You Don’t Break Me… | Garth Ferrante

Steve Johnson via Pexels

YDBM… 123 (Tell me:) a cutup of chance encounter no. 2 by Sienna Liu

Apologetically, it couldn’t have been so in ’95—
Everything was expiring then and I never knew
Till, finally, I was walking down the aisle and saw
Myself as one with an entire outlook that was
Expired. It shook me, I tell you—it shook me to
See a corpse where I should’ve seen myself happy,
And with no one around except the corpse to feel
Crowded by (no one and nothing)…it wasn’t a pleasing
Thing, the thing I’d become.
But how was your afternoon, and your emptiness?

YDBM… 124 (“Yes” to Alaska and all points above) a cutup of The Anthropomorphized Bear by Z.H. Gill

It was a bonafide thing, you telling me you’re unafraid
Of the animals that cursed this truck bed—
For a moment, as I was thinking these words, I imagined
Us together, anthropomorphized from the things we
Are in your head into two people replying “yes” to
Whatever the question is—
Yes, we will be here for each other,
Yes, we will bite our way through the world right on
Through the next one, too—
Yes, the god of the mountains is calling us, so we will
Leave together to say “yes” to him too.

YDBM… 125 (Plum ready to say goodbye) a cutup of Your Girlfriend As an Overturned
Shopping Cart by Cathy Ulrich

Wire and say you’re okay—this pouring out should be the last—
Wrap me in the black of your future (again)—I will be taken into
Custody by the Black Goat of the Woods that can only belong to
You—I will hold your purse as you scream your manifesto
Slinging ice-cream plates and wrecking everything you own—
You aren’t quiet when you cry, which is why I close the door to
Your bedroom on your birthdays, always, and lay my head down
On your couch waiting and waiting and waiting for the day you
Untangle the petite from the hambone, pick out the thing of
Suicide that can never be laid at my feet—

YDBM… 126 (Hell is overdrafted) a cutup of Easter by James Thad

For you, I am very late, but it’s taken a lifetime to get by
The traces of what was to what is—no more waiting, I’m
Curling up in a treasure chest with no treasure—and since
I’m no salesman, have never, could never be one to sell
Myself to you, I’ll stay anchored here and looking up at
Whoever happens upon me later on—I know it will be much
Later, that they will not wonder at me as a mystery, only how
To get rid of the thing that is me—I’ve lived many years on
And off Earth: I can afford to drift away inglorious, waiting
For the words from God’s mouth to fill mine with hope that
I am forgiven and Hell is not overdrafted.

YDBM… 118 (Given to the God of Her) a cutup of Widening Circles by Ranier Maria Rilke

I, I , I , I , I, I, I and still thousands of questions
Await that do not involve me. To ask about them and
Their lives and everyone they have come to love and
All they’ve let go of—
Why not reach across the world separating us all to
Complete what still refuses to be completed:
A primordial self in denial that a storm will not save
It, that a god cannot save it, that a woman cannot
Save it—
Only a truth at the heart of those questions that
Have nothing to do with me and the widening circles
That leave me incomplete—

YDBM… 97 (Mind turns to worry) a vague cutup of The Poems I Am Not Writing by Mary Kinzie

Mind turn to worry, heaven turned to woe—
Woman was the answer, woman was a “no”—
Solar-powered angels promised light into the dark—
Fifty doesn’t seem so bad, but 50 is only a spark—
A start of something walking toward its end—
Something that promises to be your friend—
But death and time and have not been kind—
And you are nothing of what you used to be—
So says the voice that never ends, that never trips—
The voice that never falls the way you fall—
The voice that laughs as you cry, that will live on
After your death—

YDBM… 98 (Dead) a vague cutup of All heart float… by Margaret Atwood

I’m the one who drowned in no water, just whatever was
There I didn’t want to be there, just whatever wasn’t there
I knew I couldn’t take anymore.

YDBM… 90 (Us smiling at each other) a vague cutup of Ongoing by Jenny Xie

It was a threadbare study, you and me on the bed, on
The floor, finishing each other’s lines thinking romance was
This very thing we were doing—just words, you know?
But being who we were, we never could have seen
Just how separated we always were and always would be—
Your experiences never identified by me, nor mine
By you…it was the definition of sadness and loneliness in
A crowded room where a crowd was just me,
Just you—

YDBM… 79 (Maw) a cutup of Back Suplex by Clem Flowers

I used that word once, but never again—
It reminded me of the dark times before I ever was
The end of the earth they believed was a giant maw
A grove of nothing, a pit of beasts, and every man
A pearl to be devoured and enjoyed—
It’s yesterday’s velvet that asks me if I’d like to
Return to the narrow spot under my father’s bed,
Where I held myself between box spring and abrasive
Synthetics (green, faded green, covered-in-dust green)
Till the horrors devouring me could be put back behind
My eyes again and the world set spinning
Without end.

YDBM… 128 (Miss Debbie (version)) a cutup of i carry your heart [& hand] with me [even as we close / i leave / they shutter the shop] by Jen Schneider

It’s unfair to all parties involves, you thinking of her so many years on—
What’s there to think about, really?—you hung out the one time, and only
Because you were dating her friend—greetings from ’91 to ’95 and no
One wants to know you, especially her—scorpion moons and she’s still
Dancing on that bartop…a hundred years after, a thousand, and you’re
Stretching yourself because all the signs point to one who is sad and lonely,
Though you hate that word because it makes you sound desperate and
Alone—isn’t that what loneliness is though, being alone?—no, no: loneliness
Is when you’re uncomfortable with being alone, and this hasn’t been the truth
For you in many, many years—she danced on that bartop, you know, because
She had to, not because she wanted to—it was “part of the job” is how she
Put it and you wondered many things about her, about what would happen
To her when she left that place because of her belief in what needed to be
Done, and because you knew she knew it was all an affront to her kind—so
Much for wanting to think of peppermints and mistletoe when you thought
Of her, and so much for asking her what “might’ve been” because you know
The answer already—

YDBM… 129 (Sad member of the living dead) a cutup of Azaleas by Ether Lin

Smile when you remember you’ve got nothing but
Death before you—no, it’s not “too much,” it’s only
A truth you said you were committed to—the photos
You refuse to look at say it all: smile now because
You’ll be crying later.
Don’t obey, see how far you go because it all leads
Right back here with you telling them “My mother
Was never a mother” and ignoring her for what remains
Of both your lives—you don’t cross your arms anymore,
You don’t think the word “screaming” is the most
Beautiful in the English language, you are gill-sick, green-
Sick, gut-sick when you recall your mistakes and how
You’d do it all differently:
Not begging to be with them, not asking what was next,
Not giving them hatred and silence when you might have
Found peace within by making peace with them, or
Trying—between the sun and the grave, it’s no longer a
Contest which one wins, but which you want—
If it’s the sun, know there is nothing more to resort to, but
If it’s death, just keep doing as you’ve always done.

Garth Ferrante is a complete unknown who writes because he loves to, because he finds meaning and purpose in it, because if he didn’t, life would be lifeless.

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