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November 12, 2015 | Poetry

Two Poems

Chelsea Hodson

Two Poems photo

LIE FOR GOOD

Instead of saying I love
to be of use
, I could say
Piano! and play the one
song I know. I could sing
not well but with feeling
a tongue made of cotton
and a week full of blanks.
A flame grew in my throat
proof bloomed at my feet
what to do with the middle.
I could send a message
with my spare thumb while the rest
of me anticipates outdoors. Oh
instinct, you useless tooth back
seat driver, I turned to look
you in the wrong eye. I was
on my way to the cleanest
of sheets. I was in an elevator
then I was in the sky. Everyone
believed everything I said.


REAL NAME

Catie sent me her new book
said I was in it a fair amount
that’s a good way to get me to read something
to tell me I can search for myself
like the whole world is the internet
and everything is about to happen.
I guess I woke up in a bad mood
because fuck your love songs
dedicated to people that remind you
of yourself—they don’t need music, I do.
A warning is not an apology
but I’m sorry for what I might say
I hope I never get pregnant
like Megan, so happy with tomorrow
pulsing inside her, I hope to kiss
Rachel tomorrow but she won’t
allow it. By now you have an idea
of me and that’s OK—if I’m an idea
then I don’t have to be a person.
I can run for office or along the beach
pretending the sun does something
for me, pretending I deepen
when I face the sea. War is a cure
for boredom, witch hunts are a shortcut
to power and censorship weakens
my heart until it’s so slow
I don’t have to make anything at all. I would kill
for someone I love. When you’re that way
you just know. I feel bloody and animal
but then what of my very human
longing born from the purple light
on Sarah’s karaoke face and the truly
innocent. I made eye contact with a mouse
in my room—I didn’t move or scream
I just said Hey. HEY!
I don’t need to solve everything
I just have to feel heard and I call
my bones The New York Times
because that’s how it feels sometimes
important like the world is facing me.
When I was in Janey’s room I said
I don’t even know your real name
and he tossed an electric bill at my leg.
Something about that made me sad
I guess I hadn't really wanted to know
I liked his curated truth, the shapes it made
in the air. Dorothy touched the ribbon
around my neck and then the acid
did I want some, did I want to sing
no and no but I was happy to watch
the lyrics appear and fall a little
in love again. I thought my heart
was expired but it was just really really working.
Tell me what time it is, tell me your history
of what. This is the future and I’m mostly surviving
refusing to vote, it just doesn’t seem
like a thing we need to do anymore. I’ll be the one
to wrap a red sash around the newest stores
and use my big scissors, turning every day
into a grand opening—vote for me. 
I’m inventing a machine, and like all good prototypes
it takes up a whole room. Testing one two
as the engine begins to rattle, then purr
the keyboard lights up like an accusation
printing your new name which is so good
I say it a hundred times and through the night
you hear my hundred mouths
and you recognize them as your own.
 

image: Bryan Bowie


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