FNS: Writing Lesson by Elizabeth O’Brien


Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative,
poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Helen Presents: a poem  from Elizabeth O’Brien

The story’s never really about the drugs
you did or didn’t

buy or take
in little red boots, a black jacket

on the way to the movies
like anyone was watching—the story

is about disappointment. Lack
of euphoria in unemployable towns,

longing for authentic

before you know it, but
enough about life.

Light a smoke,
flick the lighter shut to signify

you’re cool. Uncap the bottle and swig. Place the acid
square on your tongue.

For escape, enlightenment,
to signal misanthropy. That

your mind is a honeycomb or
a sewer pipe. The fight is never

about how much you spent
on a single pair of organically sourced socks—

it’s about how you value yourself. But you seem tired
of subtext. The names of the parts

are all efficient and pronounceable,
though most of the time you can forget the details.

You’re like electrified meat.
Stories are useless too.

Elizabeth O’Brien is a writer living in Minneapolis, and her work—poetry and prose—has appeared in The New England Review, Diagram, Sixth Finch, Ampersand Review, B O D Y, Bayou Magazine, decomP, CutBank, The Pinch, Swink, PANK, Versal, The Drum, Juked, Josephine Quarterly, A capella Zoo, The Found Poetry Review, Everyday Genius, The Emerson Review, The Charles River Review, Slice Magazine, Flashquake, and elsewhere. She also reviews books for NewPages.


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