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Now there is room enough for stories.

Not my half-baked aphorisms and navel-gazing,

so many strands of lint tied together to let my tall tales scramble

out and down and away from the steaming entrails–the flaming wreckage of myself.

 

The fire’s out and now it’s cold enough for squirrels fat

and lazily curled together in the blackened pit that was my furnace,

nesting in the shredded papers that meant so much before

and serve a better purpose now, rustling against two slow heartbeats.

 

There is space now in the crook of my neck for the top of your head

and at the top of your head for the touch of my lips, beloved.

Space now for silence.

 

Enough of me–I know my self at least well enough

to know that those stories will keep without the telling.

 

Speak.

It’d be a lie to put some words to paper,
to say I have a way to express
anything that’s in my head and worth
expressing. I haven’t- the bits of truth
exist, and they are butterfly beautiful,
beyond my clumsy tries to pin them to the page.

I have no wonderful words for you, today.

Girl, I like you, but I don’t like the way you make my mattress just another piece of furniture. I’m glad it doesn’t hurt my stomach now when you leave, I just don’t know what that means.

At the age of 25
I came home after
working 16 hours.

I heated up a pot
of Dinty Moore
from a can, and waited.

It was warm and salty,
with whole grain bread
to help me shit better.

I thought while I ate.
And then some more,
right after, brushing.

I sat on the edge
of my mattress,
I kicked off my shoes.

My feet smelled
like old cheese and
a three-day sweat.

“Well” I thought,
and not much else.
But sleep felt good.

Your rosebush-tangled hair- the kind that gets
me into trouble. It doesn’t know which way
it’s going and you can’t keep it down (your eyes:
blue, laughing; my eyes: brown).

I hit the interstate in a shit-
ass ’94, roll down the windows and shatter
the sound barrier with my off-key singing.

Eyes blue- laughing. You tilt your head
when you look at me, and I think you’re in on it.
My wavy brown bedhead-tangled accomplice.

I don’t need to see them to imagine legs in cut-off
jeans, propped up on the dashboard. Eyes still laughing
their blue conspiracy; but your face is lost on me.

My eyes blind to everything but too-slow traffic and
these dotted white lines. Feeling that absence-
that empty space the wind leaves when it takes my breath
back out the passenger’s side.

My hand in your lap, palm open-
yours wrapped around your seat’s head-cushion.
We can’t ignore the rushing of the wind.

The NRA For the Rest of Us.

Something flowery
about pushing fingertips
against fingertips; melting.

The look on your face
when you forget yourself.

Stop. Only three things matter:

You are here
and I am here-
choosing to stay together.

I want to call and tell you
that I drank a glass of lemon water, with vitamin;
ate rotisserie chicken, watched television, and then ate some more chicken.
Pass along vague feelings-
of unease and boredom and my overwhelming need
to know just what you had for dinner today,
or how many times (exactly) you peed.

Call and share this strange fascination I’m developing
for the tiniest minutiae of our lives apart.

But I have this overwhelming fear
of voicemail, so it goes- and so
instead I watch some great kung-fu, and
masturbate (it’s not so great, at times it feels mechanical).

Living (in the moment) is for suckers,
now’s the time to let the seasons change.

He lifted his head up against the gusting snow, leaned against his shovel, flashed me a shit-eating grin, and said: I’m going to move to Maine and settle down somewhere along the coast, with a pretty girl who appreciates the simple things. We’ll have just enough money to pay the bills and warm the house against the cold. When winter comes we’ll live off canned soup and the mushrooms that will grow in the basement, and we’ll be happy under our layers of blankets and scattered piles of books. She’ll tell me all her dreams when she wakes up, and stand out in the cold looking at constellations, wearing nothing. I’ll wear nothing but flannel; I’ll make a living with just my sweat and these two hands, and goddamn will it feel good to be alive.

He read 70 pages of Richard Yates and made a neutral facial expression. He wanted to be like Eeyore. He wanted to be like Tao Lin, then he remembered that Tao Lin is kind of maybe a pedophile and definitely abusing uppers. That made him want to be like Tao Lin a little less, but did not make him feel especially glad to be himself. He decided that he liked being lonely. He wanted to be depressed, maybe.

He imagined it involved unwarranted feelings of negativity and ennui. Long walks during gray weather and distant looks that passers-by might find strangely alluring. His pocket vibrated a little. No, that was something he had imagined, but his phone was out so he checked the time and contemplated calling each of his ex-girlfriends to apologize.

Then he remembered that none of them had called him to apologize, that this was probably something that normal people didn’t do. Being depressed was kind of pathetic, actually. It was something embarrassing that you were a little proud of, maybe, but couldn’t share with anyone, like a gigantic piece of shit that just will not go down.

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