He would be a good man if he chose to be.
If he didn’t speak so carelessly of eschewing condoms,
Because he can afford child support.
If he chose to treat people as well as he treats his laptop.
When he decides he can love with the pettiness of – you hurt me so I hurt you.
He would be a good man.
But for now, he’s just a catch for a woman in her thirties.
The kind who think – good enough for the next date, I won’t think about the future.
I still breathe out smoke.
After the flags, and heat, and bass of the music festival,
All that broken grass floating in the breeze,
In the flowered hair, and the suntan grease.
I still feel like I’m breathing out the smoke.
From the boy I kissed last night,
Whose patio I sat on while he smoked,
And I drank,
Overlooking a parking lot and an AT&T building.
I’m breathing out his smoke today.
Happy to be living, I suppose,
But regretting what I put my body through.
She used to tell me I was mean.
As a weapon.
And when he told me,
When he first met me,
That Matt had warned him,
She’ll be a bitch,
But she’s cool.
Somehow it confirmed
Everything I thought I’d avoided.
Because I only have myself to blame for my loneliness.
Only the pretty can get away with the petty.
It’s me that’s the reason they’re all gone.
I have a back-up brunch date who I would have loved to love me.
We talked about reciprocity in friends and lovers, and he took my side of the argument.
And still doesn’t message first.
He’s right. I need to raise my standards,
Which would mean excluding him.
Who will absorb what I tell him,
But never bounce the racquetball back to me.
It just hits the wall like a wet sponge, drops to the floor,
And the conversation stops.
But if I need to talk,
He’ll listen. Not empathically, but with eye contact,
Sometimes all I need,
When I need a reminder to keep looking for better, more.
I can feel myself thinking about running away again,
That high school thought I never outgrew.
Hoping I’ll have some major life calamity,
Some parent will die, some limb shrivel, some monumental thing,
To give me an excuse, to get away, run into the hills,
Start over, start for the first time, live on my own,
Come to term with my loneliness while living in the mountains.
Have a story to tell, something more than hum-drum, somehow matter, find hope, find love, find a piece of life I feel is worth living for again, for the first time, star in my own hallmark movie, and finally be skinny.
I told him he was shiny, a pretty-boy
He didn’t understand. He’d never gotten that before.
But he has a sheen, a clean sheen on his aura.
Like he’s never consoled a friend after her husband hit her,
Or had to watch kids get in a car with drunk parents,
Had a drug-fueled gun pointed at him,
Or wondered if he could afford to eat tomorrow.
He might be into kink,
Think he’s been with a lot of women,
Know how to build a house and wire a fusebox,
But he hasn’t seen real darkness.
You can always spot it on the souls of those who have.
I told him it wasn’t a bad thing.
I remember wishing I knew what to say,
How to behave,
Hoping I was doing it right, with this people I wanted to impress, wanted to like me, wanted to be my friends.
Worried in the middle of something beautiful it would all go wrong, like putting the last lines on a good drawing.
But I can’t be blunt with them like that.
Can’t say, I want us to be the good kind of friends who share secrets, and text about weird body hair and the feelings hormones make you feel.
So I try to play it cool, be myself, quiet in the corner, asking questions, joking, smiling, open, loving, accepting, calm.
Pretending to be chill, hoping it magically seeps inside.
If I don’t have late, unreturned library books,
Maybe there’s no reason to keep living.
It always leaves me with something to do,
Some obligation I’m beholden to, some social construct I can be a part of,
If some computer is keeping track of me, I’m still connected.
It’s like marinating chicken,
You can’t really do anything too drastic if you’re marinating chicken,
Because it’s there waiting for you, it would go bad if you’re in the hospital, and the chicken cost all that money and work. I mean really.
Like unmatched socks, unbought Christmas presents, or half-written thank-you emails,
You have to keep going to pretend there’s a linear story in your life, one with completion,
Where those semi-glanced at meaningless objects will be integral for the plot in season forty-five.
Let me say it again.
Treat me like a person.
Do not ogle me like a curiosity,
Ply me with questions to figure me out,
And discard me when you’re bored.
Only text as a response, and never as an initiative.
Know me for who I am.
See me for what I love.
You think I’m only interesting, because you don’t understand me.
But I happy that I’m interesting to you, it means I have your attention.
I feel important to be interesting to you, someone so mighty.
I’d love it even more if you liked me,
Understood me, could hear me when I talked, and loved me when I was myself.
Because, I change when I know people are watching me, learning me.
I cover up the feelings.
Because while you won’t hurt me physically,
Those are wide open. So you can have my body.
But you don’t get to have who I am.
Because you didn’t love me for who I showed you.
I pack bond with my phone.
I pack bond with characters in books,
With strangers on the bus who look at me kindly,
With pictures of very chubby birds,
And plants on my desk.
The boy I slept with last Sunday, and the steering wheel in my car
I pack bond with anything that moves and seems to like me, accept me.
Because I don’t have pack, family, home,
So I grasp at anything walking by
And each time an arm gets pulled off,
I have a little bit shorter reach, just a bit shorter,
So that the next time, I can’t quite reach what’s walking by.