the louderARTS Project

Jeanann Verlee

Jeanann Verlee is a poet , prose writer, activist, and former punk rocker who collects tattoos and winks at boys. Her work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including The New York Quarterly, Spindle, His Rib, and the forthcoming, Not A Muse. Member of the 2008 louderARTS National Poetry Slam team, ranked 2nd in the nation at the 2008 National Poetry Slam, Jeanann also proudly serves as Co-SlamMaster for New York City’s Urbana Poetry Slam at Bowery Poetry Club. Jeanann shares an apartment with her best pal, Callisto, an 11 year old Border Collie-mix and can be found hugging a barstool in an Irish pub on the Lower East Side. She believes in you.


arson

I loved you so hard
I left your stains on his mattress
every time he pulled out
marking the territory for you

he and I shared a lilting rhythm
Sunday afternoon chardonnay,
bleu cheese and baguette,
rain-blurred windows
he played show tunes
came during the ballads

I’d hum them later in the cab ride home
linoleum prance, cooking
soy in apple ginger
your favorite dinner—
you loved it enough, you ate twice,
three times
regurgitated into the wishing well of a lime-stained toilet

this is how madly we loved

I let him fuck me in the shower
until I bled down his thigh
your love swirling red between his toes

this is how I healed for us

at home you lay curled between law books,
video games, lukewarm cans of Budweiser
(my gifts for you)
I purchased shame like new shoes
a collection of blisters for the closet

when I told him I loved him, it was a lie

forgive him his blue eyes
his Armani collars
he was the toy they never let me play with as a child
the gun Daddy kept under his pillow
the pill lodged in my throat

this is how hard I loved you

I am the worst arsonist
burned down the home I built myself
black powder kisses for lovers I left
charred in their own beds

I danced out each door,
flames for feet



© Jeanann Verlee



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