SELF-PORTRAIT IN PIECES
Yellow teeth and coffee breath. Nails bitten to the quick. No makeup: all-natural pimples. There’s a stray pubic hair on the bath towel. What’s a skin care routine? I walk on the insides of my feet and it gives me a limp. Don’t know why, but there’s a pile of shoes in the back of my closet worn out at 45° angles. I shave my armpits and not my legs. Not because of feminism, because the legs are too much work. By the time I get there I’m tired of it. Though I appreciate the excuse feminism has provided me for avoiding this exercise. My energetic gestures often knock over other people’s shit. It’s quirky in movies and humiliating in real life. Sorry about your smoothie, Tara. I know you just spent 10 minutes making it and you use them to relieve your pain, but now it’s on the floor. No, stay where you are. I’ll clean it up before it sinks in.
LOVE POEM AS HATE POEM AS LOVE POEM
I write you cause there’s nothing else to do. Bury
myself in your name cause it’s all I’ve got. Sip
you like sugarless lemonade. Listen, I want you like
good posture, cheap rent, and a book deal. Yeah,
I’m writing about you, but don’t get too excited:
it’s against my better judgment. Cause I’m buckling in
for months of revisions. Months of me singing you
in the shower and setting your outline next to me wherever I go.
It’s for research, I promise. I don’t mean anything by it.
Except I still have this teenage urge to
write love poems and this teenage urge to
love. Watch me self-actualize: I will wear
my retainer again, wake up before two, and acknowledge
all my flaws out loud, over and over and over again.
I will wait for you at the end of the road,
content and cross-legged,
writing us into your blood.
Eleanor Ball is a person who types loudly. Her work is featured/forthcoming in Stone of Madness, the winnow, and The B'K.