1 poem | James Prenatt

Unfortunate Ode


All these things you do to me aren’t supposed to be sexy.

I make the bed with my mouth open.

I kneel until my back burns.

I’m still trying to figure out the reason I give you such willing respect.

There’s still so much I don’t say.

I’ve forgotten how other people feel, how they taste.


How we seem to run into the usual problems each night:

the rope too tight,

the hips too rough,

how you choke me too hard,

at the airway instead of the proper blood flow.

I can’t speak to you when you do that.

I can’t speak to you and I hate it.

How do you hurt me so?

Is it special, or is it just another cold check mark for the day

on a list of things that are supposed to make you feel good?

I wish I didn’t say it, but it’s true, you fuck me best.


I hate your words, but they make me want more.

But how you push me against the barn door

As I walk away you lean up against the wood and chew straw

and never looked so fucking pretty.


I’ve talked to everyone about what to do with you

and every answer you reject.


You’ve crawled under my skin and I can’t wash you out,

the worst withdrawal you’ve ever felt.


When I wake up in the middle of the night,

I feel the empty side of the bed,

the sheets are too flat from you not shaking.


I tie the rubber band against my arm,

and you’re the needle.

It hurts at first, but so good,

like an old familiar sting from childhood.

How your mind has betrayed my body.

I allow its Julius Cesar stab each time.

Et tu?

Please, please.


I’m not supposed to feel this possessed.

Spring was a troubled season for you.

You arrive each time like the cardinal against a pine tree,

how it stands out in my sight so different.


You were my drive to work, a new place to call home.

I know the ending to the movie and I have to pause it 30 min.

in to tell you:

Sweetie, you don’t win.


The crabgrass overflows into our yard.

I’ve forgotten how rotten the apple tastes.


The sweetest of hay catches fire when left wet.

Sometimes I’m afraid I’ll burn you.


Did I dress darkly enough for you?

Did I ask permission to cum politely enough?

Did I give you enough space to process your emotions?

And I have so many more questions, but I’m scared to ask,

scared you’ll hate me.


I wish I was your mother.

Could you let me be just for a night?

I’ll sleep on the other side of the bed.

I’ll cook for you,

I’ll tell you no one’s better.

I’ll help you grow up.

I’ll be cool.

You can drink, just not around me.

Just be safe.

I won’t bug you too much.

You can hit me as hard as you want.

I’ll bathe you, but I won’t ask you to wear shoes.

You can touch me in the shower.


I know, I know,

it happened to you not me.

But I am a part of you now

and you are decaying.

It was selfish of me to love you.

being a parent is, you told me.


Go to her, go!

Is she good enough for you?

I just want you to be happy.

My boy, my dogwood tree that’s been cut

and grooved and sanded until it’s not really wood,

just the cheesy plastic interior

of a nuclear neighborhood basement house

or a once-luxury car.

You won’t change.

You’ll still be made of the same stuff, I promise.

You’ll grow up, just a little.


You tell me this is just the way it is.

Sometimes bodies just claim each other

when pushed to their limit.

They stretch beyond and into each other.

Bond to break to bowing front of the eyes who can’t look away.

Unrecycled words converge, go blank and profane.

Those same words that once held their hands in tribute to be spoken.

It’s how you show it: makeup, mirror, curling iron, black and pink nail polish for you.

Splatter paint tribute the end of the rope against your back.

The hook that holds your legs to the bed.


You’re lead falling.

You’re napalm dropping.


My made up martyr,

stoic, his motions, his rage

absorb into my bone white marrow.


Your rage, babe.


Go back to that day

walking the ground below your feet seeming to rise.

How much you wanted to die.


Come back

dear heart,


come back.



James Prenatt lives in Baltimore and is a member of its thriving BDSM community. He writes a lot about sex, sadomasochism, and other darker things. He also likes chocolate cake with white frosting.

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