Something like a manifesto (mine).

(this poem garnered significant oomph from frankie, who read me a poem in my bathroom during my 25th birthday party.) (it was a poem she’d written on her 25th birthday.) (oomph also derived from frankie and ryan’s poetic manifestos, both brilliant, stunning.) (additional oomph supplied by russian writers, who were always writing manifestos.) (for maximum oomph factor, read this poem Out Loud!) (end oomphnotes HERE.)

Towards a (Goddamn) Manifesto

Yes: there can be two pedestals.

Why not. Are you one of those

lazies that asserts, This is the only

 

life I could have lived? Are you

people still around? Shoot

I’m up  to eight by now, or

 

seven if two are too close

to count as separate. Not

separate people, mind you,

 

but lives. I won’t narrate them

to you (you’d judge, you always

do, you with your marriage vows

 

and your psychoanalysis, your

black-and-whites and weekday

underwear). Listen up: sometimes,

 

on the weekdays, I don’t wear

underwear. Other times, I name

birds, hug for long times, shovel

 

mango into my mouth, kiss my

palm three times, have sex,

regret potato chips, mop, or

 

wear moccasins. I can’t decide

some days how to fly the damn

coop of my own brain. Other days

 

I’m up there in the bath tub,

lavender bath salts, Erykah Badu

on, crooning, I bet nobody ever

 

told you all you must hold on to

is you, is you, is you. One day,

all of you won’t read my letters.

 

They’re my god damn property.

If you’d asked, I would have

written. Anyone who’s written

 

knows that. Some people I love

have beards and one of them

willingly showed me her

 

pubic hair in a bar’s bathroom

because I was worrying about

how shaved is so god-damn

 

normal and that woman is my friend.

And I said, Thank you so kindly

for sharing. I feel—better now.

 

Like how a salad gets better

with cheese (plain truth). Like how

some people who didn’t come

 

over to my house very much

if ever in high school are now

hearing about my updated feelings

 

on things. Like how I tried to stop

saying “like” in my sentences

a year ago and it worked. God

 

bless my own damn self, you

know? And bless the adults

who taught their children how

 

to skip by pure example. I know

we can’t extend the word “queer”

too much because there’s a political

 

struggle for gay rights and we

all need to be lining ourselves

up for equality but G-damn,

 

I feel queer sometimes. In that

good way that no one tells you

about. I have been throwing myself

 

at the world now for many moons.

My scars are from a canoe, a field

of celery, and a chicken pock. No

 

blood I can’t get back. I drove

a tractor once in France and

it sure was relaxing after all

 

the bales of hay I’d been heaving

on it’s bed, but I got lonely

for the people down below. I worship

 

and love more than one deity,

more than one human, animal,

font, and meal. Just because I adore

 

an old man walking  around the block

with ski poles and a bicycle helmet

doesn’t mean there’s less of me

 

to go around. In fact, there’s more.

Love breeds love, you dig? Perhaps

we only say the word where

 

others deem it right (mother,

lover, old friend, loyal pet), but

LOVE, my friends, resides in

 

more than one arena and we can

form it at our leisure, this earthly

pleasure admits allllll ages.

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