You Are Never More Beautiful Than You Are in a Smoke-Filled Room

You are never more beautiful than you are in a smoke-filled room

On cheap pleather seats the same shade maroon as my

Cracked chipped fingernails

That I bite now nervously as I watch a scene unfold

In muted electricity

I saw it all in pictures

(The fading fluorescent light on your cheekbones like knives

(The way you brought your tan deft fingers—“I’m familiar with this”

(To the careless set of your mouth

 

We go outside and see that the moon knew we were playing at our dreams with cue sticks

Trying to get unwritten poems into the pockets

So we could have an excuse to put our typewriters

Onto the green table instead of colored balls

Which we toss to the places where the stars once stood

Before we stole them

 

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More Than Electricity

“Tell me your life story,” you said

On the side of the lamppost-lined street

I had the hood of my old Hollister coat up

The one I didn’t care about getting stolen like sentiment

It was drizzling, and cold 2 a.m.

 

“Okay.” Remember the time we stared at each other

From different booths

Over late afternoon pancakes

I thought your voice was funny

Because it wasn’t in my ear yet

 

One hour ago I knew I wanted to dance

To dance with you—maybe

To dance with you—yes

 

But here we stand on a concrete staircase

Under swirling rainbow circles

You, stranded on the bottommost step

 

Because I dream of writing in soggy notebooks in the pouring rain

Going on slow car rides that never end

 

I met you in total darkness

 

You’re not the one who would run around a lit-up city with me at midnight

And tell me all the places you dream of going to

Break into an art museum to look at the Boticellis

You wouldn’t do these things

That’s why I left you behind

 

My life story, if you still want to know

Is scribbled down on sticky notes

Or written up hastily in a document

Falsely titled “9th grade midterm paper”

I only told you the first sentence

Of a rough draft

 

You’re a half page of words that flow breathlessly together

Into an existence that fizzles with excitement

I took your hand once

And felt the shock of a thousand volts

But I have to write about more than electricity

 

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Detached // Attached

Detached

 

seventeen and

three quarters

she wanted to

twist the world

around and

around

in her bitten fingernail

hands

like a rubik’s cube

seven billion people

she can toy with

she twisted it

around and around

in her lavender petal

hands

in a

blue-submarine room

in a lights-off

underwater spectacle

of perfectly curved

question marks

shapeshifting into

armed and legged

enigmas

that twist each other

till they break

almost

 


 

Attached

 

I swim in your

christmas lights

and come to

the cellophane

surface

smelling of

the american crew

pomade

sitting on your

lights, camera

easy bake oven

I cross my legs

drinking in

all of your hundred

degrees

this

is how I counted

up to two and twenty

in the red-blush heat

of your desert

oasis blue

christmas lights—

half refusing to blink to

electric

life the other half I crunch

till my mouth turns

blue