you are in the diode archives v5n3



you hated me on my birthday

because I refused to dress up
or because I wanted to drink in
dive bars while wearing too
short shorts. you rolled your eyes
at me and I couldn’t help but
drink more gin even though I
really hate gin. you didn’t even
notice that one, but you did
see whenever the bartender leaned
over a bit too far and touched
my cheek like I was a walleye.
you hated me and sent texts
to your new man about how much
you hated me. if you ever look
back and wonder why I got sloppy
that night think about how many
times I watched you and thought
about how beautiful you were then.


before you I never

second guessed whether to tuck in my shirt or whether to look like a Spanish soccer star which I always assumed would be like a telenovela bit actor, but you always looked at me with those eyes that did not undress me but undressed me and redressed me in fancier clothes so when I looked at myself in the mirror I could only see myself naked and while I liked me naked I liked to pretend you liked it better

before you I would always wash my face not scrub my face like you said I needed to do because I had pores that could lose Chevrolets or small battleships so I always felt just a bit dirty and not dirty like I needed my nipples pinched but dirty like kissing me would be more tithe than titillation

before you I thought I would always be who I was but I somehow lost those directions or pushed them somewhere deep in the old dresser drawers that you relegated my old tshirts and baseball card collections because you didn’t want to deal with either of those since either of those reminded you a bit too much of what you left or what you wanted to run to

before you I could never figure out which direction was the past or the future
since you I haven’t figured out those cardinal directions anyways


I wish you had ruined sex for me

because there’s something endearing about wanting
nothing but the feeling of me at your cervix

like I am always knocking at your door, always
wanting to deliver pizza, presents, presets

but you couldn’t do that, couldn’t imagine yourself
outside of yourself enough to do more than lay there

and be introspective about how my cock, constant
reminder that you loved the patriarchy at one point

made you mess the sheets more times than we
could wash them, or I could wash them since I

always did the laundry, but you could never make
my tongue loll around like my eyes could never

make me want me more than the desire for
my own pleasure, you couldn’t and wouldn’t try to.


Misplaced Deities

You refused to touch me
anywhere I could wear clothes
because you talked a big
game about how you adored
the feeling of getting fucked,
but your idea and my idea
were so far from different.
You rocked your hips back
and forth and back again
like that was enough for me
to lose all control. It was not.
You refused to touch my
cheek whenever I was inside
of you, you pushed my hands
away from your neck, and
heaven forbid if I tried to roll
you out of missionary and out
of the eyes of the god neither
of us believed in. When you left
there should’ve been a hole,
a space left for your occupation,
but instead left was that goddamn
god, staring back at me like he
had something to say. I’m best
left without deities in my bed,
with the only name left to call
not being yours, not yours at all.


The Art of Postcards

We taught the cat to write.
She can’t write much, but enough
to send post cards. Whenever we
go anyplace, we bring the cat
post cards. Whether they come
from Las Vegas or just a local
tourist attraction she digs her
claws in and flips them. She
doesn’t care about how kitschy
they are, how big the block letters
are. She writes about how
hungry she is, about the birds
just outside the windows, about
what it means to dream about
napping. She looks up at us
whenever she’s done, sits down
on the back of the card, and
blinks until we recognize her
genius. We wait, just a moment,
only to emphasize our surprise.
These moments are when life
feels completely surreal to me.  


Dan Nowak is the founder and editor of Imaginary Friend Press and an editor for New Sins Press. He is the author of three books of poetry. He currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His website is www.thedannowak.com.