Neon, Neon by Jessi Harrison

Meet me at the crossroads, he says. Bring ice, & everything that’s holding

you back.  I find myself whispering knots, & anchors, & harmful

transgressions into cubes, & throwing them into oncoming traffic.

The cars run over all the things you need to empty, & scatter them

in new directions. This is how beginnings start.


I am hot as a shot of whiskey. The beer flush  on my cheeks like I am not

From a drinking state. Like I have never run barefoot in the snow from the bar

after having one too many tequila shooters on NYE, breast boosted like I could keep

up with the boys. The boys who only ever wanted to see how long, or how much

it took to get the layers off.  There must be a body under there somewhere.

Speculation the only concrete an imagination has in the middle of 40 degrees below

on January nights.


This is how we make ourselves, he says,eyes green as jungle jade. We like to sit across

from each other & measure the amount of restraint we carry. I like to play with fire.

He likes to get burned. There is symbiosis in every aspect of fuck.


Do not whisper God’s name, he says as his hands hold my throat. I am so bored, I say. No,

you are tragic. He holds his thumb around my esophagus, his digits imprinting their physicality in bruises. I have never felt closer to dying. I have never felt so alive. I choke on all the usual

moans. Don’t be simple, he says. That’s what’s boring. Who fucking wants ordinary? Ordinary,

is for housewives & fuckboys who think their decisions in life are special. Special, is for second

place ribbons. You, are a trophy case. Polish yourself clean in all your glory.


There is nothing but distance between words. The flicker of neon. The clack of misguided

boots down a sawdust hall. The clock measures moments we cannot digest. I cannot hold liquor,

or a conversation like I used to. Like I so mistakenly desire.


He speaks, soft as morning, of a light I do not see.  Of a beauty I have never known.

The night is blacker than blindness. Watch the sky. Measure how the stars dance. What

does it take to tango? Where do you learn moves like that? Winter closes in with each breath.

I am not ready for the cold,  I tell him with soaked intent. Darling, no one ever fucking is.