Love Lessens the Mess-ages

i wish you were underwater
like the time we were in the first grade kissing bookshelves

mirror games of bloody mary
marry with red roses & promise

you never knew me well enough in my boy bridehood
you never knew me really

rarely no not really—girl was me was a pronoun used to call home
there are no poems when we’re not breathing

we is to me

the real deal supreme
body is to jellyfish          brine

tell me when the we is mine

in nighttime we leave the lights on

onetime it was a cabin i tried to feel her body like it looked like
& the words were all wrong

fingers hit stone

we is the poem i’ve been trying to write but it won’t come (like a lover)
hit the nail over the head
rock back & forth
but there’s no gratifying in the trying

another was wrapped up tighter than i
was brute force               butcher
but the time was too late or really
it just wasn’t right
for two almost boys laying sidetoside inside eastern parkway apartment
gray day
like gray matter
his cats plump     no fat
walls insecticide laced
it’s a wonder they were alive at all

drop down 45s

que sera—sera

reeling till the end of the track till
needle points track
permanent thighlines asscheeks

sadomasochism for sissies
this is the new love

she was bigger
some girls are
leatherclad & ready freddie
then she
then she

longline timelines

there are women whose names i can’t even remember
make them magic trick disappear
they’re in boxes to saw apart        but i forget

what’s harder than stone

that submerged feeling
where pressure against skin is getting tighter tighter
asking if it’s really easier to breathe water in        deeper
than out

past present collide
striking flint for fire
doesn’t work
the matches are wet
there’s no time
just games we play

just eroding
see-saw margarine thaws

by James Shultis

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