these days

bubble tea in your belly, we roll together
on warm sheets, not washed in a while.

days like these, you find fun where you can
in times like these. laughter–‘please,’ she
said, so you do, or rather, I do. I did. we could

run away just me and you, go to New Zealand
or Canada: let’s do it, let’s become a Cole Porter song,
a Joni Mitchell jam. I haven’t had a case of you yet,
but a few bottles is enough to fuck me up. I’ll always be in the bar

and you should know that about me. at words pathetic
I’m so poetic, it’s grating, I’m sure.

tapioca is good in tea
but that’s about it, we both agree.

ooh, romance

some dusty springfield playing off a dusty
disc of vinyl; dusty in memphis. a classic.

you’ve got some rings on your ears.
move some hair away, you scoot in,
my hand moves through…


do you like the way they pick up
sound? I like the way yours taste,

when we’re embraced in each other’s
embrace, and my mouth is at your

neck and it goes up, at a lobe: metal,
skin, and your taste, your ear, just
slightly salty because, yes, didn’t you,
yes you biked here, dear?

Stop that!

‘I like your hair,’ gently twirling it and
with a slight tug, you sorta whispered

in some early daylight phase. Our fingers
were linked, index only, and my brain did

that thing where it forgets where my body
ends and yours begins.

I lost it there, because the last time morning
noises poured into a city apartment window

life felt so great. It was neat, but not gaudy
like my grandpa used to say. You used to say

‘I like you,’ and ‘make some time for me,’
and ‘I’m glad I got to see you.’

Tricky, tricky. It’s easy to convince oneself
something can work when you’re the one

being chased. Maybe the story of wild sex
on New Year’s Eve in a post-modern lake house

basement bedroom was too much too soon.
It’s not fair. I had so many other good things
to share, but like, what’s the point? You really
don’t seem
to give a shit.

bless me, bless you

maybe she just needed someone to drop off some albums with,
and her favorite pair of pants. but

maybe she thought that wine stain wouldn’t come out. that dashes
a previous theory, but maybe…

so the wine spill was purely accidental, and she had kissed me that one
time, (I think)

it could have been all an act, but she insisted I borrow the books,
(maybe she had too many books…) so in that case she only

wanted to get laid, and I was too eager to please,
and get laid. well then, damn,

look, here I’ve gotten myself all worked up
over what this could maybe be; stop.

a cat has been let out of some box (I have the aphorism
wrong) and somehow I’m reading the signals
as strong when they’re weak, man.

I get caught up in tiny things, tan lines,
how they look
when they sleep; maybe I can actually try and stay,
I tell myself.
and, jeez, look
they’re already running for the hills,
I’m blind to the signals, signs.


I get a text too soon to count as,
what? regrets, I guess. someone was too
into me. she got scared, she said.

I like getting scared. you’d think I’d
like getting scarred the way I look for knives

on belt loops, inside cute backpacks,
on a bralette strap. I gotta kick more people out
of bed, namely myself.

someone kick me, pinch me, fuck me up;
I do it wrong to myself.


“look at me, don’t look at me” the reeling
pumps out into my ears. passion pit. this is a

pit. take it easy, surfer. no need to get blood
out on the desk. shark mouth in checker-print

is somehow more violent,
but not as violent as these excel sheets and
email chains.

back in the time of sticks and stones they used
rocks and leaves from trees. I guess

I’ve got ingénues running around my dreams
with waist long lavaliers,

which is never a good sign. it’s an awful omen
in truth. Chance chatters in my ear, you strafe

around my memories, “oh, a hug,” that surprise kills
me, makes a waif
out of me. who isn’t a wounded animal these days?

if the hug isn’t obligatory (fucked up and fucked
all my friends) should one even attempt it?

last thing I want is a pity-embrace. someone needs
to put me down already before I get it in my head
I can get ahead

in this world, of you, any sort of lead. it’s all lost.

and it’ll be gone in an instant

look at all these poets trying to win affection
through logic or argument.

‘does he give you X, will he Y for you, can he Z?’

does it matter? her heart didn’t get mushy or pick up
on pumping because he wrote a song or held open so many doors
or fixed eggs in the morning after the initial lay.

it’s tricky the way this intimacy creeps in and out of our lives.
comments and actions culminate into infatuation or disinterest,
(the professor drones on)
just know

the verse wasn’t written across eternity,
but rather in a moment of rapture-romantic;
it was an unraveling of the heart but it was

in an instant. or, a weekend at most. point is
it didn’t take forever to write and the sentiment
sure ain’t gonna hold water for all time.

oh, sure, the lines may always drip gold
and spark a longing in the heart (or loins)

but this is why poetry has more to do with lust than love.
it’s more to do with networks and coins,
than we’d like to admit. don’t just be bold.

