Author: Moon Temple

Moon Temple lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been published in Shabby Doll House, The Tangential, and Everyday Genius. She has written two chapbooks, I Saw A Bird Sitting and Come To My Ocean. She can also be found on Twitter and her own Moon Temple Universe.

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 dimensions
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

untitled

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

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.

Feel my loneliest on the crowded subway after work, feet aching as I stand near pretty young student girl using her backpack to block anyone from sitting next to her. Feel my loneliest on my lunch break, scrolling through my phone contacts, terrified of each and every person’s name. Feel my loneliest scanning the room at a party, a few minutes after the person I was talking to told me they’d ‘be right back,’ seeing them engaged in animated conversation with another person, seeing them leave the room, seeing nobody else I know, seeing my own quivering hands holding a clear plastic cup of cheap red wine.

Beneath glowing green plastic stars, I can’t sleep much anymore. Dreams have become so mundane they blend with my waking life. I take the subway. I buy a coffee. I make sandwiches for ten hours. I have conversations about nothing. The people at my work become like little ghosts. Snapshots of lives. This is how a person shops for food. This is how somebody helps a customer. This is how somebody orders a shitty cup of lukewarm drip coffee. With milk, they say. My manager tells me to give them the whole milk container so they can pour it themselves. It is illegal, she says, for us to pour it for them. My manager has seen me drink alcohol before but has never seen me ingest drugs or skip the subway fare. The glass between us is tangible.

I spread my arms and legs out laying on the bare mattress in my one-room apartment. My thighs are liquid, spilling everywhere. Open a beer. Check email. Check bank account balance–double digits. Look at photos of my co-workers doing things together on their days off. They stopped inviting me out after maybe the third or fourth time I flaked. It’s depressing to spend all your time with the people you work with. Smiling in photos holding $10 glasses of wine. I live my life separately from these people.

Imagine becoming lifelong friends with someone. Imagine dying alone.

I pass so many people as a ghost, so closely but invisible. You can hug a person you don’t know. Say congratulations on your engagement, or I’m so sorry for your loss. This is just what you do. Words don’t need meaning. Words don’t have meaning. I speak less the more time I spend around someone. Throttle the words at the esophagus and hold them in the stomach. Only the necessary things. Enjoy your days off. I’ll see you tomorrow. Good luck on your date. The sunset filters through the brown curtains that came with my apartment. My thighs jiggle as I sit up to check my phone. I want someone to call and say they miss me. Then maybe I could feel weightless.

Amazing Man Has Lived Sixteen Times

Lately I can feel my heart in my chest and it feels light and weak.

It feels like it wants to be held by strong arms, to be carried into the shade for kisses and cool water.

I’m in bed and my feet are cold.

I guess I’m going to be alone for a little while.

I shaved my girl­-parts two nights before you left but then we didn’t have sex so I guess it was pointless.

I feel the prickly hairs growing in, feel heavy, think of masturbating but move my hand away.

Without you it is harder to make decisions.

Should I go outside today, should I wear this dress with this sweater, should I go buy groceries?

I stay in our little room on the laptop and watch movies I’ve already seen.

I take my antibiotics when my phone tells me to.

It’s nice to not feel sick anymore but I miss sleeping in big twenty-­hour blocks.

If I could sleep twenty hours out of each day I would only have to experience twenty-five hours alone here without you.

Downstairs our roommate asks another roommate if we are here and the roommate responds that I am here and you are not and then they talk about something else.

I don’t spend much time downstairs without you here and nobody seems to care much.

I decide to call in sick to work again even though I can probably make it.

A mini vacation.

I can’t sleep so I get up and make tea.

My throat feels like someone has taken a razor and made a thousand tiny incisions basically everywhere.

I sit on the couch and think of cleaning up the room on my new day off, maybe doing laundry.

Remember when I almost started reading again and read a whole book and felt excited and read twenty pages of another book but then I stopped?

Getting out of bed makes me feel faint and fevery again.

If you were here I would ask you if I feel fevery because we don’t own a thermometer.

You would put your forehead to my forehead and say they feel the same temperature.