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Temporal Dissonance

Temporal Dissonance

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Man in a red rose-print dress sitting on a high chair looking sideways

i hate poetry —

or rather, i hated it⁣⁣
the first time i was subjected to a reading⁣⁣
english class, ninth grade,⁣⁣
the teacher’s pet sitting primly at her desk⁣
pausing⁣⁣
airily⁣⁣
between each line⁣⁣
pretentious motherfucker⁣⁣
⁣⁣
poetry demands you take your time⁣⁣
and i have none to spare⁣
i want to build rome in a day⁣⁣
i want to make a scan of my brain⁣
and filter everything down
until each little thought i have⁣⁣
is sequestered into an essay⁣⁣
every experience into a story⁣⁣
every feeling into a photograph⁣⁣
i want to kiss every twink ⁣
who thinks gender is a farce⁣⁣
fall in love a few times⁣
with drastically different people⁣
live in a new city each month⁣
just to catch the vibe⁣
ingest⁣
imbibe⁣
inhale⁣
inject ⁣
every mind-altering substance known to man⁣⁣
i want to throw parties⁣
that rival jay gatsby’s — ⁣
buy a house on the water,⁣
swing from the chandelier⁣
in my sparkliest sequin dress⁣
as an entire city watches from below⁣
i want to start a venture,⁣
grow it into an empire⁣
survey everything from my view at the peak⁣
and take my place as master of the universe⁣

i want⁣⁣
i want⁣⁣
i want so much⁣
and time is my only nonrenewable resource⁣
i can’t spend it⁣
pausing⁣
between⁣
each⁣
line⁣
in some stupid poem⁣

on my third-grade report card
my teacher calls me obsessive,⁣
impatient⁣
m. has a disregard for things that take time⁣
this is still my most self-destructive trait
now that i’m three times that age⁣

you see,⁣
i believe in fate⁣
for as long as i can remember⁣
i’ve known that i won’t have too much time⁣
to make my ideas reality⁣
there’s this ticking clock always present⁣
in the back of my mind⁣
never silent,⁣
even in my dreams, it reminds me — ⁣
pushier than the strictest tiger mom⁣
you’re late, you’re late, you’re late⁣

in one of my earliest memories,⁣
i made a pact with myself:⁣
burn bright,⁣
then burn out⁣
a white-hot blaze against the night sky,⁣
light trails remaining long after it’s disappeared⁣
i thought carefully ⁣
about the people i wanted to become,⁣
the lives i wanted to live,⁣
then went about becoming those people⁣
and living those lives — ⁣
going through seemingly random phases⁣
as i checked things off from that master list⁣

cartoonist, age six,⁣⁣
reams of computer paper scattered amongst my room⁣,⁣
crayons breaking under my heavy footsteps⁣
novelist, age nine,⁣⁣
dollar-store notebooks lining my bookshelves⁣⁣
written in code to put nosy sisters off the trail⁣⁣
internet troll, age sixteen,⁣⁣
hand-drawn posters taped up ⁣
with no regard for the painted wall⁣:⁣
if someone thinks you’re a bitch for no reason,⁣⁣
give that bitch a reason⁣⁣
aspiring wall street bro, age eighteen,⁣⁣
supply-and-demand charts ⁣
neatly drawn in magenta and lavender,⁣
lilly pulitzer and j. crew dresses ⁣
hanging primly in the wardrobe⁣⁣
silicon valley programmer, age twenty-one,⁣⁣
two laptops for two monitors⁣,⁣
rubber duck therapist ⁣
to untangle all my thorny problems⁣
age twenty-four: writer, storyteller, artist⁣
an excuse, perhaps⁣
to have adventures⁣
and tie my past selves together⁣
while still being productive — ⁣
after all⁣
what’s the point of living life⁣
if it doesn’t go towards making something?⁣

