Another Poem I Won’t Show You
It’s kitchen table dining
Her sweater slipping off her shoulder,
I say to her: you look skinny
And her face spreads open like runny eggs in a pan
We both pretend her reaction is appropriate.
I grip my juice a little tighter,
I tell her
Of summer sun and bare chests,
Caught naked in his arms, I say:
My heart beat so loudly,
I’m speaking in cliches,
I thought it would leap right out of my chest,
Excitement, and fear, and
Dry toast, dab your pizza,
Count your calories, count your blessings,
I don’t know why I let him do it,
Mom, I don’t know,
It was something to do,
Swim and dance, feel pretty, and regret.
This table must be getting wider,
My shaky arms shorter,
My throat dryer.
Drink some water.
Litter the floor with Diet Coke cans:
I’ve been bad today,
This week, this month, this year
Treat yourself, eat a cookie, and regret,
Let a boy touch you until you wish he hadn’t.
I’m dizzy, spinning round and round,
Eating discarded crumbs off her plate.
Eating discarded praises off her tongue,
Her eyes dim when they meet mine,
We both pretend they don’t,
I don’t say:
I wrote a poem about you,
Because I know it’s one
I’ll never show her.
The stain on your jacket sleeve (and by that I mean I’m sorry)
I’m the stain on your jacket sleeve
And I’m sorry I’m just telling you about that now see the thing is I was painting my nails and I had an itch and next thing you know dark green polish on that pristine white sleeve but I’m sorry and I tried to clean it off took bleach and remover and the dry cleaners and my mom and couldn’t get it off and I love that jacket more so that you gave it to me to wear and I love that feeling of now I kind of belong to someone and I’ve never loved that feeling before and I should’ve been more careful because then I had that evil creepy crawling thought that now you can’t give your jacket to a new girl and I think that’s just a secret way of saying please don’t leave me and
I think you love me because I was pretty confident you’d forgive me kiss my head while I reach high up on my tippy toes just to play with your hair and keep your arm around my shoulders so I won’t fall behind or get lost in the crowd or feel a chill or have a thought that I don’t get to share with you
Because I think my thoughts are prettier when I know I’ll tell them to you. Not in like a toxic compulsively honest I have to tell you my every thought but that when you ask me about my day it means my day was important and I never looked at them that way before
And now I get to wake up in the morning and hear your voice and sometimes you laugh at my jokes but not too often, you know? Like it doesn’t feel forced which I appreciate and sometimes I’m shocked that you like me because not to be shallow but boy you are really hot like objectively movie star beauty you’re hot but also you’re smart and it shocks me that you don’t think you are because you are and actually it’s a secret worry that you’ll leave because I’m not very smart and I’m sorry I won’t ever show you this poem it’s just my exes embarrassed me when I got too emotionally vulnerable and you’ve seen me cry and I don’t want to make the same mistake again but the thing that shocks me the most is that you keep staying
Like that stain. On your jacket sleeve.
We’ll Feel Immortal
We define ourselves by our hopelessness,
Our homeliness, our you’ll never leave your hometown-iness
Dance with me in the churchyard -
The one you were born in, the one you’ll die in.
You already have your plot picked out -
Name carved out on stone.
I can already see the vine growing over it,
Your name so gray almost obscured entirely,
Until you’re nothing, no one knows what you were to me.
You’ll say marry me in that churchyard,
And in that one moment we’ll feel immortal, like daffodils in August.
So yellow it’s nauseating. They’ll want to step on us, but there’s no need. We already forgot about December.
midnight in December
And when I say I love you I mean I’m scared you’ll leave me
I’m so used to the warmth of your arm around me without you I’ll be forever cold,
In the terrifying realization i never should have grown used to your warmth.
And today I spent all day writing because I remembered all of those things I promised I’d remember forever and I forgot
Like the login information for the poetry account I made that I don’t know if anyone ever saw
Or the night we had our first kiss in the hours right before sunrise
That glowing kind of faith that sunrise would still happen it was so dark out but we still closed our eyes and trusted it would be light when we opened them
I wrote it all down
Because what if you aren’t there to remind me.
And when I say I love you I mean I know you’ll leave me
You’ll find my voice too shrill or get tired of the times I fall asleep right before your lips touch mine, the promise of one day not real enough, and my silly jokes and foolish dreams too tiring to hold on to
So I’ll slip through like sand in your hands
And I’ll hold on to you because I wrote us all down
Turned us into midnight poetry
Timeless like my middle school dreams of a tall boy with green eyes to hold my hand
And in the wake of rejection I’ll want to throw my words into flames,
Let the fire consume us like feelings always do
I’ll be laughing through my tears as you disappear
But your phantom arm on mine quenches the inferno
I’ll save you the memory I owe us that much.
