Living. Poetry Winner, Winter.

by TJ Prizio

Living. by TJ Prizio

1. (September ’07)

I want a girl who’s dying.

Bacon, egg, and the Middle East—

                           A hidden spectrum, I’m reading the IHOP Wikipedia page.

I want a girl who’s dying.

                                                 My own asteroid fly-by.

              (In my dreams I’m getting ice cream in an alley—

              Now I’m in the corner.)

I want a girl who’s dying.

I’ll know that love won’t last.

              I’ll feel her pounding my chest to wake me

                           and I’ll shine into her eyes

                                                                             like headlights.

I want a girl who’s dying.

An accompaniment for a moment.

                                                      I don’t think a girl who will live

                                                                                                   will do.

I want a girl who’s dying.

              red              our veins will ignite

and we can burn ourselves from the inside

              for a change.

I want a girl who’s dying.

I want her to be reincarnated a



                                                                                  the Vick estate.

                           (Too bad I’m Catholic)

I want a girl who’s dying.

              With smoke rolling off her fingertips

              after she plunges her hand into the

              bag of popcorn.

I want a girl who’s dying

a death where no one is anxious—

              I call anxiety fear of aging.

              How can you be anxious in

                               a fairy-tale         future.

2. (April ’08)

I’m alive because I believe in summer

I’m staring at a pixelated 1-way to Milan

trying to remember my high school Italian

trying to remember Nonna shouting at Nonno

                                       in a Christmas Eve kitchen

                                         and the things they’d say.

                                         I’m reincarnating myself

I believe in a rainstorm, before getting

              hit by a car

you see only headlights

              for the rest of your you.

Now I’m tattooless on the floor,

A pack of camels in my bedroom,

              but in my dreams is the quiet

              of a bow-tied teddy bear on a closet shelf.

I’m still remembering              every day              what her voice sounds like

wondering when it’ll come that I’ve forgotten it

so I’m hugging her sound like mom hugged me after Columbine. Surprise—

you couldn’t take it if it tackled you.

              Death is like a dad that jumps from behind the shower curtain

                                                         during hide and seek.

                                                                                     Pablina, you were seeking.

                                                                                     Honey, you cried,

                                                                                                                     after you promised not to.

3. (October ‘07)

I                          who’s dying                she                     to accept.

    have a girl                            a death       has time

We rule over/under/through the universe

                                                and live in IHOP

                                                                              where I show her


Y                                                                        E                                                                            S

                                         in Rainbows tastes.

                                                                              no governance

              She’s jokingly claiming Pablo Honey is her favorite

              so that I’ll laugh

                      “Until my head comes off”


We’re Blockbusting some indie film

              steam rolling around the room from our cigarettes

                           she picked up after the diagnosis,

                           and I’ll quit after she quits

I don’t know what I shall do when

6-8 months arrives

or when her mother forces her into a scalpel

where the world is removed from her

              we’d get bored

              with nothing to keep

                                                                                                                                        I fear the latter most.

She has become as have I from family—

The ones we liked most are dead,

she says us both were never made to be offspring,

                 nor was she made to be old.

                                                                                               To be old is to be the ember

                                                                                               you have to wait out before sleep

We are two feathers that fall furiously

in habituated tragedies

                                             hidden on the shelf

                                                                                  two temporary tattoos over our hearts.


    I’ll keep

                   the girl









TJ Prizio is a recent graduate from the University of Connecticut, where he completed the Creative Writing program. Living in Trumbull, Connecticut, he spends his time struggling over New Hampshire mountains, attending concerts, and playing In the Aeroplane Over the Sea on repeat.

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