1 poem

by Maggie Woodward

Maggie Woodward lives in Los Angeles, where she's pursuing a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She's the author of the chapbook FOUND FOOTAGE (Porkbelly Press, 2018) & earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Devil's Lake, New South Review, TYPO, & elsewhere. Previously, she served as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & curated the Trobar Ric Reading Series in Oxford, MS. You can find her online at www.maggie-woodward.com.

CRISIS ACTOR

 

los angeles is doing a very good job

of making me lonely. all the lost hours,

all the crying over things happening

 

miles & miles away. something undead

walks into a bar & says: i’ll take a pint

of blood, please. a new documentary

 

tells me: people of all ages have been

disappearing from our national parks

& forests at an alarming rate!

 

a girl walks into the woods & she

can think of no good reason to leave.

no matter where i go, some man

 

will be waiting there to explain myself

to me. if i close my eyes, i can see

that corner with the chevron. & the feral

 

trees. & the snarling moon. at a bar,

a man i just met needs to talk to me

about how i’m always late. if i spend

 

all day in bed. if i paint my nails,

i’ll have a rind to peel off later.

across town, a man is mad at me

 

for tweeting but never texting him

back. don’t i know how that makes

him feel. don’t i know anything

 

at all. across the country, teenagers

are mourning other teenagers

who did nothing but show up

 

where they were supposed to be

when they were supposed to be there.

a man walks into a bar & says: i’ll take

 

whoever’s blood’s on tap, please.

i want to bury myself deep in some

historic cemetery, each gravestone

 

a shout someone’s smothered out.

a man walks into a bar & whatever

he does next is almost never funny.

 

a man’s name pops up in my inbox.

he types: you made me feel so stupid,

types: you didn’t text me back.

 

fine. i’ll let him finish. so a man

walks into a bar, okay, & the bar

is a bar or a school or a theatre,

 

or the bar is a mall or a church

or your home, but the point is,

the man is always a man,

 

& the gun is a gun is a gun is a gun,

& what happens is, the man walks

into whatever place he wants,

 

& says: i’ll take. i’m telling you.

if i gave them everything they’ve asked

for, i would already be dead.