And when I say I love you, I mean, I’m asking you to stay
At least for today
And if I’m lucky
And tonight maybe I’ll call you
Just to say I wrote a poem about you,
But it isn’t your time to read it.
The first time we kissed I knew you were trouble played from my cheap headphones our lips, my hands in your hair moving to the refrain trouble trouble trouble and what a fucking real life poetic irony that you can’t make this shit up that i didn’t dump your ass right there so terrified of being haunted by the associations.
And it’s star gazing heart breaking your sorry excuse for a compliment your ex wants you back so go back don’t stay around for me sam push your body on to mine sam, I really just wanted to stargaze tonight sam, just hold my hand sam, the shooting star only I saw, I don’t remember if I wished for you to stay or if I wished for you to leave.
Because it was fun and it was cute and I think I liked you but sometimes it was blurry you touching my skin touching my skin where no one’s ever touched me before and it was fun and it was cute and my heart pounded so loudly in my chest I knew I could never outrun you outfight you your hands on my neck. I used to joke if this was an episode of criminal minds you’d kill me. And it made more sense than you loving me. And it was fun and it was cute. And I told my mom what you did what we did, she won’t look me in the eyes anymore.
And you call me drunk one night too often talk about the new girl you’re hurting I mean loving and no one’s ever stayed longer than a month and I think I’m hard to love and you’d hate my scribbling my sorry excuse for poetry my favorite song you claimed you listened to but never did the nights you stood me up left me waiting commenting on the calories I was eating and I didn’t tell my friends because I knew what they’d say. I knew what they’d say.
What do you say - We replay that last kiss your hands on my waist until it looks like a movie scene a guarantee the epitome that this is not what love looks like. And I’ll call you this morning after sunrise and this time we’ll both be sober and I won’t say I’m sorry but this time I won’t need your compliments your lazy drawl your hand holding mine I’ll just feel sorry and I’ll remember that
You’re the boy who chose that song I handed you the aux right before you kissed me,
Trouble trouble trouble
Today I tell you that I fear I am a puzzle piece that cannot fit into your life
My corner too worn from poor friction trying so hard to contort, fit into arms that never wanted to hold me
Your eyes hold mirth and guile and laughter
Pointing to the fitted sheet falling off my bed
One corner making a break for it
And we fix it nightly, patiently
We leave the fitted sheets unfolded, the puzzles unfinished,
And sometimes when we kiss, our noses bump into each other
And we laugh.
Homewrecker (after Kaveh Akbar)
Aren’t we all the birds living in my neighbor’s dryer vent every morning I deliver worms to hungry gaping mouths opening like spring flowers sputtering chirping as birds do aren’t we all hungrier when we wake up after sunrise with nothing left but the ground beneath us a promise an open door the illusion of flight and a half-forgotten melody no one is listening no one is listening i traded my ears for freedom even now i don’t know what for Aren’t we all someone’s late night phone call and every word said the last and never really ours to begin with you i had less questions Aren’t we all just people masquerading as answers and keys to locked doors or are we the doors i know this used to mean something but why do we hang on to sinking ships cut our hands on broken glass blood isn’t a symbol Aren’t we all a little kid in ratty sneakers or braids or baseball caps worried about the birds watching them from the window living in a dryer vent telling our parents telling someone above us telling the trees and the stars and some of them may even listen to the wind to bird calls and promises and lies vents are no place for baby birds i’m lost without you and something that smells like laughter looks like home Aren’t we all the mama bird trying to find her way home Aren’t we all the reason she can’t come home
Transcript from Stand-Up Comedy Specials or Therapy Sessions
Hi! This is me yup. *awkward laughter* Thanks for coming out. Especially those of you who were promised a ~special~ night, and this is what you got. *real laughter* This is my first time doing this, so please refrain from throwing popcorn at me or whatever shit goes on here.
Anyway, I failed my driver’s test again. 18 years old and I still can’t drive, it’s ludicrous! *pity laughter* Don’t you hate it when your whole existence is fulfilling stereotypes? How can I call myself a feminist when I’m living proof that women should not be allowed to drive!? *real laughter* Anyway, I’m almost certain self-driving cars will be invented before I pass this test.
