The honest truth is that it was never about you,
nor you, and rarely about you either. It wasn’t

really about any of you at all. Not even in
your childhood bedroom— yes yours— beneath

the duvet. I’m perpetually after the thrill. Your family
asleep in the next room. Me, too preoccupied with that

to bother noticing if your light eyes were grey or
green or hazel or smog or fucking whatever,

because details like that were so far removed
from my internal equation. Looking back I mean

was I really even there, even present? Maybe, or
not. And in that darkened hotel room— with you

above me, beside me, still all I thought of
was myself. In this subterranean boîte or that

smoky boliche, in a dorm room on the second
floor, under a pile of sheets on a hostel bunk bed—

all these nights I’m thinking of were my property
solely, exclusively. Here’s what I’m doing: I’m

sketching my life with Theseus’ string. A narrative
of personal growth, perhaps, this search and

seizure, this solitary possession, and now I find
that next time I think I want to care more. Progress.

And yet I look at my face in the mirror afterwards
and I really look, I mean it. And I see nothing

in my eyes, just charcoal and pyrite dust fused
together in unnatural viscosity like the rings of

a psychedelic redwood. Nothing changes at all
and shit, man, I’m going crazy, like I never even

think about all these memories anymore most
of the time. At least I don’t think I do. Do I?

Labyrinths, by Madeleine B. 


i need a boyfriend who is cool and tall and grimy and funny and who looks at me like i’m an oil painting and who has the financial and physical means to fulfil my dream of fucking at least once in every country and who is also a lil bit emotionally unstable

Each morning,
the old man in the straw
sombrero perches on the low brick
wall at 14th and Park, selling
mango slices
in plastic bags out of a wheeled
cooler. Early hours, he’s out there, as
the air melts down around him,
liquified summer heat
palpable, velvet,
reach-out-and-touch-able, the sky
humming molasses-tongued
lullabies until the usual
late-afternoon storms hit.
Yesterday I drove past my
old school with the windows
down, and sang along to
Fleetwood Mac on
FM radio
as if it were an invocation on
gossamer wings. I’ve learnt
a lot about that sinewy
concept of
gratitude this year, I know.
Lately I wonder, am I taking only
the things I want
from this glovebox, this city?
The platform at
Gallery Place at 6:30 pm suddenly
feels hallowed, the trains
arriving like
sermons. They are sacred
in their vitality. Washington in
midsummer is always that
chemical balance of static and
speed, and
this time around, I think that
I’m taking what I truly need.

Beltway Prayers, by Madeleine B.