Love Stinks, Other Criteria by Rebecca Beauchamp


You walk in on your BF watching porn.
Behind the screen of his iMac a high-definition redhead named Tanya

sways in slow motion as though she’d just slurped a gallon
of tomato soup and is now “feeling the after-dinner comedown.”

You think her thighs look like sticks of butter
and feel bad for thinking

her thighs look like sticks of butter and wishing also
your thighs were like that: unsalted and–

no, don’t say spreadable. You have been told
this sort of thinking (girl-as-food, relational anatomy) is destructive and serves

the, um, statist patriarchal hegemony
that says it’s OK for Dylan to watch porn in the first place. Ew!

Then again, it might be nice to be a slab
of meat, so long as you glow with blood and have been cut

from the waxy haunch of the fleeciest
sacrificial lamb. You think a bar of soap looks a lot like a hunk of fat.

You think because you’re a woman, you’re bred forgiving,
and you should turn to Dylan and touch him

the way he likes it (e.g. your fingers in his mouth, e.g. assplay) and say
I Want You To Make Me Beg For It because he will and honestly you’ll play along.

Instead, you run to his bathroom and brush your teeth
until your gums throb like a heart or, as in erotica, a “cock”.

You feel ashamed because these are the only two metaphors
(throbs like a heart, throbs like His Cock) that work.

Later on, before you do it actually, you kiss him, his bad breath
material and revealing as a hand against a soft surface pushing through–

Tanya’s cunt probably tastes like pennies: raw and metallic.
You’d give anything to hold that kind of emotional currency over Dylan’s head

as an offering to the God that’s both yours and his:
God of the stomach. God-sheepskin. God of trying not to come.





“The art of living has no history: it does not evolve: the pleasure which vanishes vanishes for good, there is no<br> substitute for it. Other pleasures come, which replace nothing. No progress in pleasures, nothing but mutations.”
– Roland Barthes

Raushenberg erases a drawing of de Kooning’s
& tacks it to the wall with the unshakable gusto
of a reckoning.

The viewers & critics are seriously good people
but they ask who the joke’s on.
They don’t get it. Response blank as the canvas.

Taken from the assorted secrets of

The set of flowers in the vase by
your windowsill isn’t a still life, it’s a cipher.

Childhood wears a glass skin—
impossible to pull back on your own.
Its stubbornness, a gift.

Don’t try this at home.

You wake up in the morning lodged in the cake of his absence.

Your face in the mirror, framed like a portrait:
silver hook still yoking your tongue. A fist through plaster.




Rebecca Beauchamp is a poet and performance artist in the University of Virginia’s program in poetry writing. She is the winner of the 2014 Wagenheim Literary Award as well as UVA’s 2015 Award for Projects in the Arts. Her poetic works have been published or are forthcoming in Queen Mob’s Tea House, Bird’s Thumb, Pine Hills’ Review, Glass Press, and Gauss-PDF, among others. She can be found at,, and on Instagram @rebecca.beau.