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May 18, 2018 Poetry

3 Poems

Emily J. Cousins

3 Poems photo


can’t shut down all the lanes on the 
neurologic hwy b/c way too much traffic in 
rush hr then so much construction plus all 
the fog lately & I sit in the corner 
& say isn’t it all just like the last time?
when someone tells you not to think 
of elephants what are you thinking about 
‘what are you thinking about?’ is probably 
the question you ask most often but really 
what are you thinking? 
break a sweat just 
watching the ceiling wait for the 
emails to roll in why is it that everything 
is a balance? I’ve got so much time to divide 
& hand out it’s too fast & maybe tonight we 
should hit the dive bar what did you mean 
when you said isn’t it all just like the last time?

you will ask when we get there & this week 
the best part was what my boss’ boss said 
about the training video that will make me 
a smarter & more likeable person & boy do I 
un-ironically like the sound of that hyperlink 
retweet #successful #genuine #confident leave 
a bag of personality bread crumbs for networking 
purposes are so very hard to come by & I really 
just want to push snooze but when I dream I am 
searching a forest for a small child but there are 
no pathways like the brain being nothing 
except a mass of tissue & light 
                 is this it 
                                      life just goes & goes & then stops? 

I know I should be able to name 
a variable more impactful than time but it’s 
more difficult than it sounds esp. given 
the fact that I don’t think as much as 
I probably should it’s just hard to focus 




at some point fall comes & I want to leave everything behind me 
let's start with this body

pace the city air thick w/ dragonflies I am thick w/ want 
bloated ego & all that becomes fodder

frustrated most by cause & effect by consequence by lack thereof
by the inability to act 

O be the players ready O be still self & doubt

sit quiet in the tall grass watch life roll on don't pace don't sweat 
let it come feed the ghosts a little

feel this then this & this & this think less want less want less 
bury it

want to be noticing everything beautiful tell myself to tell myself
all is lost all gone soon

my my the mind is wild breathe into it pay good money
to get rewired

how to measure the good life O to be such a mood 
how to pull up from this dive 

can’t seem to feel for this life & for that for no choices & too many 
send everything else into space 

someday I will find myself less a series of moments reactions 
flashes of light

a storm rolls from the foothills cling to such small wonders fleeting 
let it roll 

O to be empty but what is anything other than accumulation 
moments meteors in the mind

how the space between each of us could feel so vast 
but be nothing at all

& now post treatment post haste has there been less sadness
has there been less of it

let's measure has there been less of the too much of everything
tell us the results 

I am guilty of thinking too much & doing too little 
& the times in between stare into stars from the pit 

do my part to share the hurt spread it around 
nothing keeps the light for long 

come dark come void & space & heavy silence do not blink
come winter churn on & who wants the light who 

filled to overflowing w/ want don’t turn the light on 
turn the light on

how would I even know if I am saying anything pulled away from
the fiber of it all some loose thread sling shot through dark

come void & space & heavy silence come winter & desolation
& who wants the light who 

leave everything behind be gone memory & guilt be gone 
be gone past shed all from self 

thrown from the pit enter the black hive of mind stay in orbit 
let go something like that don’t turn the light on




rare fog over city park moon through haze feel downright ghostly 
no substance to grasp

of me/the world see both confusion/clarity as empty space
feel as though I am losing everything good in me

as though I am reduced to only the strange/difficult
feel as though most days I birth your boredom/frustration 

at the party I was some awkward sexual creature watched you 
feeling heavy/wanting nothing but weightlessness 

space between instead texted the other you at home 
stuck in a single track 

wish for nothing more than to be plural
O want/ O what changeful shape

instead let’s look at all the new and interesting ways 
we can ignore each other 

just turn out the light lie down go to sleep 
don't want to spread the hurt can't seem to help myself

can't find the want to fuck because the world is ugly 
& because we are ugly 

& somehow the earth still is not because it is easier 
to be distracted by such little tragedies as these

to drudge up some feelings muck it all up now 
give myself no incentive to talk

hush up girl time to be looked at brood brood 
find ways to detach release 

do the healthy things/the unhealthy things 
how raw/vulnerable time makes us

& what a queer little I trying to decide what to be
in spite of that when all I have is fear/anger 

slow fog along the foothills stop off at sunrise 
pale frost on the pines

what a creature I would make of myself if I were able
to be known to be close to anything to be grounded

perhaps I still want you to write a love poem
to feed our helplessness with our bodies 

to dress me in stillness such eager sense
because the world is spinning so fast here it comes


image: Emily Cousins