It’s Thursday and Friday all at once here at The Serotonin Factory, before I hit the road tonight for the Women of the World Poetry Slam.
I’m extra exited for this week’s Friday Love Poems:
I am lucky to call Elliott D. Smith a co-conspirator. He’s a good influence on me. His writing is so vital and visceral that it helps me access parts of myself that I can’t always get to, and somehow I even feel safe there.
UNCENSORED POEM ABOUT A WOMAN
Only one lover has ever called me sweetheart,
and you are not her.
But you did call me arrogant
with those stubborn fingers of yours
the last time I reached for your hand.
When I talk to you
I feel like my father,
a southern baptist preacher in kentucky,
on the first day of deer hunting season.
I look in your eyes and know
the congregation (of rods and cones) is out looking for prey.
I am in my silly barstool pulpit
asking you to believe. again.
You are the only ex lover I still dream about.
I saw your back last night,
all 18 inches from shoulder to small
and for once I knew what to do.
We are doomed forever to be partners on the dancefloor of my retinas,
flirting with rapid eye movement that blinks its way
closer to the waking misery of she is not you. she is not you. she is not you.
This predetermined tango of whiskey and lies
does not need you, although you are its favorite witness,
giving testimony to the half-inch between our hands
that’s there to say no.
No, there is nothing of you in the way I flip women like coins.
No, I won’t believe in the apocalypse until you come again.
SOME PEOPLE CALL IT KARMA
“We all know you’re soft ‘cause we’ve all seen you dancing, we all know you’re hard ‘cause we’ve all seen you drinking from noon until noon again.”-Belle and Sebastian
“I no longer need you to fuck me as hard as I hated myself.”-Buddy Wakefield
If you ask me
Buddy was wrong, I still need you to fuck me as hard as I hated myself
so I can always remember the way it feels to tattoo the past on my thighs.
When you slide your nails across my forearms I know the meaning of depth,
could mark every single inch, I will landslide under your sharp edges.
I built a shadow puppet of bruises, named it love, and hid it under my collarbone,
soon we’ll take it out dancing and you’ll know where a baby’s soft spot goes.
Sometimes you leave fuck on the wall. It’s the black scuff mark
by my bedroom door. We never meant to make this permanent
but there are nights you gotta kick off your shoes and wrestle with exes.
it’s why I rotate the mattress and leave lighters under the bed.
Some people call it karma, I just wanna see you naked one more time.
I’ve always liked sex more than I like myself, dug my heels
into strangers' sheets and let them ride me to retrograde amnesia,
to never wanted to remember me either.
There is a boy whose soft spot won’t close.
Without the fusing of bones it is free to migrate.
His lovers don’t know what to make of this, it turns them tentative
and he can’t explain the childhood that led him there.
When I want to fuck the boy with the soft spot takes my hand.
He doesn’t want me to sleep with anyone else, says I’ve traded my body
for a smile too many times, too many ways. Says bed and stage
aren’t supposed to be interchangeable. He wants me to know
I can be more than hard, build more than walls, but I don’t want to believe.
My heart is a cement mixer, must keep moving or else solidify,
you’ll understand this is why I could never stay.
My memory is a Narnian garden of statues,
each lover frozen in perfect pose, fisting the sky without fear of heat.
One day, we will all melt. One day, we will write and drink whiskey
and car wreck around bed frames until the storyboard is full and rocking.
One day, we will wake the neighbors.
Fuck me as hard as I hated myself
so I can remember how ridiculous it was in the first place.
Fuck me until Tomorrow is the name I call when I come,
until I prefer fingernails to razorblades and handcuffs become a metaphor.
Love the music our beatbox bodies loop over sunrises.
Love the soft spots we leave for each other, and baby,
Elliott D. Smith believes in the power of tattoos and reference books. He currently works with people with conviction histories, helping them to reduce barriers to employment and housing. Elliott also conducts research on masculinity, friendships, and identity formation. His writing tackles issues of gender, sexuality, and family, and is greatly influenced by the people and places he loves.