Poems: Chuck Young

Ghosts and stares.

dating: the experience (in 3D!)

the part of the date where you roll up like “i got $4 worth of wine and i’m bloated from gas”

the part of the date where you go with maybe-strangers to a semi-classy joint and the other dude in the foursome orders the beef heart and you say to the waiter “mmm sounds good sir can i ask you though if you use local bees”

the part of the date where you drunkenly spend twenty minutes and a shitload of elbow grease trying to corkscrew-drill into what ends up being the twist-off cap of the second bottle of wine but where you are smiling and dancing the whole time because r&b music is playing and you can hear the tub filling up

the part of the date where the alcohol has built a little campfire between you and them and you’re naked and in their bed softly and tone-deafly singing along to björk

the part of the date where there’s nothing you’d rather do than accept the invitation to play hooky from work and lie in bed all day but where you also need to shit pretty bad so you leave

the part of the date where you realize that you still have a lot of work to do on yourself and none of that work has anything to do with the prospect of finding an other

welcome to AND BACK

the morning waterboards me
with its small talk.
and now we all get to put
our big dumb bodies into this machine.
the conductor smells like you.
i fold my arms across my chest
and fall asleep against a window.
dreaming about a party
thrown at your grave.
it’s really great to see
all those ex-girlfriends in one place.

sometimes the train is a church and getting off is communion.

we had nothing in common
besides the fact that we both loved
the same dead person
and were sad about it.
my grandma was a drawer.
my grandma was a dresser.
even if it’s a heavily populated funeral,
it’s still a funeral and you’re still
just a body in a box.
don’t be afraid
to honor your emotions.

the only ghosts that are scary are the ones that were ourselves.

i still want to audit
a course on you
taught by you,
put my lips
to your bugspray body,
taste the summer in you.
you look like
you smell like cigarettes.
and we’re all tan
in the nude
on city streets,
splashing around
in open fire hydrants
and kissing.

no one suicides on champagne.

walking your dead dog
under waning gibbous
so at least one of us
can get some exercise
and my condolences
but i loved you
and love is a four letter word.
but sometimes you have to
give up on a person
because the alternative
will kill you
and then there’d be two bodies
instead of one
and now it’s just basic math.
you’re doing this for math.

usually you love someone’s ghost for longer than you loved their person.

when you’re looking forward
to the future being ‘brighter’,
you’re converting the present
to simply ‘waiting.’
and how can you live
an enriching present
if you’re just trying
to get through it?
i can probably trace it all back
to being 13 and thinking,
“i wish i could eat your cancer
when you turn black,”
was the most romantic lyric
i had ever heard.

the coolest thing about been to hell and back is the and back; welcome to and back.

there are giants
and they have been
waiting for me.
you can tell
what kind of life
you’ve lived
by the amount
of shoulders
you can count
in the darkness.
my emotional rhonda
is southern.
my physical rhonda
is midwestern.
the most primal
part of me
misses the most primal
part of you
but that’s about it.
walking around the house
i grew up in
looking at pictures
of dead things
on the walls
and tables and mantles.

today i bought a monkey, named him memory, and now he lives on my back.

i thin my blood
with alcohol and tubs
because i still just don’t think
i’m done bleeding on you.
people say they drink
to take the edge off.
i drink to file my edges
so far gone
that i end up
a smooth ball
of light
floating around
feeling something
akin to what love feels like.
sometimes i get drunk
and want people to tell me
that they know who i am
because sometimes i get drunk and i forget.

it’s dangerous to hang out with people made out of baskets when your self-worth is shaped like eggs.

take drugs
in the late night hours
of your parents’ kitchen,
carve pumpkins
until early morning,
and then go around
the neighborhood
putting them on
people’s porches,
lighting candles within them.
sleep next to your phone
but not because you think
you’re popular,
it’s just that you’re always expecting
the kind of bad news
that only comes
in the middle of the night.
chuck young is that look on a dog’s face when it’s dragging its ass across the carpet but like spiritually

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