play deaf unless a poem answers me.

you shut the door, drove me to the all-night shop.
I was three weeks late. the air was damp and hot.
our pale reflections on the back windscreen,
the local radio DJ playing Dancing Queen
and the checkout girl in the superstore
who didn’t look at me, just what I bought.
you pointed out each lit window in town.
Take notes, you said, one day you will write this down.

it’s true. most days, I plunder what I see,
play deaf unless a poem answers me.
when I nod absently at what you’ve said,
I’m thinking of that night instead—
me in the bathroom, long before time,
already squinting for the telltale line.

“Take Notes”, Helen Mort.

veins beneath the water

Marilyn Monroe took all her sleeping pills
to bed when she was thirty-six, and Marlon Brando’s daughter
hung in the Tahitian bedroom
of her mother’s house,
while Stanley Adams shot himself in the head. Sometimes
you can look at the clouds or the trees
and they look nothing like clouds or trees or the sky or the ground.
The performance artist Kathy Change
set herself on fire while Bing Crosby’s sons shot themselves
out of the music industry forever.
I sometimes wonder about the inner lives of polar bears. The French
philosopher Gilles Deleuze jumped
from an apartment window into the world
and then out of it. Peg Entwistle, an actress with no lead
roles, leaped off the “H” in the hollywoodsign
when everything looked black and white
and David O. Selznick was king, circa 1932. Ernest Hemingway
put a shotgun to his head in Ketchum, Idaho
while his granddaughter, a model and actress, climbed the family tree
and overdosed on phenobarbital. My brother opened
thirteen fentanyl patches and stuck them on his body
until it wasn’t his body anymore. I like
the way geese sound above the river. I like
the little soaps you find in hotel bathrooms because they’re beautiful.
Sarah Kane hanged herself, Harold Pinter
brought her roses when she was still alive,
and Louis Lingg, the German anarchist, lit a cap of dynamite
in his own mouth
though it took six hours for him
to die, 1887. Ludwig II of Bavaria drowned
and so did Hart Crane, John Berryman, and Virginia Woolf. If you are
travelling, you should always bring a book to read, especially
on a train. Andrew Martinez, the nude activist, died
in prison, naked, a bag
around his head, while in 1815 the Polish aristocrat and writer
Jan Potocki shot himself with a silver bullet.
Sara Teasdale swallowed a bottle of blues
after drawing a hot bath,
in which dozens of Roman senators opened their veins beneath the water.
Larry Walters became famous
for flying in a Sears patio chair and forty-five helium-filled
weather balloons. He reached an altitude of 16,000 feet
and then he landed. He was a man who flew.
He shot himself in the heart. In the morning I get out of bed, I brush
my teeth, I wash my face, I get dressed in the clothes I like best.
I want to be good to myself.

Trouble, Matthew Dickman

crash. boom. bangg.

Years away now. Years my life without you near. Years in solitude and just like that you came back into my life. No signs, no hunch. No sting in your gut trying to tell you this is the day. This is the day you’re going to again meet the love of your life. You got rid of him and now the universe is giving you a second chance.

What have I done? I set you free. I have set you free.