Ron Riekki

	The Girls on Tinder

don’t call back and call back and don’t and
they ask if I want kids and when I say yes
they say not me and when I say no
they say how can you not want kids?
and the mind games are the opposite
of being mindful, a sort of fjord into
the netherworld where I realize that
the bureaucracy of our jobs just leaks
into every aspect of our lives, where I
realize that this phone conversation is
a job interview and there are times where
we kiss and I never hear from them again
and where we fuck and I never hear from
them again and where we talk about God
and I never heard from them again and where
I never hear from them again and then I never
hear from them again and I wonder sometimes
if they were real, if anything is, if life is going
to keep being technology and nothing else,
just this endless mistaken falling into porn
when you were searching for something as simple
as a book on self-help, the cancer in everything,
in every interaction, how it’s like being erased,
the extinction of families, the women I meet
who are hardworking and the men I meet
who are softworking and the ghosts I meet who
are sleepwalking and then gone, gone, again, so quick.


And again.



	I worked in a prison and so now an ex-friend thinks I was a prisoner

and I was because working in a prison is being a prisoner
and I was because a prisoner threw piss in my eyes and he
was the son of somebody and they’d make poison in there,
precise chemists, how they’d learn everything on the fly,
and there was a hell in there, the smell of feces, and all
these faces, lined up, glass cells, how none of it was like
anything I saw on TV, so much more violence, the countless
stabbings, how they’d stab themselves in order to get out of
their cells for a bit, in order to be touched, the absolute madness
of needing to be touched, even if it meant opening up their
insides to all of the sickness of the world, even if it meant worse,
much worse, septic, decompensating, seized.  No, much worse.

	We Make Minimum Wage on the Ambulance

so don’t think we care and don’t think
we’re full and don’t think we think when
it’s 3 a.m. and the only food that’s open
is the food that will diabetes the hell out
of you and you shouldn’t call the ambulance
when you are a corpse, but they still do,
and we stand there, waiting for the coroner, or
performing the performance of CPR on the dead,
the worldview of being cadavered ourselves,
the sick kid, the steroid kid, the anorexic child,
how we are all children, all these drivers and EMTs
tucked into the fistfight that we call night, its billion
shadows, and we can’t afford health insurance
ourselves and we work in healthcare, except ‘care’
is a bit of a joke when you consider how we’re all
standups, reenactments of scenes from The Joker,
a partner falling asleep driving the thing because
he was working eighty hours a week in order to afford
his new baby, because all babies are new, and all
ambulance companies make millions and we make
cents, and we can’t piss, no time to piss, hold it in
until our bladders explode and it does happen too,
I’ve seen it, at car accidents, MVAs, vehicles
speeding, the windshields gone, the bodies treed,
the bladders broken like bad balloons, and it’s called
PTSD, this life, this second, and the next and
it’s called hunger and it’s called the worst country
radio station in the world and it’s called midnight
and it’s called hell and it’s called a uniform except
the pants are too short and the shirt is too tight and
the stethoscope is broken and the collarbone is broken
and the sphygmomanometer is broken and the neck
is broken and the patient turns to me and the spinal
cord is severed and we go to the next call and the next
call is one where we hit the wall backing up the ambulance
and the boss says they’ll take it from our check and that will
take about fifty decades to pay that off so we just die slowly,
severely, slowly, severely, in slow-mo, our heads cut off for sport.

Ron Riekki’s books include My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press). Right now, he's listening to Hildur Guonadottir's "Confession."
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