“The day you left, I began to read space theories. I read about why the earth goes around the sun, about the solar system slowly collapsing into itself, about black holes and supernovas. But the truth is, the more I read about the universe, the more they began to blend together into a pastiche of you, of me, of us. This isn’t about spirituality, understand. This isn’t about how ‘it wasn’t in the stars’ and ‘I wish I had loved you like the earth loves the sun’. I have already written those poems for you and the image of you walking away from a home that was once ours, helped me understand that there is no romance in the way a star collapses. It is ugly to watch a thing of beauty turn on itself.”
“It would be a shame
to look back on this
and (out of bitterness)
not call it love.”
“is love still love when it sits heavy
on the skin, tacky to the touch,
sun-scorched and peeling
like an old porch rail?
love past the SELL BY date
will make you sweat,
won’t sit right in the belly.
it’s okay to throw it out,
even if it’s half-full.
even if you swear
it’s still good.”
“When you fall for a man who could never love you
don’t say I didn’t warn you
when you fuck your way to his heart
and find broken chandeliers
from every time he was hung
and cut down while still shining
don’t say I didn’t warn you
burn down the caution signs
bulldoze the barriers between his past
and your passion
it’s the only way you’ll learn
you’re not his firefighter
it’s not your job to save him”
— Aman Batra
nostalgia is only good for one thing
and that’s telling stories
don’t you tuck it into bed with you at night
don’t you let it keep you warm”
“I think in English, but my tongue is dressed in Spanish. I am always missing a word for something in either language.”
“It’s your flaws
I want to taste.
Your crooked mouth.
The way you smell after
being out all day.
The lump in your throat.
Your shaky hands.
Your morning breath.
Your prickly legs.
Your pimpled politeness.
Your tangled hair.
I don’t want to be able to
run my fingers through you
easily. It’s no fun writing
I want to talk about you-
“The kindest words my father said to me
Women like you drown oceans.”
“I want to live in an honest house
where the motion detector is so sharp
it knows when my thoughts leave the room.
I want a clap on lamp that works as a polygraph;
when you swear you still love me, the lights flicker.”
“I want the cottage. I want the green grass and the tomato plants. I want the peace in you; the front porch rocking chair lullaby; our cricket legs rubbing together under the covers. We can’t have it all. I know that, but humor me. We can’t have it all, but we can have most of it.”
“You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated, so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.”
“under your hands, i bloom into ache–
and heat and want. and heavy breath
and mouth and mouth and mouth.
all syrup on your fingers. you could
almost spin me into candy floss, except for
this weight on your hips:
and how it buckles
for your body.”
“My father told me sexism is dead and told me to carry a pepper spray in the same breath.”
“The only thing touching me right now
are my black jeans, a blanket, this bra. Even my friends
don’t want to go out: J is in bed, phone glowing hot
in his hands; Alisha’s in Florida with a sad song
and a linen napkin in her lap. Maybe this cigarette
is my Valentine, all mint-smoke smell in my hair;
or the card my grandmother picked out carefully
three days ago for me. I have to cram myself
into this body every day and it’s getting crowded.
I wander lonely through Target, buy small things
like nail polish, a scarf, breath mints. People are always
so surprised that my poems contain so much
sadness, that I can crawl right into the belly of it
and sleep there. I can’t talk to you like this. No one
is answering their phones and the woman who tells me
that the person I am trying to reach is not available
is my best friend and I hope she’s happy. I hope
someone loves her. I hope she loves herself.”
is where I want
the heart of him
and stay there,
soft air, pink skin
and tired eyes
and beyond love,
again and again
your name in my mouth for months. My throat
is a beehive pitched in the river. Look!
Look how long this love can hold its breath.”
“There is no skull and crossbones over your heart. You are a good thing, that somebody be dying to get next to.”
“I’m an aim-well,