I am 19 again

I am 19 again,

And she is kneading my soul with her fingers.

The color in this room is loud, the walls are closing in,

Her cat is screeching in the corner and I am kissing her between her thighs.
 

Exultation is the air in which we breathe, only for a moment, before she slaps me in the face and tells me to leave. We are children, lying into each other execution-style as the sun hides like a coward behind the night, we are children who will wake up dead next to each other and be none the wiser for it.
 

I repeat her name in my veins, like blood, she makes her way through me. I am dead without knowing it. My eyes are the first in my family to close from a love like this, all the others have made their way through women so well, my brothers are men of taste with their dicks swinging like swords out of their sheaths, they are who the songs are made for. I am the dog in the gutter, receiving a kick for showing the world my teeth.
 

I took my own virginity in a hall or mirrors, without saying anything. My reflection was much too loud for me to keep listening. My shame dripped down my forehead like beads of sweat. I can never forget what I’ve done.
 

I don’t think that I’ve ever known love. Not like I imagined it would be, not like I still picture it in my head. I am concerning myself with the affections of women I despise because at least I know them. At least this is not another blank slate into which I will eventually see my own reflection. At least this is not another lie I tell myself, like the others that drive my life forward. I still speak to this girl because she has known me long enough to know that I am better, that I can change. What she doesn’t know is that I will not, I will break her as I have done in the past, because ultimately, I couldn’t care less about another’s satisfaction. I am in this game for myself only. Love is a dagger that I wield against others until their bodies yield what I desire, I will feel nothing but completion when I wield that dagger against her again.

 

And I hate her for loving me. For not releasing that I am dangerous, and I cannot be trusted. She should know better after I have broken her back this many times over the past three years, who is she to give me another chance knowing that I am poison? Knowing that I will take what I want of her and leave her hurting in the snow, prey for whatever other vultures have heard her screams in the night and wish a chance at picking apart her soul. I will hurt her in an instant if it benefits me, truly. I am better than this. I am better than her, and I know it. Maybe this is why I keep returning, ready to kill. Once I have smelled blood, I truly cannot stop. How stupid is she to not realize that I cannot change, I will not change when there are still hearts like hers left to conquer? Does she not realize by now that this is how I assure myself that I am a God?
 

She buries me in concrete once again. 19 years old, 21 years old, I still have not learned my lesson. Evangeline, April, Eliza, Annika, Charlie, they are all names that I carve into my pen so that I may delude myself into thinking that I am loved. To know that a body will still be a body even when I break it, or it breaks me. There is something of an eternity in lying to yourself like this, in keeping your love dedicated to your music, never lying with a woman in the morning and knowing that loving her will truly take time. I do not have that time. I will consume her and then leave her. I cannot take her with me where I am going.
 

Blood was on the bedsheets the last time she beat me before the dawn. I was drunk/the car had flipped/the ambulance had strapped me down and injected me with fluid/she was the one who’d crashed it/this girl I don’t even remember the name of/but she asked to swallow me that night/I was surprised but held my tongue/I was too drunk to cum anyways/I had thrown up on her toilet and her stairway rug/I was probably far nearer unconsciousness than I realized/but I still pulled down my pants and did my duty when she asked me too/we still loved each other raw in that night/strangers with nothing in common but their momentary lust and parts of a body that would join them together. I fell asleep with her hair in my face. I’ll admit that I’ve long since forgotten her name.
 

This other woman told me that I was a cheater for being Bisexual, that I would fuck whatever man I saw on the street. I am a shifty little devil, the bisexual man who can’t keep his sword in his pants, ready to plunge it into whatever flesh should put itself at my feet. The devil truly made me, yes, that’s what she must have been thinking. Her ex-boyfriend was ready to beat me bloody for reasons other than this, but I was ready to fight back. I kissed her and left. I have never seen her again.
 

Who are these girls to think that they can have me? I am untouchable. I inform this reality, I am the reason why that dog pants in anticipation, I’m the heat between your legs that you would deny is even there. It is for these reasons, for these ignorant reasons, that you will not have me. How can you love what you don’t even understand? And you will never understand me, because I have yet to even understand myself.
 

I am just so angry that I cannot find love. On my terms, on my conditions, I am the first of my family to graduate with this many broken hearts in my satchel, I am the first to have killed and been killed in the ways that I have, my heart has been torn and my body broken by women whom I gave everything to, perhaps this is why the boy with any shred of empathy left long ago. He is too concerned with survival, with conquest. He learned that from his brothers, from lying with one too many girls execution-style in the night. He has grown used to killing. He is now suited for the hunt.
 

She came to me in the night. He eyes were full of pain. I said, girl is it such a bad thing that the pain in your eyes is the only thing I see? She said, boy bring your ass over here. Shut your mouth and tell me what you fear. I see that pain on your lips. Does it taste like mine? Why doesn’t someone go ahead and pour some cherry wine over our bodies as they intertwine? Why doesn’t someone go ahead and force-feed us some cherry wine?
 

This is what happens when children are allowed to love each other, I suppose, this is what happens when the sun is a coward and those children murder each other in the night without a thought of the carnage to come. I truly must be the first in my family to know that I am right. But also, so very wrong.

Ian Powell-Palm is a writer, poet, and musician currently living in Bozeman, Montana. You can find out more about his poetry and his future readings at his Facebook page, Powell-Palm Poetry.

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