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.
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.