Poetry

Refraction

The stranger wraps her arms around me,

and I respond in kind,

a slow embrace

whereby my right arm wraps around her waist,

longing and resisting

(is this the Creep Factor?)

as warmth suffuses my skin.

Everyone but me

has someone,

okay I’m exaggerating,

there are at least a handful of single people here,

so I daydream we’re dancing

two hours from now,

a few drinks in and excitable,

and somehow we head to a hotel,

and we hold each other even closer than before,

still strangers but enjoying every second of it.

Instead, I leave when my ride leaves,

and I awkwardly ask for the stranger’s number.

We exchange two texts

and my guardian angel turns to their colleague and says:

See how the very light bends to miss him.

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Poetry

A Rant I Wrote a While Ago

Medicine and treatment should be free.

School is work and students should be paid for their labor.

Housing should be free.

Politics should have an age limit. If we live under the illusion that retirement starts at 65, then 65 is the final year for a politician to make decisions.

The concept of retirement is exploitative. People shouldn’t have to work themselves to the bone for 40+ years just to enjoy their old age.

Travel should be free.

I know I said that students should get paid, but at the same time, learning should be free.

Food should be free.

Everything should be free.

I hate capitalism.

Palestine should be free.

Within the confines of capitalism, any labor should be compensated.

Every Monday is a construct.

We should make Monday a day with no emails. No phone calls. No text messages.

If capitalism keeps going, then everyone should be tasked with dreaming up their ideal life. Then, everyone is given a million dollars when they turn 18. We watch what happens.

A million dollars isn’t even enough to create an ideal life these days, if you factor in housing, transport, food, et cetera.

So everyone should get a billion dollars when they turn 18.

Hoo damn.

Cars shouldn’t exist. We need better public transportation.

I lost track of most of the things I wanted to write.

I hate capitalism.

Capitalism is destructive.

Capitalism is exploitative.

Capitalism is patriarchal, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, spiteful, and selfish.

Capitalism kills families.

Capitalism kills women.

Capitalism kills children.

Capitalism kills black folks.

Capitalism kills gay folks.

Capitalism kills trans folks.

Capitalism kills refugees.

Capitalism kills artists.

Capitalism kills joy.

Capitalism kills love.

Capitalism kills.

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Poetry

Salem, 2022

Maybe she cursed me,
I say
in masterful avoidance,
as though I don’t
dodge women,
like I didn’t delete
my dating apps,
it’s almost like I
won’t accept responsibility
for being alone.

I boot up the game again,
look at the log
(315 hours played).
No, it can’t be me.

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Poetry

Midnight Snack

I didn’t open the packet of ham,
though my stomach growled
and clawed for sustenance.
The package sat unopened,
a perfect and joyful clam,
and clutching that pearl meant pain for someone.
Me, for my perfectionist streak;
the animals, for their murders.
My hands avoided the first cut,
and the second,
the plasticine rending,
I would not do.
Hunger unending, for my laziness,
my strangeness – adieu.

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Poetry

The Nostalgia Hallway

I remember
when snow wasn’t so cold,
and flurries meant relaxation,
a day free of worries
with no obligations.
When moonlight was warm,
for I had not yet glanced
upon any dark sides.
Things were light,
and my mind, quiet.
When a computer
opened doors to adventure
and I had to build my social media
by myself.

I swear, this isn’t supposed to be a reminiscence.

I remember
when I smiled without acting,
and laughed without thinking,
I could think without guessing.
I spoke truth without confessing.
Somehow, I lacked burdens
and birds could stop me
with a simple whistle.

I want to feel it again,
the soft slide of hot chocolate
in my gullet,
of stew in my stomach
while snow dims the noise
and a book, a game,
a good time
becomes my mind.

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Poetry

Sick Even in Sleep

I dreamed that I
met someone I saw on Tinder (in passing)
and I invited her to my parents’ old house
with much confidence.
Along the way,
I gave myself insulin a few times,
and when we had a moment to ourselves,
she attached a machine to my leg
and checked my blood sugar.
I fell in love immediately.
When I woke up, I could tell
my blood sugar was high as the moon.
There are some things
I have to do for myself,
and while I’d appreciate some help,
I know my body better than anybody.
Still, thank you, dream woman –
you knew my danger before I did.

