Emily mack age 18
Street lamps line the way home
like a peachy chorus
midnight meditations along
roads that yield construction.
The rubble and dead leaves like
the revving of some engine, they will
show us some way better than a compass
app better than the right way.
We don't need a car.
We don't need a map.
We carry destinations under tongues
like candy, wandering in and out of gas station glow
like we're slow-roasting, like we're already
Remember popsicle sticks & canoes?
Remember sailing down cracks in the boulevard
like it was the styx, destinations under tongues like gold coins.
We marched under the sky as if we were the lamps.
As if we were some a peachy chorus
seeing only what lay directly ahead.
Cerebellum Song in which the Chorus Rings High School, Go Mustangs!
after Richard Siken
Every night the coffee breath.
Every morning the coffee breath
of fresh air on a wednesday morning
for the fallen homies that got arrested out by Oz
the other night, the fallen homes
every night the coffee breath.
I wonder what I'll look like when I'm thirty-seven.
So maybe I thought that summer wouldn't end.
So maybe I thought I could change the world
without getting out of my chair and that
a song would be enough.
We aren't allowed to hum in this house.
The bell rings and class ends and passing periods
bend fresh love through stunted conversations
so maybe I can't help but love boys so skinny their
hipbones bruise my thighs.
Best friends never taste the way you think they will.
Don't beat yourself up about it.
Don't beat up cab drivers, I tell an old pal
from that love summer when he meets me at my locker,
Don't rush thin men coming home from work on the streets,
Don't get so lost in the streets, I say
Don't go in the forest alone, please
Don't talk to strangers
make me feel alive, I try explaining to a friend over coffee.
He says he's scared I can't remember anything.
I fell asleep on my mom, watching King of Queens last night.
My mom says she doesn't know me anymore.
My dad is turning 60.
My dad is turning 61.
My dad is planting Chrysanthemums
on the porch and they remind me of the beginning of a book.
The blueprints of a palace. The feeling in my chest like a dull
flame when I remember being ten and wonder why
they tell us to stop playing with fire.
A first grade teacher told me April was national poetry month
and a fifth grade teacher told me to show not tell
and a high school teacher said i'm good but I need to stop writing about---
In August the only four stars we could see
lined up perfectly down the telephone wire
like white crows. We snuck into the neighborhood pool.
We hopped that fence in our underwear. Chlorinated.
I try explaining to a friend
and he says he's scared I can't remember anything.
I was a freshman.
I was a sophomore and I think you said you were a hockey player--
thank you for the ride.
I'm sorry about the blood.
I want pizza for dinner.
the kid who gave away her corkscrews
I thought I was a queen cause I slept on the brown line
twice returning from nights that wrapped me up like city
electrocuted me like telephone wires
help me count the minutes I forgot to write down.
Where am I thinking about?
Oh, New York sounds nice. So does southern California.
Oh, where am I thinking about exactly?
That field we laid in where the weeds looked like
little white flowers and we talked about how everyone was stupid.
My ex texted me.
I texted my best friend about my ex.
My ex asked me to go see a modern dance show with him.
I thought a song would be enough to save us
for a while, I thought I was a writer.
For a while I thought I could tell instead of show,
I thought if I kept running, I wouldn't
see the snow on roofs of fallen homes.
Our awning collapsed.
I've erased my first draft.
I've scoured the room for knives and for hair ties
pens and white lies and quarters for the bus.
I need to study for my AP calculus test.
I need to delete that text.
I need to wish him luck for his court date.
I need to wish him luck on his first date.
thank you for the coffee.
I'm sure the book you gave me is fantastic
but I can't get past the beginning,
the chrysanthemums on the porch are in full bloom.