07/25/17, 8:10pm

Sure, it was you

who did the thing. It’s a hassle

in some regions more than others, but somehow

it was relatively quick, a trip to L.L. Bean on the way

home; you were going anyway to buy a sleeping bag,

size small. The mouth fit smoothly into your pencil box. Your bike chain is still

an arms lock. It jostled against your groceries

as your legs folded over and under

you swerved around mothers-to-be who muttered

obscenities, misdirected hate being a common side effect

of love. Sure, it was you

who went to the registry, told the mustache

at the front desk: I solemnly swear to use this

only to hunt quail. But you’re from the California coast, where it’s seagulls

who snatch snips of bean burritos.

You left me a letter after I left, quietly, out

at 1am wearing pajamas. But just as one’s trash is another’s

treasure, words twist, feline, as they fall

on different ears. I’m not done shooting. I’ll hide

this gun in a pocket, or a winter

coat lining, perhaps nestled in the middle

of a belt buckle, or maybe in a pill

bottle of my medicine shoebox. I’ll slowly forget. Then

one day, I’ll find it, a surprise time

capsule, and we’ll see then if I’ll cry. But

the plan is a slow sprint. You become a totem pole

on a subway station bench: hair flopped on long

face cradled in palm propped up on

elbow weeping on

a box that is your comfort

object until you send that away,

too. You have finally become a post-

card: even the kid with Beats

across the tracks means something when framed

by train bars. Isn’t the train towards the Bronx

on late nights already an alternate universe? Up

is down and down is: you wish

you never picked that particular

petal of that particular violet. This city

is a museum of public woes. When the scratched

words brush your reddening eyes, nothing can stop

this pole from toppling over, wetting

into your surrogate mother’s sheets

two symmetrical puddles a spinning mind’s

distance apart even though you

had the entire goddamn thing

memorized. You’ve never seen a god-

damn quail in your life.

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07/25/17, 2:48am

you have made progress! this progress is painful, but it is progress. you can not deny what you felt. you could not keep going that way. that was not an undesirable path, it was an impossible path. you could not keep going that way. you can not change what he can give. this is progress. do not go back. do not fall back to limbo.

he didn’t want your expectations.
he didn’t want your trust. he doesn’t want your trust.
that wasn’t a slip in a charged moment. he knew
what that meant. he knew what
that implied. he knew what that entailed.
you laid down all your cards, every last
one: he made the final decision. you loaded
the gun and pointed and he pulled
the trigger, that was all he did
in the end, shot the can of worms
you shared so they could finally writhe
through your hands. There’s something

freeing about being so dirty that you gladly caress
the slime: you can’t believe it; it’s as if: finally. Finally
you’ve shaved your scalp but only to reach
inside your head and pull out your innards
of the skull; you’re getting into the empty kind
of meditating and you’d heard they were obnoxiously
sentient sometimes, sometimes like
when you finally fold your clothes, you face the drywall, like when
you enter with one headphone in and leave with both
shut tight as the double doors of
your childhood, one for each ancestor: the orchid
and the bee. Sometimes it’s not okay to cry
in front of the little bird who has told you
more secrets of yourself than
you knew you had in you, though
you wonder if it knows anyway
without needing to see the sound-
less spread of a shadow on a carpet.
Is that the secret of the little bird? Sometimes you must

close the door through which you entered without knowing
where the exit is or if it was meant for a person
such as you: it’s ok to sit in the dark just as
it’s ok to install the shadow
of yourself on the floor of lobbies in
apartments and hotels and offices and point
its empty eyes at nondescript tile so confidently that night
shift security takes one look at your crumples and thinks: not this
one, not today. Why bow your head in prayer when you can look
up, up to slopes, slope the neck to
a dejected question, up so
the cheekbones become your personal twin
electrical towers; tall enough to draw the whip
of lightening depending, of course, on the height
of the sorrows around you. If you generate
enough water you might conduct energy, a new kind
of life. Electricity’s a bitch and, contrary to popular thought, often strikes
the same place over and over again just for kicks. A tip: do not

be so sure that the tallest takes the hit. Another one: don’t
swell there for too long, sweet sow, sweet
sow. Didn’t you buy the morning
glory seeds to cover the escape hatch with the wonky can opener? Didn’t
you swear to drag yourself from eternal sunsets? Even worms come up for air
only in between showers. Remember: there are other
natural disasters on your bucket list: sharks to poke, seas in which
to flirt. You are not yet done breaking.

07/23/17, 1:13am

An ode to the handshake that will never happen:

Some shimmy and slap and clap

and twist. Our friendship, it was

never so ebullient. Instead, we slyly felt

for the wenis — the wenis! imagine

that! — and clasped pinkies; we giggled

the closed-mouthed smirks of comrades

on a makeshift raft of logs we’d gathered, tied

together with brown curls, a Bach prelude

our sail. We sailed the world in it for a while.

Sometimes, sunsets were beautiful

when they set our feet aglow, dangling

off wooden decks to disturb the still. Maniac

laughs in downpours were beautiful

because they were hideous. Which is to say,

our best memories are wordless, but not

soundless. To the end, we slapped mosquitos

from the other’s sweet flesh, mine more

than yours, perhaps, but who’s counting?

There’s that trope, because what are we

but nothing more than amalgamation of Tumblr quotes:

nothing gold can stay, or perhaps we just

threw the shiny stuff overboard when

we realized it was copper, just like

when I cut the rope and let the logs drift off, just

like when you let the water wash the music

from my pages. Was that on purpose? Maybe

you couldn’t have known. Maybe we only noticed

because one day we heard the wings of a vulture

catch the breeze. A raft can only stay

afloat for so long. Maybe we thought we could

build a boat; you were never Jewish and I

never Christian enough to believe so much

as in an ark. Tragedy chimes clear at the end

of aspiration. Did I stop taking out the trash

or did you stop throwing the rottings in?

It’s hard to say who jumped ship

first, or when. It matters only that we finally did

it together, the only fitting way. We bump

mosquito bites and grimace together

at the prickle. Someplace far away, we hold

each other’s hands so that we do not touch

the flame. It burns for three days before it fades

to a shadow of melatonin and then to nothing

at all; we forget that it ever itched.