On Nuptials & Autistic Thinking
Why not have a wedding so safe, only one of you attends.
Why not make yourself into something else,
from tubular to blur, hollow to barely discernable.
You are NOT A WINNER! [Terminal 0783248]
and you’ll definitely keep losing, so why not
keep deluding yourself.
On Being Loud
Everyone can hear you. It’s irritating.
Unless you are officially deaf & can't
hear your own voice, why not consult
a white cat with blue eyes.
On Death With Dignity
Why not vigorously stab yourself in the chest.
Either that, or stub your toe in the same place
like twenty times in a row.
Where You See The White Of The Paper
The only reason I’m being so
critical is because you asked me to;
I do like your poem, though.
I mean, water is water, whether
it’s a stream or blood or those
pissing boys on the fountains
Though I fell in love with the idea
of resistance, like an acrylic window
If Anybody Asks, I Can Say, First, I Tried Love
With marvelous gentility, he gestured me to stand
before him. As I did, he hummed “Honey & Rue,”
all jazzed up, “First, I will try love. First I’ll try love.
First I will try love,”
all the while, massaging clumps of viscous
Bazooka Joe Bubble gum into the soft
subterranean of my scalp.
I thought, wow, he must really like me. I thought
we were co-mingling; I thought we were one body,
My mother cut it out with nail clippers, soft knotty
tufts falling to the floor, falling asleep, falling
I cried and cried.
She told me to shut up, and that I looked exactly
like Andre Previn’s 3rd wife, Mia Farrow.
He’d once said, “No, I like the tawdriness.
It was the year I was so drunk, a car
rolled over my thigh & I didn’t feel it,
the year I had an offer to be a prostitute
as I waited in the hallway at 3rd & 9th
with the door open,
the year Kathleen Hanna removed
her shirt, exposed her perfect breasts,
then lectured everyone for looking,
the year, Tim, the guy I’d been seeing,
said he loved “cowboy eggs,” so I
made them for like 2 weeks to please him;
there’s a hole in the middle you make
with a small cup, like a shot glass, then
place the yolk in the hole;
when I had perfected the technique,
I broke up with him.
It was the year of Blur vs Oasis
when Noel Gallagher said
Damon Albarn & Alex James
should “Catch AIDS and die, ”
the year I wore chokers, swallowed
the entire bottle of methadone I had
stolen from a friend’s jacket pocket,
& discovered I had antibodies for Hep C
with slight erosion of the liver. It was
the year I gave up drinking for pot, had
my first experience with e., & couldn’t
draw a straight line for months. The year
Brittany Spears had a reality show & I
thought, she’s just a nice, down-home
girl with probably a really pushy mother,
the year I started grad school, got certified, fired,
& lost my shit. It was the year of electronic town
criers, extraverts, idols, & wild loneliness.
Get His Attention Even If He’s Ignoring You
Go to his place and buzz his doorbell,
when he doesn’t answer, wait.
Bring a book or two, challenging ones,
like Gravity’s Rainbow or The Sound
and the Fury—
you’ll need them; you’re on the long grift.
Don’t drink any water so you’ll get
lightheaded and hopefully pass out;
but before you do, write his name and
phone number on a sheet of paper and
pin it to your coat as your emergency
If you don’t have any paper, just rip
off a section of the brown cellulose
pulp crumpled at the bottom
of your backpack—
the one with the ancient pretzel in it.
When he finally leaves his house
and trips over your splayed body,
regain consciousness and tell him
how special he is.
Write a poem about him and read it at
every open mike in the neighborhood.
Write a play about him that will get
turned into a movie.
Leave long, agonizing messages
on his voice mail.
Follow his ex-wife on Facebook.
Call his parents identifying yourself
as his psychiatrist, and say you’re
concerned he suffers from megalomania.
Start dressing like him, talking like him,
realize you want to be him. Realize, good grief,
you are him, and let this be the dawn of an old era.
Olivia Grayson creates prose and poetry that combine pop culture with autobiography in an effort to explore the often times startling experience of being part of the family of women—alternatively thrust into or dumbly participating with a culture that sells the promise of absolute beauty, sparkling romance, and ideal interventions; she finds herself writing from a tension that surrounds this system.
She is the author of the chapbooks, Cat Lament, Being Female, and the upcoming Advice from Friends.
Olivia teaches Developmental Reading and Writing at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her two cats, Molly-Molly and Emily.