The Poetry Project

Ry Dunn

Relapse/Or, A Dream I Have In Waking Life

we stretch, our brains collapse
xxxxxxx under rip tides, a man in chest harness
wanders up to me with an offering.

Take these chemicals they
xxxxxxx smell so sweet, coded in a brilliant
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx lie like being 16 again, railing lines
xxxxxxx in my father’s living room.

I wanted him to want me like summer
xxxxxxx washed up - cherry grove style,
faggot daylighting as a gentrifier.

Doesn’t he miss the hills of California,
xxxxxxx he dreams then, of a way back when,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to his chagrin, a bloated feeling,
xxxxxxx my phone’s dead, how will I ever.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Cocaine falls from a key in the
xxxxxxx bathroom at Happy Fun Hideaway;

On a beach. My scalding desire for
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx winter in my heart. This tech is killing
xxxxxxx us, all this PrEP and the everyday,

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx down Massachusetts avenue down,
xxxxxxx into Cambridge, so far from the West
coast where poppies bloom in Winter.

no, so sad my heart slept in naked
xxxxxxx knowing that maybe one day death,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and God willing, her only dark and
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx disheveled secret to be rescued
xxxxxxx would drown us all so slowly in its wake.

looting sonnet

When I was young and all I knew was an Iris from a tiger lily,
playing that game in my head. Breathing, yet unaware of its consequence.
Remember how grey the branches;
Tip toeing across haunted house.

I want a better solution than just, I wake up to fuck. To work, to spend money.
Sheepish, impressionable fathers never taught me to keep my fists up.
My whiteness is no big secret, here: posterity of a class traitor.
No one taught me desire

Depression of a handjob in a hotel where
3 men came consecutively, one inside me.
I want winter now, but autumn seems
to drag on

Saturn and the waning moon fades away.
what to loot from the company store today?


hello from a crossroads
fire in my belly, between ocean
big strong river of salt
tides and currents pulling
mannequin of my viscera
between dreams

atop this mountain pass now
we once could see whole of
manhattan skyline now reclaimed
by a vast wilderness
nine wolves in a row
full moon in aquarius
this must be a dream
mom was there with
long hair like how
she was younger once
before stepping off
that great big cliff

he is the ocean
I am floating vessel
wrapped in indigo, turquoise
he moves my inside me
carries me, turns my naked
over onto back now and
again the waves crash
into white caps
kicking my feet in
fleeting moments of bliss

I wanted to feel less blue
now listening to lucinda singing
the nights too long
‘want’ feels so yellowly
obtrusive - so on the fence
of an orange hue
like I want this sunset
and this empty bag of
cheetos to merge as
singly once ours
now forgotten as the
night drags on and on

take me home. I want
a darker green but still
neon, still striations of
aubergine and of course
a glow of anxiety

If you were a Spice Girl
what Spice would you be?

Sink into this red clay earth

the coffee drips so slowly
watching in my
early attire

the sun rise in the cold
January air smells of

when I walk outside I am
still thinking of your

your tag is on the street
pole outside my
front door

babe, it’s like my job is
not the absolute
worst thing

in my life right now, because
it is, but I can’t seem to
hem that sleeve

correctly. I seem surprised to be
able to see Times Square
from here

so many blocks, one tiny island
we couldn’t both possibly
inhabit each other

I want to break this habit
old wounds just

like the way a fellowship
sort of picks up a
broken bitch

I love form now, I wrote
a pantoum once
before this

wrote out my story in
a modafinil font, hue
of amphetamine

the way love seems the window
to an abundant garden or
an air shaft

New York is so cold today
not New Orleans nor

but I soaked in my epsom
salts and sat on a
rubber cock

I made plans again to clean,
to thank the gods
you’re not around

I’m taking suggestions today
to rid my woes
of frays

step into this familiar space
this seat and that

drips, drip, drip

Ask yourself what brings you joy

Here’s a good time to scrutinize
your current motives

gush of hormone essence
of the tallest glass of water

is avoiding is holding breath
is sneaker squeak my brain’s

on fire today
deep soul connection

flares up in another part of psyche
escalated heart rate resists the healing

the eight of cups always seems
to be running toward an infinity

the great tides of an
oceanic consciousness

nurses an old grudge from
a past devoured by lust

by night sweats and spoons
in beds built for two men

when you manifest it
I want to imagine that

trajectory is just a meaningless
assemblage of letters and

that fate is not my own
but a collective undoing

of the wrong paths I traipsed
but I’m still eating roots

in July, I know I need to leave
don’t deny, don’t cut short

enthusiastic, optimistic impulses
one cup spilled to reveal

a nearby river compelled
to walk away, to move on

toward ocean tides
my heart sank and tripping

on my squeaky sneakers
like a love sick baby

looks like one is missing

Issue 16