The End

by MC Hyland

illustrator Anafelle Liu


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Don’t be the white woman sobbing at the vigil. Type quickly before the screen goes black. More light. More mist in the window. We went to Union Square and marched or didn’t march. We closed or opened our eyes into a communally willed silence. You join the reading group. What is there to say that can’t be said in an email fueled by whiskey and rage. Shoot first and never ask questions. Traffic sounds. Late summer. Then fall. Then winter. Six months like that. For some it was the summer of cops. For some that happened every summer. Two saxophones and two black-eyed ghosts. How to be kind but also saying no. Saying no no no no no no no. Does the aesthetic have a political unconscious. Eyebrow threading en route to the protest march. We stayed up late refreshing our feeds. Putting the media in social media. Standing in the window. Then we have dinner in the brand-new Dairy Queen. A shooting back pain from carrying too many books. We were in Paris when the cops turned their backs. We were in Brooklyn when Paris got shot up. Another obliterating wave of ambivalence. The trains run all night. You don’t have to be on them. Backpack full of foreign currency at the lost & found. I changed the SIM card back but texts kept getting lost. I write about my days because they’re the only ones I lived. Writing I am watching. Writing I am listening. Here come the warm jets.


No more B train forever amen. Why not wash the vegetables in chemical stabilizers. Upstate Manhattan. Walking your poetics. Unwanted sexual contact a part of your daily commute. Why not Trader Joe’s. Over the river under the river. Her brisk throat-slash movement. Too cold to say hello. The best paper from the student most apt to glare. Poetry debate club. Lights on the river. Don’t make this about you. The way your arms hang. Electric de-piller. Moving slow. All the drugs that I don’t have the guts to take. Holes in your gloves. Bowl overflowing with seafood. I got my period at the CSA shift. How to make friends and lose jewelry. Keeping change in a pocket. Drummer’s grimace. Block full of fire engines. Home at 5am. Dos a dos. Tête-bêche. Beauty and the beaten. Home in time for the laundromat. Is this what you call a rhythm. Things move around in your mind. The book you might have written. Years before. Miles away. Graded papers on the train. Stood up on the train. Writing impossible before Church Ave. Sharing headphones. What kind of Buddhist does that make me. Shellacked in lyric shame. At the funeral not the meeting. Stephanie I’m writing back.


I looked good for a married woman. Missed the water taxi. Got my period at Coney Island. Is this getting funny yet. Every day a new body. Humans versus police. I am pressing the lump in my breast and I am not innocent. Touched all over by rage and hurt. Many ways of spying. What broke in your American dream. The white board and the gray wall. I hadn’t signed the contract. Crumpled paper or crumpled daffodil. Leaving the facebook group. Pulled over in Long Island. On the subway I’m a man. Locked together and working. A calendar of blooming trees goes white pink green. How we might be made out of hearsay. The joke about my ex. My secret radical past. Your business school affect. What did we believe about careers. About influence. A studied neutral pleasantness. You know lots of girls riding bikes with their hymens. Who or what is the audience. Sending love to Lee. Sending love to Hanna.  We have been asked to know how we know things. Trying to be everywhere at once. Walk right into the ocean. Water touches the container ship touches my foot.  


Where the rain-filled parking lot shaded into the rain-pounded river. A vast expanse of moving gray. The problem is the thickness of the callus. As you fell you thought it’s ok I have health insurance. Am I refusing to engage in the hopes of remaining unmarked or unremarked. Places where language comes to you. Where it deserts. It’s time to be your other self. I seriously dreamed about killing children the night I got my period. I wanted to make the doors and windows over. Of course this is how the sun goes down. Through the thunderstorm that trapped you under an awning. Let’s not mistake the bartender for a long-lost uncle. Trying to imagine how one could think of embodiment as incidental or secondary. When the old man pulled teenage me into an alleyway with a surprisingly strong grip on my left arm. Passing right below the threshold of notice. Bless me and god will bless you. Walking down the street in my shortest dress. To invite everyone in. What does it mean to escape ideological battles unscathed. I don’t want to do sex to you I only want to talk. Can this poem be a compass toward something I am only starting to know.

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