On a Cushion Wondering So Why Do I Still Feel Hairy and Itchy, A Poem by Chris Russell

Trying to stick out, trying to make everybody love me,

I was oblivious to the fact that I was agitating the way an ingrown hair does.

I wanted to be an individual so bad

I was blind to how subtly I made things about myself,

and I had no idea how swollen I’d become,

and to be honest, I still don’t.

Though now I think I’m better at recognizing

when I’m jealous of a boss or someone’s boyfriend

and just how much like a volcano I can become

when there’s loneliness and dying without

a friend nearby to thumb wrestle with.

And that reminds me,

the other day I ate a piece of apple pie

and when I got home had a cry in front of the mirror

and cleaned the crumbs from my beard,

just letting myself be a half-realized, sweet and crummy mess,

held myself in that gentle light without trying to laser into a self.

Which I think just means that now, I think it’s okay, even preferable

to be a little bit of everything,

to be stubborn, flabby, have a nice smile, the identity of a broken mirror

and the brain of a meatball,

and continue growing broader and messier each moment,

if that’s what it takes to be kind to myself.

There should be a place where you can feel free to remain behind

and delight in the unconscious,

trading places with the moon,

where if your brain wants to play with itself until it turns into a werewolf, it can,

while it’s also sitting on a cushion wondering so why do I still feel hairy and itchy.

Jealousy should be the hair of an old and lasting love

you can run your hands through, bury your nose into and spoon.

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