to my problematic friend, whose name may be Andrew

I had to unblock you
because of the project I am doing,
which I could have excluded you from
but did not feel it would be ethical
to do so. I see you now
in cyberspace; you are no longer
shunned. but I don’t want to
Like your posts
in the group we are both in
because Liking leads to tagging
which leads to PM’ing
which leads to fighting
which leads to blocking and ignoring
in real life. we’ve been
through this cycle
too many times before.

here is the biggest issue, sir:
you refuse to respect
my bodily integrity
or personal space
unless you’re sufficiently frightened
of whichever man you think
currently owns me.

you enjoy making hurtful
personal remarks
between talk of me marrying you
and having millions
of your babies,
which it turns out
were meant to be “jokes”
that you say to all the girls.
I often enjoy laughing
with you and/or at you
until you go too far. but
sooner or later, you always
go too far.

at the same time, between
all this nonsense I have learned a lot
from you, and I think you
from me. your mind is
a crazy broken diamond
a funhouse mirror
a haunted ballroom
and I loved you to the point
of pain.

I loved you
like one loves a feral cat
that is full of bravado
and sometimes purrs
and is incredibly sweet
until you get too
close or move too fast,
and then it bites you
viciously, drawing blood,
and runs away.

I loved you
like one loves
a small hurricane,
or a baby Great White
shark.

I loved you
like one loves
a money pit of a huge,
gorgeous old house that’s
falling apart, half the floorboards
unexpectedly rotten, with a creepy
basement where sick secrets whisper
in the dark, and topped by a
cobwebbed attic full
of equal parts hidden treasures and
nightmarishly sad ancient
horrors, but at the same time
it’s equally full
of asbestos.

you asked me once
to text you all the meanest
and funniest things
you said to me,
because you were often full blackout drunk
when you said them
and could not consciously remember it
and you wanted to have a record of these
very witty lines
for your autobiography.
I did not, because we were
fighting, and also because
I’ll be the one
to write you into a book one day.

it will have to be
fiction, because
no one will ever believe
that you could be real.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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