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A Collection of Love, Lust, and a Little Rebellion
By Courtney LeBlanc
*Editor's Note: "Unsolicited Advice to My Younger Self" first appeared in Brain Mill Press, "Magic" appeared in Helen, and "First Date" appeared in Germ Magazine.
24 Love Letters
after Jeanann Verlee
Summer camp, fires
and holding hands
in the smoke.
I can’t remember
the song we first kissed to.
Twenty-one years later
your smile still cracks
You were rebellion
and my first blow job.
Sorry I didn’t know how to finish.
I gave it up to you.
I should have waited.
I thought you were joking.
You were an abusive asshole.
I still google you.
We were young, it was fun,
why does your wife hate me?
I learned pleasure
from you. Thank you.
My brain still buzzes
when I think of your fist punching
the wall beside my head.
You are a liar,
you barely even liked me.
We should have lasted longer
than we did. I regret
I picked the wrong one.
I should have chosen you.
I wasted seven years
on your jealousy.
You were too married.
I should have known
when your dog bit mine
that you would bite me too.
With your All-American
good looks we looked good
together but little else worked.
You were a rebound,
I’m sorry you thought it was more.
The dark alley and rooftop
fucks – it was fun.
You were a Republican.
It would have never worked.
When we danced the world fell
away. When we stopped dancing
our bodies couldn’t find the rhythm.
Suck a dick.
Thank you for teaching me
what real love looked like.
The First Post-Marriage Fuck
You’ll meet him in a bar.
You’re there with a friend and he’s alone,
new in town.
You will misuse the word brooding
when you describe him.
You will get his number that night
but will not take him home.
He will tell you about his girlfriend
in Hong Kong, how they’re free
to see other people in the year
they’re apart. You won’t believe him
but you won’t challenge him either.
He’ll come over two days after
Thanksgiving, complaining of the bad
haircut he got.
You will laugh,
run your fingers through his butchered hair,
It will be delicious sex.
You will settle into a sex and Sunday football
routine. You don’t care
about football but you like fucking him.
You will make plans to spend
New Year’s eve together –
a club in DC, a 90s band.
A week before Christmas you’ll be thumbing
through the cards on his mantle and you’ll read
fiancé, my fiancé.
That night, after you’ve fucked him
you’ll ask what his fiancé’s name is.
you used the word fiancé and he will pause
You’ll continue seeing him
until New Year’s Eve.
Just before midnight
you’ll be separated and you’ll kiss
the man you’re dancing with,
the man you’ll eventually date –
he won’t have a girlfriend or fiancé
and while it won’t last
it will be honest.
You’ll go home with the betrothed
that night and fuck him,
the first fuck of the new year
and the last time you fuck him.
Unsolicited Advice to My Younger Self
after Jeanann Verlee
When he breaks up with you to return to his wife and his children and his life do not tell him you understand. Tell him goodbye and walk out the door. When you begin dating his gorgeous mixed-race friend do not gloat. The first time your father calls him a nigger walk out of the room. The second time he says it walk out of the house – his racism will grow and fracture your blooming relationship. You will regret this.
When he comes back and says his marriage is over tell him congratulations. Do not date him again, do not quit school and follow him to the Caribbean. He will break you every way he can for the next seven years. Do not regret or reconsider the restraining order. You were right to get it. He did not have the right to threaten you.
Do not let your mother make you feel guilty for the divorce. She is a pro at blaming you for her own issues. Your divorce is not a reflection on her. Do not feel guilty when your relationship with your mother falls apart. She fostered it as much as you did. You do not have to like her or even love her. It is not owed.
Do not apologize for using the word fuck. Use it in any (every) poem. Read these poems to your mother. Do not flinch when she slaps you at your first public poetry reading. Pour that into a poem. Use the word fuck repeatedly.
Women can’t drive my car, he said, adjusting his mirrored sunglasses. Because it’s stick? I asked. Because they don’t know how to drive fast, he said. My mind flashed a warning like flares after an accident. In his lenses I saw my reflection and the two roads before me – the girl who could giggle and ignore it or the girl who refused to be his assumption. I held my hand out. Give me the keys. I gunned the engine, left tire tracks on the pavement, looping like an autograph. He watched the needle of the speedometer pulse – a thin red knife, thin as the stretched smile he’d given me when we first met. I laughed and pushed harder, foot pressing down on pedal, pressing down on the bullshit line he’d given me, pressing down on every bullshit line every man had ever given me. I hit triple digits – I’d never driven this fast before. I pulled back into his lot and popped the brake, returning him to the place he’d crawled out from under. I tossed him the keys and walked away, left him standing in the parking lot. I reapplied my lipstick, didn’t bother to watch him grow small in the rearview mirror as I drove away.
We prepped for this as we played at this,
all smoke and mirrors, bright scarves
a rabbit materializing, pulled from a hat
the slight of hand
till the tests revealed the trick. till the diagnosis fell from the doctor’s lips
we lie on the magician’s table We prep to be sawed in half
they lower the blade the scalpel kisses my skin
but I can’t feel a thing. The audience gasps.
When they split the box apart We are separate yet
we thrive, whole.
My scars hum along, my kidney churns inside her.
#Unreal #Poetry #Love #Lust #Advice #Sex #Kiss
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