Reasons Why she should Leave Me


i go through a 1-2 month AIDS panic every time i quit weed or get a new sexual partner.
6-8 months if both.

i have AIDS like i have cancer & MS & scurvy & all the other things
i imagine i have
when somebody tweets about them
or Stabler says something fleeting on SVU
& it takes me like religion, thrush,

or i just have a dream
& wake up
abuzz with a new, hollow realness,

god-fueled purpose

to survive, survive what

i don’t know,
i make it up:
call it first world guilt.
i can’t write anything
that’s not meant to make me feel gorgeous.

i loved my
best friend by
the ocean and
left her ruined.

i will never love
a woman more
than i love my mother;

& i’ll never love
my mother more
than i hate myself.

i am tired all day.
all night i walk around naked.

my mouth waters at Worldstar violence.

i was terrified of sex until my 20s.
i am currently more terrified of my own appetites than anything else alive.

every time she leaves the house i think she’s looking at all of them.
every time we go in anywhere & a man’s working the counter i go numb.

i fill her with it & still think she’s not full enough &, within an hour, she’ll be under a wall of muscle somewhere else.

& none of it is real. she is milk, perfect, clean, gorgeous:
i am spellbound.

she’s going out tonight & i could die in my drama.

i fancy myself Leo Tolstoy but watch Kardashians & take weed naps instead of doing anything else.

i create nothing. i subtract.
i am simply a consumer.

i liked Infinite Jest more than Gravity’s Rainbow.
i’ve read neither.
i will never read either.

(but i’ve driven
to Oxford to
pretend i’m Faulkner,
St. Helena Island
to see where
Conroy’s bones burn,
to Northampton to
walk around Smith
& obsess over
Sylvia; she’d hate
me & hate
my poetry &
see my emptiness, yes, with absolution.)

i am more scared of raccoons
than i am
of mass shooters;

i spent my
20s driving around
my hometown fantasizing
about publishing books
no one ever reads
& fucking women
no one ever loved.

women i knew
when they were
girls, when we
were young &
sleeping together in
basements, rising crunk
& horny with that
bloody orange sun, sucking Four Loko through cans

throwing up in
Forest’s backyard, kissing
in cars going
too fast driven
by a bunch
of dudes who
are dead or
should be dead now.

it’s heinous, my fantasy.

they all are.

& i know & i don’t care.
i’m the sickest person you know. that’s pathetic.

it’s even more pathetic that i’m not.
i’m not special, nowhere near.

i love the
spectacle, the pageantry, of church;
i believe in
nothing outside my
own illnesses.

i’m just full of run-of-the-mill male ugly.

i daydream about men wanting to fight me
so i can hurt them;

i am terrified of men in groups,
maybe even more than women.

i am proposing to my girl
next month
& i don’t think she realizes

how many trips i’ve taken to the psych ward,
how much time i’ve spent at Silver Hill.

how this medicine is not for now—
this medicine is always.

even if she goes off, gone

the lithium will still
make me do my little shake,
hit my little dance.

the one that isn’t sexy. where my kidneys press into death diamonds, melt into earthen milk.

no matter who i fuck, who i am at the moment,

the pills are the pills
& i take the pills.

& still i am obsessed with the way liquor makes me feel
& to the ills it brings me
& i am scared by how it makes me feel
& i will smoke again
& i will get high again

because of my deep reverence for leaving the planet

& i’ll be an ugly father

dark & wavering

something unleashed
when i am a man
who needs
to be tethered.

somebody, fucking leash me.

because i will never change, cannot change, will simply run my loop & start again, pretending the snapshots i retain are not an embarrassment, that i can be alive & stay the same & grow for no one, ever, not even enough to hang onto the parts of myself i love, until they’re all gone & i’m a man doing bad things not because he is making mistakes but because that is who he is & all he is & does not think, will simply do,

grinding away in the present-tense
until i’ve punished
anyone who’s ever
woken up beside
me with eyes of
anything but masochism

punish anybody who
ever let me
cry to them
yet wanted to
live until morning.

R. Jones lives in the northeast with a dog who hails from Arkansas. Read more of his work in Expat Press, Hobart, and elsewhere. Shout at him on Twitter at @jonestown00

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