erin wanted me to name a poem after her

Written by Jack McCoy


I had trouble understanding what it was I wanted to say, but I had trouble pushing no boulder from my lungs, even with the foresight to know inches from the top it’ll fall right back onto me. 

Sometimes I wish to sprout nonsense conundrum condominiums filled to brink with pills  ah, yes, the pills  latex gloves for extraction of this distraction  I hope it’s working  despite years of smoking I have strong lungs, and I have an endless vocabulary of 26 letter for words and non-words like ick-fit and kangaroo  yesterday me and Ryan tried to rhyme every word we could with my name -- ack splack fack flack frack (he wished that word wasn’t real) splack dack back nack knack, yack mack (“on some bitches!” he said respectfully) prack cack, gack, hack lack, sack tack, relach, yack and then I said anthrax and he laughed, because he thinks I’m zany, kooky, and weird, and also that I need to stop making anthrax jokes. 

“King pawn of ping-pong, king pawn… of ping-pong!” I repeated over and over to myself as I walked into my empty apartment. I enjoyed (past tense, though I still do) the phrase, and Erin walked out of the washroom and I cackled.

“Hi Erin!” She looked baffled but laughed.

“You okay, buddo?” I was, I told her I thought I was alone and was talking to myself. She asked what I said.

“King pawn of ping-pong!” She laughed and left.

I was walking around the South Loop earlier in the day talking to Price on the phone when I walked past some sophomore boys walking into the dorm with the ping-pong table in the lobby.

“Any of ya’ll wanna play ping-pong?”

One perked up and said, “Hell yeah, man!”

“Bye Price.” 

I hung up immediately.

We played for two hours, and he (I don’t remember his name) had played ping-pong for the past nine years and had hoped for a ping-pong scholarship. He said he could never get to the pro level due to never quite having enough physical space to hit the pong like the pros.

He forgot his key (give him some slack, he moved in that very day!) so he played with me longer than he probably would’ve, otherwise.

I went to bed last night before midnight which is the first time in current memory I slept before two. Got a call around two which woke me up in which a friend was crying and had called everyone in their phone to no success; they felt bad, they said, they asked if they could come over and I said yes  they then profusely apologized for the next several minutes, said they couldn’t, despite being ten minutes away, and hung up. They would see me tomorrow.

Unsure of what to do I wrote nonsensical words in my “Composition Book for the Useless and the Unemployed,” read a page of something I wasn’t nearly prepared enough to read, and went back to sleep.

The only fragments I remember from any of last night’s dreams was that they were beautiful and I was happy.


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