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2 Poems by Maslen Bode Ward & Sabrina Bustamante

Horse Poem

There’s a horse on the platform in Penn Station

She is blocking the turnstiles and no one can swipe their metro cards

So Maslen and Sabrina sneak through the emergency exit

Sabrina is surprised Maslen would break the rules like that

Maslen is surprised that Sabrina did not mount the horse

The horse is surprised to be there in the first place

The turnstiles are surprised not to be turning

The station manager looks upset

Keep Don’t Keep

Keep the time, keep the tempo.
Keep merging into me, I’m verging on batshit.

                                                      Don’t keep me awake past midnight or I’ll catch a melancholy.
                                                      Don’t keep me from my yearnings.
                                                      Don’t touch! That’s antique.

Keep a strand of my hair for a locket.
Keep a picture of me in repose.
Keep a picture of me posing for you.

                                                       Don’t keep thinking I’m all leftovers.
                                                       Don’t keep me in a corner, or do, if it’s sexy there.
                                                       Don’t keep breaking my heart. Let me do it this time!

Keep stamina.

                                                       Don’t keep falsehoods.

Keep hooded tracksuit.
Keep raw sexual energy.

                                                        Don’t keep unraw sexual energy.

Keep using the word rawdog
to describe everyday activities.

                                                        Don’t keep shame.
                                                        Don’t keep spiraling.

Keep shame-spiraling when it leads
to a good poem talked with G
and S about our healthy ego
with our poems and I asked what are your
healthy egos outside of poems
mine is my personality and S said
choose something else bc those are
your poems but true you have the best
personality and G said I’m
really beautiful and S said I’m
really good at blowjobs and I said I’m
really funny which is another way
of saying personality so I guess

I only have one ego oops
keep the ego.

                                                         Don’t keep staying up until 2am.

Keep trying.
Keep trying you got this.

                                                         Don’t keep talking to myself in the second person.

A note about the collaboration:

“Horse Poem” was written line by line on Notes App on the 2 train, alternating handing a phone back and forth.

“Keep Don’t Keep” was written on a bench on Eastern Parkway. After joking about what to keep and not keep for the new year, we sat and wrote our lists on our phones, then combined to form the single poem. The poem begins with Sabrina’s list and ends with Maslen’s.

Maslen Bode Ward is a writer from Boston, currently pursuing an MFA in Poetry at NYU as a Lillian Vernon fellow. Her work appears in the Iowa Review, Interim, Fine Print, and Unbroken Journal.

Sabrina Bustamante is a writer based out of Iowa City. She is pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of Iowa, where she is an Iowa Arts Fellow. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Split Lip Magazine, Latina Magazine, Bending Genres, and the Dillydoun Review.

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