Nervous Universe Cover

Nervous Universe by Kate Monica


ISBN: 978-0996303613
Retail Price: $13.95
Paperback, 72 pages
9 x 6 inches

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Whether the speakers in Kate Monica’s poems are confessing secrets or longing for the moon or Facebook chatting with someone’s grandfather or getting addicted to sports documentaries, Nervous Universe is at once surprising, strange, and poignant, and I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started. “I like to do self-portraits,” Monica writes, “but they’re poems / but they’re self portraits / but they’re of strangers.”

– Chelsea Hodson, Pity the Animal


We Are The Gods Of Dead Birds and Deer

I will be God and Jenny will be War and we will Tear Love Apart
as soon as school is over.
Ha ha ha; I touch my invincible skin. I eat four tater tots,
spit bugspray and sparkler sticks and eventually
a Varsity jacket.

I believe in God but less now—wait no Jenny
why do I feel like apologizing when I look at you.
I am the War of dead Bud Lights in the sand.
We murdered summer with salty, obnoxious hands but I have showered
so many times since then.
I am in Love with Jenny in my mom’s Mercury Mariner
if she feels like it.

Jenny likes to spit lethal and tobacco through her teeth,
eat ulcers, push my face into the snow.
I beg her to get drunk with me and the universe gets nervous
I am grinning too many hours in a row.

Jenny’s in her room putting dead birds in a minifridge,
all of which she strangled mercifully upon realizing one of
their wings was broken:
“what’s the point of being a bird if you can’t fly?”
She is the God of death and tells me
kind of whispering
“There’s a deer here, let’s look.”

Jenny crouches, pulls me down beside her.
“This is exactly how I want to die” and I am quiet.
The universe will crush her for her gleam and cerulean but the thing is
she’s not scared.

Jenny says “I want to—wait shhh.”
I hope it’s only wind, only leaves.
Says “I want to force something without killer instincts to murder my head.”
Why do I want to apologize.

I Can Only Want Viciously/Help

At a college concert It smells good and all the girls are so pretty I want to feel
like I’m praying to her every time we talk It doesn’t have to be difficult but
I want to make it difficult so if she kisses me when we are both drunk it will feel
like I’ve earned it My job right now is standing here and waiting for various
kinds of validation Later I will stand somewhere else and wait for validation
there I will do this every day for the rest of my life and it will never consciously
occur to me, or anyone, or bother us.

Artists together are bad and ugly because they think they are great and beautiful
I hate you forever and you can’t change it
“Let’s get fucked up”
They went and got fucked up

I hope Everything’s okay. (It’s not.)
I hope everything’s Okay. (It’s not.)

I will hide in this

Why do I care if you like me
I don’t like wanting to know why

Kill me but tell me how to be better
I can be hurtful
I don’t know what I will do when I leave you

I feel like I am dangling off the cliff
of myself Someday I will lose my grip
when my hands get too sweaty and fall
forever until I hit the bottom of myself
where there are rocks as jagged and angry
as teeth and I will shred myself apart on
myself and it will taste great, like metal,
like the back of my throat when I’ve run
12 miles and do not know how to stop
running Do you know how hard it is to
keep every second sentence from being
“I love her, I want to kiss her forever, I
want to live inside the space between
our lips Especially when there is
none” It hurts all the time I hope it
never ends