We can pretend that the air between us isn’t poisoned. That this ground isn’t crumbling. We can cocoon our failure in beneficent illusion… lace up these wounds with promises whispered after drinks, oaths sealed in orgasm. Acrimonious handshakes and falsified hugs.

I’m pretending to like my job, my coworkers.
So are my coworkers.
But that’s where it stops.
They aren’t like me;
they aren’t what I like.

I don’t know what I like.

They try to pull me in, but they don’t understand: I’m a cardboard cut-out, a plaster of paris food display, set before them.

The real me is in a drawer in my bedroom. The real me’s in my hard drive.

My coworkers happy-hour in loneliness, hoping their volume makes them seem whole, hoping the crowd will relieve them of themselves.

I lay in bed pretending everything is going to work out: that I’m not scrambling for my life: that these jowls aren’t dropping to the floor by nanometers, daily. They’ll be down to my cock after my cock’s retreated into my belly at 70. By 90- if I last that long, and I’m evil so I’m not wrong- I’ll be able to pinch them between my toes. Knead them like bread dough… with my feet… maybe record it and put it on Pornhub for sleazy fetishistists who wax tumescent over sags, tags and bags- people who get off to octogenarians with xerosis and cherry angiomas patterning their draperies. I’m pretending I can’t see the future- the pressure ulcers, errant hairs: the subtractive trends, the soiled underwear. I’m pretending there’s room for everyone.

Is this me self-soothing? Telling myself sweet little lies?

Is this me pretending I’m not living in a house of cards within another house nested in a matrix of similarly constructed structures contained in the vacuum-sealed core of a paper moon dislocated from orbit and heading straight into the sun?

This is me pretending this isn’t the eschaton.
That a final answer exists.
That I am one of the good ones, my humanity fully in tact.

I only cry when I’m not pretending. Do you understand me as much as I misunderstand you? Do you think we can make this mirage real, if we close our eyes and wish uppn a planet? Do you think we’re crafty enough to act our way out of this mess?

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