Poems: Stephon Lawrence

Illo for Stephon Lawrence poems.

I met a buffalo once

                        cigarette between his teeth in a courtyard—: he blew
smoke through his nostrils & into my mouth

he burned into my palm: what kind of smoker are you?
casual; chronic; social

                                                [read social as: drunk & enamored]
breath heavy as steam engines, he always
stands on top of me as though he wants to crawl & buck
inside of me
I wear him around my neck & thumb silver
nickel-holes into my throat; clay-coat esophagus to
store our lighters & ash there

in the spring we plant
flowers & smoke them: harvest tulips; they taste the sweetest
teach me to roll the perfect cigarette &
I’ll lick spliffs shut without looking you in the eye

things I will need in the future: a proper ash tray &
a way to remember your voice
when I can’t feel it curl
around my knuckles like smoke & cheap tobacco ash


i’m hanging in this dingy bathroom. i’m showing up in mirror pics. much is happening on the other side. i don’t know how to deal with /beautiful things/. i’m restoring my vanity. decided it’s well deserved. the likes are proof of shit i can’t remember        your ghost likes are proof of shit i’m not thinking about. cool things are happening in rooms lit by screens. you’re really missing out.        i’m sitting in this empty booth sipping. i’m remembering something about confidence boosting makeup like || b12 shots || just for your face.        you float in     simmering. i didn’t think ghosts could bruise. is it like an /ego/ thing? people are peddling coachella looks here :::: culture costumes for day drinking and hot sun dancing. i’m glad ghosts like you aren’t into that kinda thing. let’s get gone. whaddyasay? start building that dinosaur terrarium out of trashed sea world fish tanks. sorry shamu.


//this damp blue light

even my cigarettes are electric now. i tried to talk to you once on a monday. standing in this stairwell // standing on this porch. before this spectral mess began. and after.        i forgot how words work. it seems i’m only brave on the weekends. logging on has been difficult but i do it anyway. ghost photography has reached a whole new level. there are so many other people        //getting got//.        they look like me. we all get the same        /shit/ i may not see you for a while        ::unless::        ghost plans have facetime.        you tell me how unfair it is even though you know you wouldn’t know ||< first hand >||.        thnx i guess.        i should have made this metal body out of steel or        something opalescent. was that old shell opal? i haven’t seen it in so long. danger proofing. everything is so heavy. why aren’t these filters working? what’s with all these ghost rattles? all this hopping fences. we’re hitting baseballs into places we shouldn’t.        let’s go fully sandlot :: steal state secrets while we steal our baseballs back. let’s smash some windows break it all down :: let’s get a dog. let’s call her scully.


//I’ve got this theory

Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t own a cell phone. I can tell. Chances are he only has a landline—for personal calls—and an agent /for everything else/. But what if he’s on the move? Joaquin Phoenix also has a disappearing phone booth. It’s the only /clean/ payphone in New York. It only appears when he needs it. It exists on another plane, anticipating his needs. Some would call it sentient. I think it may be magic. I worry someone will spot this phone one day. They’ll blink // it’ll be gone. But someone will be quick enough to snap a pic. They’ll spot the back of Joaquin’s head. They’ll tweet it. ^It will escalate^. :::It will crumble::…. This is all very recent. Joaquin used to have a cell phone. He got tired of the jokes about him fucking it. wishes more people talked about Inherent Vice. or Gravity’s Rainbow. He reads a bunch of Pynchon. He astral projects to see his brother. The phone booth is often there. It never rings. They only speak in Spanish when they meet. My favorite Joaquin is ’95-’97 To Die For Joaquin. He always knows how I feel that dear Joaquin. He and I are in a punk band. I’m the drummer. We’ve never practiced but when we play I know all the songs. They’re moody af. We sing :: I haven’t got my strange. He’s got this red right hand.

Stephon Lawrence is a Brooklyn born & based writer, and artist. She is a current candidate in the MFA in Writing at Pratt Institute and is an editor of The Felt, a journal of otherworldly poetics. Her work has appeared in Gandy Dancer, Cosmonauts Avenue, and she has a forthcoming chapbook with Horse Less Press entitled NERVS. Stephon spends her free time watching anime, yelling about white supremacy, and being real cute for the ’gram. You can find her on twitter @nnohpetss.

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