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ghost man Mar 28
everybody knows everybody
in the starbucks my girlfriend works at.

noticing each other,
trying to remember the name,
and then meeting eyes,
and then smiling despite not yet knowing,
and their hands touch hands touch the backs of chairs
and suddenly i am watching a reunion.
high school, married last november,
gym sundays, bible study,
coffee, tea, milk, honey,
insurance job,
pyramid scheme.  

at the same time,
i am watching a job interview
and a lunch break
and the beginning of seventeen days dispersed across the floor,
and the first time they hold hands.
the speaker is playing her favorite song,
the way she's nodding to the beat,
the way they're not looking at one another
like it's all just a big mistake,
and i am noting their drink choices,
comparing the tastes, the temps.
i catch myself mid-decision,
it isn't mine to make.

a table away, a couple of men sit
and scam each other for hours.
i think how they must hate each other,
and how much they hate competing
for the same thing first.

everybody knows everybody
in the starbucks by the main road,
meeting each other.
scamming each other.
lying or telling too much of the truth.

no one has seen me yet.
i watch them drink
and meet each other
and hate each other
and shake hands before parting.
ghost man Nov 2022
The structural integrity of mountain towns is wrong.

My relationship, feeling seven and two, she hails from Florida and I am from the same five streets I know like the back of my hand. Five, seven, two. She asked what there was to do in this town when she first arrived, and I didn’t know what to say. I don’t not move but I don’t go anywhere. If there’s something in between.

It’s raining. I walk her down the hill to the car. Gravel. Slick. Bad for the shoes. She laughs at the street. Our hands are wet, and I’m harming more than I’m helping.

Mountain towns, she says.

Maybe not the street, but the water. She laughs at the water.

I never thought about it as a river, the thing rushing down the lip of the curb. Rivers are in the mountains, and you have to hike to get to the mountains, but she calls my driveway a mountain, and she calls the city a mountain. Mountain Town.

They call Asheville a Bowl, I say. I don’t really know. If they do.

The structural integrity of a river is the water.
ghost man Sep 2022
does woman love woman
on the same floor,
or is it merely that
men get to their knees
and place themselves beneath
and weep about the sensation of
being beneath,
so low that they feel below the floor,
being beneath,
and does man love man
still on this floor,
still lower-than,
still on his knees,
or do they have their own floor,
do they have their own world,
do they love each other
with the beauty that
they prescribe onto
the girls, the girls,
the girls in heels,
so above,
or do they love each other
flattening themselves,
killing themselves,
proving they will be smaller
for their fellow, but greater,
taller, safer,
stronger, realer
prettier man?
just put the heels on, men.
ghost man Sep 2022
i know how to write please in cursive.

i like the way the a bleeds into the s,
i like the line off that last e,
like it's not ready to go,
i like how pretty the word is,
the way it flattens itself at the end
like it's embarrassed to be here,
on this page, still connected to my hand,
and i like that i can write it.

please, please. please, please,
please please pleaseplease,

i'm good at please,
around the edges of both
and lineless,
tying together its letters,
and making it thin,
and sliding it across the table
to you,
or somebody else,
anybody else
i could possibly beg to

but as much as i try,
with three l's and an i,

i just can't get the hello right
ghost man Sep 2022
crescent nail between bottom teeth,
weak enough to bend with the tongue
and fidget with until fracturing
into something invisible
and perfectly sized to swallow.

it picks things off its body
to feed itself with.

its cells, its scabs,
its nails, its spots,
its hands, its eyes,
its touch, touch,
touch, touch, touch,
searching for so long,
for so long, it says,
and gropes the corners of the room
feeling across the floor,
through the dust, tracing grooves of wood,
for something important.

it picks things off its body until there's
nothing left to search with.

it wants a friend, and it wants more

and i want more than more than more than that.
ghost man Apr 2022
i spill the words like coins into the couch cushions.

you look at me.

i say, hello,
in that way that people say hello when they
really need an answer now,
before panic, ideally,
before regret.

you look at me.

you look at me.

you look at me.

is anybody in there?

is anybody in there? i joke,
because i'm joking now
because that is how to salvage things
or, at least, it used to be,
pretend it's humor,
pretend it's a misunderstanding,
pretend it's anything other than what it is,

but you're grabbing my face
and your nails are sharp
and you're pulling me into you like limp cloth
and my hands are out to the sides like limp cloth

and you're calling me
idiot, idiot, idiot
and i'm saying
sorry, sorry, sorry
and i feel the metal of my cents start to warm
under the bodies we've got
ghost man Apr 2022
rest assured
you taste
exactly as
i thought
you would
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