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Mike Hentges Mar 2018
I'm not okay
and thats okay.
Sometimes its okay to not be okay.
Mike Hentges Feb 2018
A baby learning to walk. an old man fails to.

you haven't been touched in a week aside from a man who likes your socks and shoelaces offering you an elbow cause you have a chicken sandwich in your hands.

Shorts so small you can see the pockets. Red hair. Walking past fossils cause you're looking at your phone.

Why did you go in the "insect zoo" Mike? You ****** hate spiders.

your most human interaction is the man who asks if he can use your leftover donut bag to carry his food. The food he got from the soup kitchen across the street. The one you went to to use the bathroom. Borrowing him privilege in bag form.
he doesn't like to eat outside. Too many mosquitoes. He babywalks with a cane.

The gun that shot Lincoln is tiny and I am interested in it only for it's death potential.

A French family crying, don't have the right papers to get into the White house tour. I wish I could tell them the tour wasn't that good.

drunk conversation with brother about father.
don't talk to. Don't know how. Don't want to.

I am swallowed by the heat
The silence that passes for conversation.
my mother is very conservative. the strain of hiding myself. Closed lips

I am a silent eavesdropper. A parent pays 7.50 for a ****** tourist piece of pizza. Placed in front of her child. Exhaustion drips off her face. Oozes out of her posture. Her kid doesn't like the pizza. Mouth a tight line. The child tells a story. The tight line blooms into laughter.

My friend (I wonder about kissing her) goes to a Philando Castile memorial.  I go to the lincoln memorial. Pictures and profit. It's smaller than I thought while she’s heavy from the impact.
Memorial – pictures – walking – repeat – heat – feet – and the wondering of how much memorializing goes on at giant statues.

His fedora looks stupid. small kids bumps into me. child-style. I don't see him cause I'm so tall. His mother tells him to watch where he's going.

My dad’s not on the trip. Divorce’ll do that to you. My brother calls him a lost soul

The trip was good and I would never go again.
Mike Hentges Feb 2018
As my brother and I drove away from my grandmother’s funeral he asked me if maybe grandpa called her “Anne” instead of “grandma” was because he didn’t remember who we were.

I think I’ve cried more about Hannah than I did at my grandma’s funeral. Which is kinda ****** up cause Hannah isn’t dead she just doesn’t want to date me anymore.

So I feel like kind of an *******.
I’m kind of an *******.

Hannah’s not her real name.

I have this blanket. On my bed. My grandma crocheted it for me – to give to me on my wedding day.

I’m not married.  
You could probably guess that.

And my grandma is dead now.
You could probably guess that too.

The blanket sleeps on my bed.
My bed sleeps in my memories of
where Hannah used to lay.
Soft slumber and figures puzzling together in the warm darkness – thick with breath
The blanket following the soft curves of her body and now I’m thinking of my naked ex and dead grandma in the same sentence and we should change the subject.

My grandparents slept in separate beds and I always thought that was weird.
Grandma was like peanut butter on homemade bread
The fancy peanut butter. Not that Jiffy crap.

It was the bread that made the difference.
give a loaf of it to each family for Christmas
My cousin got the recipe but she doesn’t make it right.

We made ramen once. Hannah and I, not me and my grandma. We didn’t use a recipe and the eggs made her sick.

I had a cold when I hugged my grandma and I fear it made her sick.

She died two days later.

Grandma once said you’re never too old to hug your grandparents.
Mike Hentges Feb 2018
Anxiety glows in the dark
The nightlight you can’t turn off
Bioluminescence highlighting the worry lines on your face

I’ve been saying things outloud recently
to try and help me deal with stuff, y'know stuff like
she’ll never love you
stuff like
you have an anxiety disorder you broken *******

i dont know that its helping

she remains the gum stuck to the underside of my tabletop mind
grows stale while I endlessly chew over her memories
my jaw grows sore – tastes bitter and salty, like tears in your morning coffee
and that would be a terrible flavor for gum

its like cry driveways because you told yourself you deserve to be happy and your mind couldn't ******* handle it
couldn't process that
instead the logic leaks out your eyes and disperses in every throaty gag of misplaced regret
my eyes need windshield wipers and my windshield wipers need to be replaced.
the new ones are in the backseat but its been so cold i haven't gotten around to it.

