“pittsburgh bus marquis that says NEVER FORGET 9/11/01 on 1/28/15” by Matthew Russak


i want to be friends with everyone
but there’s something that divides me from most people

some days i think i’ve found the bridge
but the next day it’s gone

i always find myself thinking “i don’t get it”
and i’m getting worse at playing along

caffeine helps until it doesn’t
sugar helps until it doesn’t
alcohol helps until it doesn’t matter

this adderal winter reminds me
too much of the hallucinogen summer

i’m lucky i laugh when i’m nervous
leaves everyone i talk to feeling good

he said “maybe i don’t want to know”
when i couldn’t explain if i was laughing or crying

i’m caught in my past too
but i fictionalize so much of it
i don’t want to lie
so i don’t want to talk about it

when i’m old i want to be
bai yen who works in the kitchen
cracking jokes in a language she only half knows
childhood songs on her lips
fulfilled and respected


matthew russak is millennial garbage; they are 26 and live in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in pittsburgh; they drink too much and smoke too many cigarettes; they are happy now