Jason Lipeles


about you now

Straddling your thighs on a king-sized bed six floors above Hudson,
you cup my shoulder and tell me it’s worth a poem.

“I’d like to see it,” I say.
“In five years,” you reply smiling,

the water that protects your eyes ringed with sunshine
and a few minutes later you’re shitting—

the shower running so I can’t hear your stool
splash and sink—while I inspect my shoulder speckled

with moles and freckles, sprouting hairs and wonder
how you will depict us in verse. Three hours later,

over three pints of beer we confess
why we’re still single:


gag on your toothbrush
due to your father’s early
insistence on stellar oral hygiene and


laugh easily at my own jokes even
though they’re only in my head

and then
over dinner
we begin to uncurl
our spiraled


the first time
I was kissed,
the first time
I was raped


describe seven years lost
to party drugs that numbed
an unrelenting ache

and it may have been a gorgeous night
or it might have been that I was enamored

with your presence
so that every skein

of sky carried the softness
of your presence

and the softness
returned to your eyes

at the Duplex after 1 AM
when the piano man began

the opening riff to “Wonderwall”
and you

half-opened your mouth
to an operatic British baritone,

I don’t believe that anybody
feels the way I do

about you now
and I replied, in kind,

finding your eyes glowing again
struck by the impossibility

of their shine in a bar
without sun.



me and


I do not know nor have I ever
known thickness though knowing
my father and uncle I know
my thickness will come halfway
through sixty. And I have no sincere
knowledge of the density of my bones

though I know my back will be cracked
over a thick leg one day, crunched
like a snail shell under a thick sole
as a man in a hood wraps my waist
with gold wire, pulls a veil over
my face. I am not as loved

as I thought I would be. My blood
thin should be thickened with
silica or black ink lifted
from missives scrawled in fragile
calligraphy. Instead the men hold up
their phones—hips, waists, armpits, chins

sinking beneath a gloaming of “no,
please.” One hand groping for
thick rope,
thick branch,
thick edge but there is always
more. Memory of this—attempted—rape,

composed of memory and rape. I drink in
death of motion                     salt of sweetness
smudge of breathing             S.’s
smile broadening
the crevice between me





Jason Lipeles is a Los-Angeles-based poet, performance artist, human-being-with-feelings. He is an alum of the AJU/Asylum Arts’ Reciprocity Artist Retreat. He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Image + Text from Ithaca College in 2018.