Letter to a Young Poet

after Megan Fernandes

Letter to a Young Poet
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo / Unsplash


Grow up. Sorry, is that mean? I meant
grow. I meant sit in the sun and imagine it is all you need
to live, though you need more to live. If you haven’t
made a 19 hour drive in 12, you haven’t lived.
You may have kept an eye on the speed limit and safety laws, but
that’s not the same as living. I would know. Halfway through
filling out the mania checklist at 10am, I’m pausing to take a Xanax.
I don’t think these forms should be given out
online. How can they tell you’re lying unless they can track
your eye movements? That’s all made up by cop propaganda
procedurals and ableist scientists or doctors or whatever, but you know. I can’t be
held accountable for what I say or do or how I move. I spent forty minutes
scrolling through ecosia’s image search (which does not hold up
to google’s image search but does, presumably, plant trees) looking for the exact
image I wanted of Robert Mitchum pinning Marilyn Monroe into the dirt. I mean
she’s better in Bus Stop, and there’s at least four scenes where that happens and
I’m too paranoid to put any search modifiers in to narrow it down
to the scene I want (is it still popular to think the fbi or whoever
monitors your search history? I want to be popular but I’m paranoid instead)
so I have to scroll through promotional images and grainy stills and black and
white prints selling on Ebay and finally, I find it. When I send it to the boy
I was trying to flirt with using pictures of old movies, it takes him twelve hours
to respond and by then I’m over it. I wonder, sometimes, what my thing is
with old movies and older men but if Criterion can post about Grant
on his birthday I can spend two months streaming every one of his movies
and thinking about the time my boy’s mother told him he’s no Cary Grant.
The world is ruining most of us but what choice do we have but to live
through it. I mean live in it. I mean try, the best of us, to change it.
Kid, we are not the best of us, but we try. Enacting change
was never our goal, but maybe we’ll grow into it. Our goal is to leave
just one person better but we keep dragging our favorites down with us.
When someone asks where you are in a poem, quote the tweet you haven’t read
yet, girl what are you talking about, i wrote the words. If they ask again,
tell them it’s not so bad to do a little work. Tease it out a bit with your tongue,
then your brain, then read it again til you find meaning. If you don’t get it
maybe it’s not meant for you. Sorry, is that mean? I mean I know who I write for
and it’s the bitches that don’t hedge when they say bitch. It’s the obsessives
with three browsers open and the :D face where the tab count used to be
on their phone. It’s the genderfucked weirdos who’d die to be called
something like esoteric. It’s the druggies who cringe when they think of the sharp,
bitter taste of Molly or Xanax or Ket drip down their throat but still
would do anything to get it. Sometimes gatekeeping is a good thing.
If I could remember the answer to riddles I’d be the troll under the bridge
and my obsession with the sphinx would make more sense. Lately when my boy tells
me jokes I see them on twitter an hour later and I don’t believe in synchronicity
anymore but I used to run a tumblr blog that explained the meaning
to all those angel numbers. Sometimes it shows up on porn blogs and I'm like
Hey, that’s me. What the fuck am I doing
on a porn blog. And then I remember I'm not on Tumblr anymore.
Babes, are you still on there or have you grown up yet?
Remember when we first read Richard Siken and stayed up til 3
in the morning collecting Fiona Apple interviews for a boy who never read them?
I dug up that doc last year for poetry month. I threw out all the journals
you whined about your life in. I can’t seem to change my shadow from yours,
but I'm still trying. Pay attention to what disgusts you, one day you’ll find it
in bed with you. In the end, your role is to attend to the things you like
and ask for more, and more, and more. The taste of iron. Attention. Vintage satin
you’ll always end up running. In the absence of recovery, you’ll slip
into obsession. In the presence of love? Obsession. Understand that
obsession is the vein they try first. Patience is the one in your hand
that bruises worst. Don’t stop, kitten. You’ll be shocked to see where we end up.

BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute Lit, Roanoke Review, and After the Pause, among others. they are the 2022 winner of the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. they are a poetry reader for Capsule Stories. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co