Breaststrokes Through Apathy

Sex and Brocolli

Sitting cross legged on a sweat soaked comforter,

we became lost as we delved deeper into

intimacy that exists in warm embraces

and the exchanging of bodily fluids.

We dug deeper into one another

like we were digging through the skin of our shared

naked bodies looking for versions of ourselves

that were hiding from their sins. How intimate.

An hour before, I was on top of you

and you were asking me to cum on your pussy.


When you asked the first time, we had been fucking

for what felt like an eternity. I was

fighting, trying not to succumb to a cramp

that was working its way from my knee to my ass.

Meanwhile, I saw the movement of your body show

impatience instead of enthusiasm.

Naked and interlocked with one another, the

well of intimacy was running dry despite

the sweat dripping off of my skin and onto

yours. It wouldn’t be much longer until there was

no intimacy left in my flailing body.


We put our clothes on immediately after.

It was always that way, the love making without

the love. The ending of the exploration was

always premature. A scar on your body could

be seen, touched and tasted but when the lights came on,

it was just a scar. At least, it was until it

wasn’t. Because when we peeled the wet comforter

off of the bed and sat down on the damp bed sheet,

all the secrets we tried to fuck out of each

other started to crawl out all on their own.


In between bites of broccoli pizza we took

turns reintroducing ourselves to each other,

holding each other in verbal embraces,

finding comfortable vulnerability.

Why did we choose broccoli? We didn’t. You did.

And that small, insignificant decision

became intimate. Memories melted away,

puddling together like sweat off our bodies.

Heads of broccoli were crushed in between your teeth

right next to my individuality.


The quietness that followed was one that was earned.

The symphony of lust that preceded it

was a thing of the past. It ended just like

our meal and the conversations about

why we are the way we are, dreaming of love

while counting sheep with unrequited interest.

For every creak of the metal bed frame

there was a beat, a suspension of our minds

in which we did not welcome one another.

This was our reward for intertwining.

This One is Yours

The first time I went over,

she brought out a small wooden box.

And when she opened it,

I saw it was full of little strips of paper.

We took turns unfolding them, revealing the handwritten questions in each of them.


What’s your worst fear?

Probably the dark because this one time at my cousins house…


What do you want most in life?

I just want to be happy. Last year I went through this depressive episode and…


What’s your favorite food?

My mom used to make this milanesa that…


We took turns asking questions that

should have had simple answers but instead

were answered with stories.

Every story attached itself to the slip of paper

that prompted it, and when we were done

I’d shove those pieces of paper in my pockets.


Pockets full of paper,

Yours, mine, ours.

Sometimes when I pull them out now,

I can’t tell which are yours and which are mine.

Pessimistic Princess

Massive, hungry, all-consuming.

A world in need of being tamed

while masquerading as untamable.


Pessimistic Princess,

you feel the challenge of taming the world

thrust upon you.

You suffocate,

Never realizing that

the world is big,

but you are bigger.


Pessimistic Princess,

The world does it’s best

to keep you from knowing this.

When you look in the mirror,

it tells you a story of inadequacy

in which you are the main character.

This story is fiction.


Pessimistic Princess,

you have stared into the abyss

and the abyss has stared back.

It is scared.

Scared of your potential.

Because the world,

as big as it is,

has a beginning and an end.


But you,

Pessimistic Princess,

are infinite.

Whispering Vulgarities

I taste blood.

I don’t know if it’s theirs or


Maybe I bit their lip

too hard.

Maybe I need to

take it easy.


I make love

with a gentleness akin

to whispering the word



I fuck.

I fuck like

a maniac.


I fuck like

I’m manic.


It’s not pleasant

for either of us.


She always used to tell me

how great I was doing.

but that was when we were fucking

and in love.

When we were making love.


This isn’t even



This is someone else

who fucks in the dark


they can’t stand the sight of me.


It’s probably not that.

They like me.

They don’t love me

but they like me.


They know I mean well,

that I’m not a

maniac or manic.


