Tommy Pico

from Junk

So what if I doggy-paddled into the ocean to crap Whales shit

in the ocean all the time You bob around my brain n it brings a


rush of warmth like a stiff drink Settles over my rocky butte

Something universal, like a neon pink sweatshirt A tabby-fat


heart God I can’t believe I’m actually going to write this: Hi I

like myself It’s taken me 7 generations 2 dig my Junk situation


It’s how I’m seen, felt, and fought The American imposition

that rumbles my coffee break From the window, brickish bean-


stalks grow tall and fat Only a blind society would build luxury

rooms not even the lights will live in, while so so many sleep in


slumps surrounded by all their junk What is the material

significance of an empty luxury apartment Potential over


utility American “Freedom” is such historical propaganda Our

lives remind American exceptionalism that theft, slavery,


and genocide are its founding institutions Buy me a donut &

take me to a museum Reach for my hand or the spot on my


neck when it rained and we ran the ten sloppy blocks back to

my place—Babe, bring me a cool bowl of sherbet when I get


high The base forming rings on the top of my jeans my Brow

forming beads on yr shoulder America is like, but I’m a good


 person Never the body of it’s atrocities Who built the railroads

Who picks the crops Who delivers yr egg bagel on a rainy day


Our tower is missing bricks Fingers to lips it’s a wonder we

make anything I’m sorry but I hate musicals so gd much Not


every revelation deserves a stanza, dummy Under appreciated

patience Straight dudes painting their nails Asking of a main


character, is this a normal person in extraordinary circum-

stances, or an extraordinary person Can u b ambitious w/o


being anxious I’m in the moment I’m in the moment I’m in the

moment A metal chair screeching on concrete Faggotland is


extra is digital these days A sim city Pixels of torsos, shoulders,

or the Williamsburg bridge Gruff couple words (hot, looking?)


Then a pin drop Do you really expect me, sight unseen, to come

over to yr murder apt Buzz up like takeout n ask “Who ordered


the ass?” I’m a tenant of suspicion Thumbing into plastic

wrapped grocery store ground beef Let him go like the bright


yellow socks w/blue toes auntie sent last winter, dummy I’m

supes porous to other’s moods modes & furies More armored


in the new years But growin up on a rez gripped by meth you

never know what sets a person off Threat flows thru my valley


I used to hide in there like my ancestors when the Spanish came

There’s 2 much world Still I try to see it Look, I’ll compromise:


I won’t get the cookie dough bites and beloved chili cheese corn

snack But I’m getting the banana chips, dried mango and cacao


nibs Bakers chocolate sucks Anything coffee flavored that isn’t

coffee makes me sick Most ppl can sit in their bodies w/o movin


all the time Baffling I’ve snail-trailed all over this All my friends

are BOTS—Babes of the Struggle The mind is so much fire and


bull Get some marshmallows How do we protect ourselves

from car commercials and boarder patrol Mom and Amber


hands behind their heads face down on the asphalt at the check-

point There is something sick abt accusing an NDN of bein an


illegal immigrant And something sick about the phrase “border

patrol” and “illegal immigrant” I mean white ppl where was yr


passport when the sun never set Seeing as how borders are

erected in part to pen in the poor Plenty money jumps over


under in & out borders as a matter of course Touching all yr

Junk hides it from obscurity The lack is where it’s at Not want-


ing to feel absence This is my heroic, sweeping sentiment This

is my blue love The pinch of sun floating thru the blackout


curtains in the old apt on south 8th in a sharp disbelief our 2

rivers met downstream A mirror fell the day I discovered I was


living my future n for the first time in my adult life experienced

a moment of happiness arm in arm w/security All my little faces


are smiling Life, I look forward to living you completely, w/all

my shattered selves All divisions of reflection All the ppl who


ppl like us are required 2b Touch is the first step of discarding

Some things, seen simply, simply need to leave A niche ecology


Large, breaking, beautiful time This gallery owner hits on me

by telling me he’s a gallery owner He spent all day in his gallery


I say Lucky gallery having you shoved inside it all day with a

straight face like a common thot A Land Before Shame Some-


times it’s a “call is coming from inside the house” situation and

That Ho Over There is really The Ho Within I still have a few


skies left to rise toward A few other giant Earths to unearth In

her book Kondo suggests going thru yr Junk one item at a time,


holding the various its and asking does this spark joy The point

is the Little Mermaid made me a packrat The whittling process


A training program in settling back into yr miracle What

remains criminally un-let-go-of Don’t worry abt Junk It literally


doesn’t worry abt you It can’t Excuse me? I was here on the first

date I am the pin slid thru the boutonniere I am the b&w strip of


photo booth first kiss I am the small stuffed leopard you held all

the way thru the Natural History museum Your time wd mean


nothing without me Living on an imagined construct over the

course of these pages I can understand how someone could


sustain faith in something (divinity) that literally doesn’t exist

And how less real is this I am the polaroid of the b&w tiled bath-


room floor just before you pulled his pants down at the album

release party I am the pack of matches from the third date first


fuck when u thot Trophy Bar, remember this I am the pumpkin

tote bag you won together at trivia night, after the tie-breaking


walk-off to Upgrade U by Beyoncé I am I am I am Let’s blow this

popsicle stand The popsicle stand leans its head back and sighs

Tommy “Teebs” Pico is a poet from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation. He authored the books IRL, winner of the 2017 Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize, Nature Poem, and Junk. He is co-curator of the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, and co-host of the podcast Food 4 Thot. His Myers-Briggs is IDGAF.