spencer madsen

I told her I’m sorry I’m the thing you like.
She touched my ears and poured me coffee.
We walked over to my bed and sat on it.

She told me I have a lot of beauty marks.
I said I never call them that because it’s conceited and inaccurate.

Calling them birthmarks is more appropriate because they are permanent and blameless.

She said, “There are so many on your arms.”
This morning is, I think, the last snow of the season.
Saturday is going to be sunny and almost sixty degrees.
She and I made a lot of plans.

They include: walking outside, buying a plant, going to Ikea, going to the Prospect Park with my brother’s dog, cutting my hair, baking a pie, listening to Slowdive and watching a movie.

But it happens in every friendship, and in relationships it’s even worse, that first moment where you feel it, that there’s no curiosity anymore, no feelings to share or things to do, and the park bench beneath your bodies becomes especially hard, and one of you looks at the other with eyes that are all apologies.

It’s never like how you thought it would be for as long as you thought it would.

Everyday, satisfied or not, is comprised of opportunities missed.

My forehead, marked permanently by attempts at conveying sincerity, and the way that, as a kid, I learned more complex and vulnerable ways of describing how I felt, while coming to understand that quicker and simpler descriptions are considered more polite, that these descriptions of things, real or not, don’t lead me anywhere, like the vaguest of allegories, how one thing can be compared to the identification of the thing itself, how so much that matters ceases to upon any graduation, like deepening into oneself, falling asleep at night and not being able to remember what you did that day, how getting older transforms from an accomplishment to a hushed source of guilt, how the memories you have are always wasted.

But you can write a whole book.
You can call it anything you want.
You can print it out and stare at it.
You can avoid anyone you want to.

And on TV you swear you heard the President say that headaches are the growing pains of our emotions.

But by the time you read this I will be someone older and newer.

I will be ultimate. I will be somewhere else.
Beginning to blend with TV-colored walls.
Things can only get worse.
A loving kind of silence.
You, having left, then returned.
Me, having stayed, then stayed.
Mathematics and old movies.
The deaths of centuries inside you.
A hug that only comes apart.
A book you want to pull together.
A story that dies in your hands.
Apologies and thanks.
It’ll be a new year again soon.

—  @spencermadsen, You Can Make Anything Sad.


1) The YOLO Pages
2) The Fun We’ve Had by Michael J Seidlinger
3) Left Hand by Paul Curran
4) Black Cloud by Juliet Escoria
5) Walls by Andrew Duncan Worthington
6) Tampa by Alissa Nutting
7) New Tab by Guillaume Morissette
8) Thunderbird by Dorothea Lasky
9) You Can Make Anything Sad by Spencer Madsen
10) The Collected Works of Noah Cicero Vol 2


I’ve never read Dante’s Inferno, or Don Quixote

it feels pretty bad
doing the normal thing
staying out late
waking up early
saying its nice to meet you
in crowded bars

readings by poets
who seem to have
never been
to a reading before
judging by the length
at which they read

saying its nice to meet you
both regarding the void
that follows pointing toward

in the morning
eyebrows high
eyes low

the new york times
digital subscription trial period
came to an end on thursday

it’s been a while
since discomfort
was a motivating thing

it often feels worse
when people flirt back

going through my pockets
finding things from yesterday
and learning about myself

i keep facebook open in two tabs
so it’s like you’re talking to me
twice as hard

a thing about working in retail
you get this special awareness
of the changing seasons

dismantling and reassembling
the cold weather clothing display
being a little better at it this year
because things do change
just not in the way you wish they would

a fun thing to do is to state
“that was weird”
immediately after something weird happened
timing is everything

i hope you understand this
i hope you fear getting it all wrong
i hope you feel bad all the time
like former presidents
like bankrupt dads
like failed actors

i love you like a shelf being emptied
i love you like spending money on trash bags
so that i can immediately throw them away

i love you like no one else will
because people in the future will be better at it

a good morning is one where everyone might be dead
but they’re most likely fine
which makes you feel relief
that you get to be awake
at such an uncertain moment

you will stop reading this
when i say so


good job

now you fucked it up

Identifying who is a waste of your time and who isn’t is a skill that will only come with trial and error. In short, some of your friends bar-backing at a dive now will be working at a big magazine in a few months, and some of your friends bar-backing at a dive now will be bar-backing at a dive in five years. A good friend is always incredibly important to have, but if they’re just an asshole with big ideas, remember, you’re trying to graduate on time.
Sitting in a cafe now.
Finally getting to work.
I need to be in a place for the thing to do the thing.
I won’t exercise unless I’m in a gym.
I won’t study unless I’m in a library.
I won’t get any writing done unless I’m in a cafe.
I’m setup in a table that edges into the aisle.
I’m in the way but I like it. I get to apologize to people. They apologize back. It’s reciprocal. 
The best response to “I’m sorry” will always be “I’m sorry.”
The best response to “I hate myself” will always be “I hate myself.”
The best response to “I love you” will always be “I love you.”
The best response to “I’m scared” will always be “I am too.”
The only dirty talk I want to hear during sex is apologetic.

@spencermadsen, You Can Make Anything Sad.

P.S. Accidentally came across this at McNally Bookstore by Prince Street and fell in love. You will never know real, raw, cynically comical and heart gutting poetry until you’ve read him.

How to Drop Out of College

I’m the best there is at dropping out of colleges. I’ve done it three times, from three different colleges, accumulating enough credits to land myself somewhere around a sophomore. I always started classes strong, but the semesters just last too long. Every course was a new year’s resolution I gave up on come February. I dropped out of a beautiful Hogwartsian college where I began having real sex and taking on real student loans (which, it turns out, you should probably repay). From there I moved on to the city universities of New York: first Hunter, then Brooklyn. After dropping out of both of them I got a job at a bike shop and wrote a poetry book. I published two more books by other people. I wrote a few articles. I got a paid internship and a few odd jobs. I made dropping out of college—and being a writer in New York—work.