Not to go all Rodney Dangerfield on you
all hacky sack back and forth binary
but how come men always write poetry like
they've got something to prove? You didn’t
swallow lightning bro. You’re addicted
to cigarettes. I’m telling you, whiskey isn’t therapy
I tried to write a poem about a storm in honor
of the strong mid west boys walking into
Walmart in wife beaters
while the rain pelts and the forecast calls
for golfball sized hail. Man I know you
know how big a golfball is.
It was something about
Thunder cloud’s steel engine turns it over and over
Triple axle clouds rain, never sleep in the plains,
Catalytic collision fumigates the lonely sky’s exhaustion
Yo what the hell
men can turn rain into oppression, watch
the lilac bloom, think only of thunder and lightning.
I try to think of a storm as a roaring engine so
sunny days can be cold
I needed to be.
We all imagine ourselves an island, let the rain
hit us and never flinch, stand straight up
in a rushing river of self repression and pretend
we will not erode. Baby, I’m pure obsidian.
The older boys always called me a faggot so I
swallowed a spindle and called my friends
faggots. The older boy held me down, rammed
a wooden pole, over and over, into where he
was never invited; I swallowed a sunflower and
buried it beneath the birdhouse in the closet.
Why did I grow up breaking my feelings into
shards of glass on the pavement? We took our
trauma and wrapped it around our hands and
wrists, taped them up nice and tight and threw it
at each other’s jaws. My friends smoked
marlboro reds so I smoked marlboro Reds and
they called them cowboy killers and i thought,
man i don’t even know if i wanna be a cowboy.
My dad said I chirped like a bird whenever I
got upset, so i pushed my eggs out of the nest
and swallowed that song. I can’t stop to smell
the flowers, but I’ll pay a man with a gun to
carve oleander into my flesh with metal & ink,
and for a moment I believe I, too, can be
beautiful without the pain of sun and rain.
With men, every time feels like the first time,
whisper in my ear while I bite my
tongue into ineffectual pieces, but
men always say things like,
I’ve wanted this for so long
when I’d thought we were just friends,
when I’d thought this was spontaneous,
shudder and wonder whether I’ve ever said
anything like that, pull his hand away, a
rough reflection of my own, we’ve both got
blood underneath our fingernails, ash on our
breath, and bruises from the weather.
Alex got on top, while David and I watched
silently, ready to bury his rabid anger in Ian’s
muddied face, raised his fist and collapsed
into tears. Why are we even fighting?
The boys pointed and laughed, in 1st grade,
when Drew got caught peeing with his pants
down - incredibly gay. Can’t even take a piss
without proper masculation of the rigid relief.
boots on, pants up, firm hand gripped around
our fragile manhood.
Now we call each other brothers because the
concept of companionship is too sweltering if
it doesn't involve blood.
Mennonite women taught me how to quietly
sew quilts. Answers in the cross-stitch, sewn
myself shut: what lives beneath the flowers is
a mystery to me. I’ve only seen my body in
a world that exists on the other side of a
mirror, where digits drawing dark circles
under my eyes are merely my own.
The men I’ve known are Mennonites.
For them,The world is always about
to end and when it does,
They will finally know
The truth is too hard to swallow,
so we make tinctures out of fiction.
I’d like to have a quiet bath now.
I’ve heard enough thunder.
It doesn’t have to be all fire and
brimstone all the time, maybe
just a nice lavender candle,
there is so much to wash off,
what has not yet been eroded.
Dean Boskovich is a cook and college dropout living in Asheville, NC. His work has previously appeared in T.G.I. Friday’s, continental breakfasts, and various food delivery apps. He writes poetry when he’s supposed to be working and smiles warmly about the existence of dogs and denim. Dean hopes your friends didn’t think he was being too awkward the other day. Find him on Instagram @deanboskovich.