Forget them. The men who looked right through you, used you up,
the ones you opened wide for when you should have run.
Forget about pop songs you listened to in secret, ones that made you
think someone was out there, just for you. It isn’t true.
Forget the fumblers, the degenerates, the bad boys, the all-that-you-deserves.
That fast-talking charmer who popped your cherry in the dark?
The baller who refused to give you head? The rich kid who left you at
the hotel, holding the bill? All bastards, still.
Don’t line up all those New Year’s eves when everyone else was a couple.
That line will conga out the door. Nothing comes easy. Nothing goes right.
You swear it builds character, or some Nietzsche shit.
You don’t sleep at night.
You deserve to rut in those desperate times, daddy’s bourbon in your glass,
mama’s Vicodin in your pocket, those B-movie plots in your head. Given the choice,
you’ll always go with the angrier option, the one that guarantees pain. Admit it!
You’re a sucker for drama. It’s tattooed across your forehead, neon-lit behind your eyes.
You’ve gone over it a million times and still you’re none the wiser.
So do yourself a favor. Forget trust. Forget love. Forget your goddam dreams.
Forget your happy childhood, the ponies, the neglect. Forget your straight A’s, your
perfect pitch, your mastery of all things French.
Forget about having a normal life; it’s all rubbed out, erased,
because you can’t forget the pool man who grabbed you in the deep end,
who stripped you, squeezed you till you cried, till you let him touch you,
till you let him finger you, till you admitted it felt good.
“Under Water” was originally published in November of 2012, by Downer Magazine. It is also included in the erotic poetry collection How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen & Other Heart Stab Poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014, available on Amazon.)