3 Poems (Lauren Theresa)

Live a Little 

in one hundred words

I think I’m going to smile today, so I’ll microdose prescription speed and chase it with some cold pressed vegetables covered in saccharine while choosing happiness in knowing you only live once, smothering thoughts of death under good vibes because that’s the best way to avoid the fear of missing out while I obsessively count all the things I’m grateful for like tiles on this ceiling—living and loving and laughing maniacally, squeezing every ounce of joy from this day till it all runs red like the beets—cold, hard pressed, drowning in sugar to make this shit more palatable.


I remember when Stacker 2 was sold at every gas station and convenience store in Northern Jersey and NY State, and the City, and maybe everywhere. Next to the packets of Horny Goat Weed and rolling papers all facing me while I faced the cigarettes and the guy who didn’t give a fuck selling whatever to whoever especially if you smiled. Stackers for energy, for weight loss. Stackers with extra caffeine or without. Stackers with B vitamins if you were feeling especially self-loving or just straight up chalky white caffeine bullets if you weren’t. Stackers for tending bar late into the night, and for getting up for school. Stackers because clavicles looked hot, just like the hip bone you never knew was there until the guy with messy hair on purpose said that’s the sexiest part of a woman. The guy who was always stupidly smiling probably because he never needed Stackers to work through the night or gave a shit about his body, or because literally no one remembers if his hip bone could protrude from his skin or not. No one remembers. 

Like the night I had to bartend alone, like I usually did. Like two or three olives in potato vodka with a rocks glass rinsed out with vermouth. Like several rocks glasses behind the bar because it didn’t matter because nothing really mattered because it was true and also that was your vibe despite trying to be esoteric or some shit. Like more Stackers so you could keep up with the orders, but you weren’t really keeping up with the orders so much as the dopamine. Like it getting too much. Like the last half pill you took the last part of the last hour. Like you were overloaded with clean up, overloaded with tasks of counting bills and locking up, overloaded so much that you had to throw it all up. Despite not having anything left to throw up. You kept going until you drove yourself so deep into the ground that you had nothing left to drive and eventually someone took you home. You left behind the contents of your stomach and the keys. You left the tip jar and beer soaked coasters. You left the long hours dedicated to the void. You left the void and awoke to a room with white walls and someone else’s mother. You woke up to a metaphor. A place you’ve never been. You woke up to a place you never wanted to be.


We drove headfirst into guardrails, crashed into west side highway traffic and made it through the concrete and steel on the bridge… soaring through barriers, brakeless into waiting water below. We were kidnapped the night we left for the boroughs on the backs of off duty motorcycles, and went missing every time our phones died. We never spoke again after you made it to your apartment and I rang the buzzer over and over and over to the sound of poison and certain death. And I was never heard from after I stayed with him that night instead of making my way home, pulling vodka out of his freezer to take the edge off and reanimate my corpse. We died so many times that summer. So many eulogies chased with morning wine, ashes swept under the rugs of strangers.


Lauren Theresa is a queer divergent poet, herbalist, trauma therapist, and Hekatean witch living in NJ with her husband, daughters, and menagerie of plants. She’s published some shit, and her chapbook LOST THINGS will be out August 2022 by Bullshit Lit Mag & Press.  www.laurentheresa.com


image: MM Kaufman