ARS POETICA II
after a long night of crying,
you wake up with an entire durian in your throat
and retch it onto the empty half of your bed.
it won’t open, no matter how much you squeeze, and your life
becomes a blur of cold ramen and calling in sick
to spend the whole day icing your purpled knuckles alone.
so when you feel that first warm trickle down your wrist,
it almost doesn’t matter that what you’re feeling is blood
or that it’s your own or that the fruit is still closed
and mocking you from on top of your desk,
only that it makes those friends who have never seen fruit
stop sighing like that, confuse pride with relief.
before you know it, there’s this boy begging
to lap what he thinks is wet sugar from your wrists
and you let him, pray to yourself it’s not poison,
then pray to yourself he never finds out that it is.
you fall asleep on a still-empty stomach, Googling
how to bleach that red ring from around his mouth.
you blink, and now you’re stowing vials in your bra
at parties, selling shots to people with durians
tattooed on their ribs. you watch them weep
and dance on each other, and then you slip out
before anyone gets sober. at home, you kick
a sack of durians from your front door and admire
how the TV’s blue backlight makes your thin skin shine
like a Ziploc you can stare right through to your bones.
This selection comes from Kat Giordano’s book The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost, available from Philosophical Idiot Purchase your copy here! Our curator for January is Rax King.
Kat Giordano is a poet (1%) and massive millennial crybaby (99%) from Pennsylvania. She co-edits Philosophical Idiot and works for a law firm somehow. She is also the author of many highly embarrassing social media meltdowns. Her poems have appeared in Occulum, Ghost City Review, Awkward Mermaid, The Cincinnati Review, CLASH Magazine, and others. Her debut full-length poetry collection, The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost, is available now.
Rax King is a dog-loving, hedgehog-mothering, beer-swilling, gay and disabled sumbitch who occasionally writes poetry and works as assistant editor for Sundress Publications. She is the author of the collection ‘The People’s Elbow: Thirty Recitatives on Rape and Wrestling’ (Ursus Americanus, 2018). Her work can also be found in Barrelhouse, Glass Poetry, and Dream Pop.