when i don’t tell my girlfriend i’ll need to fuck other people one day but she knows anyway // or sometimes you have to let something be noTHING
could warm her / as if my fingers were life-giving and not good-sucking / i imagine her soul fading to black / my mom says i have a god complex / i think she gave it to me / or i brewed it on my own / nine and always dressed as witch / or old woman / i’ve never wanted to be this version / of myself / am always ready for the next / her lip beneath my thumb / she pulled
away / me from myself and her from me / skin thick and hot / i said it doesn’t make sense / because you’re not like this / she said i don’t even know what you’re talking about
i say / it’s like what i said when i made you cry in the car and there were deer everywhere / she says what are you talking about i say i don’t think monogamy makes sense to me and i think one day we’ll have to talk about what that means but i don’t want to lose you / and she cries and says what? is something happening now? with eyes so soft our cat won’t come out
of hiding / i say no and she says am i supposed to be dating other people and i am crying too and i am saying no i’d rather you not be dating people because i don’t know how to explain what i mean because no one taught me how to say i just feel like when you don’t want to fuck i should go fuck someone else and it’d be cool if someone fucked us sometimes and sometimes i want you to fuck other people to a girl with big big eyes and soft soft soul and warm warm skin / and i’m such a fucking asshole to turn her into a character she isn’t
she agrees / she says i’m not some southern baptist republican / we are both crying / because i act like she is / i say i’m afraid you’ll give me rules because i’ll follow / i don’t know how i feel about that / she says i’ve never given you rules / i say i know / she says you don’t give me any credit / she says do you even know who i am / i say yes / but i say
you’re right / but i move close / but she lets me / but i cry in coffee shops writing about my perfect relationship / chai to my left because i don’t know how to say macchiato / am not sure what it is / reality is so much harder, sometimes, than the life i create for myself, steamed foam tucked in bottom lip / small thing birthed and fluffed / waiting to be swallowed
so who the fuck am i
it feels like going to pick up my kid and having them say a different mom came yesterday so who the fuck am i. feels like having them say these are white kids, so who the fuck am i. feels like being in hospital with pregnant uterus and having people stare and not knowing if it's because we are one part white, one part brown or two ladies
at restaurants, everyone says, 'hello ladies,' and i want to kill them because i am not a lady. don't know what that means though my life is 'ladies.' i'm nervous about going down on girls but i've done it. i like it but i freak out about trying new things with my body. i thought i did a good job the first time i went down on another girl, but then she said 'you hated it, huh' and let me know she didn't come. i thought that was what love looked like and now it makes me
sick to think about. to see my own weakness in another girl's face. to revel in it. is art breakdown? when i write my girlfriend comes home and asks me where i am. i say, 'here.' she says, 'you're so far i can't touch you.' i smile but it's all teeth, like toddlers learning to smile, no eyes, all teeth and gums and mushy food scent. i am so mushy and so easy to tear apart and i wonder if it's my fault. but, too
everyone else's. but, too, like, society. but, too, mental illness. but, too, anything but me, anything but here, anything but this, or all of it. all the time. try to soak without overflowing. try to spill without staining.
rachel charlene lewis is the editor of vagabond city, a co-founder of the fem, and an mfa dropout. she's got work in BOAAT press, the normal school, lumen mag, the offing, and other rad spaces. she's queer as fuck and always angry. this matters as much as her work because it is it. she's into cacti and her kitten. follow her on twitter + instagram @rachelcharlenel to learn more about both.