6 poems

Talin Tahajian

Sleeping drugs

I spend so much time ∙ praying to little men on other planets ∙ have you heard? ∙ there is intelligence in the sky ∙ I’ve been thinking a lot ∙ about space rocks ∙ the way you can crack them open ∙ and find life inside ∙ I am also made of glitter ∙ I look down at my knuckles and they glitter ∙ the way concrete glitters below streetlights ∙

I am so young ∙ I miss skinning my knees ∙ on concrete ∙ what if the moon ∙ is really just a small mound of cocaine ∙ a lot of things would make more sense ∙ for example ∙ when we were young ∙ we skinned our knees and became used to the feeling ∙ now we look for the feeling ∙ we stay awake looking ∙

we look to the sky ∙ we look to the sky for answers ∙ and settle for small pills in glass bottles ∙ we settle for ingestion ∙ but tell me ∙ would you ever say no ∙ to a small blue man ∙ from some tiny moon ∙ if he promised you answers? ∙ if you have ever tripped ∙ in the middle of a busy midnight street ∙ you know something about what that feels like ∙ lights flashing in thousands of places ∙ and nothing to hold on to ∙ this is why I like to think of aliens ∙ small gods of moving bodies

Variations on the ways his music feed is a love poem and I hate it

Sometimes it’s too hard to live. Listening to his music feed
is like watching him fall in love. It is too hard to talk about
no matter how I describe it. Tearing away thin white shirts
as if anything is secret anymore. Blue moon & electric light.
Our air is thin & cold. I’m afraid of life. Everything is smoke
& ghosts. I’m afraid of soft things. I’m not used to observing
from so far away. I want the moon to turn into a bright fox
& kill everything on earth. I want to strangle everything I see.
I hate watching people fall in love & I can’t stop saying that
because what I’m seeing is going to kill me. Do you see this?
All purple meat & thick heavy life. I’ve been in love with you
so many times. I’m worried about smoke. I’m worried about
so much dark blood. I’ve been coughing for so many nights
& my small fires don’t make me any warmer. If I were better
with metamorphosis, I wouldn’t want to die every morning
& night. I am coughing, & I think I’m going to live like this
for a long time. The night is a cold pink fog with lots of sad
animals. I cough into the big sky & I want to cry all the time.
I want love the same way I want hot wine & a new raincoat.
When you introduce me to the dark, I want to grow & shift
with it. I don’t know how to look into the night & see myself
in it. This is so important. I want to kill myself over & over
& wake up somewhere gorgeous.

It’s November again

This time last year, I was so lonely. Sometimes, that’s just
how it has to be. Sometimes, I just want to cover myself
in tiny electric blankets & cry forever. It’s November again
& I’m ready to cry. Each year, something different. Nothing
will ever be like the night I went to get coffee across a park
covered in late-October frost & missed death by an inch
or a centimeter. It makes no difference no matter how
you count it. I am filled with hot coffee & so much smoke
that most of the time, it’s hard to see clearly. It fills my eyes
& my whole heart. A piece of flesh the size of a some small
animal. Some thoughts I’ve had recently: the brightest
thing in the world. The moon on Halloween. The kind of meat
we eat after everyone else has gone to sleep. Like everybody
else, I want to die someday but not anytime soon. I like dusk
just as much as anyone but I think I’m becoming more keen
on sunlight, waking up to the sweet & coffee of the kitchen
& all those birds. There are plastic spikes on my windowsill
to keep the pigeons away & I don’t know what to think
about that. Things like that fill my whole entire animal heart
just like the smoke & coffee. Thin heat from the radiator
in the library. Frosty fields where I almost died & died again
until I forgot what it means to die or stay alive. It’s November
again & most of us are still alive. This makes me so glad except
for the fact that it has to be said. I look outside & a black flock
of birds erupts into something that’s never been described before.

Love poem without anything real

I can smell your body      in my body
      & the ocean is glittering like it’s supposed to

I don’t know anything      about what’s supposed to be said
      I’m too loud      I can’t breathe

I don’t know what time it is      sweating
                              so many monsters

none of them are bloody      I’m bloody
            beneath my nails      I feel it there
      why is anything      here

here is the black dog the beach      the bathroom

I don’t understand anything      the black dog is real

I promise      walking the boardwalk like it’s supposed to

& here we are      sleeping like we’re supposed to
            it is two o’clock in the morning & I am tired
      I am so tired

Starbucks love story

I saw you across the room you were wearing
salmon shorts and a blue polo I remember
your order it was something unsweetened
and iced with extra soy milk I thought Oh
me too you walked over to me and I prayed
everyone stopped moving and one lightbulb
flickered the planet stopped mid-spin it hung
in empty space it began to fall toward Pluto
but before passing Jupiter you turned around
everyone kept moving nothing had changed
except now the sun was smaller in the sky
and Jupiter floated on the horizon like a big
orange I remember because I was sitting near
the window so I could see down the street
there were clouds but not enough to cover
the peach-yellow sky all of the ice in my drink
melted and so did my plastic cup the whole
time I don’t think you even saw me or maybe
you were the girl with the neon shirt the thick
black tattoos on your back the bleach-blonde
hair and we didn’t stop at Jupiter we fell all
the way to Pluto and we kept falling until we all
fell off this planet and onto Pluto don’t you know
there’s a Starbucks on Pluto and you turned
around and stepped outside into the rocky
beige I sighed and looked back down Oh a text


a room 🔪 or an empty room 🔪 a room with an evergreen 🔪 a room with snow 🔪 a room that’s all windows 🔪 a room with no windows 🔪 a room with no walls 🔪 with no light 🔪 no moon 🔪 a room full of smoke 🔪 a swallowed room 🔪 a hollow room 🔪 a room of dead things 🔪 a pile of skins 🔪 and next to it 🔪 a pile of bones 🔪 a pile of knives

Talin Tahajian grew up near Boston. Her poetry has recently appeared in Salt Hill Journal, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets 2014, Columbia Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, and Washington Square Review. She’s the author of half a split chapbook, START WITH DEAD THINGS (Midnight City Books, 2015), and serves as a poetry editor for the Adroit Journal. She is currently a student at the University of Cambridge, where she studies English literature.