Conversations we are having at a party


(Whoah, there you go, you got it? Nice.)

So – if sometimes the gate opens, I get this flood. I see a golden necklace rusting in the sweat on the back of my neck, driving to Philly without air conditioning. I see pink hospital walls. I see

(Oh yeah, sorry, I don’t know where your wallet is. Good luck with that one.)

Where was I? I see the lake I swam across, all the way, paddling fearless, up in Maine. And all the small islands that I’ve visited, all the ponds. They start to bubble

(Aw, man, not on the carpet! Jesus! God, somebody get him to a bathroom)

to bubble up in my mind and spill all the waterweed and the big bugs up out my eyes. I start to not be able to stop it. I start to get them mixed up, and suddenly I’m seeing, like, a heart monitor stand and an IV bag, but they’re in the basement of the house we stayed in in Georgia when I was twelve, with the ping pong table and the sand all over the floor, and the bedbugs. It’s beeping in the corner, and no, man, I’m good, I’ve had like five shots and I have a nine am class tomorrow; it’s beeping in the corner and then I take a shot with the ping pong racket, or whatever you call it, and hit it square on, and it blinks right off. So the gate’s open, right? And so I’m wondering, if there’s more coming through that I’m not seeing. All the things you remember, or that, I guess I mean, that you don’t remember, all the things that happened to you daily that are lost, like, forever in the void of your memory. Am I seeing them all the time? But I’ve just learned to tune them out? Like I’m taking my lit final and writing an essay or some shit and all the while, behind the table and the pen and paper, I’m seeing the toy horses that I used to play with as a kid? And the face of my mother and her soft shoulder in my face as she feeds me?

(Get a room, guys.)

I’m seeing it all at once. Like right now, I’m talking to you, at a party, and it’s loud, but I think this isn’t even the loudest noise. The loudest noise is the music my dad used to play in the car on the way to soccer practice on Thursday nights in fifth grade. It’s just so loud that my brain has to shut it off, otherwise I’d go deaf.


predator and prey

Oh, like, dude, in English class we were talking about words. And what if I made a list of words that I feel like when we go to these things. Viper, rattlesnake, honeybee, hawk, egg, punched, island, familiar. Prey! Like,

(Um, let me just – thanks.)

I feel like precedent, like pressure, like shell. I feel like godspeed, and speed, and mash, and tablet. Buzzed-up yellow tiger denim raving porcelain diamond. Do you ever feel like – pondweed?

(Oh, I know, weed, that’s so – that’s so funny, man.)

Predator national skin goblet fox killer saltwater swordfish. This night is a little more… well, we were talking about patterns. In class, you know. And I seem to be saying, to be – saying, maybe, that the way I feel when we are like, rolling up here, it’s like … giant. It’s a stingray, it’s a scorpion. It’s black and full of a million things. It’s a list of words that have been made up but lost. It’s the words we haven’t made up yet. The ones that only come out of the mouths of kids like us. Sharks no minnows. Winnowing throat burn. A burrow in a frog pond. The face of an owl. She looks just like one.

(Dude, I meant – I know that’s your girlfriend, man. God. Anyway, sorry. It’s weird. I’ll shut up. Jesus.)



Hey! How have you been! Oh god I know I said I would tell you! Well let’s go over here let’s just…. okay that’s good. Okay. Girl you’re not gonna believe this. It was like, so dead crazy. Okay, so we were in the bathroom at the – yeah, you got it. And okay, he was like (motions) God I know! He was just like (wild motions) and I was like (wide eyes) and I was like (waves hands in a particular way) Ugh! And I didn’t expect that one. Right? (face of agreement) I was expecting something else from like him of all people. I was not expecting, like, (motions again) that.

No, it was okay. It was like, he was all – (unintelligible). Right! And I wasn’t like wanting that. I still (gesture with right hand) you know, with Jordan. Yeah. So I told him that, like, we could, you know, I don’t know, (opening and closing eyes quickly) talk about it. But all he would do is (nods) yeah. So (shrugging) – and I – yeah. (Nodding strongly) Ugh, it was – (gesturing again, shaking head). So that’s what happened (glancing away) I guess. Oh they’ve got – (taking steps)– I’ve got to go. I’ve got to –


brief dreams

I know this is so surreal I think I’ve had a little too much but the

rain’s stopped and that’s got to mean something hey didn’t you say

you knew something about


Shut up you’re sleepwalking I found you in bed you are sleeping where you’re not wanted

you’re not wanted shut up I’ll walk you back I’ll put your face in the sink for you I’ll

put your face in the water where you’re wanted where am I wanted I wanted for you to tell me

but you were asleep

Ears are important when you hear things with them isn’t that obvious and I would want to fly with them but I don’t have room for any other wanting right now in my heart it would seem except for the wanting that has to do with


Except for the place where you are holding

my ears in your fingers

delicately like they are chambers of a dog-heart

more softly and with more reverence than even if they were my hearts

because you are worrying about what would happen if they heard something they were not supposed to


memories II

(Staring at the wall with an uncomfortable expression) I know I was talking about this the other night, but do you ever realize how you’re not able to forget things? That maybe you don’t think of them but they’re always there just the same? Right, god. Why do I even come to these anymore? I’m just like, the guy in the corner. (Oh, you’re not even listening anymore.) I might as well not talk anymore. I might as well just say what I wanted to anyway, which is that every night I think about one specific day, and sometimes it’s the day when that happened in that room, and I always think, Jesus, what did you think I wanted you to say? Whatever it was, it wasn’t that, it wasn’t what you – actually said. I had like, given birth, or else just exposed that part of me, which maybe hadn’t been exposed to anyone before, and it was sitting right in your bed. I wanted you to say, “Thank you.” I wanted you to say, “What do you need.” It was like, I got kicked in the guts like a dog who doesn’t know that he’s had anything wrong done to him. (Silence for a while.)

Oh, I’m just spouting shit. God, sorry. I’m such a pretentious shit when I’m – like this. But if I’m going to be anyway, what do you think about parallel universes? That room was a universe factory. But in this one, it always happens the same way, every single time. Oh, I love this song! Anyway, enough of that. I’m gonna like go and dance. (Nods).



I go into cups. I go into the surreal which is just a level of the more real, which doesn’t matter at all and is stupid. I’m in her body, and his, and hers, and mostly in my own. I can see everything from above. It’s not that deep. I’m just here. I’m up in the air but I’m here. I think of a girl by a lake. She’s skipping rocks. I think of planets and big suns. I will never be so young again, I have never been so old! I sound like a poem or an old book. I lose all these thoughts. They don’t matter and that is a type of relief so strong I can’t make it come out of my mouth. I don’t have responsibilities to you. Or perhaps I do, and that is a relief in itself. It is a relief to have people with which there is a larger level of understanding than the verbal. The lingual. It is such a relief to have these people, even if you do not engage in that type of exchange too often. I go into cups and swim. Swimming is the best metaphor for the way we are all together. All of us putting our youth right into the water, or whatever it is. I’ve lost track again, and I don’t think these thoughts matter, and that relieves me of something I didn’t know I was carrying.


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