“Nighttime is for vices” by Juliet Lauren

Reading by the author

Nighttime is for vices. Is for medication and I love you’s we don’t mean.
Nighttime is for nakedness and blurry photography.
It’s all bar lights and prayer. Meditation and marijuana. Smoke and starlight.
I’m such a good kid. Don’t yell at me. I’m such a good girl. Don’t choke me like that.
Tracing the hand in my tattoo.
I don’t know.
Looking at people too much and too long disturbs me.
Nighttime is for you and the people in my head.
But mostly nighttime is for vices.
There’s something pornographic about how much sugar I let enter my body.
Nighttime is for stirring up as much dopamine as one can get to fight off those nocturnal voices.
Those moonlit demons.
I can’t tell if I’m a bad person or I’m just in pain.
Some nights you cuddle with memory or nostalgia or imagination or maybe just mom’s silk.

It’s dark and my body is huge.
It’s dark and he’s not here.
It’s dark and I wrote a hundred poems about him and I’ll probably write a hundred more.
It’s dark and I love when my brain does soft things.
It’s dark in the world outside the window and the world in the house and something inside me needs extravagant ice cream sundaes before bed.
Something inside me is angry for being kicked out of heaven and brought down to earth.
Something inside my brain is heartburn greed.
Greed for a gold nation.
Greed for a love that’s sugary as saxophone.
Greed for the camping and airports and road trips and birthdays and bonfires and hotel bars, and tennis courts and tears, and late-night beaches and early morning morning afters, and sweetheart sweetheart, and peach trees and perfume and snowmen, and love letters and sea salt and chlorine and gardens and picnics and parties and poolside and promises and parked cars. And sex so romantic you swear all your cells are cotton candy.

Dear God, I put a few drops of lemon in my orange juice in case the universe was watching.
Dear God, it probably was. I know it likes it when I’m dancing.
God, why is my vodka body always dressed up pretty in straps and lace and used as fuckmeat?
Why did you dip each sin in a different flavor of sugar like raspberry Fun Dip?
Why did you make me a slave to the expression of car crashes and thunderstorms?
Dear God, when I was 11 I was convinced I was a serial killer in another life.
Or maybe Hitler’s wife was more plausible.
I was convinced you were punishing me for another life but really
I just have a brain chemistry that self-destructs on Seroquel.
And there’s sort of an abusive emptiness in that so
I’m writing to you even though I hate you and don’t believe in you.

I know worship is only out of longing so I’m trying to depend only on myself and my cunt.
And, God, I had an out of body experience where they all came home.
I traveled to the 3rd dimension before the ATM and still, all I know is
that everyone is constantly caught between trailer parks and silver stars.
God, why did you make us so smart we have wars and need illegal psychology to cum?
Why did you make us different and then make us think our differences are bad?
The alarm clock is broken and we’re screaming, God.
Why did you take so many naps when making us?
Anyways, I love you.
My nails are long yet I cry while I drive and my hair is the color of veins but I love you.
Watch over me while I sleep tonight, please, God.
God, there are billions of feeling lives but make mine the sweetest.
You make me see so much blood its only fair.
Dear God, why the haunted 3 am lullabies when I forget to take my medication?
Why the cotton-mouth and guilt?

Juliet Lauren is a Florida-based beach waitress, published poet, and emerging writer. Her work mainly focuses on conceptual relationships, interpersonal relationships, intimacy, vice, and mental illness. She believes the carpal tunnel is worth the self-expression. Her work can be found in Gold Wake Live!, SkyIsland Journal, Ghost City Press, High Shelf Press, Kissing Dynamite, and Anti-Heroin Chic, and is forthcoming in Storm of Blue Press. For more information on her work you can visit her website.  

Image: “youth cream” by salvation burnette

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