Poems of the Week

  • Ocean DeRouchie

Fantasy or Nightmare—I Am Neither

by Jenny Mourad @jenn_m1

I wish I could just be myself.
I wish I could simply love
a good cup of coffee
and think that red lips are sexy.
I wish that when you speak to me,
you see a person – a woman with a good heart
and distinctly wide hips.

I wish I could be that woman,
but instead I only get to be
who you want me to be.
The woman that you’ve told me how to be.
I can only be your exotic fantasy.
So mysterious but superficial,
the way you can handle,
the way that is sexy not strange.

I can only be your scary terrorist.
There is no question
as to where I come from or why I exist.
The idea that my body simply races with evil blood
is explanation enough.

I wish I could just be myself,
but if I have to choose one,
I’d rather be your fantasy than your nightmare.
I’d rather seduce you than terrify you.

After all, no one has gotten shot for being seductive.
While fantasies get disrespect, nightmares get fought,
nightmares get feared.
I’d rather be your fantasy than your nightmare.

Whereas fantasies are held in a pigeonhole,
nightmares are held in a cell.
Unable to enter the country,
scared of the man with a badge
and his ”random security check.”

I wish I could just be myself,
but in times of bans and bombs,
you look at me and I see that my options are limited.

“I hope you send me someone new soon
because I keep pining for ghosts
on strangers’ beds
to try to make them mine” —Diane Dollisen, Can I Get a Refund?

Dear Galatea

by Diane Dollisen @grumpywednesday

Last night I dreamt of wearing your skin:

I put on your milk-white face,
squeezed into your dainty body,
slipped into your red dress and your diamonds,
parted my golden hair down the middle—
precisely down the middle—
and prayed to God I looked
holy enough.

Can I Get a Refund?

by Diane Dollisen @grumpywednesday

Jesus Christ,
I saw a smiling baby on the train today
eating a croissant on her mother’s lap
and I couldn’t believe my heart –
Now why can’t that be me?

It reminds me of the time you sent a flightless pigeon
stuck between sidewalks
and I slipped on the winter ice
because I could’ve sworn
that body was mine –

Damn you.
Was that me?

Jesus Christ,
it’s been four years.
I think the pills are still working –
I use my teeth to cut them in half now
instead of a knife.
Now I can deal
but it’s not very precise, so
can I get a refund?

Jesus Christ,
I hope you send me someone new soon
because I keep pining for ghosts
on strangers’ beds
to try to make them mine,
but my god,
I hate them more than you.

Jesus,
one of these days
I’ll find a way to make me proud –
My body will be mine
and I won’t float over my own head –
But until then,

Christ,
can you hear me?

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