It’s bad form to show emotions at work
Instead you write ****** poetry, one arm covering your paper like a 4th grader who doesn’t want anyone to steal his test answers
where am i going with this? is this just a venting poem?
a poem to feed the seed of depression born out of our sapling romance?
I need a 2 drop spell, tap 1 and a blue
Counter target emotion
That was a magic the gathering reference but I don’t expect you to get it.
im rambling now - scrambling thoughts of her cascading down my interior monologue
blink and her face has been burned into the nightlit darkness that waits behind my eyelids.
she can join the rest of the crew there, like a ****** up breakfast club of regrets that comes to shake hands every morning

i've never seen that movie but hey, at least it’s a reference you'll probably get

ugh. This got sad fast. I’m sorry. I didn’t get much sleep last night. i couldn’t turn off my nightlight.
Mike Hentges Feb 2018
my brother does this thing where he siphons the stories from someone. Usually old people because they have the best stories

I drive through the old homestead – the fog of my emotions

Have of my memories

My father does this thing where he holds his little hands at his waist, twisting them inside one another

We are three generations eating dominoes pizza

Defined by death and divorce – not there and not existing yet
My grandfather is 90. He is stories made flesh and my brother pulls at them like a rope from a,


Because he has discovered the census data for Ham Lake from 1940

My grandfather tells stories of the missing generation

His father – can’t work because he’s a welfare brat

His mother died young

Stepmother an angel – gave him socks when his father was crying because they cut him off

My father – tells underbreath mumbles of lost arguments and lost respect – he gives me socks for Christmas

Father drank a lot. You get to pick who I’m talking about. Maybe alcoholism skips a generation. If so I fear for my children.

Grandpa joined the navy. His father got a job – everyday worked it through sickness and in health – a marriage of money and mind because the paycheck meant freedom and freedom meant everything

He finds his dad at work – navy uniform coated in the expectations of his brothers.

“So you went and did it.”

The story kind of trails off there, the way old people stories do. Kind of like young person poems

I helped my dad set up the TV we got him for Christmas

Because he never used the guitar center gift card from last year.
Mike Hentges Jan 2018
You ever notice how it's hard to appreciate giant bronze statues when you're hungry?
I rumble

an empty stomach
I need to be filled and a thousand dollar plane ticket leads to an attempt to do that

It gets blasé after awhile

"Oh, you're church doesn't have gold mosaic ceilings? What is this trash?"

I'm surrounded, guns drawn
by an endless litany of priceless art and artifacts


I find more inspiration in the teen trying to herd pigeons than the golden horses on the Venice balcony
more from the father trying to teach his baby daughter that cigarette butts aren't a thing to be picked off the ground
(there are some conversations you don't need to speak the same language to understand)
than the ancient cannons in the Salzburg castle wall
the cannons used in some ancient battle that truly represented the blah blah blah
A long time ago men died here, killed each other, defending their home so that years later privileged ***** like me could stand around it and take pictures and not give a ****. All for the low low price of 10 €.
If you stand very still you can feel the ground shake underneath you
the collective drone of the tourists rumbling
Mouths watering on feed me your culture
I step into a building older than my country. In the bottom is an H&M

I fill myself in the simple message poured out of a spray can on a Munich subway wall
I ♥ U

or perhaps, what filled me the most
Thanksgiving dinner
was some graffiti scrawled in shaky hand at the base of a statue in Barcelona.
The graffiti was in French

