2 poems | Drew Pisarra

Despair
A man who looked just like me, whispered (in my
ear) something low and unexpectedly porno-
graphic –- a crude come-on that basically meant,
I should fuck myself, letting one of the me’s be he.
Kindly I declined. Still, my alter ego persisted with
one obscene suggestion after another. Initially,
I pretended I had no idea what I meant. I refused to
reject myself outright. Then I tried to break it off oh-
so-gently. Then I was direct. Finally I told myself
to go to Hell. But nothing worked. I stalked myself
unceasingly for years. I drove myself insane with a
version of self-love as foreign as Papua New Guinea.

Martha
Listen Martha, I know a thing or two about
the erotics of self-loathing. I know all about
self-inflicted, big-girl punishment,
about the pleasures of penetration —
yes, I said “penetration” —
and how that obliterates feelings of “less than”
by ramming them out of existence.
Bam, bam, bam.
I know about the masochist’s deficiencies
and the injustices of the sadist
who won’t validate your worth.
You think I don’t, Martha? Because I do.
Saying that last part out loud sounds ridiculous.
Doesn’t it, Martha?
I mean, I know better than anyone
not to romanticize pain
even if knowledge never guarantees a change,
not by a long shot. Every fool knows
where this crazy shit started
and where it’s headed, Martha.
You do, too, Martha.
But who wants to hear the ho-hum reasoning
of Freud; that same same old, lame-o excuse
about repressed longing turned
into some sort of shameful neurosis.
Advice is just a cliché with good intentions.
I say, make the most of what you’ve got
and get over yourself, Martha!
Have a drink, Martha!
Laugh it off. Buy a new dress.

And yet…
Sometimes, I can’t stop myself from recognizing obliteration is the best solution.
Call me nuts but I do think a good
hurt is better than nothing at all.
Isn’t it, Martha?

—–
Drew Pisarra toured the country as a monologuist (Singularly Grotesque, The Gospel According to St. Genet, Fickle) but eventually grew weary of his own company. He now writes plays (Burst, Serves Three) for others and poetry inspired by R.W. Fassbinder to quiet the voices inside.

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Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.

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