Poetry by Olivia Grayson

Tender Desolations

It was the year I was so drunk, a car
rolled over my thigh & I didn’t feel it;  

the year I had an offer to be a prostitute
as I waited in the hallway at 3rd & 9th
with the door open,  the year

Kathleen Hanna removed her
shirt, exposed her perfect breasts,
then lectured everyone for looking.  

It was the year, Tim, the guy I’d been
seeing said he loved “cowboy eggs,” so I
made them for like 2 weeks to please him; 

there’s a hole in the middle you make
with a small cup, like a shot glass, then
place the yolk in the hole. 

When I had perfected the technique, 
I broke up with him. 

It was the year of Blur vs Oasis
when Noel Gallagher said
Damon Albarn & Alex James
should “Catch AIDS and die, ”

the year I wore chokers, swallowed
an entire bottle of methadone I had
stolen from a friend’s  jacket pocket, 

& discovered I had antibodies for Hep C
with slight erosion of the liver. It was

the year I gave up drinking for pot, had
my first experience with e., & couldn’t
draw a straight line for months, the year

Brittany Spears had a reality show & I
thought, she’s just a nice, down-home
girl with probably a really pushy mother,  

the year I started grad school, got certified, 
fired, and lost my shit; it was the year of  

electronic town criers, extraverts, idols,
& wild loneliness. 


Olivia Grayson creates prose and poetry that combine pop culture with autobiography in an effort to explore the often times startling experience of being part of the family of women—alternatively thrust into or dumbly participating with a culture that sells the promise of absolute beauty, sparkling romance, and ideal interventions; she finds herself writing from a tension that surrounds this system. She is the author of the chapbooks, Cat Lament, Being Female, and the upcoming Advice from Friends. Olivia teaches Developmental Reading and Writing at the Fashion Institute of   Technology in New York City, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her two cats, Molly-Molly and Emily. This piece was inspired by Joanna Fuhrman’s invitation to hold an ongoing exchange with an imaginary past; beginning with the line “it was the year…”

Kristi DiLalloComment