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Three Poems

ADVICE FROM BENJO CORTEZ
GALLERY OWNER, CHELSEA
THE RED CAT, NEW YORK, 2AM 

 

When I feel something

It doesn’t show

I got rid of the signs

With injections in the forehead

I can tell you where to go

But not anywhere

My eyes got fucked up in Milan

Some bitch

Can you see the scar?

 

Keep your skin perfect

Put these

SkinCeuticals on

 

Every day

Each morning

          And I swear

 

Vitamin B5 Gel

Serum 10

Notre Coeur

          That one twice a day

Daily Moisture

          Do that daily

Tinted SPF5O, Dead Sea Live

Dark Room, RV5, Eska Formula

Swallow aloe vera

Are you writing this down?

 

And only eat soup

You can put anything in it

But only soup

 

I lost nearly everything

 

My whole body

 

And then now

Well, now I’m eating this cream mousse

It’s all back

But that was because of Massimo

He disappeared.

 

This was before James

Before James I only dated architects

          Which Massimo wasn’t

He was a model

But up until then

Architects only.

He kept saying

Massimo kept saying

You only want me because

I am not an architect

Which was true

And I told him it was true

Otherwise I would date an architect

I’m an honest person

You should always be honest.

 

But he disappeared

I hurt easily

He knew this.

 

Now I have James

Yes, he’s very young

But it’s because he has good skin,

He uses all those creams

 

I used to get jealous

But he’s good

Knows how not to hurt people

His brother just died

So he knows

          But once

He was in a restroom in a club

And I was unsure

He was in there a long time

I knocked, and went away

Or pretended

I was watching from the sink

Looking for signs in the mirror

But I was quiet

Then I came back, or didn’t because I didn’t go away

But I knew he was not in there alone

And there was this guy

I’d seen him looking at James

And so after a while

I made James open the door and he was

In there

Alone

 

Massimo disappeared though

Back to Milan

He was from Milan

I tracked him down

We went to therapy

It was at that point

Massimo admitted he knew how to hurt me and

Sometimes

Did it on purpose.

That’s when I realised

Massimo was not a good person.

I didn’t want to talk anymore

But we were always at the therapist

Because I had set it up like that

And Massimo kept on talking

For weeks

Until the therapist had to stop him

What about Benjo, she said

What does Benjo think?

 

 

 

PLEDGE DRIVE

 

Weightless beside his possessions

In bags bound

To a small cart

He keeps the company of his radio

As though, too, living on its battery.

 

He is caked in clothes

Indistinguishable

From body, hair, face.

 

A yellow woman

Bursting a dress

Appears

‘Believe in god’ she tells him.

‘Fears are gonna give you

More fears.’

 

He lifts the radio to his ear, shakes

Voices from it

 

Today is the last day

Of the drive

We’ll add a dollar 

For every dollar

You give on this 

The last day 

 

A dry-rot face

Splintered in confusion.

Floats in to join them.

 

‘It’s never too late,’ he says.

‘He’s gonna fill your heart with joy.’

 

We rely on your donation

Think what brought you 

To this station.

 

He presses the radio

Close, absent

Until his eyes fall

On me.

 

His face collapses and

Shocked I see

Pity pool in creases.

 

 

 

 

AT THE FARMER’S MARKET

 

     Butcher

Scant blond hair

Deathly pale,

Red nails blunt

     Watches

Meat buying meat.

          We are all water,

          She thinks

No, all blood.

          She watches

Wet eyes flash

On wet flesh

          Feels herself

On some indistinct border, alive

At the precipice of decay

          Caught

In contradiction

Behind slabs of muscle

Dense with purpose

Fed to feed

 



ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR


is a British-born writer in New York City. She is the former American Associate Editor of Granta. Her short fiction has been published by N+1, Shakespeare & Co’s Paris Magazine and The Paris Review. She has written short book reviews for The New Yorker and Time Out. She is an agent for classical musicians, and is working on her first novel.


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