the clock or mr. greenside
something about midwinter makes the night’s first siren or three sound like howling gales or feral cries. my blackhole bedroom swallows your sweat and dust into the shelter of me, into the rifts where men find refuge in my flesh and stay a while. (i reserve the warmth within me for those who find themselves otherwise orphaned in the depths of january.) in falling snow, i beg for baltimore summers and their maryland crab heat, ripe and steaming and sticky. i cough smoke into sky and watch ice-powder pack lightly on brick sidewalks as i sink into my vinyl mattress and reach over for your mirage. your heat on my spine. your lips on my forehead. the way we perspire together on the kind of july afternoon that makes me long for blizzards and bruises on knees from black-ice slips and falls, covered up by cable-knit acrylic knee socks.
un hombre oscuro
i’d trade ten more years of delirium off my life just to get a glimpse of the one daybreak every few months when you’d drive us east on hillside road toward a sky of wisteria and brilliant berry. it was desire that brought me here, to this city and to this basement and and this barstool my first week in town, thirsty for jägermeister and validation. that night, you lit a menthol cigarette in the seat next to mine, back when you could still do that. eight years later, i awoke before my alarm. usually you stirred as soon as i did, eager to catch the morning sun in my sheet-tousled blond curls as you opened your eyes, half-caked with last night’s makeup. i remember so little after what came next, after my arms reached around and felt your chest cold, doubling down on my embrace to find you lifeless. there is no speck of all the white lilies or thoughts and prayers that still lives in my memory. there is only glass after glass of cheap red wine that tastes like currants, newports, and the wax of my drugstore lipstick. with each pop of a cork, i chase the aural bliss of your lilting voice saying my new name for the first time. i became me with you, stumbling drunk down queen street after two shots too many, waking up at sunrise blanketed in goldenrod. my windows now frame views of chrome skyscrapers in haze each dawn. i’d give these lungs of mine to watch your chest rise and fall, shallow breaths like when i’d wake at midnight to find you dreaming of birch groves and lost days.
About the Author:
nat raum (b. 1996) is a queer disabled artist and writer from baltimore, md. nat’s creative practice centers primarily upon their lived experience with loss and sexual trauma and their subsequent c-ptsd diagnosis, often taking the form of small-edition images/textbooks and zines. past and upcoming publishers of their writing include bullshit lit, delicate friend, kissing dynamite poetry, and warning lines magazine. nat is also the founder of fifth wheel press, a queer literature and art publishing space, as well as an avid fan of glass animals, noise-canceling headphones, and bisexual lighting, preferably all at once. find them online.
These pieces are a part of Issue Two: CHRONOS. Read more pieces like these here!