Before You Make Love
Take off all of your clothes, alone and in the bathroom. Stare at your nipples. Call yourself “Beautiful” and see what happens. Touch your thatch of pubic hair, your stretch marks, and your round belly. Call yourself “Ugly” and watch what happens. Pretend you’re on a trampoline and you just won the lottery. Touch the mirror like it’s a window and your lover is just an unlatching of a lock away. Pinch your thighs and turn around. Bend over and try to kiss your kneecaps. Ask yourself when was the last time you touched silk. Look at your eyelids. Think of them as drawbridges or dicks. Eat a sandwich or fig. Lay in the branches outside, sigh, how sad and architectural all of this can be.
If you can lick fish bones, then you can take a lover. For a moment, pretend that you are going to be alone for the rest of your life. If you can go outside and see a road kill as a sign from God then you are ready to take a lover. If you can see that euthanasia is a beautiful name for a pet then you are ready to take a lover. Be a poet for a day. Be an artist for a day. Read something. Find yourself, which is behind your skin and has nothing to do with your heart and everything to do with your spirit. Tell your best friend that you think that you are amazing and glorious. Be amazing and glorious. Bend your bird body to the doors of the house as though you could make love to them. Say yes, and mean it.
Put your hand in your pajama bottoms and reach for everything private in your life. Touch jellyfish, July hotels and loosened hair. Drink some Chinese tea, eat some chocolate, talk about aphrodisiacs until you’re blue in the face. Touch yourself there and there and there. Don’t stop. Please. Smile at your life before dawn, but moan at your life when it finally wakes up.
Tell me your lover’s name and I will tell you that you’re wrong. Listen – your lover is not bed sheets or willow trees or empty sleeves, but everything in this world without a name. Whatever is most nameless, is most beautiful. Find your best friend in a species not yet discovered, find your best friend in words not written and those deep throat sounds that you meant to say, but couldn’t. If he says he loves anyone more than you, then he is wrong. Whenever you say, “I love you too,” he will never say “what do you mean?” He knows you just said, “I love God I love language I love bodies I love spirit I love horizon I love the Pacific Ocean I love the color of peaches I love suitcases I love sickness I love panic I love life” and etcetera is the closest you will ever get to the meaning of your love.
- Heather Bell (from her book, Nothing Unrequited Here)
From our FREE SAMPLE ISSUE, click here to download!
you will need poems
you will need poems, if for nothing else
than to remind you that the world doesn’t make sense.
people are not metaphors, wrapped up neatly, with bows.
mornings are not always new beginnings,
and night is hardly ever the end.
you get a chance to start over whenever you want,
but most people don’t take it because reinvention is
carving out your heart and changing the batteries.
you will need poems to reassure you that
heart surgery is not just for doctors.
She took pride in her hair,
so she cut it off.
She found relief through food,
so she ate only enough to survive.
She found anger in people,
so she went inside her mind.
She glorified her body,
so she covered it up.
They found her in a corner,
wrapped in blankets, bald, willowy —
when asked why would such a
beautiful girl do this to herself,
“I was ugly, but you were too blinded by my appearance
to see the ugliness rooted inside.
I stripped away these conveniences
to restart the way I think.
I am at peace now.”
reasons I have for being a judgmental dick
~ 3.5 years
my princess dress was pinker than kailey’s. my skirt was bigger than becky’s. i was not a ‘boy’ like andrew. my name was not boring like sam’s.
~ 5 years.
my mom got a handout from a kindergarten teacher. the handout said, ‘your children will be wonderful if you give them to me for ~2hrs a week.’ my mom circled all the twos & tos & toos. they were mixed up. she told me to fix them. i did, so i was smart.
~ 10 years.
i got the most babysitting jobs because i was ‘mature’ & a girl. i had read pride & prejudice and huckleberry finn and david copperfield. i could bake cookies & also pie & also cake. I never caused a fire.
~ 12.5 years
i did not do crystal meth with katie. i did not drink rum from coke cans in claudia’s parents’ garage. i did not own a thong from la senza. i never wrote about mushrooms in english class. i could do ~2 pirouettes.
~ 15 years
i was probably good at something. sometimes I got good grades. i was not as ugly as *********. i was only a mean person privately. i only kissed ***** publicly.
~ 17.5 years
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________ ___________________________________ ?
*@!#**#@**@#!!!! …………………………. .
~ 20 years
i’m alive. i know how to use a semi-colon. I do not use ‘fake tan’ or study business or suffer from ‘white man’s burden.’ I am ‘self-aware.’ I am ‘nonjudgmental.’ i am ‘respectful of people’s differences.’ i *might* not be a capitalist bourgeois sycophant. i do not eat the cute animals.
he unwinds and lets
the blue sky drip poison ice
face to face with the radiating
his back to everything
it all stings, eyes shut
she blankets his body
her spidery warmth reaching to cover each extremity
a cursed body, crushing him up
she is muffled light, with his eyes closed
if all they are is this-
a chemical night song
drifting in place,
a she and a he
piling spiraling bodies-
imagine the weight
one cubic centimeter of brain tissue
is home to more neural connections
than there are stars in the milky way;
that war should sometimes erupt between them
is not possible so much as it is inevitable
and it’s important to remember this
the next time your mind decides
to bring the battle home.
some days will be harder than others
and none made easier by the glass barriers
your mind has so meticulously constructed.
still, despite the isolating nature of illness,
your fight is not one to be undertaken alone;
in case of emergency,
we’ll provide you with a hammer
but you need to be the one
to break the glass.