Avoidance Therapy #2




Joker was sitting on Nick Shortt’s couch. They hadn’t seen one another in over three years, but tonight, Joker had shown up at Nick’s apartment on the West End (out near the airport), and they had gone out drinking. Now it was late and they had returned to Nick’s place to enjoy a nightcap and a snack.

Nick was lifting a slice of cheese pizza to his face when Joker said: ‘Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. You’re tellin’ me that you’ve been dating this girl for a month, you’ve had sex with her twice, but you haven’t kissed her, yet?

Nick nodded as he chewed, said: ‘Yep, that’s what I’m tellin’ ya.’

Joker said: ‘Man, that is some dangerous shit, doin’ it all backwards like that. You could fuck up your sexual Karma for the rest of your life.’

Nick was sitting in a green rocking chair with a low seat. He said: ‘But kissing is so much more intimate than sex. It’s so much more, I don’t know…sexual.’

Joker sat forward and laughed. ‘Where’d you get that bullshit? Pretty Woman?’

Nick’s roommate was an attractive Brunette, hopelessly drunk and lying on the floor. She was good friends with the girl to whom Nick had twice made love, but never once kissed. She said: ‘Just kiss her for Christ’s sake.’

She said: ‘She totally wants you to kiss her.’

She said: ‘She really likes you.’

‘Just kiss her,’ Joker said.

It was quiet for a long time, quiet as only the night can be.

Nick’s roommate said: ‘You’ve got to kiss her.’


One of those matte grey days
which always inspires me to write
The sky is the color of tombstones
and I feel something like hope
in my chest
But it’s a melancholy feeling
Like seeing an attractive woman from behind
And her shape
And her walk
And her hair
They all tell you that
her face is beautiful, too
But you’re far too many paces
behind her
And you’ll never catch up
And you’ll never know
for sure


They hadn’t spoken since the divorce
and that was nearly a year ago
yet there they were
lying side by side in her bed
she snoring gently
drunk on whiskey and wine
stoned on pot and sex
and he
unable to sleep
looking around her dimly lit room and remembering everything
recognizing everything
There was the black shoulder bag with the blue sparrows on it
There was the T-shirt with the skulls and roses that his sister had given her
Her paintings were there
the one inspired by Hitchcock
the one inspired by Genesis
the self portrait
There was the egg chair
like the one from Dazed and Confused
They had found it in a thrift store many years before and she’d just had to have it
They couldn’t afford it
but had bought it anyway
(He never told her that he’d survived on nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week after that to offset the expense)
There was the pickled punk that they’d gotten from a guy with one eye out on Coney Island
his twisted little body floating in a solution that looked like dirty piss
There were newspaper articles
about parties and concerts that they’d attended together back when they were married
They had been clipped sloppily and pinned to the wall around her mirror
There were hair products
and makeups
lined up like bowling pins
And there were shoes
30 or 40 pairs
piled up against the wall
but not neatly
more tossed like dice
coming to rest as they did
by chance
some upright
and others on their sides
There was a pile of dirty clothes
T-shirts and panties
as limp as roadkill
and the hat that she’d bought on a long forgotten trip to Boston
The clouds parted
The light of the full moon
streamed through the solitary window in her bedroom
illuminating her body
glistening with sweat
and he realized that
none of those things were his
And neither was she
The pain inside of him built
threatening to pierce his chest
from within
He let it hurt for as long as he could
then he got out of bed
and wrote this poem

Nathan Bradford is a poet and an MC, residing in the Northeastern United States. His Spoken Word and Hip Hop recordings are available in the Gigantic Monster Records archive.

Nate Bradford

About Nate Bradford

Nathan is a contributor to R-Massive and all around scoundrel. Follow him on Twitter @DiminishingRet.
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