They know that I’m just a guy

fucking for the first time

after years of making love.

The Night Before, The Morning After

…The night before was much like the morning after, tainted in your apathy You sat on top of me and looked down while explaining exactly why you could never fall in love with me I listened intently because that was what I would tend to do Grab and hold close the details of the story I would re-tell in my head after you left The night wasn’t going the way I’d imagine anyone would plan out for themselves but I held your words regardless, because even the stories about love that are undernourished and hope starved are stories worth being told Something about my head, I swear there’s something wrong with it because those are my favorite stories So when you said

I shouldn’t have stayed here

I regret it

I clung to all 10 syllables, knowing full well they would define not just that moment, but also invade the moments of quiet loneliness in the days that followed The night before was much like the morning after because the night before was the morning after…

Articulating the End

I write in my head because I’m driving

on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica.

What a fitting end to this story;

We held each other for the first time here.

While you were sleeping,  I sat at the desk

in our room becoming a poet.

I wrote poems about bugs in your hair

that you would read off of postcards later.

But that morning, I whispered them to you;

I whispered softly, waking you gently.

That was also when I started to wake.


I am writing because I’m still dreaming.


For breakfast, I was your Huckleberry.

For lunch, we ate hamburgers in your car.

In your car, you did nothing but miss him;

In your car, I did nothing but miss her.

How did we think this was going to work?

Secret is, neither of us thought it would.

We talked, in between bites, about how our

friends weren’t going to know anything.

In some cases, people end up happy.

In some cases, people go up in smoke.


I am writing because I smell the smoke.


After that, we held hands at the swap-meet.

Strands of hair fell like ribbons on your face

that made my mind beg my eyes, look at her.

Each look at you was greedy but

we weren’t there to look at each other.

I was looking for a car radio.

You were looking for Mexican earrings.

Isle by isle, we searched together.

That night, we didn’t feel like a secret;

We didn’t feel we belonged somewhere else.


I am writing because I don’t belong.


I remember your pain, remember it

like chocolate; I always hated it.

We did our best to numb each other.

I drove for an hour, you drove for an

hour  just so we wouldn’t sleep alone.

I would fidget and keep you up all night;

You would say mean shit and keep me up too.

One morning, you woke up and made breakfast

and I wrote letters for you in my head.

This is what those letters might have looked like.


I am writing because I love you.


I am writing because every thought

before this one tried to get in the way.

I am writing because the only way

to say this is proofread and edited.

I am writing because a part of me

hopes that you’ll never have time to read it.

I am writing because you care about

the little things, even when they’re ending.


I am writing this to articulate that end.

2 thoughts on “Breaststrokes Through Apathy”

  1. Hi Jonathan,

    It’s nice to see that you’re writing poetry. I believe that getting in the habit of employing poetic devices improves your prose. I once took a summer poetry writing class taught by John Caddy, a Minnesota poet. His advice to me was to go line by line and eliminate any words that aren’t absolutely necessary.

    For me, deleting is the best part of writing😊 Ideas about sex, death, and love are juicy subjects for poetry. Sex without love has so many nuances. Here it is tackled by Sharon Olds:

    Of course, it lacks the rawness of yours which contributes to the underlying anger. I just read a book, Memorial by Bryan Washington. He writes about sex as a way of expressing feelings other than love in an established relationship. I loved his writing in general—available at the library!

    BTW, as I reread the broccoli poem, you may be saying that intimacy is achieved in other non-physical ways? You don’t have to make it easy for the reader. Stay with the senses. The feelings will come through.

    Peace, Kathy

    Liked by 1 person


      Yes, I have learned so much about the value of word selection while learning about and finally experimenting with poetry.
      I am learnign to love editing my work but its still a work in progress.
      I am bookmarking all of these suggestions as a I read through your comment.
      Yes! I have to re-visit the Broccoli poems because as I read it along with the other pieces it becomes clear to me that there needs to be reworking in the first couple of stanzas. I will keep your words in mind as I continue to work on these poems.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: