Two Poems – James Dulin


what’s wrong with romantic movies

i watch a short film & a man is fixed 
by love. i groan

maybe because love is not a medicine cabinet. 

maybe because love confuses the shit out of me 
& if it’s simple as holding hands in a diner i’ve lost years overthinking it. 

maybe i’m too broken 
for a pair of hands to hold me together. 

maybe no one’s fractured pieces will make me
whole because i’m not broken.

or maybe it’s a stupid fucking ending 
& doesn’t need explanation. 

if love is looking for my broken pieces in someone else, 
i am a terrible thief and an easy mark.

did i mention the man in the movie is a pickpocket? steals from the woman 
he loves in the first minute of act one. guess he doesn’t find himself
in her purse. he returns her belongings. she forgives 
without thought. it is the one time she speaks.

nevermind the rest of it. maybe i don’t think it’s romantic to see 
a woman turned into sutures for a broken man

anymore. i count my stitches by name.

what’s wrong with the boogeyman

chrildren’s story throws blood on the nightstand.
early lessons in adrenaline. eventually darkness
under the bed and in the closet morph into every unknown
corner. i hold my breath driving through a tunnel and past
the cemetery. look for ghosts of drowning victims. fear 
reminds me my blood’s still there. not a thing 

can prove non-existence. a friend tells me he doesn’t hate
trans people, but what if a predator walks into a bathroom 
to steal innocence.  man says he’s a woman and we should be silent?
and the boogieman is real again. hides in obscurity.

we think we know the look of shadows. fear swallows
reality. story goes: men say they’re women and crawl out of corners.
reality goes: men say they’re men draw blood more often. blame

safety and their little girls. talk of protection
waving bruised knuckles.  a transwoman walks into a men’s restroom
wearing a dress because it’s the law. no need for stories
of boogeymen. her fear walks in fluorescent lighting and carries 

family pictures in his wallet. goes home to tuck in children 
whispering scary stories. turns on the nightlight
to keep away the boogieman. checks the closet. 
leaves a kiss on their foreheads.

About James Dulin

James Dulin is a poet and educator from Grand Rapids, MI currently living in Boston, MA. He has been a member of the 2012 University of Michigan Slam Team and the 2015 Eclectic Truth Slam Team, winners of the 2015 Red Stick Regional Slam. His work can be found on the Write About Now poetry channel, in ZO magazine, in FreezeRay Poetry, and in One Throne magazine View all posts by James Dulin

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