18: d.d., k.a., b.w., 2013/2018
things I wish I’d said instead of things I actually said:
you’re a good friend, but sometimes you make me feel like shit
you’re funny and nice and charming but your behavior has to change if you want to be around me.
you’re treating me like an idiot and I don’t want to deal with that.
I make self-deprecating jokes with a kernel of truth melting away in the center
I love you. You renewed- excitement.
Kissing you isn’t good for me.
Go back to college.
Quit listening to your mom, Bry.
Mochi ice cream
I was angry when I did that
I wasn’t angry, I was hungry
No, I don’t want Thai.
you’re nice but I don’t like how that feels
don’t fucking say that
quit bullshitting me, don’t let me lie to you
Don’t let me lie to anybody
like that, ever.
16: c.f. 2012
i can’t remember
if we ever celebrated your birthday together,
because we usually took a break between september and march,
fanned our barbs out for the summer
in the wind,
except for that shitty time in july,
so no, probably not–
which is fine because you give awful, awful gifts
and expect only the finest
the most beautiful silk scarf frames you as bits of fries fly in gunfire from your mouth;
Now when I think of you I think of
mediocre food, on disintegrating toasted buns soaked with blood,
Archer cookies with that sugar crystals, stale in an open Package
that nobody sealed properly,
scrubbed chocolate stains on the floor
and the unmistakable beauty of creeping on your younger sister-
both of them
while my other ex rats around salem with a girl she’s never met,
and i accidentally like one of her instagram photos.
I saw the ellipses darting back and forth
and I liked
that I wasn’t the person who had something to say.
14: j.g., 2013
I admired you at first, because–
the photos you sent, they were
well-composed, professional, and your breasts were intact
not just intact but
the way I see it is that this is not so much goodbye so much as a farewell to arms, and what lies beneath them
a welcome euthanization
something that deserves to leave this earth with care
it wasn’t my breasts’ fault they fruited atop me,
it wasn’t my fault i had breasts;
and despite your spelling errors & strange offers-
five dollars for rubber coin purses
ten dollars for percussion mallets we could use to
drum across each other’s bodies
you expected cash upon arrival, avon lady cum
despite all that, i asked you over,
i wanted us to fuck with our breasts intact before–
Die young, stay pretty.
that was before your phalloplasty,
before either of us knew nate, or that you would eventually
lock him in your basement for three days;
you said– abuse them, cut them, punch them over and over like a stress ball that always returns to its eventual, original form;
you wanted to inflict as much sensation as you could
before they were gone;
I see mine as kittens, as five pounds of baby birds
with no mother; they will die–
I will kill them, but the process
will be respected,
the burial will be whole.
13: k.k., 2004
i had to leave after we exchanged friendship necklaces;
various colors of semi-precious and common stones; quartz, amethyst, ruddy dirty tiger’s eye, cheap crystals shined pretty on cord.
it was your birthday; you picked loyalty and then we all sat down to watch the three stooges, the first time the humor just
i was never one for all the pie in the face, two by four to the jaw type of thing, i guess at least not until later on in life
when violence metastasized into the erotic and the lines blurred
the house was dark but smelled like freshly polished wood and smoke and your stepmother, who at school you claimed to hate, materialized
with two vintage mad magazine books for me to keep
her maiden name was written inside,
marked 1981 and dog-eared, alfred e neuman and bill gaines.
back home my autograph sat inside a 70’s themed frame i had never colored in
before it smudged and blurred underneath a humidifier
before i came home and turned off the lights, alone
they didn’t trust me at a sleepover party with boys,
they didn’t trust me even though i was invited.
couldn’t sing tenor, couldn’t play the part of ren, tom, orin, joe (or lola),
put a bottle on my head and dance as slowly as my body would allow
that summer my mom bought me plaid catholic school-girl skirts, neon pink legwarmers, eighties fishnets; a dream come true
only to find that the director had gone
in a different direction, and i was out in the cold in the late summer heat.
go home and put something else on.
12: a.b., 2016
here’s a few secrets i’ll never tell you–
i reamed you out over messenger,
i drove to your apartment in the middle of july
not because i cared
but because i wanted to leave work, i wanted to go home, i wanted–
you said you hated the cheese i bought
you never paid me back the fifty bucks i spent
bypassing dried apricots and hunks of boar’s head god knows how old
for boursin cheese, fresh tomatoes anemic pink
olives, chocolate-covered almonds, wasa crackers
you said it was the worst meal you’d ever had
you were suicidal a half hour before
waving me off, you prattled- i couldn’t understand how your mind moved
the feeling i got when the exchange of information
was never quite even
you struck me as a better and worse version of myself;
it pleased me when you grew chubby.
i know people you know from your high school days,
i know about the dreams, i know about the kiss, i know about the report.
i know that it’s going to be weird when it all comes out,
but i won’t do anything with it;
i’ll wonder and i’ll plot but i’ll sit, ultimately,
i’ll take a small piece of you with me in my pocket;
it’s better than pulling us both down into the mist.
d.k.//c.s.t.f., 2003 – 2017
you were always kind of a cunt
to my narcissist, my fervent urge to see myself as attractive through someone else’s eyes.
you never drew me,
I yearned for it, I seized it with my own two hands.
and when my mother shredded my art- red dog, Invader Zim, Freddy Krueger.
I loved you, then you scared me.
In the words of many before, now, and after- what a fucking flirt, right?
My first kiss.
I stalk your Tumblr, you little bitch. I read the self-effacing hashtags and track down the xanga from 2007 and block and unblock you over and over and
I stand by what I told you.
But damn it, you fucker,
when you held me and looked at me all alone in that room like a supplicant pet, like you’d come home forever, I blinked
and I remembered you.
10: e.p. and a few more, 2015
i thought about exercising, but it seemed too simple and harsh, so i looked around
for pleasure chocolate eggs in the cabinet and a wealth of medicine,
and gloating pixel by pixel,
tasting over and over.
yesterday, she apologized to me for my beloved,
for the trauma, for my cat.
and I thought about the time we bullied Nicholas.
I stiffed him on a tip for a party of eight; he was studying food science
something about him had always pissed me off, but to this day I’m not sure whether what I knew and what I saw were real or fake, reflections of my mom or someone
in the mirror.
I fucked myself up the ass for an hour and edged my cock,
and then I wrote Nick on Facebook.
Ir wasn’t enough, there was something deep ‘n’ pulsing–
gaping inside of me.
the porn was disgusting; it was worse than my normal taste,
I couldn’t stop; I texted my stepmother and said–
Thank you for putting up with and loving my father.
If you’re ever in my city, I’ll buy you a drink.
She has apologized to me over and over;
And I have yet to maintain.
If I could continue the cycle, telling people I’m sorry if only to reduce them in my mind, radically shift the narrative and wrench control back from that fucking beast of an imagination, this one where I’m not cruel, not paranoid, thinking the best of people and giving them the best of me, god damn it; I don’t know what I’d say that I haven’t already written and cried into my pillow, but for the novels
read with me.
Rhyming playlist by playbook;
Christ, what an asshole.