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My Attempt

I lived without a mirror in my last apartment. I recognized myself in windows and videos that existed of me, brief interludes documenting what I wore more than what I was doing. What was I doing? Smiling at the filmmaker in my red beret and matching lips. Back when I wore bright red lipstick. Back when I was still a waxwing plummeting from the highest branch. A fawn stuck in the headlights looking from left to right until I got whiplash, waiting for you, the one behind the camera. Terrence Malick has Song to Song but our steadicam footage is Vlog to Vlog, and I’ll pirouette in any block of sunlight if it means something more than tiny symbols on a white page can attempt to contain my existence. 

I avoided nonfiction because I was worried about explaining it all. Fiction seemed like the only vessel to contain larger truths. I didn’t think I could justify or make sense of what had happened, only recount. I now realize I can build these fragments into a larger story. I’ve always been someone engrained in detail that it’s hard to see the frame holding it up on the wall. The frame is my body, and I’ve ignored its embodiment for quite some time, except in correlation to who I wake up curled against.

All memory becomes the product of the individual’s recollection, the diction we choose can drastically exaggerate the situation or change its meaning entirely. Let’s say I think a Chinese restaurant fucked up my order of orange chicken and fried rice while you justify that it’s simply their take on the dishes. We have skewed feelings toward the same dinner, which is why video is purest to me. 

Yes, I can still choose a different angle to shoot than you, but it’s capturing what is right in front of me rather than what is left behind.


Heroin Coma

I don’t know why we call it that, because we’re not on heroin, but it’s our regularly scheduled routine to fall into a heroin coma every week. We’ll just get really high––I prefer getting crossed––and sleep for days. He’ll come over to the Upper West Side, in his black overcoat and plaid scarf, now that it’s getting colder, and we’ll put on Weezer to start. Never the classics; he loves Van Weezer because it’s “made for middle-aged men” or the severely underrated Raditude. He loves singing: “You are my baby tonight, and I’m your daddy.” Emphasis on daddy. He’s a stand-up poet, and I hope I’m not just a punchline, but I play along. The twenty-three-year-old with daddy issues. We’ll smoke weed that he bought on one of his anxiety walks, looking for somewhere cheap to eat (He’ll usually end up at Chipotle and store the leftovers in my fridge). I love not doing anything but lying in bed with him if it means he’ll call me his angel, babydoll, or sweetie. I love when he stares at me. I love when I stare at him. He cradles me at first before turning to face the wall, wrapping my left arm around him. Sometimes he plays The Howard Stern Show until he falls asleep, fully clothed. He’ll change positions eventually and end up spooning me before waking up hard. If it’s the first time waking up from the coma, we’ll have sex. He prefers me on top. He’ll joke Cum inside me daddy, even though we use protection. He loves throwing condom wrappers onto my bedroom floor, the same ones I collect from bookstore or gay bar bathrooms for him. If it’s the second, I’ll suck his cock until he cums on my tits. Sometimes he’ll cum on my face, and I’ll have to hear about it in one of his poems. One day, we’ll blurb each other. For now, we’re asleep.


The Novel as Nightmare

I want to drink straight whiskey and fight someone, but I’m a pacifist. At least that’s what I remind myself. I miss Bennington where I could walk outside and find some kid with a handle of gin to share. I’m tired of bars. My boyfriend doesn’t drink anymore. Even then, we only shared hard kombucha or cheap wine. He tells me to quit talking about Bennington. You’re in the real world now. I guess the real world is watching my boyfriend recap his life in a three-hour-long YouTube livestream. I sometimes tune in to increase his view count, but I’ve usually already lived through whatever he’s discussing. It’s for his audience. When I’m with him, I forget about mine. Nothing to worry about until another girl’s name appears in one of his poems. I remind myself this during happy hour at a sushi restaurant on the Lower East Side, reading The Shards. I feel like I’ve lived through this novel, the anticipation to get out of California and into a newness. Now the newness is gone, and I’ve begun to recall memories like lost dreams that I should write down. But every time I try to write, I want to write in the present tense. I want immediacy. I don’t want to relive the nightmare, to trace the origins of a dream. Whether it’s terrifying or simply pointless is beyond me. I keep resisting the dream. I want to capture reality as it’s happening before me like my boyfriend does on his iPhone. I sip on plum wine, even though it tastes like Nyquil, and close my eyes, trying to remember a time before him. All the almost-abductions, the stoners on Hippie Hill, the dread that something horrible was to happen but everyone was too busy Instagramming their perfect third-wave lattes to notice. My boyfriend oscillates between calling me a child and treating me like an adult. I’m not sure which one I prefer. I just want to remain in his arms.  I would have idolized him when I was fifteen. I remind him that my novel is a work of fiction. An exaggeration of an exaggeration. Echoes of my paranoia. Losing my copy of Less Than Zero may have been my coming-of-age.


