Two Poems

Nicole Steinberg



If You Can’t Handle Me at My Mercury Retrograde, You Don’t Deserve Me at My Jupiter Ascending

With a crotch stuffed full
of memories I wander lonely
through the Walgreens.
My marvelous life story is
I make myself fat & I make
myself thin & I make myself
sick, swaddled thick in a cloud
-like bruise; surrounded for years
by unruly cliques of skinny
puppies, wagging garroted tails
& embarrassing tongues. Ergo
I never hesitate to zero out
the inbox of every puny universe
where someone dares to massage
the grimy motherboard of my heart,
where someone slides down
their shorts with a shudder.
Here I’m permeable as thunder
& twice as concise, with a reverb
like the puckered tintinnabulation
of an absent thigh gap. So what
if I treat my man like a stole,
if I wear his fuzzy feelings off
the shoulder? Bathed in the acid
-white glow of the nutrition bar
aisle, I mutter a mugger’s mantra.
I handle every tampon tenderly,
lovingly puffed up & so willing to
embrace so goddamn much of me.




Everybody Likes My Male Collaborator Better Than Me

I need lessons on how to be
intense on the Internet. I need
a secret life that circumnavigates
my secret dick. I’m not leaving
this hotel room, not when so many
dreams and malls and dogs
from the nineties are dead. I can’t talk
to you like this, from between chafed
and glittered thighs, in a world
afraid of horny teens. My sex is a thing
with unruly feathers and I pluck it
like a rude eyebrow. I listen
to the same song on repeat until
it doesn’t sound like a song, until
it’s merely droning background noise
for conversations with weeds.


Nicole Steinberg is the author of Getting Lucky (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2013) and three chapbooks, most recently Undressing (dancing girl press, 2014) and Clever Little Gang, winner of the Furniture Press 4X4 Chapbook Award. Her work has been featured or reviewed in the New York Times, Newsweek, Flavorwire, Bitch, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. She’s the founder of New York’s EARSHOT reading series and she lives in Philadelphia.