Neon, Neon

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

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.

Photography by Adam Birkett