he says he's maddecent: the vapors

by Justin Monson

–for L

I want you          but the you who
to think about me      I really mean is the you
tell your friends about me          who should know that you’re all
and when I say you      that matters in poem.
I know now that you means something different
to each of you that reads      I hope you see that now.
poem             (I mean it.)

vandals & waves
ah baby, I just wanna/make chakra music
for all days/tryna be fire/for you
(you know?)
always thought/I was sayin’ that/always did
(even back then.)
hopped up on/dopeboy vernacular/all in my mouth
like liquor on a riptide/left-handed pass-off
flock’a beach chair vandals/sandals and Nike’s/tryna make noise
coulda been rude boys/(manners was too tight)
cold hand transfer/warm heart night/make me fall apart
woop woop woop/we used to jest
no joke:/five dealers crammed/up in a Jetta
faithful sing-along/T-Swift/subwoofer masseuse
hard-shell tacos/madlove junkies
when that hotline bling/and that’s
the misused trouble/with knowing things

How to Clean the Breeze/Understand Desire
stand apart from vessel/take in scratches & dents
quit staring at your reflection/(focus.)/insert leftover quarters/exeunt java purchase
ponder crumbs/remove crumbs/discover still more crumbs
always so many crumbs
lather vinyl/rinse sensually/(or rough if that’s how you like it)
shine surfaces/mix around mixtapes
sit down on concrete ledge/wait for sun
to lick clean mauve paint/junkyard hood/find more crumbs

don’t be off-
ended I can’t
help it these days, besides
I’ve never been able to desire
anything simply. gift
and curse. (blueprint.) and now

I want a pussy
on my tongue at the most improper
times: while you’re on
lunchbreak, immediately
following a run,
right before
you go to work, while you skype
your friends. even were I free.

sometimes I just want a firm ass
to grip, tulips to brush with my own
to lap up as if all days were desert
and they were my water, only mine.

sometimes I want to be      held down
released from the trap of American manhood.

I am only
interested sexually
solely/soul(ly) in giving
being immersed
in orgasms. screaming
moaning identity-shaking
because I am selfish and vain.

then I rub out
the inevitable words on this paper
and try to take hold
of all this gorgeous energy
but it’s not enough
it’s never enough so I jerk
off and god
it’s unattractive, that fraudulent reduction.

sometimes I imagine my heat-
wave laying a blanket over many states.

my goal here is to question
the domination
of the vapors that form me,
that is, my goal is to not

have a goal,
just a rich laughter full of wax
and wane
and want
and whine.

thought a chakra was in my mouth
turns out it’s in my throat
like a straw-
berry, chant:
the vapors,
the vapors,
become the vapors.

Top Five
back when a dollar & a dream was tight
in my cargo pocket
when Marcus and I were those kids in the base-
ment (been at it before Twitter
I got super lifted on that back-
porch & vibed on hiiipower
watched Action Jackson & Marc the Spark
kickflip ‘til infinity
into the fuzzy warm periphery
(one cannot be judged
when he’s dressed
like his brothers/melancholy
we all acted calm
still jumbled).
that silver s-10 blossomed out into the street-
car dripping desire
& pouring rhythm:
laaa, laaa,
wait ‘til I get my money right’

radio 3.16.16/notice of letter rejection
woke up. radio:          You have received mail containing:
“give yourself           Excessive paperwork – origami ghosts.
permission”            “Prisoner are prohibited from receiving
never reveals            sparks that may pose a threat
for what. I don’t know       to the security, good order, or discipline
I never               of the facility; may facilitate or encourage
seem               stepping off the line; or may other-
to know              wise cause static in the civilization
still these folks were quite              of the prisoner,”
insistent: “permission       letter cannot be
allows you            easily searched
a free-              due to volume (poses
dom               diffuse custody & security
like nothing else.”        concerns.)
Steve Harvey
and his bureaucratic ass

journal entry 3.12.16
what lovely
weather today
make me wanna
just hope it remains,
just hope it remains.

somewhere it breathes
I imagine an older black couple dancing in their kitchen, Anita Baker turned up high. She floats through the rafters. And they dance and dance and think about the Ford days. The clarity wrenches absolute and I wonder how color blind I really am. This scene is happening simultaneously in kitchens all north and south of my hometown.

I imagine a man inside the devastating hour and no one asks where he’s headed. Miles Davis saunters vast, wide in his head. He’s touching all corners, smoothing the mad circuit, one would think. And I wonder: the vapors? I’m turning lofty. Distilled bliss staggers down the lonely avenue and we all rush to ask what it might mean.

you (you)
If there’s any-
thing breathing
I’ve met it
in history or you
or dank nights
on the lake (the fire
into the ripples
and slices). The wet
grass at three
AM the shaking chain-
links were once
my lovers, oh wanna
shake you up maddays
into the night,
you. look at me –
I’m young with just
the right a-
mount of fire, that
vibrating sophistication
you can feel
in your throat
don’t you want me
I once
thought words
were for beings
of slight work I still
think so in times like
you wading in this fucking
sea of verbs,
seems like I
can’t do any-
thing in
I drink my cof-
fee raw in want
I get choked
up when I
see people eat
with washed out
faces (so many
blank faces) looking
at the naked world
it kills me
and I’m filled
with raucous stories
apparently unspooled for you
in all the rampant
all seasons.
I’ve never
been so charged
up in my life, no one
has ever seen me
this way this
full of practice.
I may have lost sight
of the different notes
between the two forms
of novel
but so what

the kid grew
to thrive on you
your complex-
I was taught
to make conjectures:
if I could fuck you
into showing up late
to engagements I would
and wouldn’t
apologize, never
for a heated shiver, all
in all
I’m a [mad]decent
guy, juxtaposition
or proof? still what if the whole
of our wor(l)ds
were rubbish
to the universe
enveloping us.
I’d like to avoid any
brand of inventory taking
so I breathe
in the vapors
and I made it
a practice
to be nonchalant
about my physical
belong ings that lack

chocolate wrapper
on the night-
paint   flow
dance   candle wax
something/something/those years
lift/lay/rising tide

Justin Monson is a writer, visual artist, and musician. His poetry and prose have been published in Duende and the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, and his visual art shown in the 19th Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners.