I have been growing my hair out since I was fifteen
and this is the most interesting thing about me. It’s not
an easy thing, accepting that the boys I love go home
to other people at the end of the day. Yet the world
continues to turn. I play my music loudly and do not
apologize for it. Maybe I should tell you that I’ve been
hiding love affairs in shoe boxes that I stash beneath
my bed. At the hair salon the other day, when the
stylist was trimming my split ends, I decided that I
never want to get married. I’m too sentimental for the
21st century and cry over modern things, like plumbing
and airports and espresso machines. I will have more
boyfriends and I know this. I do not apologize for it.
Sometimes I am really afraid of the knife in my hands
as I chop up onions and potatoes and peppers. I say
change and expect it to happen instantly. I lose the same
things, repeatedly, over and over again. An untwinned
earring. Hair ties. Mechanical pencils. A secret is:
I’ll love you. Even when I don’t.
I am growing out my hair to teach myself
patience. I am going to cut it to teach
myself loss. On my best days I still don’t
always get out of bed. New York, we have
to stop meeting like this. I would have
texted you sooner but cabs at three a.m.
But boys who don’t mind if I don’t always
smile like I mean it. But the rain and I
don’t always have an umbrella. Everything
is an excuse, so who are we kidding? If you
write me a poem, I’ll probably make out
with you. No, I am not drunk. I just want to
see your naked elbows. I just want to
dye my hair an unacceptable color and
become a totally different person.
He starts it off, as they always do, by saying,
“I still want to be friends” but I am already
on the next subway, the next taxi, the next whatever.
I am thinking about dinner that night, or the next night:
Angus beef, sauteed chicken, mahi mahi fish tacos.
I am thinking about the coffee pot and runner’s knee
and how much money I have in my savings. I am
thinking about hypothermia and missing bodies;
all the knives in my bed. I am thinking about how
the very word promise sounds more like an undoing.
I am thinking about the easiness of mouths.
How they open. How they give so much but also
about how they take away the things our minds
have committed to that permanent place of the brain,
where memories continue to rattle around long after
we’ve stopped shaking. I am thinking about how
he has turned me into a lake and I’ve never learned
how to swim. I am thinking about how I now have to
unlearn all of his secrets. Become a tourist to his body
again, blink against the hurt. I am thinking about
expensive hair cuts and retail therapy, dressing room
girls who are used to outlandish requests from customers.
I am thinking that this isn’t a dress my mother
would approve of, but honey, I look so good in red.
There’s a little Chloe in all of us… this book is stunning y'all! Chloe is baddest bitch I know, I want to go out & dance the night down with her & then wake up hungover laughing about the shit that went down over breakfast, smudged eye make-up & all. Once you meet Chloe you’ll never forget her, that’s a fact.
and it’s for champagne,
for that airy, golden promise of a fresh start,
the forgetting of a year that could have gone better and didn’t,
that could have been worse but wasn’t—
because in the grand scheme of things you’re
probably dying just as slowly as the rest of us,
so drink up, cheers, c’est la vie
and remember to love thy crooked neighbor
with all thy crooked heart
Johnny said once, Eating with someone is really intimate
and it’s stuck with me. So I decline dates at restaurants
because he’s right and it’s too soon and, anyway,
maybe I’ll hate how these long-necked boys
who don’t know how to hold a fork eat. I’ve written
a lot of things for him, Johnny, more than he knows about.
I am 22 now so naturally I miss everyone.
I am 22 so I roll my eyes when someone says love.
Dad has the air conditioner all the way up but I’m still
waking up sweating. My brother has taken to degrading
women in that casual way that boys do–flick of the shoulder,
dark-eyed, he is my father in miniature, but I love him,
as sisters do, even if I don’t agree with his mouth.
I wanted this poem to go somewhere important
but I keep looking over my shoulder. I hate mornings.
I keep spilling my guts out to strangers on the internet,
and this is not the first time I waxed my legs for a boy.
We’re all fighting over who we’re going to take home
and I’m still pretending I can play the clarinet.
Everyone keeps complimenting my nail beds.
Remember mood rings? Mine stays black.
at night i call my boyfriend up.
think ‘i am dying, right here
right as i talk to you my body is preparing to give up on us.’
at night, sleep rarely comes easy
but it always comes.
i think about washing my hair, and seldom do.
i think about leaving this place and seldom do.
i am always thinking–
i think i am too young for that.
i still do not like my body in the mirror but at least my body is always buzzing,
at least some part of me is going places.
a portrait of the yung negro artist, age 20, Kiki Nicole
The truth is I ride the bus and hope that I see you.
I cross my legs and uncross them, hold my own hand.
The piano in my living room is never touched.
I can’t stop eating peanut butter with my fingers.
My shorts are too short, probably, and this is the reason
that strange men stop and look at me as I walk past them.
I check my teeth for traces of lipstick,
forget to look both ways before crossing the street.
I am not always careful with the body I’ve been given.
Sometimes I want to dye my hair purple or cut it off
and give it to a child with cancer. Sometimes I am selfish
and never want to cut it, ever. Everyday it is the same
number of bobby pins. I want to find a poem in this.