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Charles K. Carter


A single road can have many names: 


             Interstate 35

             Avenue of the Saints

             34th Infantry Division Highway

             Purple Heart Trail

             Monarch Highway


And I wonder what names you might hold for me: 








And, I too, contain multitudes.

Cloudy Fragments
(Notes App After Hookup on May 3, 2022)

He admits to getting fucked up again. He said the other day it took him an hour and a half to

walk the six blocks to work because he thought if he moved too fast his heart might explode all

over the pavement.


He smokes a menthol while I stroke his bare thigh. He can’t look me in the eyes. He can’t bear to

be seen. Instead, he thumbs through the apps on his phone, looking at messages and photos from

other guys on Messenger and Grindr and Bumble and – 


I fuck him anyway because it’s not like anyone else wants this portly body.


Afterwards, he cries in my arms about wanting love and he says that maybe he should give it a

try with a guy who drugged him and blackmailed him. He tries to convince my quiet stare that

the guy really is nice deep down. He’s fucked up like we all are. He’s convincing himself that

maybe he should move in with this guy. 

Maybe we all feel like our hearts are going to beat out of our chests as we stumble towards

something that might make us feel whole. Is that what love is? I don’t know. Is that the root of

addiction? Probably. Are they the same thing? You tell me.



Anything But

I have walls full of art and memorabilia that no one ever comes over to see. The guest bed is

mostly cat hair because she’s the only one who has slept there in the last three years. 


I stopped taking my antidepressants because I don’t want to become dependent upon them to

level out.


I have shelves full of books as if these strangers’ stories could cure my loneliness or my fear of

dying. I am sure I can learn more from a book than any outing in this podunk fucking town.


I stopped taking the strawberry-flavored edibles I smuggled in the trunk of my ex-boyfriend’s car

from the next state over.


I have had the same bottle of wine my grandma gave me for my book release ten and a half

months ago. I’m afraid if I start to drink alone that I won’t stop until I drown myself while trying

to become a mermaid.


I stopped thinking about you when I masturbate because what’s the point if it’ll never come true?

I jizz in the condoms that have been left in my nightstand drawer to expire. Easy cleanup give

them some use. I wonder what my use is anymore.


Some days I want to leave this life. I want to flee from this red state. I want to abandon this red

family. I want to burn down this old house and collect the insurance money so I can travel and

write for a while. I want to leave this crumbling democracy. I want to float in the sea or be

swallowed by those fluffy kaleidoscope clouds. I want to become a circle, a square, a star, or a

hexagon. I want to become a shape instead of a color, anything but this blue. 



Charles K. Carter (they/he) is a queer poet who currently lives in Oregon. They are the author of If the World Were a Quilt (Kelsay Books) and Read My Lips (David Robert Books) as well as several chapbooks. Carter is also the creator and host of the video podcast series #SundaySweetChats. He can be found on Instagram and Twitter @CKCpoetry. 

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