“Pray Like You Mean it” and “Cliffhanger”


Pray Like You Mean It

[I do it like my mama taughtThe Entirely Mercifula full breath before new
verse my mind a defiant child told to sit still upending all the gas cans
of memories while I whisper into the pillowcase unwashed for two
Saturdays of the worlds my mind an audition tape of all the ways
I’m no good and never will be a full Z on the inside of left wrist
bad daughter bad sister bad It is You wife who wore white for another man
every trashed bedroom hundred-dollar meals thrown up one tequila
over speed limit fleecing girls who lit up all of Paris
a cairn for help of empty beer bottles shining green as cash
fingers counting my lashes a stolen bag of cocaine white on white on
white my white mug filled with seltzer and lime o please
somebody the path of those upon tell my mama to
send me any song so long as it makes me cry to show me how to make this
life this god again those who are led astray mine]

Cliffhanger

Yesterday I told it again some Brooklyn teahouse a woman asked
about Beirut and I was talking about blackouts & virginity before I knew it
in some ways I will never stop being a drinker in all the ways that count
I like the rehearsal of life more than life how could you let him do that
aghast the woman wants to know how could you let him get away
with it I went to police stations I drank alone I hit a pizzeria door with
my fist I thought I was getting back at him like Plath and her daddy
the story changes depending on where I am Marfa or Tulum or my own bathtub
sometimes I tried to make it stop sometimes it’s raining but the truth is more
simple than I like I hurt a boy and the boy ruined me
my family for years received these phone calls unknown caller saying
your daughter is a whore a bad girl saying rape saying
you won’t recognize her body (here the woman gasps) when you find it
look we all become our worst stories this is mine I went
back for more nobody made me do that I just hated being ignored
that’s the part I leave out there was a war we kept the
news on fucked on the couch not the bed I couldn’t forgive him
so I apologized instead have you ever done that I ask the woman shakes her head
she is fuming says I hope he has daughters he has sons I reply
well I hope he has daughters I hope this happens to his sister stop
I say please stop I leave this out too how I still defend him how a wound
like that over a decade becomes a kind of heart how I sometimes
imagine an awning in Beirut rain no umbrella him rooted in place
me clearing my throat I rehearse this how I’ll go still
& say you became the story I was most addicted to & say
I knew it was you all along do you understand I knew