I am Back on my Bullshit
I have been testing a theory: Can I cure myself
with more of myself?
I took an internet quiz: it reveals if you are back on your bullshit
and it concluded: I was.
I changed my answers and it continued to say I was,
no matter what answers. It just knew, somehow.
Sometimes the electricity between synapses zig-zags
through one chemical and other times
through a different chemical, sometimes it is a cycle
I figured out a way to be more myself
than myself: I am the previous me and also the next
I know which version everyone likes best
because they keep telling me.
I packed up all my stuff in cardboard boxes
and hired movers and moved everything out. Then I moved
all my same stuff
back into the same house.
How much of me is me? Everyone participated in my guided tour
of a circuitous loop.
We were back at the beginning. Some said they knew how it was going to end.
I knew the ending because I wrote the ending.
I Married a Fire Man
He handed me a single match. I didn’t even have anything to strike it on.
He handed me a little
box of future fire: a matchbox that rattled but all the matches still stayed
tucked in their bed sleeping.
He gave me one of those
long plastic lighter things that my mom uses to light her jars of
He handed me that flint
scratch wiry bunsen burner lighter where you can actually see the wire
scrape the flint.
He gave me a sparkler.
Last Independence Day we didn’t have any matches so we lit them on
our electric stove in the house and ran outside with them and chain-lit the whole box.
He handed me a bunsen burner.
He gave me a whole gas
stove with four round gas flames. It’s the most controlled fire I know. He gave
me a bonfire that came with a group of people who stared at it like they can
reflection in the flames.
He gave me a flame thrower. It was even heavier than I expected.
He gave me a whole house that was on fire and would not say what caused it to catch on fire.
He handed me a whole forest fire. The whole thing. He set that fire too.
I am Britney Spears’ and Justin Timberlake’s Matching Denim Outfits
Someone said the red carpet was lava
and didn’t tell them, denim hem edges fraying.
Did everyone laugh because the outfits matched,
or because they were denim? I calculated an algorithm of magnitude
with matching and denim variables.
I sued journalists
who used the word “patchwork,” sent cease and desist letters
to the ones who said, “Denim Date.”
All denim must begin as jeans and then get pulled apart: obvious
where the industrial sewing needle punched
through layers, layers,
where thread was picked out.
They followed the denim rule
of mixing washes, but
Justin’s base shirt was only denim-colored.
Couples outfits make couples
break up, and break up
and remember the outfits were also denim and break up again.
A diamond choker is a bracelet
for a neck
and a wrist is another neck
to wear a bracelet.
A denim hat is like pants for your head. Ignore
the fashion reporter who asks
what happens if she unbuttons
the silver button on the hat band.
The inside of the gown is another denim gown.
The underside of the choker, the bracelet, the belt
is white gold engineered with holes to amplify
light through diamonds.
The back of every photograph taken of us
A Poem Written with a Fountain Pen I Sold then Bought Back Again
I said yes,
I am the type of person that dates my exes.
I make jumpy declarations.
He said, “I have this pen that would be perfect for you”
I have also thought this before
then not and now again, I think this.
I do not say I have a dopamine disorder
but everyone already knows: caught me
broadcasting my wide open heart.
I can only tell people things they don’t care about. I talk about poetry
with pen people. I can’t stop saying things about pens to poetry people.
My pen went on a trip without me. First North Dakota
to the woman who just finished law school.
She and I have sold to each other so much
we both use a specific pen box
to ship things back and forth.
She sold it to the man in Alabama who calls me Mrs. Loveland,
This is not the only pen he has in his possession that I regret selling.
I want a photo of their hands
to see if they are actually my own hands.
Valerie Loveland is a poet and programmer living in Philadelphia. She enjoys audio poetry, video games, celebrity cats, and fountain pens. Her most recent two books are Female Animal, and Mandilble Maxilla.