from STRANGE FISH SOMETHING FIERCE
I’m so afraid I’ve become what I’ve done.
Type One: Those who stop themselves from jumping. Type Two: Those who stop themselves from pushing. Type Three: Those who blow up the station, leave tracks.
Hydrate in Boys Town, make out line for the men’s room. Matching t-shirts, no less, a coworker’s characiature. What. Is. Happening.
Knee socks, a princess passes out teeth. Basket at Friar Tuck’s. He storms off after my cape. What big eyes you have—
Honky Tonk Happy Hour at Empty Bottle. Who can two-step? His girlfriend across from me on the stairs.
J and I going to see Max, skip up sidewalk. Skylark, obvs. Rainbo minus the attitude, plus tots! Bring the sauce! J and I kissy, photobooth, Carmen’s art deco ink. All the lesbians I know are used to—
Novel Room no longer. I looked for it from the Blue Line, gone and grain, varnish. Empty folding table, paper-covered. Let’s write together there—
Waiting to hear the sound of pen on paper, old scratch. Debossment, debasement. To hear myself think. Read me like Braille—
Two-bedroom vintage. Baby fat, a penchant for atrocities. Is fear implied in arrogance? Third-story velvet curtains. Arrogant not confident.
Sparks, rivets. And yet, a weak chin. An unmet wound.
He knows to learn things until he loves them. This means trouble. Like woe.
I keep pushing and when he lands in the river I watch him float and say “See? He floats.”
Made love on the roof of the Family Dollar billions and blankets ago. This person is no longer that person.
He said I don’t talk about relationships. Something about dreaming things and thinking they happened. He lied about that too.
Are you smarter than a fifth grader? What occupies our lives?
Pretentious, tired, we drink Wittekerke, faces stiff as if. The waitress walks past the counter and burps. Golden Apple, Lorraine’s, Hollywood Diner. Our three-a.m. sicknesses.
I need answers, a chance to dry. Am stomachache, rotgut heavy. Horny, I chickened out, couldn’t bear pretty books with prettier insides.
Waiting under pancake house eaves with Jason, Noelle. The waiter recognized me in rain, took pictures.
Down to my last grain of sand, serifs in my teeth. When I grin I am a horrible animal.
Leopard Lady at Dunkin again. Am I one of her characters? Crazy writer chick with bad hair.
I will make of you many silver diners. I will make you of many diners. I will make diners of you. Many diners will never equal a you. The you. Who believes in the.
Point to a girl with rifle guarding a pickup and tell him that’s my poetry. Now scram—
No joy like a single seat on the El car with single seats. No litter clinging to fence bottoms.
Stranger next to me scrawled above Sudoku, not much going on. Below, began to cry.
He saw me notice his ring, stood and said nobody will be there. Texted to say happy anniversary, scare quotes. Goodnight, useless. Nobody ever was.
She’s having root canals, borrows money from her mother. Her sister joins the Army, Happy Village.
Don’t pull a flower to make it grow. Watch through the credits, slur a little. He’s a better kisser than you think he’ll be.
At sea, Beef-n-Brandy on State Street.
The Charleston, taxidermy, upright turquoise piano. Drunk at Myopic again, licking spines for proximity. Are you my friend? Are you my—
We can’t be friends then, not-talking about Em. Hamster-wheel cowardice, inertia. Everyone runs, no one arrives.
J’s lemon apartment, four chairs. Books in cupboards, hidden cat. We woke surrounded by presents and glass. Sobriety is overrated.
Instead, the wig lady upstairs, her part down the back. Our fists shaking.
J waves her cigarette around her face. This is what interesting looks like!! I’m going to be interesting for fucking EVER!!!
He rubs his boobs like an old man. I’m attracted to addictions, our many lives, double-dutch over tracks that keep moving.
The Honore booth gone too, gazebo of nothing, shrine to. Families, candles, mosquitoes. Street corner lilies and elote—corn, chili, cojita, lime. Piles of blossoms on sidewalk.
Tell me what your life is like. What is your life like? Over time, I’m less startled when people refer to sex as fucking. A sudden, a sharp, a sting. Come heavy.
Blue Bayou four-dollar pitchers. He left his shoes on purpose, song lyrics telling a girl to lie down.
Must walk, must walk, I’m difficult.
Hungover at Handlebar. Oh, the gouda, the fixies! Let’s take it in the beergarden. Every speed.
Almost a decade, J pays rent in cash at the hot dog stand across the street. Why do I push so hard? You can’t even see stars. I feel delicious and sick. Capture the enormity of it.
Damen drunks like us. Free taco means you’re gorgeous. Chicago got the most gorgeous womens in the world— gorgeous womens in Chicago. Believe.
I wish I could say I have waited for you my whole life and have it be true. Everybody loves you.
They told me he’d be here and he is, proposition, friends with or without benefits, old Boss, you. Simon’s says save me a seat.
I tell him I could do it too, you know. Fractals. A split, the splits. Shattered atoms, Em’s life. Nobody died.
Jamesy’s clapping, says I have mental problems. We’re a charmed existence, ice cream cart bicycles with bells. High Life makes the birth control go down.
Holiday prom, corner jump from his van. Floor-length gown, taupe, dragging through snow in floating sherbet streetlight. Asking for it.
Panopticon off State Street, 28 stories. To-do list a Pollock. You like watching me shove pills in my mouth.
One fish, two fish, Boss fish, you fish. Unsalvageable, what attracts us. Rapacity, guttural. No helping what you can’t help.
Jamesy’s clapping. When asked, she knocked his tooth out. Concealer office, let’s makeup. Sleeping bag under the desk, it’s drinky-time, Meathead.
I like talking with you. You don’t ask why you can’t just tell the truth. This isn’t about truth. This isn’t about money. This is a game, my life as Aaron Sorkin movie.
He keeps asking who can make it snow. Is it the poetry? The forecast is NO my friend.
They want us to lie about the fifth rebate, make it worthwhile, what sex means to me. Dummy code—
Jamesy thinks 60 percent of people here are happier than he is—sixty! Dumps crumbs on the floor for the dog.
Marquette Inn diner-bar, Unions and jello. Stranger spreading his crotch so his leg kept touching mine.
Redundant tunnels, faces. Girl with each elbow a circled star, woman with brown embroidered purse, gold handles. Torchlight Club Casino bomber jacket.
I used to be Type One but lately I’m Type Three, Type A, Type 3A. Where did these explosions come from.
J and I make Turbo pass a napkin that reads strange children should smile at each other and say let’s play. Smiled and did not stay.
Dorothy Parker, Julie Gerut, Jessi Lee Gaylord,
and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Brandi Homan is the author of Bobcat Country and Hard Reds, both from Shearsman Books. She is also a doctoral student at the University of Denver. Probably, she loves you.