that won’t get you anywhere. mold your verses into something
bite-sized, accessible. not everyone has been hit by a lovely anguish
but everyone has gotten a boner, or something similar-ish.
(wet panties, eg)

the point is, ride that wave of passion, hitch your pen
to two people hitched at the hips, grinding it out like
a meteor was about to plow the Earth off the face of the universe.

sex sells, selling is sexy, what sells? sex!
fuck your agent and publisher (literally–
just to avoid confusion) go to the parties

make sure to shake hands with the important men.
grin at the right times, drink the right wines.
touch all the wrists, leave before your welcome ends,
success will follow, and she’ll be back in no time.

there’s a difference

you know when your fingers are rigid from
cleaning chemicals? like when you’ve just scrubbed the tub.

that’s how you’d feel after sex
with her, but all over
your body. ozone would form
and cling about the room.

she’s heavy like a rainforest, full
on oxygen, sweat, just life I guess.

so she has some magic. pact with a ghost,
we all said. or maybe
some spirit chucked a curse at her,
and she must’ve dodged it and caught it
off a window ricochet. now she rides the sorcery.


who cares? she flies through conversations and boys
with a waxy ease and good god I like it like that.

pick me up with a shift of the gaze, please. I’m not
begging; I’m asking. there’s a difference. let me show you.

An Honest Night

They squirmed next to each other, giggling, legs intertwined; but mostly, the night was still. If either was quiet and unmoving they could hear the other, softly breathing. Her head was on his chest, and his chin, on her head. The whisperings and pokes stopped for a brief moment as they kept wrapped up together. Eventually it became too warm and they shifted, just to move away from each others excessive body heat. Then it was just her hand in his, and he didn’t know what she was thinking, but his mind was racing. Sam’s mouth was dry, and there was a lump in his throat that was familiar to him. It would come before he had to give a presentation in school, or whenever he would lean in for a kiss from a girl for the first time. It was butterflies, he heard people say. ‘Butterflies,’ he thought and smiled, not sure if he should do what he was surely about to do.
“You’re pretty cute,” Sam murmured. He wasn’t tired, but his eyes were doing this thing where they wouldn’t stay open.
“You’re pretty cute, yourself,” Sophie murmured back. A little call and response. Tame and done before, but Sam didn’t mind. He couldn’t recall how the affectionate little phrase started, but it was theirs; an alternative to pet names, it would seem.
Sophie broke hand contact and turned on her side. Sam did the same. His smile broadened, and the butterflies fluttered some more. It wasn’t the movies, so the sheets weren’t up around and over Sophie’s breasts, and he could see them both. He had heard people talk about perfect breasts, and he wasn’t sure what that meant, but he thought maybe he knew now. Or, more likely, he was just…
“You’re staring at my boobs?”
“You caught me.”
She didn’t cover anything.
“Do you wanna stare at my penis?”
“I’m good,” Sophie said, her lips turning up into a satisfied grin. She rubbed her face into a nearby pillow and sighed.
“Sigh,” Sam said. The boy scooched over to her, and they embraced sideways, with Sam’s face up against her chest. This time it was only him that heard the breathing, that could feel the chest rise and fall. He breathed her in and thought it was good she slept here so often. His futon was improved by smelling like her.
“I really like you,” he said.
“I really like you, too.”
He kissed her chest, the area in between her breasts, and then a little lower.
“I love you,” he said. And then the room was silent again. Just the breathing. A butterfly exploded. Sam felt like laughing for some reason, but he wanted to cry. “You don’t have…”
“I… I think I love you, too, Sam.”
He kissed her again, on the chest, right below the breasts. Then a little lower. Then on the stomach, twice, then he kissed her on her hip and, moving lower…
She drew him back up, no more she said, not tonight. They made out for a little while. Then, Sophie just pulled Sam’s face in close and stared at him, with vicious, beautiful brown eyes.
“But Sam,” Sophie said, “I won’t always love you; even if I love you now, know that I won’t always.” He wanted to say ‘what?’ but she continued too quickly. “I like you a lot. I love you. I…” her smile had not faded, “I love hanging out with you. I love sleeping over here, I love sleeping with you,” she kissed him on the nose, “and I could not imagine ever hurting you.”
“Me too…”
“But,” she continued, her smile still static, “one day I won’t anymore. One day, I will hurt you, because I won’t love you, and you’ll still love me, and that will hurt terribly.” She kissed him again, this time on the mouth. “So, I love you, but only for right now, okay?”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“You already knew.”

For the first time since they started seeing each other (and the last time, too) Sophie fell asleep before Sam. Her conscience clean, apparently; and besides, the room had had that tired blue tint to it for much too long without anybody sleeping. She had dozed off in that position, the one where she is more or less on her stomach, and her head rests on the boys chest… But, Sam couldn’t get his eyes closed now, predictably enough. The butterflies were gone and he didn’t want to laugh or cry. Somehow, he was even more in love than he had been before his confession. Somehow, he felt sadder and happier than he ever had in his whole short, stupid, little life.