Having a Diet Coke With You

is even better than a regular Coke
because in New York the streets are so skinny
I’m always worried about my hair
walking down Lex in the morning
or if we’ll ever get universal healthcare
and I can be assured I’m dying
in all the regular ways—nothing unusual!—
by a professional who touches me
lightly on the chest, the first time
I’ve been touched in months
so I consider falling in love after.
Oh god, Alex…
what is wrong with you?
I can’t believe this is the title
of your poem. If you look up
the billboards are sexy and American,
letting you forget all the cruel things
you’ve said to your boyfriends.
There are other things
I need you to remember.
Like please stop taking cabs
so you won’t have to take out a loan
or become a lawyer. And please stop
having sex with men who are terrified
of looking at your face when you cry.
One day your choices will be limited
and you’ll wear the same outfit
forever into the beyond, into the gold sea.
I’m going to bury you in a white suit,
infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive
as Plath wrote, as you are,
as you’ve been even on bad days.
Here—this is the love poem no one
gave you. And thank god!
They couldn’t do it like this.
Not only will we drink Diet Coke
in this poem, I’m also taking us
to Barneys so you can flirt
with the tall boy selling sneakers
and talking very slowly
about his gentle sword tattoo.
People of the world! Don’t stop.
Don’t give up style, irony or Manhattans.
Don’t apologize for wanting to fuck
someone new because you need
to feel alive. I get it! I’ve been there!
I’m imagining you reading this
with a phone in your hand, in your room,
by a desk, on a train or a platform.
Don’t wait to do what you want!
This is what I’ve wanted to say
from the first line. Don’t wait
because people do not have the answer.
I’ve written this ending before
in a book called American Boys
but I’ll write it again for anyone
who wasn’t paying attention
or talking shit about me on the internet.
I’ll never get over the fact
that the buildings all light up at night,
and the night comes every night
and without regret we let it go.
We sleep a little and we live.
That’s what we do.

photocredit: CorrieMiracle via Pixabay

About the author

Alex Dimitrov is the author of Love and Other Poems, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020, Together and by Ourselves, and Begging for It. He lives in New York.

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