if i could,⁣
i would stop eating and sleeping⁣⁣
stop seeing my friends⁣ and family — ⁣
stop at nothing ⁣
until the vision in my head becomes reality⁣⁣
onto the next thing⁣
the next thing⁣
the next⁣⁣
when can you relax, ask the concerned
never, never⁣
the answer is never⁣⁣
i’m late, i’m late, i’m late⁣
if an action doesn’t lead somewhere⁣
then it isn’t worth pursuing⁣
i’m pursuing enough as it is⁣

my partner loves poetry —⁣
especially poems with rhyme ⁣
or clever wordplay⁣⁣
with his long dark eyelashes ⁣
and arrogantly sweet demeanor⁣
he is every twink i want to kiss⁣
music⁣
acting⁣
coding⁣
math⁣
polymath⁣
he has time for everything⁣
juggling multiple priorities at once⁣
multiple selves at once⁣
he tells me
i wish you could balance like i do⁣
i wish you could see the beauty in life⁣
without needing to be more, more, more⁣
he wishes i were intellectually curious⁣⁣
about things outside my realms of interest,⁣
that i would change my plans on a whim ⁣
whenever my mind alights on something new — ⁣
that i could get into things casually⁣
without making them my life⁣
but i am too focused to be curious⁣
i want to be a train⁣
steadily chugging toward the next station⁣
i’m a river, he says⁣
i go where the current takes me⁣
this fundamental difference between us⁣
is the real cause of every fight⁣

i mean,⁣⁣⁣
i see his point⁣⁣⁣
even i hate myself sometimes ⁣⁣⁣
looking from the perspective of another — ⁣⁣⁣
always telling people⁣⁣⁣
that i can only talk for an hour⁣⁣⁣
unless we’re doing something⁣⁣⁣
that relates directly to a goal⁣⁣⁣
always ending meetings early⁣⁣⁣
cutting small talk short⁣⁣⁣
avoiding impromptu gatherings⁣⁣⁣
always rushing through poetry collections⁣⁣⁣
gulping down each stanza⁣⁣⁣
like i’m chugging chateau margaux straight from the bottle⁣

because, my god,⁣
i am running out of time — ⁣
i’m not yet burning bright enough⁣
what if i die ⁣
and my rome is not built?⁣
all of my thoughts, ⁣
experiences, ⁣
feelings ⁣
gone⁣
vanished⁣
into the ether ⁣
as though they never existed at all⁣
what if i never get to kiss those twinks⁣
or see the world with my lover(s)⁣,⁣
throw those glittering soirées⁣
or become a master of the universe⁣
because i spent it on dumb shit that takes too long⁣

such as poetry,⁣⁣
which screams of big effort⁣⁣
with little return⁣⁣
like squeezing three oranges⁣⁣
for a single cup of juice⁣⁣
i hold a chapbook in my hands:⁣⁣
the literary version of macarons⁣⁣
or those fancy meals⁣⁣
that disappear in a single bite — ⁣⁣
hours of writing⁣⁣
for nary a page of words⁣⁣
each line overhandled⁣⁣
contrived⁣⁣
like cookie dough kneaded by grubby fingers⁣

plus⁣
some poems make me feel reckless,⁣
make me want to throw away my schedule⁣
and book a trip to palm beach⁣
or the chateau marmont⁣
and lie by the pool⁣
in a decadent rose-print dress,⁣
full skirts crushing beneath my legs⁣
a tab under my tongue⁣
my lover beside me⁣
spending the whole day talking about nothing — ⁣
to hell with this itinerary
fuck all those goals⁣
so what if my time is finite?⁣
i’ll do whatever i want⁣
i want to live⁣
i want to live⁣
i want to live⁣

though i would still give up all of my journeys⁣
to reach my destination more quickly⁣
i’m starting to see the appeal of such things⁣
maybe being an artist has gone to my head⁣
or maybe i am finally starting to learn⁣ — ⁣
i have a folder on google drive ⁣
for all of my brain-scans:⁣
fiction⁣⁣
essays⁣⁣
satire⁣⁣
larger works⁣⁣
when i began to write this,⁣⁣
i created a new folder called “poetry” ✦⁣

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