from IRL

Tommy Pico

I huff home from the Ham-
ptons a lil bunched inside.
Witnessing luxury makes
me feel like I can’t say shit.
Money is very sharp,
very elbows and knees
behind those pinchy cheeks.
In college I meet a Whitney
as in the museum
n I’m like Whitney like
Houston? Money is not a-
mused. Life as moments
in between a skipping needle.
They say the key
to appreciating the city
is getting away—I cry
in line at the bank. How
to get away inside: boys,
burgers, booze. Smug American
condemnation of China’s media
choke hold following the
Tiananmen Sq. anniversary How
can they deny their barbarity?
Really, America?
That’s a little too...
writing a poem n only
talking shit on everybody
else Kayla and I are talking
shit on everyone at this party.
Boys are dumb but we keep 
entertaining them Music’s 
too loud but we keep 
shouting Buying drinks 
is stupid but we keep doing 
it. Animal Collective reminds 
me of being drunk, before I
was a drunk. Dude says
he’s moving to Thailand
keep it light keep it light
keep it light keep it light
Isn’t it under martial law?
He blinks, says he has a half
Thai girlfriend and stops
talking to me. Writers
should never be the hero
of their own work.
Be a hero IRL or whatever?
but don’t write to be a hero—
That shit’s disgusting. I
pull Kayla from a burning
building. I am lauded. The End.
I tap Thailand on the shoulder
tap, tap, tap
I hear protestors of the coup
have been using that three
finger salute from the Hunger
Games keep it light
keep it light c’mon Teebs
u got this bitch keep it light
I love the Hunger Games,
I’m such a Jena Malone
playing Johanna you know?
Chop, Chop, Chop
I pantomime chopping
into his crotch. If I was
V for Vendetta I would fucking
kill myself, you know?
He looks uncomfortable. I
have an Uncle Chop, I offer
keep it light c’mon Teebs
keep it light you fucking
He drank himself to death.
Muse buys me a drink I
can’t tell if this is a date or
a friend thing? We were
just at a show This guy
sings pretty songs about
his brother going cold
and I know it and well
up when the ballad is abt
snow angels and giving
them halos I think
someone is going to die
Then Muse says let me buy
you a drink We’re rooftop
drunk-flouncy Hit on some
convo about a snarky
rebuttal of a snarky review
of Patricia Lockwood’s new
book, instead of that article
about the refugees in Syria
Seven months in the Crac
des Chevaliers surviving
on cats and dogs Diving
A tight cabin over blind
water A plane no one will
claim to have found Yr
last thought before
the gutting panic, before
the sure icy blackness:
I am a garbage
artist Which is my default
well for light banter tbqh 
but I’m trying this new 
thing called “Don’t be so 
alienating” I’m giving Muse
this look like I’m only pre-
tending I don’t want
you to kiss me I’m
withholding, in general.
Surely Muse will want
to kiss me bc I appear
disinterested in kissing.
This is my technique.
Lol so far, so alone. What
the hell do you expect?
Emotional transparency?
What kind of artless
simpleton says what they
truly feel? It’s hard
to quote know unquote
what you want. Art-
iculating that is a translation,
and sayin it to someone
who could give it
but might not, is precipice dis-
orientation You are at a rooftop
bar n it makes you
nervous Nearing the edge
is threat of man
overboard. Sometimes threat
and consequence round
like smoke in a black jar
Meaning Say something, Jerk
butts up against Play
the game, Idiot n the game
is on a checkers board,
missing pieces There’s
pawns n dominoes n shit
A Monopoly thimble Whose
turn is it? I look into his
baubly eye pits I got this
round he says. There’s plenty Muse
doesn’t know re: me Most
everything about Muse
is something I read on Wiki-
pedia, don’t really “know.” 
Not knowing is a privacy.
I ask about Delphi
Read all about Delphi
I put on robes Make me look
Delphic ten minutes b4 mtng up
so I have spontaneous opinions
about the caves Spears
at the ready Very, So weird we 
love all the same things So 
much info is disclosed from 
the jump—profile pages, 
light Googling, Yet this one 
golden nugget Tugging 
infection Can’t make it 
through the cage of my 
lips? It’s kind of exciting, 
having a thing
to hide in the age of knowin
everything all the time You 
really got a hold on me 
I resent you, Muse. How
dare you be the arbiter
of my self worth Um,
chill out dude says Jess.
She says to me she says
just give him a freakin
kiss, then I had to give
it a try. Whatevs Jess,
that sounds like a movie.
This is real life.
The questions cairn Stones
pile slowly inside Until
silence. Static is the 
enemy of decision Which,
consequently, is how 
my mother gets kicked out
of that cult in the 60s
Do you believe in Jesus
our lord and savior? I…
don’t know. Do you believe
our Original geez Sin begs
cleansing? I dunno. Say
she’s too much of a sheep,
send her packin. In this
way the world of ambiguity
has its hospitable cont- 
inents But the days Owl 
onward. Confront the swirl-
ing panic of Do I live, or
leave—For ppl like us, isn’t
this always the question
at the bottom of every
Make a decision to cut
emissions b4 greenhouse 
gasses turn us into 
Venus. Let’s be realistic:
in one scenario, I turn
right, New York is drained 
of moisture and combusts.
In another, I turn left
and go to the gym.
Likin a boy, wanting to be public
with that like, bein all he-ey
or PDA
is very grave for ppl
like us secrets r quaint.
Privacy is on its last leg.