BAD REPUTATION ❋ Alex Manley
This work comes from the collection We Are All Just Animals & Plants, which was shortlisted for The Metatron Prize for Rising Authors. You can order the published collection here.
No snares in the drums. So alone in so much of me.
I’m not in love with you, or anyone. I’m in love with
tension. Do you know how this thing is played? You’re
living in the past. I’ve entered the second phase of
construction on your broken heart. Can you see the
difference? Day by day it gets worse. All this talk of
phases. My brain is a body going through heat failure.
Thoughts shorting out like organs shutting down, until
all that’s left is a corner backing in on itself. No, no, no,
not me. I think about her because she looks like you,
that’s transference, and she helps me forget about you,
and in a few weeks someone else will help me forget about
her. My brain is a daisy chain. My brain is a broken piece
of machinery that was once meant to strike something
now flailing rhythmically through the air, never in danger
of contact. My brain is a heart with ADHD, a knife in a
toaster, a toaster in the bath. My brain is the word “mouth
feel” in pink all caps Gotham bold superimposed on a giant
picture of a tongue. My brain is a Tinder match with a girl
I met in a bar last year, who likes my Instagram pictures
sometimes, who looks just like you, only her hair is curlier.
Can you see? So why should I care about a bad reputation?
Just phase it out. Somehow you stole that song from me,
just because we watched it once together on YouTube on
your couch. This is how I keep time, watching the hours
since you were last on Facebook grow. I mean come on.