excerpted from a long poem in progress

 

I am messy, painful, redundant. Just so you know
from the start. I have watched myself tidy
my things inexplicably before walking into the night.
Refused the misfortune of foresight.
Told myself, If I warm this thing with my hands
then it will live. As if anyone would care;

panties on the floor, a fortress relieved of prestige.
Whatever we have of us is the work of the witches
left unburned. Owl-blasting, blood-drinking, poison-titted,
demystified. Me, I’m working towards a room,
a single bed on the floor, a dead mantle
to encase my head at night.
I dream of smaller and smaller places to keep my body.

Murder. I have held so much murder in my heart.
But do believe me when I explain
that I have written this with a strong comic pretense.
I am like other people
and I must try to figure us out
at least a little before I die.

So far, none of us are deserving of anything,
nor undeserving. I have learned to breathe out
and refuse a sensation, allow it to pass. A fellow poet,
after reciting to me from his treatise on happiness,
regretted the necessity of ending our tryst—said
he would’ve begged to fuck me in that tight little asshole.
Upon consideration, I was uninterested
but would have let him, and neglected to keep this to myself.
I felt ashamed not to feel ashamed about any of this.

Not even when another one fucked me with his long dick, almost
elegant in opposition to his gestures, his cricket’s limbs
pumping on their gorged torso. Graceful double-flick of wrist
yanking off the jizz-filled bag. I judged his body.
I questioned its value: perhaps this
could make me stop doing terrible things.

Correction: I did not feel ashamed not to feel ashamed about any of this.

I have scared ants instead of killing them. I have failed
to scare horseflies, their persistent red bulge,
their tickle and mastication. I have scared myself.
I have scared young men. I presume. I have not
scared my friends because at least I am a good friend.

If I have ever felt shame, it’s not for what you’re thinking
and I would never admit to it in anything so public as a poem.
If I have ever admitted to feeling shame,
it is only to women who know what shame is. The many-
gendered mothers who have given birth to themselves
again and again, shoved into themselves and scrambled
their deepest-held conceptions of self.
These women are like nothing else,
singular in their ability to break me,
in their refusal to be formed, or to placate.
I must learn to allow myself
time to come out thicker
than chicken & rice soup.

.
.

When supplies dwindle, I go to the pharmacy
under the pretense of conducting business.
They have a post office there, you know.
I head for the lubricants.
I take existence for granted
in every barren self I spill out.
This is the lightness in which we perish.

I am like other people
and I must forgive myself for not even beginning to understand us.

 

 

Do I write about what I had
………..or what I have left?
Please tell me.
………..Which would be more interesting
to you?

I wish someone would tell me that
there is nothing
………………………I’m being held to.
No wall of tradition at my back
dissolved to a pratfall.
………………………………The hand on my throat
………………………………being my own.

.

At some point, I stopped feeling things. Torrents of wind and sunny blue sky days rolled their glossy tongues over my senses, immaculate, washed pebble of my mind. I remained inside. On occasions, sensibility is called upon, is crushed out. My bravery, in all its stoic right-doing, drags the limp form of my fragility away, hides it behind a dense hedge, white sneakers left comically exposed. Senselessness becomes a home safer than love.

.

I found myself bent over a fallen tree in the forest. I had been thinking in my mind. It’s body came into existence under mine, stretching its ridged skin down from the crest to curl fingers around secluded brush, up to its ankles, snapped at the most solid part of itself. I wondered how old we must be to deserve gnarl, to be sharp, finally, leave our shattered bases open to indifferent air. I wanted it to be hollow and to lay my body in it five times over, over again, over and over. It was heavy and I was heavy and we wanted to rest.

.

Each object existing betrays some history of its action. Not always as we are, we continue to be. I wondered at our bodies, fallen and angular, alive in the way we are informed by our rot, in the trillion infiltrations burrowing out our core. I wondered, how did we come to be here. Blind, an idea of where sunlight might hit. Culled and angular, growing sidelong, deformed from our stump limbs.

.

.

Matthew

I want you to fuck me until we’re even.

.

.

I took the drugs so that I could enjoy having sex with him.
I took the drugs so that his body would be as interesting as I wanted him to be.
I took the drugs so that I could ignore him.
I took the drugs to experience existing in each moment of my literal/physical existence.
I took the drugs to delay my regret.

From a digestive health standpoint, there is a case to be made for consuming as diverse a diet as you can tolerate—one that includes both raw food and cooked; vegetables that derive from a plant’s roots as well as from its leaves or flowers; an array of fruits, nuts and seeds; cereal grains as well as legumes; and even some lean animal-derived proteins if that is consistent with your values and beliefs.

.

This is not a metaphor.

.

A poem is just a good place to put your conviction.

.

.

It’s a tree, says the male thing
because I am taking a picture of bark.
It’s a tree, it says
because I don’t respond.
It’s a tree, its says
and I grasp the strap and swing the camera into its face. I punch through its collar bones, tear one out, drive the bone into its juicy eye socket. Use the shards to slice through its belly to the slick, spill out the offal. Climb inside, tear through its gut like an old wardrobe, tossing organs over my shoulders like outgrown blouses.

.

I think the male thing is so stupid because it doesn’t understand my art.

.

I feel like the male thing doesn’t understand anything that wasn’t made for it.

.

I leave it to a pleasant night with its female thing.

.

.

If you’re going to love me, you need to know
the horror of my existence and love
it too. If you’re going to fuck me,
fuck my horror.

.

.

I grew too strong
crunching sparkling heart emojis in my little puppy jaws
learning to sit sideways in the tub
too strong to fit, to be tender again

.

I left a hole in the centre to let God enter

.

but then a dick slipped in
I would take it out but there’s cum everywhere
and I’ve grown comfortable with my interior,
slippery. so wet. too wet to bare.

.

.

These poems are like nothing else,
singular in their ability to break me,
in their refusal to be formed, or to placate.

.

.

Mark

Just kidding. I need a man to make me happy.
.

.


.

.
INSIDE YOUR HEAD IS A MAP OF YOUR HOUSE AND INSIDE THAT MAP IS
WHERE YOU ACTUALLY LIVE

.

All I want to be able to do is
………………………………………..scare grown men
…………………………………………………………………….like they’ve scared me.

Thank you for offering to leave.

.

.

 


Jessica Bebenek is a poet & essayist currently pursuing an MA at Concordia University in Montreal. Her recent work can be found in CV2, PRISM, Arc, and monthly at Floral Manifesto. She is a coordinator at the Centre for Expanded Poetics where she is organizing a symposium of Occult Poetics. She is currently at work on her first full collection of poetry, No One Knows Us Here, and a thesis/non-fiction collection, Writing for Men. She writes and takes spicy selfies as @notyrmuse on Instagram.www.jessicabebenek.com

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