"Je suis malade"
I am sick
Mike Hentges Jan 2018
We stand in line for a delayed plane airport stale oxygen recycled through our mouths. This is work.
“It’s gonna be fun to watch.”
We’re popcorn on the sidelines. Your sorrow is our television and soon we will fly to vegas. Because our white ***** make us bulletproof. Make us able to say things like “It’s gonna be fun to watch.” Instead of saying things like “I’m scared.” And “I can’t believe this is happening.”
The conversation continues. This is work.
“Those females sure do have a way about them don’t they?”
I wonder myself a coward. Does the upstart stand over the 60 year old? He’s a short man.
“Did you see that one?”
They’re talking about *****.
“Oh how could I miss it? He’s helping me find my wife, you know?”
What is the proper response to a sexist wink? I awkwardly smile. This is work.
Plane boards.
Slot machines in the airports.
Decadence. I’ve never been. The neon hits me like stargazing. Walking alone seems to be more palpable to my tastes than company. There’s strippers on the sidewalk. One tries to spank me. When you walk back to your Paris themed hotel at 2 in the morning, everyone wants you to go to the *******. My hotel room is spacious. ******* is odd when you’re surrounded by ***.

Time rolls into the work event I’m in Vegas for, like limousines and unenthusiastic drummers strapped to the backs of moving advertisements. It’s a social event. I’m supposed to play nice with my customers. Make them happy so they give me more money. I’m paraphrasing.
One of my customers is talking to one of his customers. The guy is around 85. He notes on how young I look. Says that I can use this to my advantage with the ladies. Oh sorry. I’m paraphrasing again. What he actually said was:
“Never get married. When I was 40 I caught ***** like you wouldn’t believe. I’d find a 23 year old and toss her away for someone younger.”
Time rolls into overpriced drinks walking hand in hand with gambling and stories of conquest
Like champions of our pants we are gladiators in the absence of romance. The game of one-up-man-ship, each story told and stacked like the cards slapping down on the tables around us.

“There was a 99.9% chance I was going to bang this chick. She like, had her hand on my leg. I had my arm around her. And I was the hero of the night because I had gotten a bachelorette party over.”
“Oh yeah, she’s hot.” “ Your wife is ******* standing right there, dude.”
“You know if things are wrong at the house cause my wife keeps me up aaaaalllll night. Talk talk talk talk.”
He moves his hands like lobster claws to mimic his wife’s mouth.  I feel my awkward smile crack across my face again. I pay $10 for a watered down drink. I talk to a girl who doesn’t want to talk to me. She leaves.
“You strike out or something?”
When you walk back to your Paris themed hotel at 4 in the morning, everyone wants to ******* in exchange for your wallet.

“Where are you going? You ever had black *****?”

My hotel room is spacious.
It’s odd to feel alone when company can be paid for. And as I lie naked in my bed I wonder what it would be like to have *** with a *******. I feel failure creeping at the floor, climbing the sheets that tell me I’m in the city of sin, so why am I not sinning?
“You strike out or something?”

As men we are taught to be strong and that we don’t need anyone
This is work
(but I must have missed the ******* lesson)

Because it seems I need someone. More than the soft cheek kiss of innocence lost. I want the feeling of seeing old people hold hands. The hard glare of the no judgement mirror. It’s like *** over *******, but there is silence in the nothing and if you listen closely you can hear the screaming drool between each ***** syllable. I’m tired of – **** it.
Let’s keep this a secret. Don’t want my man card revoked.
Have you ever felt like you could die and no one would give a ****?
A hangover morning pours overpriced coffee into our stale eyes. It seems the strength has waned
Tunes have changed
And the act is becoming hard to keep up. If you look at the corners of their eyes you can see they miss their wives and warn of men like themselves to their daughters.
But that doesn’t make for good stories, does it?
“I’m ready to leave”
“I can’t say I’m a fan of Vegas”
“I hate this town.”
Even wolves travel in packs and I wonder if some consider the proper response to a sexist wink to be an awkward story.
A company too exhausted, from dripping money and LED seduction to wonder if society knows the size of all our tiny penises.
“I’m tired of people assuming that just because I make a decent amount of money that I’m a republican.”
“Oh I hate Trump. He’s a monster.”
We’re getting somewhere.
“You ever motorboated *******?”
Aaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back.
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