An Abstract for Insecurity

I’m my best self in the morning, and as the day goes on

Indecision and insecurity breed each other into dependency,

I want to dance in the kitchen of our lives, like slow mornings over bowls and breakfast. Hit the road with you, trains and airplanes

Our moods are tells for an exhaustion we can’t appease, rising and falling in darkness,

I don’t want to make you an anchor for stability. We’d just sink to the bottom.

Hit the mat with emotional uncertainty, breathe length into it, leave independently.

take a byte

some kinda student
of the world
the digital sears
my eyes
this retina display
an optical delusion
trying to adjust the brightness
of reality

watch the waves
of content, waterfall
latency (what the fuck)
built by digital engineers
first thing we do in the morning
gather at the watering hole
get drunk on listicles

no place for that old booky smell
no place for a lover in the morning light
or psychedelic escapes in the summertime
job prospects perched on the windowsill
hold onto your stories
tidal wave’s coming

The Met is dripping

some workers are looking
for the problem

I’m sitting in the room with the Egyptian Ruins
& massive windows that look out
over Central Park

See Susan, one worker says
he points at a wet spot on the ground
Susan touches the drip
nods seriously

The wishing well beneath me
the floor to ceiling windows
the metal that frames the glass
creates a grid of rectangles
the water grids ripple

Over here too Susan
Susan walks a couple of feet
touches a larger water drop with her pointer
rubs it between her fingers
nods gravely

A girl takes a selfie in front of
Male Figure with a Diadem
2nd – 1st century
she smiles with all her teeth
she lifts the phone up way overhead
snaps & walks away grimly
face cast down to phone
she nearly walks into Susan

The ladies beside me draw up their legs quickly
Susan almost walks on them
Susan is not aware of her surroundings
her neck is craned up at the ceiling
she is holding her neck with her hand
it’s sore
she’s been staring at the ceiling for ten minutes

There is a brown pile of something in the wishing well
it’s not shit
it’s ceiling
Susan sees
shakes her head
her shoes click as
walks away primly

Susan comes back with a pale and
a net
most often used to clean out
tiny fishbowls
she fishes out the piece of ceiling
drops it in the bucket
her co-worker picks up the bucket
they walk away

It’s hard to say what they’ll do with it
a drop falls on my neck

Boy will be

“When in doubt, wear lipstick.” -Sina Queyras
Put my eyes on
before work.
Wear a silk scarf
like a cowboy.
Pull my hair up,
let my hair down,
dress the part:
yesterday’s jeans,
last season’s jacket.
This morning I want to look
Inside I’m afraid of haters,
but I hold on to that
like the lipstick,
bright red
for the boys.

from a largely un-worked work-in-progress

The three-story building shouldered the sharp winter wind. Pastel teal paint, dull in the grey light, had lost its charm. The white of the shutters had begun to surrender. Harsh fluorescent blue streaked out of a window on the first floor, left of the entrance. Someone on the third floor was watching TV, or had otherwise left their set on through the night.  Dated script on the glass read Balmoral, number 5661. Two trees sat on either side of a cracked cement pathway that led to the large glassed-in foyer. Leaves helplessly scraped along the ground outside, the branches that stabbed the sky had been barren for months. The winter hung on, not bitterly, but with a certain determination.

Ruth stood on the sidewalk across the street from her apartment building and inhaled deeply. As she walked across the street she tickled around her pocket for her keys, ducking to hide in her collar. She rolled the key into her grasp and unlocked the heavy metal and glass door. As she stepped over the threshold the door swung violently away from the jamb, slamming into the foyer wall before she could catch it. The wind fought with her, attempting to pry the door out of her fingers . Finally, her pull was stronger than the push and she managed, with both hands, to yank the door to a loud close. She breathed heavy for a moment in the silence and felt a sweep of sweat mingle with guilt for making so much noise so early in the morning. Ruth adjusted her fallen canvas bag, pushing it firmly onto her shoulder, and continued through the second glass door. Inside, the building was warm and smelled of freshly brewed coffee, mixed with the permanent staleness of old carpet.

When you escape your own poetry reading

on Saturday we decide
to hit the road,
just GO like Kerouac
or Holmes straddling the white
line of highway.

we reach the cabin:
fresh gray paint. up here it is still
the dead of winter
so we hack
down trees and burn
the Yellow Pages for warmth.

The Beatles will always be cool
you say with glazed eyes,
wine warmth.

and for a moment we are
allowed to believe
this is all
we really need.

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Sitting on a bench waiting for you to wake up

please don’t dismiss me
while dismissing my inability to come
out of myself
long enough to express
how perfectly you push
all my buttons

i just want to be good for somebody
i just want someone to care about
what is good for me
and since I don’t know
can we build it together?

because the bricks don’t fit and
I like windows but
these ones are freaking me out

are the floors supposed to creak this much?
should the mattress be up off the ground?
the temperature is perfect
and if I close my eyes I can smell you —
so I want to call it home but
I don’t think the water is running yet,

though we know I might try.
I’m far to tempted to say
“go find someone that is what you want
and leave me alone”
for I know that in effigie 
will always outshine
in esse 

A note from the poet: I likened my ideas to matches this morning, and my notebook like a pile of flint. There always seems to be the potential for a spark, but when I’m writing poetry it seems I work through a slew of matches very quickly. So lately, when I’ve tried to consider writing fiction, it feels like I don’t have any matches left. My notebook, these thoughts, feelings, observations that I collect each day, they need a little kindling. Maybe I’m just not quite sure what I’ve got to say anymore. Poetry is my own truth, fiction feels like it should be a little more universal. A raging bonfire that collects people around in a circle. A poem demands less, it can be a small as a lit cigarette being passed between two people.