Poet Almighty by Jonah Barrett

I heard a poem about you once. This was a year ago. You were dead to me then. Sorry. I was in a corner trying to hold a camera steady, my right elbow nestled snug in my left palm, filming the Poet because He asked me to. Christopher sat next to me scribbling away in his black little notebook that he carried everywhere in his dirty peacoat. He took notes on the Poet’s presentation in that shitty chicken-scratch that he wrote me a sad letter with five months later, as if Christopher could write poems. I tried to ignore him while I sat there, uncomfortable, filming your ex. He was talking about you and how horrible you were but I wasn’t really listening anyway cuz everything about breakups reminded me of Ace and that’s who I was thinking about right then. I don’t even know why; Ace is the most fucking boring man on the planet. I never wrote poems for Christopher but I wrote all the time for Ace. Maybe I created interest where I saw none.

The Poet kept going on, telling us how you were a piece of shit. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t listen. Something about bumblebees. His friend continued to strum her—or their, I don’t fucking know—guitar louder and louder, and the flowers all around the white gallery space didn’t help the piece become any less melodramatic. A smirk began to form at the edge of His mouth as He spoke, and He said something clever and I could see Christopher nodding up and down in my peripherals as if he and the Poet were alone in the room and only they understood one another’s pain as poets and they’d bond over syntax and pentameter and sonnets and snapping fingers and they’d end up bottoming each other so hard. I tried not to notice. I was still guilty over thinking about Ace. “Your Soul Is Orange,” what kind of a poem title was that? Souls don’t have colors. Mine doesn’t.

The Poet finished up and thanked everyone and we all stood up and praised Him like He was a Messiah and we all thought about how much that man that broke his heart must’ve really sucked and after the show He came up to me and thanked me for filming and Christopher lauded His work as He paid me back the ten dollars I spent at the door so basically I worked for free.

Christopher thought this was hilarious.

We left the building after getting sick of all the queer pricks, and Christopher squeezed my hand and told me I did a good job like I was some kid that didn’t know better than him. He wanted to take me out to celebrate at that fancy restaurant I always wanted to go to but when we got there it turned out to be full and a snooty waitress told us we should’ve made reservations. We did so and one week later we were sitting in that same restaurant, near empty in our reserved seats. We wore cheap blazers and crappy scarves and we felt like morons, or at least I did. I could see across the room a family of swaggots and Seahawks fans and sophistication kinda left me at that point. Christopher had some sort of cheese soup—you couldn’t eat it—and I had a duck. Not a paste made from duck livers like what you told me about the other day just a duck. I wondered if the Poet ever ate ducks and then I thought about Ace again. Ace loved ducks. And cars. And the color orange. Ace was so stupid. But this turned me to a foul mood anyway and I started a fight between my boyfriend and me and he called me arrogant and I called him pretentious and 
I wondered if I had made the right choice.

I wonder if I should have listened to that poem.

I wonder if there are poems about me.

In a little black book with chicken-scratch.

Bumblebee, but more like a wasp.

END

 

* Jonah Barrett is a student filmmaker, writer, and magazine editor. The majority of his work is centered around Olympia, but despite his efforts he is still not very punk-rock. He is trying to write a novel right now. (dropr.com/jonbar)