sam says you can't name your book good boys without a dogbut sam doesn't know that i am the dogi am the ultimate mutt and i am telling him this storyat the bar called college hill tavern which looks like a frontfor some operation where all the bar stools appear as ifthey were staged in under ten minutes andthe girl with the fake lashes knowsi like a double gin and i am telling samthat i am a dog who was convertedwhen i was seventeen and my mother found an essayabout how i was in love with a girland there was a portishead referencein case you need me to date itand this was way before the liberation of the young and the whitetwins on youtube who come out to their dadand everybody cries and transforms.when i see those kids all i think is that they never had parentswho were immigrants and who sent you to a ladyand told you that you had to solve it allin one session because this therapy was expensive.it wasn't so traumatic. rather funny. and i remember the couchthere were multiple couches and i had to choose a spot and i saton the couch farthest from her and this wasn't the first nice ladywho looked at me like i was a dogand sam, when i said it is called good boyswhat i meant was that i was a good boyand loved good boysand good men and still love thembut you see, i was seventeen and aloneand nobody gave me anything except one book by dickinsonand she was so neat, so precise, so humanand i wasn't. i just wasn't.i was just a dog. i wasn't even that good.
Copyright © 2020 by Megan Fernandes
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Megan Fernandes is a writer and academic living in New York City. She is the author of The Kingdom and After. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Tin House, Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, Boston Review, Rattle, Pank, the Common, Guernica, the Academy of American Poets, and McSweeney ‘s Internet Tendency, among others. She is a poetry reader for The Rumpus. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College and teaches courses on poetry, creative nonfiction, and critical theory. She holds a PhD in English from UC Santa Barbara and an MFA in poetry from Boston University.
In an era of rising nationalism and geopolitical instability, Megan Fernandes’s Good Boys offers a complex portrait of messy feminist rage, negotiations with race and travel, and existential dread in the Anthropocene. The collection follows a restless, nervy, cosmically abandoned speaker failing at the aspirational markers of adulthood as she flips from city to city, from enchantment to disgust, always reemerging―just barely―on the trains and bridges and bar stools of New York City. A child of the Indian ocean diaspora, Fernandes enacts the humor and devastation of what it means to exist as a body of contradictions. Her interpretations are muddied. Her feminism is accusatory, messy. Her homelands are theoretical and rootless. The poet converses with goats and throws a fit at a tarot reading; she loves the intimacy of strangers during turbulent plane rides and has dark fantasies about the “hydrogen fruit” of nuclear fallout. Ultimately, these poems possess an affection for the doomed: false beloveds, the hounded earth, civilizations intent on their own ruin. Fernandes skillfully interrogates where to put our fury and, more importantly, where to direct our mercy.
"The poetry of Megan Fernandes gives me courage to get up another day and fight the patriarchy & racist nationalism. Her limitless imagination and beautiful, lyrical, powerful lines are worth fighting for. Everyone should give this book to someone they love, and everyone should love someone enough to give them this book."
— Brenda Shaughnessy, author of The Octopus Museum