1 Poem by Juliet Cook

I Am Not Straightforward Movement

When I worked at the call center, I’d answer the phone with my real name

and it wasn’t unusual for a guy to say, “I’m Romeo”.

The only reason I laughed is because I was working

at my bill paying job. I faked it on the phone

while rolling my eyes all the way across the room

instead of keeping them stuck in one cubicle.

I don’t like shoes with laces. I don’t like corporate socks.

Not that I’m telling anyone else how to dress, but don’t tell me

to change my own style because of my age.

I'll change what I want to change,

keep what I want to keep, get rid of caring

about the opinions of those who force themselves

and their unsolicited advice into me.

If I live to be 100, I can wear knee highs when I am 100.

I can think what I want to think, whether you like it or not.

You can choose to think of me as immature or inappropriate.

You can choose to think of me as sharing too much personal data

by showing my middle-aged thighs, but I’ll just show myself to someone else.

My legs aren’t poison glands. I’m just trying to be me

and sometimes I’m somewhat divergent

and sometimes I’m somewhat repetitive

and sometimes I'm loaded with topsy turvy

emotional twists inside an ongoing semi-circle shape.

I know I’m not straightforward. For the sake of experiment,

I can try to shift my twisted gears straight. That won’t last very long though.

I don’t have a standard driver’s license. I don’t know what a gear shift is

and how the hell am I supposed to power myself out of my own

repetitive conundrum into some sort of straightforward pathway?

I’d repeatedly crash. My own darkness would be marooned.

My own limbs would break through a broken mirror, another ex

traction of myself from inside my own curvilinear folds.

I know I won’t stop folding. I know I won’t sit still inside

someone else’s vehicle while I am still alive.

Juliet Cook's poetry has appeared in a small multitude of magazines, including DIAGRAM, Diode, FLAPPERHOUSE, Menacing Hedge and Reality Beach. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks, recently including a collaboration with j/j hastain called Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press, 2015), an individual collection called From One Ruined Human to Anotherm (Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective, 2018), and another individual collection Another Set of Ripped Out Bloody Pig Tails forthcoming from The Poet's Haven. Cook's first full-length individual poetry book, Horrific Confection, was published by BlazeVOX and her second full-length individual poetry book, Malformed Confetti is forthcoming from Crisis Chronicles Press. Her most recent full-length poetry book, A Red Witch, Every Which Way, is a collaboration with j/j hastain published by Hysterical Books in 2016. She also sometimes creates semi-abstract painting collage art hybrid creatures. Find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.