Proper Nouns

Why can’t Boys be friends with girls?

Not “why can’t boys and girls be friends”, because they can, I’ve seen it, done it. Why can’t capital-B Boys capital-J Just be friends with lowercase-g girls?

There is a boy I consider a brother. I would die for him and more than that, I would live for him. We’ve skinned ourselves with honesties until raw bone shone through and we’ve sewn back all the pieces so that no one else could see. And when I told him “I love you like a brother, not a lover, not a friend”, his response was equivalent to

“I think me and Taylor may still have sex”.

And I realized that while he is and will remain one of my closest friends, He will never be. his name and his self are my allies but His Boyhood, the all-prevailing masculinity he sports like a varsity jacket, is enemy to lowercase-g girls like me.

His Boyhood makes objects out of girls like me.

His Boyhood doesn’t understand the word “no”.

His Boyhood is a broken streetlight on a 2:00 AM speedwalk to the door, is the whiteness in my knuckles as I Wolverine-grip my keys.

It’s the same Boyhood that makes mothers struggle for respect from their own sons, daughters from their own fathers, working women from their employers, collegiate women from their professors, women of color and trans women and disabled women and Muslim women from an overabundance of attackers.

The same Boyhood that laced the invading tongue and gloved the defiling hands of the last capital-B Boy I trusted.

So when this Boy I loved like a brother so graciously reassured me he still saw me as my sex and my Sex and what sexual dreams may come, I knew

His Boyhood prevails.

And for as long as his identity as a patriarch is more important to him than his identity as a human being, than My identity as a human being,

Boys cannot be friends with girls.

I’ve Got Things To Do

I’m pretty sure all my roommate does is have sex and sleep.

It’s 11:58 AM and sunlight trickles down the edges of our closed blinds and pools into an awkward geometry on the windowsill, marred by the shadows of makeup bags, face wipes, purses, plants. She is asleep. Her body is curled in on itself and pressed against the wall as if desperate to ground itself to something somewhere, skin or plaster or pillowcase, doesn’t matter. I could walk in at 2:00 PM and the picture would be the same. By 6:00, though, she’s on the prowl, either scrolling through a text-message catalogue of her regulars or hunting fresh meat with a full quiver of right-swipes and tasteful (and sometimes not so tasteful) nudes, to snare and pin her targets to the New York jungle floor.

It’s honestly impressive the way she rakes them in. And it is raking, what she does, letting her fingers splay across the endlessly connected spiderweb of lonely twenty-somethings and tugging to see which threads pop and spool into her, pulling, piling them in her lap. Scholarship kids, lanky track and fielders, vaguely European accented “only here for tonight”-ers, or her preffered prey: Daddy’s credit card, poster boy for the Aryan nation capital-B Bankers, smirks laced with Republican supremacy studying Business or Finance at NYU. Her father works in a bank. Everytime she nabs a Banker she jokes about daddy issues and wonders out loud if he works under her father, or funnier still, above him. I picture two blonde men shaking hands, one stern and greying. He can just catch the smell of sex off his younger, mirrored self, and smiles nostalgically, unknowingly, as his daughter’s scent hovers in the air.

Last night she texted us at around 1:00 AM to “make ourselves scarce”. She’d told us earlier she might be bringing a guy home but I thought she’d meant at a normal, humane time like 10:00 or 11:00. I told her so, or texted her at least. And yet three minutes later she and her kill of the night were strutting in, shadowed by the light from the hall, casting silhouettes in our doorway. She had no power to sexile while it was two against one – our third roommate was asleep in the bed across from mine. Sleepers present a staunch “NEGATIVE” to the sexile equation. She and her date settled for shower sex. Our bathroom is small. I almost felt sorry for them.

And now, 11 hours later, asleep. I wonder when the boy left, and how long they took. I wonder why I wonder or, care. I wonder why I’m writing this poem and resolve to get my own sex life after this last period.

My Life Is In My Mouth

I have an oral fixation.
At least that is the psychological term I’ve chosen to describe my weird
mouth problems. There’s always something going on in there,
I’m licking my lips, biting my nails, chewing on the insides of my cheeks,
I have long, thin scars from where I’ve worried at the flesh
that I can trace with my tongue.
When I do
it looks like I’m giving the blowjob sign.

