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“Dollar store Conor Oberst with a Bandcamp account”….by Patricia Kusumaningtyas

Dollar store Conor Oberst with a Bandcamp account

The Satanic Bible on your mantle and the Tao Te Ching on your nightstand – you dread, yet await anxiously, the cloudy day you bury your old dog in your backyard – death comes swift but it will be tardy. The clouds hover over Brower Park, where I waited for you, struggling with no sense of direction cold feet and cold weather. You gutted your apartment a few years back, revealing the carriage tracks hidden under. I lay down in my wholeness, embracing words pacing out of your mouth like horses, in bed you act exactly like how one would act on stage I thought as you told me of your ancestry, listing down gravestones like groceries.

We hate Lou Reed but John Cale’s okay. The more you get high the more you refer to yourself in the third person, your middle name slipped out of your lips (I could’ve cracked a security question). When you sing your John Prine you have that Southern twang I used to imagine in my visions of America – slow and calculated, aware of its share of pain.

The more I think of when you touched me the more I’m willing to be used by you. Kick me to the curb, drag me through the asphalt. I’ll wait for you, on your couch, a glass of wine in my right hand, our legs barely touching. The old dog heavy heaved next to me, awaiting his death. In the distance, John Prine sings: Summer’s end is around the bend just flying.

pacing around soho saying “i hate myself” as to lighten the weight of my feelings

i pass by a small venue running a play recommended by a friend –

“i should watch it” i uttered almost pausing my thoughts.

i imagine how these streets used to be gritty, full of freaks, hunting down

griffin dunne

the yuppie braggadocio

finding himself in unfamiliar blocks,

his penis leading the way through the maze.

yes, sometimes i’m griffin dunne in after hours, floating

in between the city blocks,

paranoid that my impure thoughts would

catch up to me.

“say yes” playing on my earphones. i got reminded of

you, and that night we bumped uglies after you played me

elliott smith and talked rambunctiously of mark kozelek’s

producing career – me vaguely recognizing the namedrops

but i listen anyway because i am infatuated with you and in

that moment of fucking stupidity i wished i could extricate

that night in a small tube and sniff on it whenever i like.

sometimes feelings aren’t this clear.

but now it’s loud as ever.

i tripped on a belgian block down white street.

i jolted,


park avenue tuesday

bacon egg and cheese in my hand, wishing i was naked in somebody’s bed. not another day of unread emails and watered-down cups of coffee ahead. the pack of menthols in my pocket i bought for a friend bore witness to microsoft teams meetings explaining sql to stakeholders on spreadsheets. at lunchtime i walked out my building, a car swerved in front of me life flashed before my eyes. suddenly i am dustin hoffman in midnight cowboy, flinging the bras d’honneur. hey im walking ere. they’re rebuilding the jp morgan building, every day the steel beams grow taller and taller. i grabbed a gyro sandwich ate it in two minutes because who gives a fuck, i walked down a church basement where swedish aunties munch on their cinnamon buns. i sat there with them in my bibi andersson moment until one of them started talking about how good funny girl was that sunday. none of that swedish brooding you see on the criterion collection, no more sorrow and anguish, it is a time of joy and tap dancing, and i believe it, i want to believe it, the tea ran cold and the cinnamon bun untouched in that plate as i tried to make myself believe yet every day the steel beams grow taller and taller on park avenue.

Patricia Kusumaningtyas is an Indonesian poet, playwright, and critic based in Brooklyn, NY. Previously, they wrote and directed "Al Pacino Eyes" (2022) for The Players' Theatre Short Play Festival in New York. Her poems have been published in HaluHalo Journal and Culinary Origami. Besides working in the realm of theatre and writing, she is also a tech worker.


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