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nicole steinberg


Nobody Gets Enough Sleep, Okay?


Never kiss the girls, shirtless Matt McConaughey
warns. I’m a thick nest of hot dust, wet hem

of a drowning orchestra. The last man here
gargled my truths & drooled them out, speaking

snout. I’d prefer to never be naked, I say
in the car. I say many things in the car & I could

so easily sleep all day. I have a career & plump
bricks for shoulders. My mother had a career

until they took it from her & then she had cigarettes
& diabetes & my father savoring his own resentment

like spoonfuls of tapioca. I’m quick to judge &
that’s what saves me from the fire, from the floor.

That is where I left her, wounded inside the trap
of her own body & yet I still wonder: Where

did I leave her?



My Body Is Wildly Undisciplined and I Deny Myself Nearly Everything I Desire


Fingernails are the weapons
I was born with. All day
long I play dead, eyes fat
with food porn. On the inside
I’m either a good person
or a gory diorama. Nothing
tastes as good as feeling
fucked up on cake. I’m taking
my obstinate hips to the beach.
I’ll devour a bowl of beets.
I don’t care.
I don’t care.



In Defense of an Unlikable Protagonist, When the Unlikable Protagonist Is Yourself


My therapist has never heard the term
aromantic but promises she will look it up.

Spectrum is a kinder word than scale. Men
who tell me to smile have no idea what it’s like

to live as a sieve, self-help-hungry ouroboros
redefining the end of a feast. I only want to get

fucked and go to sleep so I can dream of my mean
vagina. The time of day when I’m most abhorrent

is dictated by the angle of the sun, a faraway
father that chides me for hiding in bed.

Clear formatting, I often tell myself and my
self will reply: Are you sure you want to

abandon your work? All changes will be lost.



In Defense of the Basic Bitch


I go AWOL in the H&M,
French manicure moldy
and my hair a too-real rat
nest of corrugated truths.

I feel antipathy for your blog,
zine, podcast, band, parody
Twitter account. I’m like
the Sun Yat-sen of not caring.

I’m about to get virulent about
this kale salad. My horoscope says
I should avoid margarine, HPV,
and drama queens.

My heart is a blood moon pumped
full of peace on Earth and pop rocks.
I wanna eat Chick-fil-A as I drown
in the tub. I wanna cry about cute dogs.




Nicole Steinberg is the author of Getting Lucky (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2013) and three chapbooks, most recently Undressing (dancing girl press, 2014) and Clever Little Gang, winner of the Furniture Press 4X4 Chapbook Award. Her work has been featured or reviewed in the New York Times, Newsweek, Flavorwire, Bitch, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. She's the founder of the EARSHOT reading series, based in Brooklyn, and she lives in Philadelphia. Find her online at www.nicolesteinberg.com.