Enjoy Being Human

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Someone Named Greg

knew my name,
ordered me to finger paint

a water fowl design
in a black light disco space

I cast gray shadow
in my lack of black euphoria

the ether, the synapse, the paint chip
chronicles candy in a bottomless bowl

bait and switch technology
sea salt downing cheeks

for an eternal Maybe. There
are worse ways to suffer

Starvation, thrown off a cliff,
mauled by bears, stabbed in the cornea.

My stain is permanent now.
how to pull walls down

cheer a business park on. How do I
find a new devastator? I cannot

look at your face. Other faces
know your protein levels

I hate you for making me ashamed
at wanting to know your day planner

Why do we have to be so 1960s cigarette commercial
cool about everything? A carnation grows pink

on my sanitarium tongue
your slow Sunday burn

I am gone and I just
want it to rain on your front stoop

think the sky is crying over me
because you didn't

my lacks pouring
into your small eyes

your forearms will rust
no one to rub oil on them

the tiny hairs the sinews
the captive prisoner sprawl

when your body makes an A shape
You said I was amazing

but that's not enough
All of the hers of the world

my left ventricle clogs up on me
spits out steel balls of ghost photos

my female clan clog betrayed me
women are everywhere. All they

do is shop for pink sweatshirts
and body spray

Your Instagram likes explode stars
until the toxicology report

is so loaded with bikinis, nipple slips
and smacking noises my sanitarium

closes for a month. All the redheads grow
hydroponics, the brunettes hold up

peace signs in Dancer pose
the blonds braid in extensions

and practice 80s porn sounds
I try to vomit to make more room

for likes but a protein shake grows fur on my
tongue. the most placid petals, the worst delicate mauve.

I have to water it with expensive Lush
bath bomb water you soaked in for twenty

lashes instead of growing larger
the flower shrinks

misremembering whose tongue it is growing on
I feel it's roots under my teeth

down my throat
I know what the roots are searching for

They'll never find it.

her name was crash test helmet

crash test played catch up when she was poor / made cut off shorts / sewed nipple tassels onto grandma Helen's quilts / poured bleach to kill invisible mind snakes / smeared charcoal under green eyes / John Hopkins school of medicine warned to stay away from all Goth girls / stomp on cracks to break all heartbreaker's hands / crash test watched extreme winter sports for competition neon / slid over rough and wet Camaro hoods, pretending to be Tawny Kitaen / played pretend police riot gear / all you sick twists skip town in the rain / tears turned her on / dominatrix hell girl tattoo jealousy / unleash a stray dog / compare smooth hair sailing splinters in eyes / She memorized stereo equipment company names / He kept shin guard time / Try this electric choke hold collar on for kicks / It's better than red bull chasers on performance review day / You just need a partner to unscrew the bolts / crash test will come over with skype therapy and coffee enemas Sunday night /

The Hose

I wanted the hose to be a snake but
it slithered meek kneed sideways

buried itself shyly under dandelions
turned Kermit green, barfed wood chip garbage

hose wanted to cartoon the ground
scatter skittles and sticky thumbs

form new tea parties
over orange record player boxes

invite rabies to snack time
wish on rabbit whiskers

blow open a chipmunk's hideaway
didn't want to do its job

tangled up in plastic Fareway bags
invade the recycling

froze up on me when I needed
conversation most.

Why don't you unwind
I asked it

cold and thick
it found my warm neck

ordered me to finish the
power washing alone

About Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Contributor headshot, Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens lives in the Midwest and is the author of three full length poetry collections: Your Best Asset is a White Lace Dress, (Yellow Chair Press, 2016) The Messenger is Already Dead, (Stalking Horse Press, March 2017,) and We're Going to Need a Higher Fence, tied for first place in the 2017 Lit Fest Book Competition. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She is also the author of nine chapbooks. Her chapbook She Came Out From Under the Bed, (Poems Inspired by the Films of Guillermo del Toro) recently came out from Dancing Girl Press. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from Prelude, Cleaver, Kestrel, Yalobusha Review, decomp, and Inter/rupture. Visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com

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