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  Sep 2015 Margot Dylan
Joshua Haines
We melt like aborted McDonald's ice,
on top of a blistering, gum-stamped lot,
under the sour heat of the Sun.

I'm boy wonder and you're, 'Boy, how is he alone?'

Olive-skinned cardigan, pearl pores.
Hair like ink and a jaw-line sharp enough to cut an umbilical cord.

Vintage Nikes come to a point,
the swoosh as red as the cherry at the end of your cigarette.

I watch you smoke and choke,
before calling phantoms over.
It begins like October:
The leaves fall, like your friends steps,
the bronze sweeps the air,
like the curls of their smiles,
the air is silent,
like your words as they condense and drop into the mouth of a tanned canyon.

What could they ever do to conquer you,
my dear, fantastic frenzy?
Ashland, Wisconsin

Also, special thanks to my girlfriend, for her blessing.
  Aug 2015 Margot Dylan
Joshua Haines
Tortured people tell themselves the past never happened.
They sit and reminisce about memories that they created.

Their hands are brown and worn down,
looking like a sibling of the ground that will eventually be a tomb for their bodies.

The teeth are fake and so are the smiles.
Hair falls off like rusty leaves brushed by a breeze, warning of the death of winter.
Limbs turn into string, ******* hang, and guts grow; like pregnant, stray cats.

Whenever they die, their houses will be eaten by their children, and not even a piece of gristle or a picture frame will be left.

The house will be nothing but a sun-dried ribcage:
a discarded postcard with the address marked out.

The children will sit and talk of their parents, repressing the abuse and the inability to meet expectations.

The children will work in sterile cubicles, thankful that their hands will not be stamped by calluses, yet knowing their fathers would not approve.

The children will open up the dust-blanketed boxes and stare at old family pictures, not able to recognize the people who smile and have perfect posture.

The children will lay in bed with their spouses and say, to no one in particular,
'Why was it never enough?
What did I do?

Was it me?'

The children will be tortured by these words,
by lives that weren't in technicolor,
by the paranoia of being tolerated instead of liked,
by the anxiety that a paid-off house
and nice car couldn't alleviate,
by themselves.

The children will retire and will have realized that they worked their entire lives just to enjoy ten years.
Their hair follicles will let go of strands and locks,
like a dandelion being stripped by the wind.

The enamel on their teeth will corrode and, before long, they will be thankful for the sensitivity of their teeth because the coldness of senior-citizen-discounted ice cream will be one of the few things they will be able to feel, let alone put a genuine smile on their face.

They will sit on their recliners, stare at their keyboard-kissed fingers and tell themselves the past never happened.

Because that's what tortured people do.
Ashland, Wisconsin
  Aug 2015 Margot Dylan
Joshua Haines
Old men fascinated by teen *****
and the hues harnessed by high school hips,
I ask you to look at something corrupted:
yourself, this town, this world.

The town's lumber supplier has died
and daughters fight over dollars.

Greasy haired women, wearing denim,
smoking menthols and bruised with cheap make-up,
stand on fractured sidewalks.

I walk, wearing a Native American-ized fleece,
the Chippewa crush their cigarettes
and blink like lizards at me
because I wear bastardization,
but wash it.

Half the town smokes,
and if you ask the pastor,
the whole town smokes
because everyone's going to hell.

All the girls read John Green
and flip the pages because it's a cheaper escape than a bus ticket.

Plato said that everything changes
and nothing stands still;
these people will suffer,
their bodies will break down,
and they will die --
but what never changes is their hope
in eventual death.

What cannot change is my hope
in something more.
Ashland, Wisconsin
  Aug 2015 Margot Dylan
Joshua Haines
The sky looks like cigarette ashes in a puddle of milk,
and I, almost 22, am unsatisfied that I have not won a Pulitzer.

And I, on the borderline of delusion and confidence, am unsatisfied I am not crazy or cocky enough to submit to The New Yorker.

I hear the voices of the pastors,
telling me that God heals all.

They say 'He' is the only absolute.

The people raise their hands towards the water-stained ceiling,
as if He'll push his arms through the copper-colored scabs and save them.

Grabbing their wrists and cooing,
I am the remedy to the anxiety of death.

I am six foot one and French, Irish, Cherokee,
some sort of Anglo-Saxon,
and a lost **** in a drowning garden.

I think about all those who had to ****,
in order to make my cheekbones,
eyebrows, lips, and ****.

I think about how I'm good at *** and bad when it comes to forgiving too easily.

I wonder how I can sweat on another body,
but only feel naked when I have to be myself.

I watch the elderly chant words:
******, ******, ****, and Half-Breed.
I study if their dry lips reflect the hate in their eyes.

Not all are like this,
but I am surrounded by tables of them,
as I pretend to be Christian,
just to get ahead.

I don't speak,
just sit like an unfilled bubble,
waiting to be marked out by graphite.
I feel like a *******,
I wish I had a Pulitzer.

The sky looks like a stretched grape,
covered in kisses of ******.
And I, white American conformist,
am unsatisfied
that I have succumbed to the American Dream.

I wish I had a Pulitzer,
I wish I had my mom and dad.
Ashland, Wisconsin
  Aug 2015 Margot Dylan
Joshua Haines
Well, we were the History club rejects,
focusing on the effects
of being us
instead of in a book.

Two college drop-outs,
calling in shout-outs
to our friends,
hoping that it affected
how we looked.

Our dads would sleep in,
and our moms were crying
until a quarter past noon --
and we knew
if we didn't start trying,
that would be us, soon.

We were the starving artists,
painting fruit we couldn't afford.
Hoping each brushstroke of an artichoke
would be fruitful to our wallet,
or at least strike a chord.

Two love-loss orphans,
dreaming of morphing
into something or someone else.
But they told us
to remove that fluff
from our head
and put it on the shelves.

We were the film club fanatics,
studying the dynamics
of how to be a pretend person.
We wanted to be
a Wes Anderson flick,
but we were never any thing
other than who we were
and that's what made us sick.

And I swear I miss the desperation:
I'm nostalgic for yesterday's conversations.
Special thanks to Noah Baumbach for the title and the line.
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