On the seventh day of fall I hate poetry so much
I consider killing myself after all. My teeth
are locked together, my hip bones digging
backwards into me, which might feel okay
if the rest of me wasn’t being mangled
by the invisible hand that no one will claim.
I know what it’s like to feel desperate
like that, but fuck I don’t go digging
around for myself inside of other people
as if they are trash cans, because people
aren’t trash cans, you there with the violets
for eyes, you there with the piano notes
dripping like slow rain from your fingers.
I know I sound like I’m inventing things
but this is how I actually see you: perfectly.
Of course the next question is why
I can’t see myself that way. It’s the number
one thing on the to-do list I am always
meaning to write. I even did yoga
this week, took a bath, slept long nights and
practiced holding magick in my hands, pushed
warm light in your general direction. If only
I could be the light, this general good feeling,
like living rooms at dusk, how good they are
at keeping the cold out. I guess I never
learned how to build the right kind of walls,
just the ones that lock me inside, the ones
you used to bang your head against
when I ran out of hands to hold you.
All this fancy talk for loneliness
to keep us from our loneliness.
It’s almost funny but I’m too tired to laugh,
though I would support you if you wanted to laugh.
I would support you supporting me.
I feel like that’s obvious by now.
Lately I take a lot of breaks
from being aware of my body as mine.
It’s so much nicer to think of myself
as the earth that I am, all these light waves
bouncing off me so when people look
at me they think I am real, and I want to say
that’s because you are. I mean literally.
I mean come over and let me be a nerd
while you smile, let me tell you
about illusions, how everything you see
is only because of the rods and cones
in your eyes, that you bothered to look.
Yesterday I wanted to die and today I want to live again.
This is every poem I have ever written. This is why
I’ve spent such little time writing, so tired of looking
at myself and seeing nothing. I see emptiness, I
see your enormous head looking back at me, glass
marbles where your eyes should be. You are such a sad
vessel. Sometimes now when I think of you I think
of nothing. You are horizontal in a forest but the insects
know to stay away. You have not decomposed
because you have not stopped breathing, which is really
all I ever tried to show you. Just keep going one of us
would say to the other, until we stopped, until you didn’t
say anything when I needed you most. I needed you, isn’t that
what you said you always needed? You live inside lies.
I know because I live inside them too. But I quit
the cigarettes for real this time. I barely sip alcohol.
See how stable these lines are, this low-frequency love.
Though I’m tempted to make this funnier, more charming,
our usual game. The sex game, the mush game, the birds
in your motherfucking cock game. I mean it when I say
you were more than a body to me. I’d like to think
I was more than a body to you, but maybe that’s just
another lie for me to crawl up inside of as the wind
gets colder now. I don’t know and I’m not sure
I actually care. Just because something is a lie
doesn’t make it any less necessary for my survival.
Sometimes we trade in our health for comfort.
Sometimes I grab whichever hand is in front me,
because sometimes not drowning is the priority,
even if the hand ends up hurting me, what else
was I supposed to do? But still I am greedy.
Still I want it all, and now that I’m not drowning
I am sliding back into my original whorish self.
I am growing more entitled to space, entitled to feeling
entitled to space. I am taking all my notes from you.
I want to tongue the moleclues that make up an object
as well as the spaces between them. There is no emptiness.
What I mean is I’m alive today and loving it in spite of you,
maybe even because of you, either way without you.
I don’t know how to form my mouth
Into shapes other than No
At first I was afraid
And now I can’t stop
Now I am afraid
Of what will happen if I soften
My mouth like a stick
Of butter in the sun
How quickly the sharp
Edges of my tongue
Would melt round
The way open
Arms are round
Like a welcoming/ like a mat
What is butter anyway
Full of bad fat
Which is fitting
According to my family’s daily
Assessment of my ass
You can’t sustain yourself on butter
But you can use it for flavor
Taste bud ornamental
Sprinkled with salt
Raised from human skin
This is how
Small you made me
Can I blame you
Some will ask
As if you are an animal
With an insatiable appetite
As if you couldn’t help yourself
But oh how you could help yourself
How you do
I shaved my head so that every
dead part of me you touched
would be gone. For a month
I felt clean, got addicted
to myself again until
the high wore off and I crashed
back down into the dustiest
corner of my life. Or maybe I
am the corner, maybe you
are the dust. I don’t know.
I am tired of being melodramatic
and calling it art. I am tired
of people getting off on my survival
for free. I spend my days tonguing
my own exoricism,
trying to scrape your breath
from the inner lining of my lungs.
I’m so busy building windows to climb out of
that I forget to open them
and die in the heat
of my own panicked exhalations.
It’ll be miraculous if I
don’t die in an accident
but I don’t know how
to feel thankful for that.
Happiness just isn’t
a thing that exists,
is what I tell my therapist
and she says she is concerned,
says something about medication,
I say something like a nod
and change the subject,
or maybe I don’t change the subject,
I can’t remember, these hours
like years, the way they stretch
my muscles sore. I’ve become an expert
at humanizing myself. I record
my mistakes, trace the weakest
parts of me in the dirt
so that I’ll be remembered as real.
Like silk scarves I pull
these words from my throat
and tie myself to you over
and over again
so that I have something other
than my own wrists to cut.
But poets are still
some of my least favorite people,
especially the ones
who care about language
more than they care
about mouths stuffed with socks, the broken
jaws that nights are made of,
all my memories of you,
all that darkness
draped over our bones
like homes no one can keep from collapsing .
The trees are turning yellow
and I want that to mean
something different this year,
unravel all the sweaters
and don’t even bother
to set them on fire, forget
about fire, the life
you pulled up out of me
just so you could douse it in shame.
I want to be the lie someone needs
to wake up in the morning,
not this hot marrow
cooling beneath your fingers,
the space in your chest
where I’m supposed to be.