My lips are never soft enough, wet enough,
loved enough,
and for some reason love means moisture.
If my lips were buildings they’d be great Roman baths,
steaming and communal.
They are never satisfied, but not in the romanticized,
sexual way.
They are not hungry lips.
Whoever presses and prays at their cracks trying to worship away the wanting
leaves drained and adrift.
I am never happy with enough

stop.

My heart is in my mouth and you can see it in my jaw,
when I’m nervous it rocks side to side, clicking
in and out of its socket, sounds like you’re flipping a switch.
I purse and fold my lips when I’m concentrated and pin my tongue
under my top right canine when I’m angry. The tooth is a bit discolored,
I don’t know why.

My life is in my mouth and I cannot contain it.
I try to swallow but its too heavy and tastes just awful,
thought and emotion rich as baklava
I cannot chew it for fear of breaking it,
I cannot digest it for fear of excreting it,
I am not so shameful as to regurgitate it
on subway tracks or dim, alcoholic city streets.
My life is in my mouth and it writhes, writhes,
Winds and dances and flutters, and I
lick my lips, bite my nails, chew the insides
of my scarred, blowjob cheeks
and I wonder when it will end.

Dry

I have been looking for gods since before I knew religion.

I sought Heaven in release, in expansion, in destination, in sandboxes without shovels or pails. In softness and dirt, gravel, scrapes and bruises on my knees, homegrown corn too pale, too green. The concrete porch with weeds in the cracks I picked at with my fingers, sage in the garden box, I crushed the leaves together with makeshift mortar and pestle wondering after their magic. The lavender bushes, a dead or dying apricot tree that never bore fruit but smelled like hope. A tall wooden fence I never got tall enough to climb. We buried Sasha in a cardboard box just beyond the fence, before the sledding hill. I pinched and pulled and beat the ground scraping for Heaven in that house and it was never anywhere.

Lilacs, it was fucking lilacs. I had to text my father to remember but there were lilac bushes along the left side, left side walking in from the street, before the gate. The neighbors had a chainlink fence they knotted around our wooden one. The lilac bushes were so tall. So many conflicting smells, lilacs, lavender, sage, corn, apricot, wet sand, plaster and drywall, blood. Just a little blood, not enough to kill the grass or stain the linoleum. Dull, brown blood clotting the carpet. No, not enough for that.

I don’t know any of the plants in our new house. Except the one birch tree beside the back porch, the holly by our front door, and ash trees in the backyard, was it ash? I have not found God in these. The waxy peel of the holly leaves between my fingers, when we trimmed the branches last summer before I left for school I tied the neatest ones in a bundle and kept them. I dried them in my room, hung them upside down, though I think that’s for flowers, not leaves. Did I throw them away or are they still there? Does God glimmer from the holly leaves?

Eight years and it’s still “the new house”. At this point I’ve spent more of my life there than I did with the lavender, sage, apricot tree. There was never grass at the new house. I just remember the old house being so much more green.

Mud, soil, thickly packed dirt, I hate the rub of grained rock on my bones, nails on a chalkboard for the body, how do you feel a sound?

Much more blood in the new house. Lingering smells, unknown nature. Enough to stain the linoleum.

I miss pink sheets and fairy wallpaper.

Is God in the act of missing or in the subject missed?

Do we arbitrarily attribute God as a property of objects and ideas or is God already within them? I guess I’m asking if God is objective or subjective?

Schopenhauer was the biggest fucking hypocrite, he believed he was a misanthrope but his philosophy is drenched in religion. He believes in truths that lift us beyond who we are, out of our futile, desperate Willing, into a universe of true form. He believes in a soul.

When I see and smell and rub those waxy leaves between my fingers I do so alone, grounded, Willing. Is my God in this singular sensation? Do I have a God if I don’t have a soul?

I have five roommates and me and sometimes they get flowers. They put them by the windowsill or in a vase on the kitchen table, as if we can afford the wasted space due a centerpiece. And then the flowers die. I used to watch things grow and green and die with all the time in the world but now I come home one day and the flowers are just gone. I miss the passage of time. There is less blood here than any home I’ve ever lived in but I think I miss the smell.

Is God in the act of missing or in the subject missed?