Read This Poem When You’re Done Being A 20 Year Old

Evolution

by Eileen Myles

 

Something
unearthly
about
today
so I buy
a Diet Coke &
a newspaper
a version of “me”
something
about me on the
earth & its sneakers
& feeling like
the earth’s furniture
but that can’t be
true or like
the coke & the Times
it’s true for a little
while. I’m not
the earth’s furniture
not entirely &
I seem to want
to go about this
in the entirely
wrong way. My face
asks the
man at the deli
do you know
me & he clearly
didn’t answer
me enough
I’ll get this
I said
picking up the
paper hoping
that he just
might know
me a little
bit more but
not enough to make
me feel ab
solutely true. I’m
just not true
enough so it’s
probably the weather
an over-ripe
September & we’re
agreeing that
the winter
will probably be
pretty cold. That feels
good & true
I thought talking
to Jill who is
my trainer. She shows
me what to do
& I feel a little
better after that
and I thought I don’t
want to be like
that poet I thought
he’s just like a
prisoner of the planet
& that’s what’s
sad about him. I could
say unlike me who is
like a temporary
chair but I’m
actually what’s
on the chair. I’m
using this pen
on a purple notebook
set up on the
angle of my
thighs. My thighs.
I’ve had you since
I was a kid.
I’ve known you for so
long. Even when
you betrayed
me in the bathtub
one night when
you were rabbits
but that’s cause
I was going
crazy. Is it crazy
to be the
citizen who’s
only partially
here. Like
kissing while
your eyes
anxiously are surveying
the room. Kissing
at a party
but there’s nobody
there but this
person with not
so many characteristics
and she will list
them so she can
continue writing.
That’s what I
like about
this act. The sea
of blood & consciousness
& barely repressed
craziness that’s
singing in my
ears only
likes one thing
always like
her favorite
food. The gulls
in my head
can do whatever
they want
and I can’t
ever use
a wrong word
at the
right time &
this is
it when
the earth
only wants me
this way
ignoring
the seagulls
and writing.

I could
stop here
cause the
coke is
so good
I want
to go further
longer. Where
should I
go. My foot scrapes
against
a book
wondering. Today
I discovered
that to
talk about
certain
things makes
me sad.
So I’ll stop.
There. My arm rests
on a pillow &
that feels
pretty good. I cherish
this time alone.
When I go
out I think
why am I
here. I’d like to change
the very
characters
I’m writing
in. If I could
stop
thinking
about if
you know
me
what
else
could I do.
I could
go to the
movies
but afterwards
it would be
me talking
about what was
so obviously
wrong. And now
I’m picking
wrong words
so I’ve
gone on too
long. And the gulls
came back.
And the trucks outside.
I know
the loneliness
of love and
the loneliness
of being
outside
and looking
out the
window
when
love is gone. But
this face
that turns
and listens
in my
home &
wonders
if you know
me is
lost &
will never
be found. And
something
new starts
up in
my building
a different
sound.

Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including a reissue of Chelsea Girls & the publication of I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems, both out from Ecco/HarperCollins in September. She lives in New York.

 


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