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2 poems

by Giulia Bencivenga

Giulia Bencivenga lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of GIULIA BENCIVENGA IS A MANIAC from Inpatient Press and Unreasonable Whole from Gauss PDF. The former editor-in-chief of the Bay-Area magazine See You Next Tuesday and guest editor at MISTRESS, she now runs the monthly reading series Two Snake.


You know how you can just pick up language and strum it?

Recall a tune from memory-- oblong and grassy?

You know how you can pick up a bicycle and it’ll be

the right size? Damn. You’ll use it to ride to the beach, cursory

cured? And you know how nobody ever had to teach you

how to touch yourself? You just found yourself

using your hands, plain hands hand, burn

for more casualties. Activity holy.

You know how all good work circles back to dirt?

That’s how I found you.


You asked me to go down to the beach with you, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t go down

to the beach with you. A lack of confidence

tanked my legs. It wasn’t the acid we’d taken,

the feeling was prehistoric.

The waves were monstrous that day, the moon

doing its thing beyond blinding sky. Up

on the dune, you were ready

to slam your body into froth.

And then you were off.

I watched you

become smaller and smaller, I watched

you turn your head to look at me.

I thought From over there he can see my whole body. You let the ocean engulf you. Each time

your head would vanish a pang in my stomach,

but you always resurfaced.

If only the elements were as kind to my form. There’s something

I need to unlearn

in order to write about love,

but I don’t know what it is.

Your enjoyment of the water festered in me for weeks.

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