Gosh, even Olivia Rodrigo has her driver’s license! *anticipatory laughter* I don’t even know what aspect of her I’m projecting my insecurities onto - the fact that at 17 she is living a childhood dream I’ll never achieve, that she’s literally stunning, or of course that even she can drive. *awkward laughter* Of course! I know for sure it’s not Joshua Bassett making me insecure! You can’t tell me that driver’s license is about that wheat thin of a man. *big laughter* Sorry -
Sorry I know I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn't have, I shouldn’t have, I shouldn’t have. It’s just - it just got the biggest laugh of the night. My dad once told me I’d do anything for a laugh, and it hurt. I don’t think I’m a mean person, but maybe I am? Maybe all of my friends hate me. *blank stares* I don’t think I could make it if my friends hated me. Shit, this joke bombed! *pity laughter*
Anyway, Dr. L [name extracted because I don’t need people stealing my therapist], I’m almost certain I’ll never leave this town. I’ll be 81 years old and still dreaming of a world beyond my childhood bedroom. Do you think my hair’s long enough that I can pull a Rapunzel? *real laughter* *covers my face so they can’t see that I’m crying* My proudest achievement? Maybe that I woke up this morning? Aha, I’m just kidding, my proudest moment is getting my driver’s license! *confused laughter*
Thank you so much for coming out! I hope you had a good time - I do it all for you!
Yes, this time next week works for me. I'll see you then. Just email my dad the
Merch is being sold outside, and be sure to stream my comedy album My Therapist Thinks I’m Funny.
For next week? Journal my thoughts and feelings - live with the uncertainty? And
be sure to keep taking my meds. Got it, yup.
Thanks again! Have a good night!
Thanks again, have a good day.
Champagne Problems a golden shovel after Taylor Swift
is the sand slipping through your fingertips, and she never would’ve
stayed. She’s not a trinket to keep in your pocket, she’s un-made
potential. In her rock, you’ll carve “disappointment” and it’s such
a shame. You’ll call her the one that got a
-way. Yet, you know all too well that the sunset is loveli-
est when it’s fleeting. Dress her in white, she’ll never be a bride;
she’ll never be what
you wanted her to be, a
diamond around your neck, a trophy for your pedestal, and it’s such a shame -
she’s everything you thought you wanted, but actually, she’s
not. You can’t hold her hand when it’s stuck
planted in the soil, blooming in-
to a tree; you’ll never move her.
Keep her in your head,
it’s all you’ll ever get to keep of her. When they
ask you what went wrong, tell them she never said.
Ain’t My Fault a golden shovel after Lizzo
that the newscaster is really enjoying “Truth Hurts.”
Her mouth curls up as she sputters out
“I’m 100% that bitch.”
She’s spooning her pre-measured yogurt for lunch.
“I love how she’s so unapologetic.”
Even when you’re praised they call
Unapologetic because you should apologize.
Say “sorry” because you’re too much.
Like you’re not that bitch,
Like you should apologize.
Too big, too black, too bold.
ing this because I’m the newscaster.
Or I might as well be
working at BuzzFeed publishing trash articles
About how Harry is just your bestie,
and he’s dating Olivia
because everyone needs to know that Harry’s type is skinny, blonde women.
Not implying that Harry is in your dms.
All I ate today was yogurt,
Once I broke a boy’s heart because I thought it mattered
that what if I maybe weighed more than him?
I thought love was equivalent to fitting into his sweatshirt.
a novelty. Or you shouldn’t have to be.
You’re singing “I make these boys get on their knees”
and no one’s speculating who it’s about.
You could be making out with Harry and
the media would still caption it “best friend goals.”
And how about
fact that they are scared to call you beautiful.
Every other adjective: fierce, bold, queen, sexy, is used.
They say more in their omission,
and what they say shouldn’t matter, except we both know it does.
I’m crying because I’ve never been called beautiful.
I ever felt was when my grandma criticized Ashley Graham,
said putting a plus-sized model on Sports Illustrated was “promoting obesity”
and I know I know she’s of a different time,
but I still didn’t eat carbs that whole week.
Said I would rather be dead than fat.
Now at least, I’m vegan because of you.
If not to at least prove that I’m at least not intentionally like this.
One woman dares to love her body without wanting to change it,
and the whole world claims to “care about her health.”
I’m not 100% that
I’m hardly even 1%.
I’m 100% buying sweaters a size too large.
Scared of even a whisper of curves.
Refusing his offer of fries, and ordering a salad.
sing about being your own soulmate,
and I’m not revolutionized, but I’m lacing up my sneakers.
Your songs are my favorite form of therapy,
You’re my favorite poet because self-love shouldn’t be hard,
but it is.
And if I see one more article about how Harry is just your best friend.
I’m saying that’s a