Chronic Bored Face
This guy comes up to me at a party
and he's like, "You look bored."
We are in someone's backyard
two blocks from my apartment
and it is daytime, and four people
just climbed onto the roof
from the second-floor window
and threw melons into the street.
The normal people who live
on this block, "townies," we all sneer,
are like, "what the fuck is this,"
or maybe they're used to us by now,
and I turn back to this stranger
to convince him I'm having fun
at this other stranger's fake barbecue.
I play him the reels of infomercials
streaming behind my eyelids,
recite the encyclopedia articles
I've memorized, like The Sexual Anatomy of Birds —
"Oh, you've never heard of the cloaca?"
I might tell him my ennui
is deliberate, the cool charm
I used to lure him here.
In another version, I say,
"Thank God you came
over to save me from my boredom.
You are the knight, the prince, the One."
In this scene, I know the lines
he expects me to recite by heart:
"What would you do to make me not-bored?"
twirl hair around finger
smile, smile, smile
I wrote "Chronic Bored Face" during my last semester of college. Frustrated with the expectation that women must perform happiness, and also with the disrespectful way students treated our college town and its residents, the shiny exterior of undergraduate party culture had dulled. To dissect this specific moment, I imagined surreal and humorous versions of it, embracing my "bored" (or, you know, just living) default expression and giving the general "him" attention, though not the kind he wanted. My mother also went away to college in upstate New York and was known for her Irish exits from parties, deemed the "Kash Dash" after her last name.
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published monthly by Glass Poetry Press.
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