Frantic Efforts to Avoid Abandonment, Real or Imagined

Jameson Fitzpatrick

Once I wove flowers into his bicycle spokes.I wrote PLEASE on the wall in large letters.I wrote letters.Many times I made a scene.Once I cast a spell.I told him I could keep him beautiful.I chased after him in the street, calling his name.I was always It.I showed up at the party knowing he would be there and went home with him.I showed up at the party not knowing he would be there and went home with him.I texted twice more after it was clear he didn’t want to sleep with me again.I learned about sympathetic magic in class, then got his signature tattooed on my ass.I followed him onto the subway platform.I followed him on every platform.I told him I would die without him.I died.That was the worst thing.No, coming back was the worst thing.Haunting him.I wore a disguise.Sang the Stevie Nicks song right in his face.You’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you.I paid for it.Slept with his friend.Several of them.Claimed squatter’s rights.I waited by the door.I wrapped my arms around him.I turned him into a tree.I climbed.Carved our initials into the bark.I jumped.Where I landed I didn’t know the language.I repeated his name in a mirror until he appeared.I broke the mirror trying to get to him.I broke two.I turned him into a flower.I turned him into a pig.I cooked him breakfast.I did the dishes.I learned the language.I devised a plot.I devised a plot of such sophistication he’d never suspect.I stole his passport.I made everyone he loved love me.Once I told the truth about everything.I lied.I was extravagant.I was simple.I was a good piece of furniture.I was his favorite shirt.

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Photo:
Marlowe Granados

Jameson Fitzpatrick is the author of the poetry collection Pricks in the Tapestry (Birds, LLC, 2020) and the chapbooks Mr. & (Indolent Books, 2018) and Morrisroe: Erasures (89plus/LUMA Publications, 2014). A recipient of fellowships from the Pocantico Center and the New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts, Fitzpatrick teaches expository writing at New York University.

"This book is a record of my thinking and feeling during my mid-to-late-twenties. Like any record, it is incomplete and imperfect—I do not always identify with the speakers of these poems, even as I recognize their speech (and sometimes, their desires) as my own. I think of this collection as a bildungsroman of sorts: the story of a young poet coming to know, belatedly and with difficulty, the insufficiencies of the self as a subject and the lyric as a mode."
—Jameson Fitzpatrick

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