A boy named Charlie
I could have fallen in love with.
Charlie was strange.
He told puns about
hippopotami and shoelaces.
Part of his hair was caterpillar green
his eyebrows were caterpillars, too,
crawled on me like cold tickling fingers.
Charlie is tall and gangles, and it’s easy
to sit on a couch with Charlie
and his strange band t-shirts,
and orange pillows,
with my feet in his lap and his feet in mine,
while he played one-little-piggy
with my tiny toes.
surprises me at the end
by tweaking upwards – Charlie (and his drugs)
made me comfortable enough to nibble that tweak
while he tickled my feet, music like tearing paper
my friends asked me
why I stayed with Charlie? You’re too good for him.
They meant: he is so strange,
asked my mother:
mama? Can I pierce my nose and my
eyebrow, dye my hair purple, and do
you have any old jumpsuits from when you were a teenager?
fell in love
with Charlie, which was sad,
because I liked him a lot, and I knew I could have
it seemed a waste,
like not eating the white between the red and green of a watermelon slice.
I didn’t want cocaine,
or to skip school, or to shrug about everything
and I have always been bad at sharing—
I just liked to kiss Charlie with pants on
on top of his drum-set.
I wonder where Charlie is now.
no we aren’t
I am just pooping!
to make this convincing
we should flush the toilet
and I’m like
you are a sloppy kisser
because his kissing
was as wet
as the toilet flush sounded
but I didn’t really realize
because it was my first kiss
it was his first kiss too,
but he denied it.
Why did the cow cross the road?
Because he wanted to go to the MOOOOOOVIES
you are so funny
I like funny guys
better than other guys
better than honey guys
or money guys or
I can’t believe you are
making me tell you about
We were in eighth grade.
I can’t believe
you remember it so
A girl knows
she needs to remember her first kiss real well
just in case she’s a camp counselor
or a “fun mom”.
What did the cow jump over?
I don’t know
the moon? No, the
MOOOOOOn. With a SPOOOOOOOON.
You need to work on it,
told Charlie. He said: I only had two good cow jokes
and you already knew them both,
Rachel means ewe
not calf, told Charlie.
ewwwwwwww, he said, it also means the pretty, shallow sister.
I am pretty shallow,
So then Martin decides we have to turn on the sink
so we turn on the sink
and his elbows were real dry
and there was lotion on the sink
so we put lotion on his elbows
like a hand-job for elbows
are you even listening to me
Charlie are you even
CHARLIE STOP TICKLING ME THIS INSTANT
STOP TICKLING CHARLIE STOP TICK CHARLIE KEEP YOUR
DIRTY HANDS OFF OF ME HEY oh my god
get your hands out of my pants CHARLIE YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO
TICKLE ME THERE CHARLIE oh god Charlie
you are making me and our reader very
it’s just oh god
I Charlie I
Charlie? I’m so
know what to think it’s just
I always thought this one
thing and then
suddenly I met you.
And I started thinking and
my ideas got to be
the same as my bones
all covered in blood
and oh? You have a good one?
Why should the boy cow break up with the girl cow?
She’s using him for his mooooooo-lah
Don’t roll your eyes at me, okay,
why else? She’s always so moooo-dy.
Charlie you are
so bad you are SO BAD
CHARLIE GET YOUR HANDS
GET OUT OF THERE NOT WHEN I’M
Goodbye Note for Charlie
I hate you.
I think about you when I see
couples laughing at coffee shops or
last night, with JD and a girl named
taking each other’s clothes off at a party. You were looking
all night for a sharpie to write
your number on my arm but you only found a knife in the pen drawer.
Imagine we’re at your apartment,
nobody’s home but me and you and we’re
listening to music with cowbells and klesmere and somebody
who’s mad at her boyfriend and you’ve got a movie
whose title means “life is imbalanced” in Ukranian
on mute on the TV. Imagine we’re at your apartment and it’s winter
but you’ve got the windows open because we’re smoking pot.
Life is imbalanced. Life is
in balance. Even your warm fingers have freckles on them.
Once I asked who Molly was and you said a special friend.
Molly must have been suffocating I don’t think you’re supposed to
put girls in plastic bags, but you know
how boys are. You held my hand but it was like getting my nose pierced,
Charlie, it didn’t even hurt, and when it was over my sister said
Rachel, why are you still squeezing my hand? You know that it’s over, right?
All the ecstasy addicts in rehab say that Molly was
the best girl they’d ever fucked but then the crystal meth addicts vouch for crystal meth
and I kind of wanted to ask them why they were even there,
if ecstasy or crystal meth was so damn good,
(me I have to stay alive because I’m scared of dying),
but how we laughed together like the weather’s nice and Charlie,
I think you’re fucking me up,
but modest, you told me I was fucked up already.
When I wanted to stay over,
my mother asked to speak to a parent
so you put on your grown-up voice
and told her it would be a pleasure to have me.
I used to think I’d be alone forever,
I don’t believe in forever anymore.
I woke up on an unfamiliar carpet filled
like a fish-tank with unfamiliar people
and I couldn’t find your red-hair anywhere.
I suggested you come over for dinner to my place
my mom is a really good cook but you said no thanks,
I’m busy. I had rules but especially when you didn’t like rules
especially when you weren’t sober, and you red-eyes sometimes grew yellow.
I walked in on you kissing a different girl and she was prettier than I am.
It went on and on and on & on & on& on &on&ononon&&on&on&on.
It was exciting. I wrote you poems.
I haven’t seen you for months now,
Charlie. My people don’t know your people. Life is
imbalanced and memories are better than
Molly and worse than bullets.
Rachel Calnek-Sugin, Age 16, Grade 10, Hunter College High School, Gold Key