You (M)ake Good Poetry

I tell her,
“I wasn’t in love with him,
but I could’ve been.”

And she says,
“Write a poem.
Because that’s beautiful.”

Because poetry revolves around you.

Like it’s that easy.
Like I think you may actually like me.

Because notions are put in my head,
that you were the last person to look at me
and not just my body.
You were last person to caress instead of grope any
skin that was showing.

You were the last person to listen to me.

You were the last person to look at me.

And when I tell her I can’t stop looking at your mouth,
when I tell I know I’m going to have to do without,
when I tell her I know we can’t be—-

Dear God, do I wish that
“been”
could turn to
“be”.

But baby,
maybe it’s those brown eyes.

Because I’ve never shed a layer for any man,
but there’s something intimate and exposed
when you look at me.

And when she says
“That’s beautiful.”

Despite missing the attention,
despite my constant craving for affection,
it is your gaze I am picturing.

Because you were the first guy,
the first person,
who didn’t know me,
but looked at me
like I was something,
someone——

and when I remember that,
it’s a damn shame
that “could’ve been”
isn’t
“can be”.

Now Lay in It

We stand in a room:
battalion surrounding a
bed.

Minutemen willing
to fight in all fun
and playful forms.
Until what lies before them
is a mattress,
with sheets pulled down,
waiting to be made.

I am not a thunderstorm
in your bedroom;
The only stains on my pillowcase
come from nights spent crying
myself to sleep.

So I look around me
at the girls,
the boys,
standing stock-still,
looking at the aftermath,
their aftermath.

They pull up the sheets,
smooth out the comforter,
fluff the pillows,
then pause;
some with hands raised,
others with chapped lips.

And I,
I lie.
I run my hands over
the stitches in the quilts,
dig my feet into the foam,
bite the pillows until
there is down on my tongue.

I take the onslaught
of the guilt,
the stupidity,
the pain.
Roll around in it.
Snuggle down in it.

I remember that bone
marrow does not hold you up
based on mistakes,
but rather on strength.

I pull you down onto the bed,
and we lie.
We confess
and we apologize.
We stand trial
while the punishment for our crime
is decided.

And we know
that despite
the consequence,
we no longer
remain knights
fighting a frozen battle.
We rise from the mattress like
rising from ashes,
like rising without the Atlas
of a burden on our back.

We leave a bed with sheets soiled
and slept in.
We rise with absolution.

We stand,
conquerors,
in a room with a
bed.

She Can’t Even Let Me Have One

All I know is that I’m shaking;
with repulsion,
with hurt,
with want.

Every atom in my body
wants to reconfigure itself
into a giant mass that will
swallow her whole
until nothing is standing between us.
Until no space is between us.
Until I am sinking
into the false sanctity
of his skin.

I am possibly obsessed.

I keep staring at his lips.

I have too much self-control,
and not enough pride,
and we flirt
but I am a water fountain on a warm day
and she is the tumbler full of
Gatorade
and I can’t help thinking,
despite the antioxidants,
the boy needs to rehydrate,
instead of letting himself
willingly drown
yet again.

But I am not what he wants;
I am not walking sex.

I am but an adorable…
thing
toy
and tourniquet.

I am autumn;
falling
and decaying past lives.
She is summer
getting him hot
just to leave the grass dry.

And I want to be the one
who walks his dreams each night;
leads him to the river to take a drink
instead of staring at a
tall glass of water,
mixed with vodka,
by any other name but her
other,
another lover,
who she still belongs to.

Yet my blood is still singing your name.

Stop

Stop:
paying for my lunches
when you’ve called me
“incomparable”,
when I took it as an
insult
’cause I fell for all the
sugar sweet words
dripping from your mouth
like melted rock candy.

I do not fancy
false compliments.

Stop:
going out with me
if you can’t say my name
when you’re on
the phone with
your girlfriend,
when I thought she knew about me,
when you told me she did.

Stop:
when I fall for you every time
like my strings have been cut,
when I know better,
when you aren’t even a good
friend—-

Stop;
do not pass “Go”,
do not collect 200 dollars.

Stop;
it’s too late to
Start
now.

Placidity

Sometimes
I want to swallow my tongue.
Make you excavate my mouth
until you are pulling
up broken teeth
chipped and bent
with promises,
curses,
and some bits of shoddy
poetry.

You claim you are language lover
yet, every word I’ve written with you in mind
has made my tongue become
like bat in the cavern that is my mouth,
hanging until you are asleep
and I set flight on this keyboard,
writing nocturnal.

Lover, you are the never-ending stutter.
The nervous tick below my eye
the sweaty palms,
and trembling thighs;
knees bouncing until they
knock,
knock,
knock,
“Shave and a Haircut”
up into my canines which bite back
“two bits”.

I am scared I will only ever know a “love” like this.
The butterflies,
honey-moon unending haze
that us young ones confuse
when we think we’ve found
“The One”.

And yet I stare at you
in the eye,
unmoving,
unaffected by this word-icane,
by the howling that claws its way
out of my throat,
begging to ride the wind.
I have been told to wait for this.

I have been told that nervousness
comes and goes and
words only trip over themselves,
so that your feet can follow
onto solid ground;
feel your heartbeat come to rest
meet the eyes of the handsomest man you’ve ever met
and sigh in understanding
that love is not a stutter,
but a whisper.
The silence,
the calm,
inside the storm.

To, J, M, And Every Other Guy I’ve Cared For

You let these girls
chew you up
and spit you out,
enter their bodies
as if they were kilns,
just so they can mold and shape you
before smashing you with their palms
into a plate,
and feast off
this game.

Feast off your naivety,
your willingness,
your openness,
your trust,
your essence.

And by feast,
I mean tease.

And I have learned too much
about your families
your habits
your insecurities
to let go as easily as I should.

So I will apologize,
for not being your type of fire,
when those who should be saying “sorry”
are the ones who mock your burns.