Two Poems by James Dulin

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

milk and cookies

when i say i finish a bag of Oreos® in a night

i mean         i calmly eat the first while unpacking groceries.

i mean         i take another one because i ate
                    the first one wrong.

i mean         i grab a glass of milk & five more cookies
                    because there is a cookie to milk ratio to uphold.

i mean         hunger left, but there is still an emptiness.

i mean         might as well finish off the row. i hear
                    it’s unhealthy to eat after 8:00 pm.

i mean         just one [two] more
                    on the long way to the bathroom.

i mean         i need something to do with my hands.

i mean         i hate myself.

i mean         why the fuck not?

i mean         there are only 7 left & i’m going to finish them
                    at some point.

i mean         i mourn the pack, wipe the black ashes
                    across my tongue.

i mean         my sideways belly stares at me from every shiny surface.

i mean         when i was a kid my mom said i had a hollow leg
                    because of my appetite.

i mean         i think it’s more than my leg.

i mean         there is an emptiness
                    & it is violently hungry.

i mean         i am the emptiness
                    & i am violently hungry.



sixteen when she told me
                                                   [what he did to her]

and wounds traversed the soft of her skin

                                       found home
                                                               in her kidneys.
              [with the other toxins]

i hated the way she hated herself for it.
                                                                                           i hated what my hands
                                                                                wanted to do before her story     and my

                                 at her needing to slow down.

i hated him                     [his casual way]
                           his face
                                                     that looked so normal.

i kept her secret.
                                                                             [for that i hated her]

             I wanted to kill him.
                                                          muscles would keep twitching
                          until i did.

every time a woman tells me
                                                                               [stumble through a man’s violence]
                          i taste bile

bubbling in my throat.                 
                                                          make myself            [choke it down again]

i hate how their rapists always look

           like me                                                        [even when they don’t]         

                      i keep making her story about me.
                                                                                                         i hate
how i can’t fix this.                 i hate my rage.
                                                                               [more weight]
                     she did not ask for.

              i hate that she had to calm me down after she told me.

Photo of James Dulin

Photo of James Dulin

James Dulin is a poet and educator from Grand Rapids, MI currently living in Boston, MA. He has been a member of the 2012 University of Michigan Slam Team and the 2015 Eclectic Truth Slam Team, winners of the 2015 Red Stick Regional Slam. His work can be found on the Write About Now poetry channel, as well as in FreezeRay Poetry, One Throne, The Boiler Journal and Drunk in a Midnight Choir.