losing grip by Michael Russell

Poem title: losing grip	
Poet name: Michael Russell
Poem: // hold // the way you looked at me / the first time / i dressed / vegetarian sushi with ginger / how peculiar / i tore / the pink tendon / into pickled confetti / tossed it / on top each careful roll / first you judged / then / curious & amazed / you implode with laughter / mikey! / what the heck / are you doing? / why!

					this is not the poem 
				i dreamt of writing
			love, you shrink 
			   like meat
				in the mouth of an oven 
			fats crackle & spark,
		the good smell
		   of bone / muscle 
	     spiked with garlic,
		lemon, salt. boyfriend, 
	you bathe in the juice
    of the unfamiliar. tell me,

your flesh is more /
				   than seasoned carcass

// hold // michael / tries to stab / laurie strode / again / the romance / of a halloween slasher / dark movie / theater / carved pumpkin / of my heart / i recall the minute / the subway shot / through yorkdale station / the gust / then gale of words / flutter / of orphan leaf / soon-to-be boyfriend / autumn red & longing / for my arms /

i wouldn’t be losing 
grip if your throat 
hadn’t bloomed a war 
song, if you didn’t 
draft yourself to fight 
love, it’s funny
when you’re thrown 
against the ugly beast
of betrayal, you costume 
a pacifist. i can’t hear 
you’re tired when i guard 
& guard your eyes, hope 
they don’t wander
into virtual fields
where men are common 
dandelions / pluck / 
you’re not allowed
to withdraw, vacation
on some proverbial beach
when i’m carrying the mammoth 
of our weight, desperate
& reaching for you

			    // hold //

a christmas stroll / through the neighborhood / sidewalks twinkle / the glow of incandescent 
bulbs / smile / i’m dumb / with pleasure / winter halo / blaze of red / light warms your beard / 
boyfriend / let us photograph this moment / i never want to ungrasp / the science of our love /

			a lie can only be buried 
		   so long, darling, you wrote
			      in a letter your desire 
			      to build a life with me
		       yet passed yourself around 
				     like a cheap antique,
						       every night 
				      when you came home 
				       i smelt the fingerprints
							   of other men 
				       dust & smudge your skin

			   watch me

	   / unfold like clean laundry / 
		      watch me / try
		   to coddle the air / 
		     clutch the air / 
	         make solid / the air
	      / hug / kiss / your lips /

			   / i can’t \

			   \ i won’t /

End of poem.
Credits and bio: Copyright © Michael Russell
Michael Russell (he/they) is the author of chapbook Grindr Opera (Frog Hollow Press). He’s queer, has BPD, Bipolar Disorder and way too much anxiety. Their work has appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, SICK Magazine among other places. He lives in Toronto and thinks you’re fantabulous. Insta: @michael.russell.poet