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Heartthrobbing beatpulse—what a player you are!

Go about yr teasing like it’s Thurs night

& you just sent nudes, ring in labret cuz basic

-ally i’m hot for it. Desire—fucking hilarious

consort—push pull jerk jolt pull pull push.

You want someone

so evanescent they blur, the thing about

a crush being implausibility.

There’s seldom any follow-through

rarely nodal seepage. Who knows? Part the fun

what’s obvious is how it becomes you

the sense of you wearing it—shaky

gestures & crumpled speech, a joke in the butt

of yr jeans. My heart digs

the tension of unrequited love

what i call rejection edging—low stakes

heartbreak & flushbreast

distress. You must become adept at

several things at once. What’s utopic

about the crush is its ghost veneer, never quite

materializing like you dreamt—

though the prospect contours nanoseconds

vis-á-vis duration. The way crushing starts

is you feel everything excessively

& it overwhelms. Goosebumps as chorus

lifts bridge, when they cross the floor

& you panic, turn beet & spill gut

to friend, yr mesh & slutty

rave gear pierced by wind

blowing any illusion

that March = spring.

There must be a million doors & i

would walk through each of them.

Y’know what i mean? Desire—

too much & always the mood.

My feet beat easy rhythm in NYC noise.

Sometimes i fall in L----’s arms,

sometimes L---- falls in mine

or we seek life elsewhere

as want feels right. We always find our ways

out then back again, slightly changed.

T---- says taking pleasure in one another

’s pleasures makes us unfuckwithably hot.

That’s called compersion & there’s a lot

of softness in the world, even considering—.

A form carries blithely through crowd

musk & yr breathless. A customer steps

up, woos you w their gap tooth.

Taking pictures in East River Park (defunct)

A- said he’d had his ass kicked by love.

No joke—that shit’ll fuck you up

even in its single-celled congealing form.

When i see my crush i try & play it cool

but mostly it's like the flat

of my stomach’s been ripped out

& everything inside me topples

bigass slushpile imogen

drawn & quartered only A) its cute

& B) almost nobody knows. Only i

can see it, or you or

whoever we’re gossiping too.

i like being stripped b/c naked

i am boundless—

i can out-wiggle these cuffs

soldering my issues. When yr naked

nothing about the workweek

makes sense—when i say YES

it means waste me

in the least lucrative way.

Later, upon reflection

there’s a subject or several

completely unraveled

—slant quotidian now isn’t that hot?

i’m talking about desire

to render what’s w/in

w what’s emergent in slight dis

-alignment, thereby

sustaining motion.

A crush holds the world in mind

’s eye, let’s you walk

yet never acclimate.

My w( )oles stuffed w paradox

i wanna be pure. That’s a blasé

way of saying contaminated

which is a melodramatic way

of saying all up in it—

crush(ing) velocity, hoarding

new fonts, ways of tucking

in a shirt, bratty little phrases

loose in meter

—love played simple

skip triple poly dutch & try not

to disassociate like rain pouring

out low hanging clouds. One can’t

always be so present—it’s hard

getting anything done & that’s magic.


imogen xtian smith is a poet & performer living in Lenapehoking/Brooklyn, New York. Their work has appeared in Baest, B L U S H, Folder, The Rumpus, The Poetry Project Newsletter, and Tagvverk, among other journals, as well as in We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. Imogen is a 2021–22 Emerge Surface Be Fellow at The Poetry Project & MFA graduate from NYU, and their debut collection, stemmy things, is out from Nightboat Books.


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