When I look at you I think revolutionary thoughts

like that people go home to their houses and are happy

eating dinner with the family they’ve always wanted and want

nothing more. I imagine an irrational future for the first time

and it scares me like how the fighters on the screen hug each other

in tears after beating the shit out of each other just moments before

is the second most beautiful thing in the world

to sitting on this couch in this apartment that will not be yours

someday watching UFC fights, listening to you

tell me how before the moment of the fight

they watch hours and hours of videotapes

memorizing the movement of the other’s body

in relation to other bodies—I don’t say anything because to say

it’s like love would be too on the nose

and plenty of things can be like love anyway

like how I only like UFC when I watch it with you

like moving the head to meet the punch

when we learn it’s called slipping I say what a good word

no other word could ever be as good

for what they do I say there’s this Frank O’Hara poem

where he says the tide is like a rug

slipping out from under us and you look at me

and say is it about the ocean I love the ocean

I say I know that’s why I’m telling you even though that’s a lie

(I meant that loving you is like imagining how your fist

will move towards my face and moving with it so it still hurts

but hurts less or at least in a way I already know about)

but sometimes lies are more true than the truth

like how they say no one can die at Disneyland

because they shuttle the body out as fast as they can

before pronouncing them dead and you say so you’re saying

if I wanna be immortal I should just live in Disneyland? but no

your death certificate will just say that you died

just outside the borders of the happiest place on earth,

immortality is disappointing like that, you know, all that forever.

I’m thinking I’m like Disneyland. I’m thinking

about the stupid amusement park of my life and all the dead bodies

being rushed out of it who all paid for a ticket for the moment

at the top of the rollercoaster just before it goes down

believing it’s worth it to spend a day standing in lines to do it again—

before the ecstasy there is everything before and after

and I guess we just have to live with that

though some people are better at that than others;

I’m not, and I know it. At the end of the day

I keep playing slow music through the park

trying to convince everyone not to go, to make sure

they buy something they can show their friends

to prove they had a good time, knowing

eventually the gates must close so the cast can go home

to eat dinner with the family they’ve always wanted

and want nothing more—yes, I had forgotten

even the actors have real lives and I wanted that.

I wanted to go offstage. I wanted to take off my costume

and climb into bed, I didn’t want

to be a princess, only an actor playing a princess

who knows what her real voice sounds like

lighting up in the employee bathroom with her friends,

like WWE where everyone knows what’s gonna happen:

the first time we watched it I said what I don’t get is

why watch it if the outcome is already planned,

if the bell toll means the Undertaker is coming out

and it’s not even death just a guy in a ridiculous hat

and you said why watch anything at all

look at how much fun they’re having

look at how ridiculous they’re being

oh I would have a love

like a 309 pound man with a stupid stage name

climbing a barbed wire fence for no reason, a love

rehearsed a thousand times; they’re in on it,

everyone’s in on it, the way the audience loves them

is to pretend the stakes are high and the fight is real

and they know it’s not and pretend anyway

because really they don’t really know,

it’s still a real surprise when the bell tolls

even if you know who it means is coming out

and I get it now.

But there are times when I miss the seriousness

of that time I was five and another kid

beat me up on the playground. I didn’t know why

he did what he did but he did it. I don’t know

if he knew why either. There was so much I didn’t know

like if my front teeth would ever grow back

if I would ever get up off the pavement

if I died how long it would take

my mom to find me if anything would ever

be so serious as this and then I got up and learned

that these things happen to people

everywhere and all the time and even for fun

and actually people have been declared dead

in Disneyland. I don’t know where that legend started

but maybe it sounded so beautiful

people believed it was true—at least I did until

I looked it up to write this poem. I looked up so many stupid things

like how much the Undertaker weighs

because I wanted to tell the truth about us

and didn’t know where to start

like that one Christmas I didn’t come home

and my dad left me a voicemail I never opened

til two years later I finally listened to the twenty three seconds

of silence before he cleared his throat

and said It is Christmas and then

You’re not here and even in that moment

that I opened it only one of those things was true;

maybe even both of them weren’t true,

you know, who’s to say where here is,

but I know what he meant. Do you know what I mean?

I mean that I said this poem happened in a dream

so that I could make your voice say all the things

I wanted it to say. I mean in UFC if you kill a man

you can’t be held legally responsible. 

Sure, you’ll have to live with that for

the rest of your life, there’s no getting around that,

but when you get in the ring you sign away your life

and your family and all your dinners together ever after

for the rush of a fist to the face of a mouth so full of the reason

you are alive and maybe you wanted

to remember a time when you wanted nothing

more than to never get up again

from the pavement where your small naked life

was pressed into the ground by another kid

or the bed the first time we slept in it together

and I see it now I see that these are the same thing

there is all this blood in my mouth and nowhere to put it

but there isn’t any blood, that’s a lie, I’m sitting in my room

and you’re not here and if I ever finish this poem

and if you ever read it then both of those things will be a lie too

and I just want to say one true thing I know to end it

but it’s private like death like the inside of the mouth

like your handwriting like the time I told you I had a secret

but I couldn’t tell you what it was only that it was there

and sitting in that room with us like the one person in the audience

smiling, watching us prove to each other

how many past lives we’ve spent learning about each other

to arrive at this moment, to duke it out in the ring.