TO WANT IT
“go outside,” the doctor says,
“stand on the grass for fifteen minutes a day.”
you’re here because today you want to get better.
“tell me how you’re feeling.”
“I mean physically.”
“so do I.”
an angel can come in a burst of a blister,
on the tip of a finger.
he always starts small
with the whispers,
“i know about love,”
like you asked for it.
he prefers to come at the end of the month,
amid deadlines, another set of blood-soaked, ruined *******,
of the relationship with your father and failure.
but you like that: having an excuse that sends you
scrambling for car keys.
at first it’s forests, their fires,
the flowers that follow once the ash and skin and soil
are mixed. at first it’s earth and rubbing it in,
seeing god behind your eyelids.
so you clean the pipes, keep washing sheets.
the voices they stop coming; once in a while you
read online how many kids this week have overdosed
on ****** and it’s foreign. kids with dirt
under their fingernails, kids in basements, kids
with ***** canvas shoes and overgrown cuticles.
they don’t look like you. you still look like
mike sparks a j in the basement.
we chew on xanax and no one’s paying attention to the TV.
some white static and early afternoon rain. it’s made me gone
ghost, sitting on a leather recliner, silent with a cigarette.
it’s a right of initation to carve your name in mike’s
coffee table and sign on the back wall. this summer I added
mine alongside the kids I used to get nervous around in high school.
his mom comes downstairs with a joint of her own rolled
and a French manicure. her lip liner is too dark for her
lipstick, and phil’s warmly lit and ivan leans so far into the
couch he isn’t human.
mike sits up, “ma,
you know you owe me some money?” he changes the channel.
she laughs throaty, her insides a swamp. she’s
prettier when she’s high like this.
“I got your money,” she promises. it gets soft
from there and phil smiles over his body and ivan moves
further into the couch. she touches mike’s hair.
“good kid,” she tells me and I smile up at her. I wish I had
a body but I left it wandering through
the thunderstorm outside. ivan nods his hazy head.
mike hands her a diet coke and she hands him a fifty and she goes—through the walls—
phil digs his hand into the couch cushions to find papers. I go
ghost in the seconds it takes him to spark his lighter.
the ghost lights herself a cigarette.
the ghost lights herself another cigarette.
the ghost lights herself a cigarette. “are you chain
smoking now,” phil slurs playfully. “yes,” the ghost agrees.
“are you having fun,” ivan turns to her.
i don't want to know what love is like i want
tastes like apples and
i want real raw
i want to shoot up every
grey second for two weeks— get frantic then
take benzodiazepine until i shred my
stomach lining, singing
i want bud light and
a backyard. bed time stories and
white furniture and ritz crackers
with fancy party cheeses
i want to complain about the drinking age,
new york’s black-dusty wind charm. complain like the
moon is still lonely and not a destination
i want to wake up in the sun spot
i want to wake up to a baby crying
soft like mothers do, going to
that dear one to quiet them down,
i can be here to kiss you calm
i want to get out of bed
i want to call friends back
so winter can come and i can still
throwing on the rag&bon;; jeans,
neither rag nor bone more milky skeleton-ized, eyes
pin headed. faces struck yellow all tops of the heads
with umbrellas and sorry throats. "here take mine" no
"you'll get sick" it's fine
the gothic church with social strangers
tweakers and nodders all smiley side-
i know the gimme gimme
i know the routine
and blondie (they think) here she comin she twenty years clean
blondies a baby she weak as **** she dont know what she got
but i know the "i want" "i want"
and the ok baby,
i dont want to know what love is like,
i want to walk the manhattan bridge at sunrise
grass wisps and capers
chicken noodle soup
a night at the new york city ballet
and pauses in sentences, in breath
the breath before a kiss or the breath
after it. i want instant hot chocolate
and reality television, ugg slippers with
faux trim. a bicycle painted lilac with a
basket, and clear skin. i want pier 63 on
a 70 degree day, the weepies playing
i want to be a ghost
where ghosts are white sheets with two button eyes
and make jokes about halloween and their past lives
i want to go there
to street fairs
and watch fireworks and write out names
in fresh concrete patches
i want to eat blackberries in the bathtub
i want skin to make me feel safe again
i want to want to live
but i know the "i want" "i want" and the ok baby,
they were right,
they were all
they were righjt
they were right
air hanging eyes to dry
blood pull in push out brown golden push IN
they were right they were all right
nothing could ever make me as happy again
it’s a hold on something so quiet and soft in your hands and no one knows what it is and you dont know what it is. it’s the pin drop in a hospital room and so lemonade refreshing. im in a snowstorm and i cant see the city, cant see past my own two feet. im on a long highway drive and it’s rain that comes in sheets so hard i cant move. i walk and the world writhes underneath me and we put needles in our arms. and we wait for the blood push. and i watch my life go away in warm *******. and i watch it go this way like it’s not me. and i’m going home to ****** and i’m scared, i say outloud to maggie, “i’m scared i’m going to do something stupid,” and she is so quick to say “like what” that i know she knows what it is. and i’m so scared.
give up on me , I Know where im going. don’t follow. don’t even look for me. keep
Counting sugar cubes and stirring your coffee , it is my wish for you that it always tastes sweet.
I love you
i just wanted to be kept warm by something that looked like love
i walk slower on the streets of manhattan; stop at
the strand, look for the man with eyebrow rings
asking "do you know where a girl in this city could get some relief?"
he laughs, says he just looks like someone who would know
that. he asks, "is that Monster Blood?”
this will continue to be edited from time to time. it's a long poem i'm working on as a semester project.