michael king

stack of stained pages, redacted love letters, spilling ink, pressing it into tomorrow

miles and months later.

if you were going to leave,
you could have had the decency
not to wear that cologne, concentrated
there where your neck meets
your shoulder, where i’d bury
my face and rest

so that today, all these
hundred miles away and
thousand days later, i
wouldn’t brush by a stranger
wearing it too, and
remember it, you, the way
you arrived like a hurricane
and disappeared just as
loudly

poetry

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bad habits.

lately, i’ve been
hovering my palms
over an open flame,
how familiar a feeling,
i’d forgotten, in the
binding and tearing of
stitches,
what a thrill it
is to burn.

poetry

a man & his lion.

a man was mauled
by the lion he’d been
keeping as a pet
in his backyard, my
mother said, sighing at
the headline he
might have seen coming

and i was wordless, tangled
again in my yesterdays, nothing
more human, after all, than
searching for love by
ushering in the reckless wild

poetry

love letter to my twenties.

Hand

A letter to me at twenty years old. Before I tell you anything, let me tell you what I remember: It’s the summer of 2009, and you’re a few weeks away from moving back to Ball State for Sophomore year. Your first year there brought you its fair share of breakthroughs –– a runner was born, shedding weight and few old notions about being stuck, and you’ve only just begun etching a story that feels like your own. You savor these days, home in Brazil, Indiana. Running childhood roads, laughing with family, jumping into Grandma’s swimming pool.

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book club: ‘long live the tribe of fatherless girls’.

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls jumped out to my eyes immediately, a book cover shining spectacularly among the Strand’s new releases. I cracked it open, sighing to myself a reminder of all the books waiting for me back home, and read a page at random. In it, the writer recalls the time her friend Clarissa helped her staple her skirt back together, reflecting on the strange rescue of friendship.

I bought it, and –– once I cracked it open –– I devoured it.

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book club: ‘what it means when a man falls from the sky’.

The first time I laid eyes on Lesley Nneka Arimah’s collection of short stories, What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, I was at the Strand, and I was trying very hard not to buy any new books. Reading over the back cover –– a child fashioned out of hair, a world seemingly saved by a mathematical equation, an American teenager’s night out with her Nigerian cousin –– I almost failed in my mission. With my phone, I snapped a picture of the front cover, and I moved on.

Two weeks later, I learned What it Means had been chosen as the common read for FIT’s incoming first-year students. The moment copies appeared in our office, I grabbed mine and set to work reading it. Eight pages in, I was devastated. (Spoiler alert: The devastation did not stop there.)

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love letter to us.

September15_1

Red. It’s a warm night in Astoria, and we’re en route to a Korean chicken restaurant. For a Friday, the city feels a bit sleepy, lamplight pouring out of apartment windows, but we’re a walking commotion. Eight gay men, brought together only recently, already in the habit of greeting each other like family.

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