Let’s not be civil I love you

Give me back my renowned sorrows
to thrust violets into.
Don’t try to tell me otherwise:
it’s better when you’re fucked up.
It bores me to capture the sexual attention
of a handsome salesperson.
Please give me someone tortured.
Ruin me, show me who I’ve been in a past life.
My distant Mesopotamian heartache
wakes kissing the pillowcase.
In an arid room a palm-sized bowl
holds dried rosebuds.
Contrary to what I’ve held close,
there's freedom to be found in love.
And nature’s quick and vicious.
A weed that bursts from the succulent’s root
taller, greener, and fitter.
Pity to rip it from the soil where it’s loving
the present—living it up!
But also lingering upon the past.
All Edna St. Vincent Millay with it.
All pop art about it.
Brutal as a painting, this patch of sun I cry in.
You kiss me with beer breath and I think:
I could have been star puke, but here I am
naked with gold earrings on.


          And yet there I was
infatuated with some memory
          with these lions. We made the lions
into precious things—hair, earth,
          tattered rope.

We were in New Orleans because
          California was on fire.
Remember during the ceremony?
          At one point, the aristocrat was having sex.

          No, they wanted us to be the metal
and the noise—the present in any case

to keep the flames alive. Something that is not contained
          under the microscope.
It's nice to see you, too.

Because I can sell my pictures, I have.
          A most interesting life, painting about the futility.

And very solitary. Jokes and my culture of self-healing.
          All-synthesizer metal.
You were a great delight.

          That's why you were so bold! Animal,
compelling and infuriating,
          rest your head this evening, tell me you love me
                    and nobody.

On Aesthetic

I’m exhausted from doing nothing
on the internet again.
You have a new girlfriend and the world knows.
You want me to buy your organic skincare.
You used me for sex when I was in love with you.
Highland Park is filled with beautiful consumers,
consuming. I used to walk there with my love.
The person I live with in the real world,
consuming in the name of aesthetic
which we have named our purpose.
I love in pursuit of my interest. I am American.
Hear me Rorschach. I’ll describe how things look to me
and my words will fall in a convincing order.
I’ll choose the best ones. Words to sell.
My, do I have words to sell. Please buy my words.
Microplane. Pothos. Succulent in a ceramic mug.
Fibidus 21 grain grinder. Even my sundries are beautiful.
Litter of leaves. When it’s beautiful here, then all the world
is beautiful. A song reminds me of an ex I have no fondness for.
A sequence in a dream: I break into
an apartment to steal a can of coke.
In the elevator a woman joins me holding a crate of plants.
She asks how it went. It’s her birthday, so I say
happy birthday. Thanks, she says, I got all these plants.
A wooden car on the ground floor.
I stand on the wooden bumper, face the driver
through the windshield.
Now we’re looking at each other.
Now you will have to answer to me.

JESSICA ABUGHATTA’S debut collection, Strip, won the 2020 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize. She is a Kundiman fellow and a graduate of the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in Los Angeles.