope and when I got
it I tore the envelope apart searching
for some tiny surprise but
it was empty