A Quasi-Poem

It can be like a phone cable put into an Ethernet jack

 

A queen bed with full sheets

 

Like a crinkle fry in the order of regular fries

A plantain amongst bananas

 

At its worst, like a Hummer in the compact spot

On occasion, it’s a Camry

 

Like a meter stick measuring out a football field

 

A vertical-striped Waldo

 

A trashed envelope for the grocery list

A towel as toilet paper

Viagra for hypertension

 

As harsh as 1x instead of 4G

As subtle as affect versus effect

But when we’re lucky, it’s the difference between mostly sunny and partly cloudy.

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A Conversation Between Two People Who Have No Clue What They Are Doing

Just mixing it up a bit.

 

 

“That’s a reeeally shitty way of looking at the world, Stephen.”

“Right, like you don’t think the exact same things.”

“You’re an idiot. You think everyone is as pessimistic as you are. God, I wanna strangle you sometimes. You think people are so terrible. You despise everyone, and it’s like you get a kick out of despising yourself, like you’re a character in one of your stupid books. You clearly don’t trust anybody. You think everyone is out to get you, but you love that feeling too. How do you live like this? Is it fun?

“Are those rhetorical, or…”

Lookit you! I see you holding back that self-righteous smile. You feel so high and mighty, don’t you? You wanna be known as this kind of person, you think it makes you look cool.”

“That’s seriously not true at all.”

“OK Stephen.”

“Why would I hate everyone, and why would I rejoice in being depressed? That’s jist…stupid.”

“Because it makes you feel better than everyone else, like you get something that they don’t.”

What? Really, feeling worse than everyone else makes me feel better than everyone else? How is that possible? Very logical, Angie.”

“Oh, come on. Don’t play dumb.”

“Right, yeah. You’re the one who is good at being the lawyer.”

“OK.”

“Please tell me, why would I choose to look at the world this way, and why would I like it?”

“I have no idea, Stephen. I’m stupid, remember? I know nothing.”

What? When did I possibly ever say that?”

“Stephen, you make me feel like I’m the dumbest person ever just by your actions. You clearly think you’re smarter and better than me. It’s super insulting.”

“I don’t feel like I’m smarter and better than you, so…”

“OK Stephen.”

“Why don’t you tell me you feel this way in the moment? I honestly have no idea if I’m ever coming across that way. You expect me ta read your mind?”

“Yes, Stephen. Read my mind because you’re that smart. God, you’re stupid.”

“Wanna play Skip-Bo?”

“Fine.”

“I’m seriously tired of this, Angie. I feel like now I’m scared ta say literally anything because you’ll get mad about it.”

“Then go date that stupid slut you’re tutoring.”

“Right, perfect idea. You clearly realize she annoys me, don’t you? And why d’you assume she’s interested in me? Yes, we happen to have one-on-one sessions in the library, and she happens ta be a female human being, and you somehow think she is attractive, but she is disgusting ta me and is not interested in me and I’m tired of talking about her.”

“Hahahaha. Stephen, you have – you’re making that smirk again! You love this attention! You’re secretly in love with her. You’re trying to be as cool as possible because she is, she is much higher class than me. The second something happens, you’ll leave me, I know you. You’ve done it twice before.”

“Ughhhh. This is ridiculous.”

“Stephen. Don’t say anything. I know you don’t love me anymore.”

Why do you think this stuff? You’re the one who wants the pity party. This is absurd. Aw come on, don’t cry, come on now…”

“When we first started dating, I could tell in your eyes you really cared. You wanted me, and I, I loved that feeling. No one’s ever made me feel so warm and happy, and you still do sometimes. But you’ve also made me feel so much worse than I’ve ever felt before.”

“Look, you know I’m all over the place. You knew that going in. I told you I wasn’t an animal to be tamed or something. I had a bunch of stuff ta figure out and I was confused, and I still am, and I still suck sometimes. I told you I wanted to work through it together, but it seems like you forget I’m going through this at all. You think I’m living the same happy life you are. It’s true, I care for you more than I’ve cared for anyone else in my life, and I feel good about myself when I’m with you, but my overall feeling is still crappy. It’s like a general malaise that only I can fix or somethin’, I don’t know. I could have the perfect things – jobs, friends, a girl – right in front of me, and I wouldn’t be happy. That’s jist the way I am. It hasn’t somehow…changed since we started dating.”

“Maybe I thought it would change, Stephen. Maybe it was supposed to progress. If you truly cared about me, you wouldn’t still feel like you need to be so freaking independent. You get tired’a me so easily now. You get so frustrated. I just wanna watch “Mad Men” with you and you make me sit alone on the chair.”

“When’ve I ever made you sit on the chair? Come on…”

“I try to cuddle with you and you move away from me. You clearly get uncomfortable and don’t want to hold me. So I get up, and you put up a half-hearted argument but it’s secretly what you want. You feel so constricted. That makes me feel really great.”

Good Lord. I – I love cuddling with you. I love watching “Mad Men” with you, I’ve jist been busy lately, and OK there was that one time when I needed ta do my assignment so I needed my arms and I needed ta spread out and use my calculator and stuff. I’m in school, remember?”

“It’s been pretty much every time, Stephen. You never want to watch it anymore, and you always have work to do.”

“Why is this stupid show so important, anyway? It’s an hour long, and I wanna be able to follow what’s going on. You always wanna watch it either really really late or right when I’m in the middle of something that already requires a lot of thinking.”

“You used to like watching it with me.”

“I LIKE THE SHOW! I LIKE WATCHING IT WITH YOU! Why do I have ta justify liking it as if it’s personal? Do you think I secretly save it fer another girl or something? Do you think it reminds me of you and, because I hate you now, I hate watching the show?”

“Stephen, please stop.”

“Go. It’s your turn.”

“Stephen…I need to know soon.”

“I don’t understand, why does it hafta be an ultimatum? Why can’t we jist continue the way we’re going until things settle down in both of our lives and we can get more serious? Why is it now or never?”

“Because I’m tired of this. If you don’t want me now, you never will. Why can’tcha just say yes or no?”

“Because it’s not fair. I don’t get it. You know I wanna give this a true shot, but it’s going to need complete effort and focus, and we both are so busy in the next few months with things that will be pretty much done by the summer. Angie, why can’t we have perspective and wait until then ta make decisions?”

“Stephen, my birthday is next week. I’m gonna be 27. I’ve waited pretty much two years for you. Another week here, another month there. I can’t take another god damn day. I can’t wait until the summer. It needs to be now. If you want to be with me, you should be able to see that. If you care about me, you’ll want me even closer during this busy time.”

What? Angie, that’s not the way it works. How can you talk about being this serious when two weeks ago you were done with me for good? I don’t understand how you don’t understand my side. Things in the recent past have obviously been pretty crazy, so naturally I am hesitant to go all-in this soon after, and in the meantime, I have so so so much important stuff ta do in my life right now. Obviously I want you around for it, but it’s going to mean less time for thinking solely about us. There’s jist so much ta do and think about in a day ta then think about all the crap we’ve been through and how we’re going ta fix it and ta give you my complete time and energy when it’s being used for so many other things right now.”

“I need to know by tomorrow, Stephen.”

“I can’t…I don’t…this is not a…it’s statistically ridiculous the amount of wild cards you’ve drawn, by the way.”