The Poetry Project

Jay Pabarue

for Claudia

i didn’t listen to that meditation talk yet
but i’ll trust the white woman in it because
you trust her, at least for the 20 minutes it’ll take
to soothe our minds. i didn’t listen yet because
i’ve been trying out a love like
the love you talk about having
for Pablo, your cat... but really
not like that, because the love
i’m trying has lips and soft thighs,
mesh shirts and that revelation
of finally taking our feelings facts
and flesh deadly
fucking seriously. yes
i’m talking about
a queer love. but Claudia
i’m skeptical of words.
been trying to use them
only sometimes, and only
for what only words have ever
captured, like the dark-
and-light-yellows quivering inside
a still-unbroken egg.
or safety for every one of us.
still, i keep sending phrases towards
what they’ll never get at: that feeling
you told me about, that one winter day
when a woman called you back into
the kitchen you both shared, asked you
to hold out your hand, and placed
a warm chestnut naked
in the center of your palm—
how its heat freewayed into
your veins. how it thawed
what was cold in you.
even your body’s body.

If i had the strength to stop going on jogs i would

why do we reach towards our heads in frustration

god what
would it be to be liberated

the annihilating stink of shorts even washed washed
& washed in white vinegarxxxyes

i am thankful for health & to move
but if i go off & die without feeling into
every corner of the person i got to be that

one time i got to be on earth because
i spent what adds up to a year
fucking jogging?

Sonalee Rashatwar calls body image trauma
a two-part thing.

i lace them tight, left shoexxxxxxthen right

A certain level of depression calls for a change in tactics

i’m not asking to feel
great every day
anymore now
i’m demanding it
i mean a right arm
long enough to reach
between the spiraled
horns & pet & pet my
Bad Beast’s fluffy light-
brown brow until
my Bad Beast bends
its six strong legs, lies down
with me in clover plus
i guess a left arm long enough
to keep the new
right arm from
looking strange i’ll also
be needing
each wake-up to feel
like cumming together
at sunrise a lifetime supply
of lime popsicles
& every night
one of those bezos
guillotine dreams
i want peace.
& if it takes swallowing ten
soft swords of orange
gladiolus motherfucker
point me to that
good garden.
i mean good god,
have i done much worse
for much less

Issue 17