before this

ignorance is indeed bliss

a vital tributary to vanity’s Rhine

as he feigned total nescience

of my presence, thumbing through

random pages of Nabokov

assorted stoic philosophy

practicing sleight of hand

and casually sipping

some supposedly-holistic tea

lauded by one of his many poor choices

some insufferable cunt

some forgettable one night stand

she was probably Buddhist

when it was convenient

gluten free

a vegan for no fucking reason

typecast social justice warrior

with the personality of a horse fly

drawn irresistibly to his bullshit lies

corruptible, incessantly giggling

in lieu of grace or baseline cognizance

and she definitely wasn’t worth

the razor burn or the cab fare 

but despite this, despite his

earnest efforts to deny my existence

to drown me out in temporary distractions

we both knew

all the eye candy

all the alcoholic avarice

 in the universe

wouldn’t be enough to satisfy him

for very long

self imposed isolation

would inevitably beckon

and I, ever defiant

would trespass once again in his head

an uncompromising reliability

curated in secret like stolen identities

loitering in the white noise

of his insomnia

wading in the undertow

of his manic episodes

naked as last chances

draped across some arbitrary

piece of furniture

inviting of anything

and everything

the last woman standing 

from the metaphorical auditions 

held in his mind’s eye

just as inescapable as I was

in the present tense

behind the scalloping steam 

from his completely-cliche tea

wafting in the willfully negative space

between us

in an atmosphere rife with

the futility of reverse psychologies

he drinks oolong in the daytime

catering to the subliminal

pretension of city modus

contradicting his claims

of innate uprising

by contrast his midnights

were reserved for cheap beer

lifted from some non-descript corner store

the hot sting of Irish whiskey

and me

so I knew

this newfound indifference

was utter fabrication

synchronized, intentional

a hurtful kind of deterrent

foolishly designed to sever 

my ego’s vulnerable arteries

and per usual—

he’d underestimated me

his darling little catch 22

often wondering when I’d grow weary

of proving him wrong

when my affections and their encryptions 

would be interpreted accurately

our algorithms stuck on adversarial

immensely pleasurable during foreplay

when I preferred his teeth dug like fresh graves 

into my flesh, my throat vice gripped 

in his beautifully manipulative hands

my hair tugged like subway poles 

just before catastrophic derailment

when I would beg in little girl whimpers

and then in guttural desperation

to be pinned, punished, impaled

by every single extension, of him

in every single point of entry, in me

our collective infatuation

binged and purged like saccharine 

in the witching hours

when our resistance weakened

fetishes flourished in our lowering voices

the abiding sexual tension switchblade sharp

blazing like wild fire after a prolonged drought

we were as visceral as we were inevitable

mirroring something terribly dangerous

yet consolingly familiar in each other

in the rarities we shared

in our immense talent for strategy

a paralleled insatiability 

for intellectual weaponry

but somewhere in this madness

he’d become spooked 

as feral mustangs

by the flare signals streaking 

across the fertile prairies inside me

like so many before him

alarmed by the difficulties

of ascendant femininity

so the infinite jest(er)

adopted this spontaneous affliction

sudden onset blindness

emblematic of his reluctance

to increasing meaning

a desperate effort to deflect from attachment

and he knew dismissal to be

an Achilles heel in me

having taken brief refuge 

on my hearts sea walls

he’d memorized

the nearly illegible graffiti

spelling out my fears of abandonment

and now

prideful as politicians

when called upon to answer 

for their empty promises

he stubbornly refused to acknowledge me

even as my eyes devoured him

as aphids do

the bark of silver birch

tombstone laid marigolds 

and the muted veins of peonies 

the starving wolves in my facial expression

howling at the apparent tragedy of this

of he and I

how could I offer amnesty

to a deserter of war?

my hands with their impulsive minds

frantic as the beating wings of hummingbirds

abundant with red light fault lines

trembled with fury and intolerance

for his hesitations

yet my wrists still ached for restraints

so as I left I wondered

if the hardwood had read my palms

when I’d crawled to him

in nothing but stockings

but did it matter?

that was before now

before this

a. duncan, 2019




All artwork is created with astounding and sexy brilliance by painter Javier Mayoral. Please visit his website and show your support:




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Amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus || Love is rich with both honey and venom

23 thoughts on “before this

    1. Thank you Braeden!! I had a strange feeling you’d be drawn to this one – after reading your sarcastic poem the other day. Sometimes prose gives us artistic freedom to … destroy people. Without needing a single bullet. or a lawyer. 😂♥️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my god — YES!!!! How.. how did you just describe it so incredibly succinctly? I’m wildly impressed that you understood it so well! You just made my night, thank you. And yes, it’s sort of… a venom that ends up as an intoxicant. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh now you’re my literal favorite because ‘vegan for no fucking reason’ was actually the first line that came to me and the rest of the poem formed around it. There was so much genuine disgust and hilarity woven in that specific thought 😒😂


      1. You realize if we keep going at this incredibly excited pace of newfound kinship we won’t be able to read shit because we’re going to be hostage in the comments section but also I can’t stop send helpppp 🆘


    1. I have been experiencing the same issue on several people’s pages. You’ll leave me a comment and I go to reply, it says I need to sign in. But obviously I’m signed in if I’m reading your comments… lol? and the same thing when I go to your page, it says I need to follow you. But I am most definitely following you already. You’re a favorite.

      Its very odd. Not sure if it’s a glitch on the WordPress end or on the new ios update. It only seems to happen when I’m using my iphone.

      I’m pleased you return to this piece. It brings me smug pleasure to revisit it too, sometimes. 😉 You’re a doll.


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