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Poetry

Pics Or

If I didn’t Tweet it, did it happen?
If I didn’t ‘gram it, did it happen?
If I’m not on Discord, did it happen?
If Zuck can’t sell it, did it happen?
If I don’t write it, did it happen?
When and how the hell does anything happen?

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Poetry

Fuzz in the Time of Cholera

I sit near the cat tree downstairs and I wonder,
what does Willow make of me wearing a mask?
The mask is literal this time.
My brother caught COVID-19 sometime last week,
after he tested negative the prior week, but
continued to feel sick afterward.
We’re not sure from where he got it, and
it probably doesn’t matter, anyway.
What matters
is that he’s quarantined in his room,
and if he needs anything, I try
to get it for him. Or he leaves his quarantine,
mask on, gloves on, with disinfectant wipes in hand,
and he cleans. Everything. He touches.
That’s what I’ve seen, anyway.
I shouldn’t be down there, I should
lock myself in my own room,
for my own safety,
but as it was before,
I’m the only one
who will clean anything around here.
I did it to myself: every time someone asked
“Do you want help with the dishes?” I’d say
“No thanks, I got this.”
So I washed the dishes yesterday. In the kitchen.
Which is definitely where most people wash their dishes,
but my brother’s room is way too close for comfort.
I know 6 and more feet of distance should be enough.
I know we’re masking up, and disinfecting, and
we have doors between us. But now,
with the sickness in the house,
I don’t feel safe.
So I wash my hands after I touch anything,
and I wear my mask all over the house,
and Willow looks up at me, doing what
she usually does,
but I swear I notice a slight pause
as she registers the strange thing
on my face.

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Poetry

Mental Gymnastics

20, 19, I count down the slices of kielbasa as I eat them. 18, 17, I never told anyone about slipping and almost falling down the stairs, and how I stopped my fall with my right foot, and my long right toe has been in mild pain ever since. 16, 15, okay, I told Joe ’cause he was staying in town and he was on our couch at the time, so he heard it happen, but no one else knows why the hell I’m walking so funny. 14, 13, 12, I don’t even think anyone has noticed that I’m walking funny. 11, 10, my right ear is still clogged or blocked or something, even after I cleaned it out with hydrogen peroxide, and lately there’s an incessant ringing in it, and last night I woke up after sleeping three hours to the thought of “I think I’m hearing things that may not be there.” 9, 8, I braced a big green suitcase with my right leg at work and the suitcase slipped and bashed a spot above my ankle and it scraped some skin off and I started bleeding so I made a makeshift bandage with paper towels and tape but it didn’t wrap around my skin so well, so I had to search the first aid kit anyway, and that’s in the hall where there may be people and it’s a pandemic and my fucking fingers were all over that kit. 7, 6, 5, I washed my hands before and after I handled the first aid kit, but I still felt funny about it. 4, 3, it’s been a little over two years since I started buying Wal-Mart insulin ’cause my introverted ass wouldn’t drive to the doctor’s office and get my prescription refilled, and it was probably the second or third time I’d canceled the appointment last-minute, and I’ve never been great at going out in public, even before the pandemic, but I really fucked up with that one. 2, 1, sometimes I wonder how much sugar has coursed through my blood and ruined vital parts of me, and this line keeps going through my mind, it says “Mints won’t fix my rotting mouth,” and that’s just my fun way of saying I need to see a dentist too. Zero, I ate a whole kielbasa sausage (it was more than 20 slices but I liked starting there for the sake of poetry) and the whole time I cooked it all I could think was “This is a depression meal, what if someone walks in on you forking kielbasa slices right off the pan?” but I quashed that thought, then I realized that I really don’t wanna see anyone right now, which is when it became clear to me that I hardly ever get time to myself, like true “me time,” not since the pandemic started, and I think that’s why I’m sad right now, but my longer sadness is something else and I really need to stop counting down kielbasa for fun and start thinking about how to find a new doctor.

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