Fine, Thank You

Listening to “Deceptacon,” the city is my campus. The city is my bedroom, and I’m bedroom dancing. Even though this is a driving song. The drunk driving song. A song for scraping snow off BMW convertibles with fake IDs before going on a liquor run because American Express couldn’t do the trick. A hand-me-down song. A song people remember you playing at a party, a song they show all their friends in return. I return to a winter of kneeling in the snow at Bennington, taking turns chugging gin with kids named Trick. Making snow angels, arms thrashing wildly until they slow into a soft flutter. When I’m not listening to “Deceptacon,” I’m raw dogging the world. I used to pity couples who watched TikTok as an activity they did together, but now I’m watching my boyfriend watch TikTok videos. Except I can only see his reactions as he places a hand on my shoulder. He pulls my dress down to fully cover my ass. TikTok deserves no distractions. I hear the opening of “Deceptacon” as if the algorithm is reading my mind. Who took the bomp? I remind myself that the song has gone viral, a vague coincidence that would have occurred sooner or later. I visibly frown, and Matt asks me if I’m okay. He doesn’t understand why I don’t like TikTok, isn’t it so Gen Z? It’s too fast-paced for ennui. I’d rather put on the Criterion Channel. I prefer my ennui in black and white. All my friends replaced ennui with God, but I just nod and say I’m fine, thank you


All Saints Day

We’re back for season two. Except Solan’s on season six. Learned to drive by fixing up a truck in the outskirts of Seattle, then got on a bus to New York with pit stops to piss and reunite with a girl he was fucking in Chicago. Worlds colliding is an uneasy feeling except all the San Franciscan kids find ourselves smoking out in the corridor, overlooking an abyss. No one inside has any rolling papers, but I need another drink. Some girl in minion overalls pushes past my wings. I’m not an angel. I’m Juliet, and Romeo is a mime, but he’s stuck in a different zip code, the kind where they fuck up fried rice. I don’t want to mime other people’s dreams. We used to long for nights of fist fight and fire escape, now traces of songs he hated in high school float out the window to us, watching taxis race the streetlamps. The scent of tobacco brings him back to afternoons spent smoking unfiltered lucky strikes. I tell him it’s his madeleine, but he doesn’t get it. It doesn’t matter. The boys will hop the fence to the peace fountain by the cathedral. I never realized how big it was. No one did ketamine. I’m stuck on the other side of the chain-link, my hands too frozen stiff to grab onto anything. There are cathedrals everywhere for those with the eyes to see, but I’ll walk home.



I coexist with myself. I hold this collection of memories like a collection of stars, except I’m no good at differentiating them. He dreamt for the first time that he was attacked by a bear, but I’m no bear. I am his fawn. I want to play fetch, but I can’t play without a bone. His bones are 69 cent German croissants. He wonders why I don’t write more about Berlin, but that was all a past life. I’m still running away like an osprey from the winters I spent in other people’s handwriting as a passenger seat parker. I can’t stop writing about riding in other people’s cars, but all we’ve shared are late-night buses, trains, and pedestrian traffic. Sex and his anxiety walks are my only forms of exercise. I moved past jumping jacks. I’m no tennis prodigy. I never was. I’m no longer a child, but you can’t be an old dog if you play fetch. It’s always November, and the word stay is no longer clouded in irony, it’s prayer. I bark. I bite. I hiss again. At least I try, but I’ll kiss your cheek in the morning. This is who you’re hurting.