When boys see movies alone

when boys see movies alone, they become men
by the closing credits
which wash over them like meaningful rain

a girl becomes a woman when she edits her resume with a cruel attitude
when she wounds the dragon during the solstice she does not believe in

a man becomes a woman during exciting, torturous months
in the privacy of his cabin

I knew a boy who became a beast before he could become a man
and a girl who became a puddle and then a horse
and then a serious dog and then a baby with womanly ways
and then a woman

Can you find me?

I’m in my parents’ house
where part of me remains
I’m on white sheets
for real
I am
my finger smells like the most dangerous perfume
I’m nude as a painting
did you know I’m addicted to email?
I am
I once bought a taxidermied frog on eBay
it was dressed like a policeman
I gave it to my first boyfriend
where’s it now?
somewhere among the chaos
ground into bits
last night I flirted with a dude by giving him my social security number
have you ever tried that?
my hair is so unkempt that just I felt like Kurt Cobain
as I stepped over the yoga mat and checked out my boobs in the mirror
John is in Silentland with the teen monks
do you know John?
he is the sweetest
his neck is a place
he’s got great hair
he almost never channels Kurt Cobain
he’s more like Harpo
or Olive Oyl
I had to Google the spelling of that
do you ask your most embarrassing questions on Incognito tabs in Chrome?
I do
I ask about love and read the message boards
I love reading frantic wtf messages from women about to be married
I like the desperation
and the frankness
I like when the original poster returns to the board to update us
I like being part of “us”
I’m wearing my mouth guard now
can you hear the difference?
a naked woman talking like a little girl is like something you see in a circus
in the natural circus
like a mother with food on her nose
or two catfish quietly in love

The World of Manet

can’t find the draft of my new poem The World of Manet
that I wrote on the Metro-North last month
after finding and taking art books from a box on the street
in Hastings-on-Hudson
where I adventurously left my car

a couple weird hours with those books
dragging my own little art history with me
feeling super dignified on the train
gazing at forgotten works of genius
while a man yapped on his phone
sitting on them on the sidewalk outside Kathleen’s office
so as not to dirty my dress

I left the books in Brooklyn
there was one about Titian too, and another I can’t remember
never getting to cull them for phrases like I’d like to
plus can’t find the draft, which I scrawled on the back of a poem I was going to read
and then did read at Berl’s

but I know the poem will be good
because the title of the book The World of Manet is so dramatic
and fun to use in a line, like “I left the World of Manet in Brooklyn!”
like I was carrying it around

but I need to cull the phrases
that made Manet seem like such an amusing badass
a victim of Parisian gossip
and made the old world seem funny and amazing
the details I can’t fake now
plus the stuff I wrote on the train
about wanting two statues on either side of my front door
of men covering their crotches
like I saw in the book

I just walked back into the dark hotel room where John is sleeping
and he asked “who is it?”
as he often asks while he’s asleep

I’m so far from The World of Manet
but the idea swells in my mind
and I’ve brought you all the way here
a bit early to the party
so feel the need to spill my guts
to keep you here longer
because John’s asleep
and my world is dim
I haven’t seen a good painting in awhile
or made a good painting in longer
if you have the desire to paint
you must paint today
and don’t show anyone
be Manet alone
wear a fucking robe
feel those ancient drugs
see the curtain and die a little
Manet was so dashing
painters were so serious
but no one is dashing and serious now

Rachel B. Glaser is the author of the story collection Pee On Water, the book of poems MOODS, and the novel Paulina & Fran. She lives in Northampton, MA. A brand new collection of poems, HAIRDO, has just been published by The Song Cave.

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