Die Young: Letter to Ke$ha | Charlotte Seley

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Charlotte Seley is a poet, writer, and editor from the Hudson Valley region of New York, currently residing in Kansas City with her cat, Lord Byron. She is the author of The World is My Rival (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018). Die Young: Letters to Ke$ha is her first chapbook. 


I Know He's Not Really A Doctor

They tell you not to write about it, but it's the reason—the sensuality smasher, total damager. Girl killer. It’s the reason we tumble simultaneously fragile and broken. Poetry editors won’t touch it, academia ribbons trigger warnings across our thighs. You’re not even allowed to talk about it—threatened and thwarted. As though real culpable experience was just an image on a postcard you committed to memory, maybe somewhere in rural Tennessee at the start of a tour buying beer and watermelon bubblegum. When you’re an artist, you feel first, so if something doesn’t feel right, you know it before it happens. You know and you live it anyway. Suddenly, danger is palpable; danger has a pulse, bolsters a depression like a flapping tire that’s gone flat. They want to deflate the wind, want to core the world and plant a new seed in an uncharted reality. Upside down doesn’t even cover it—at least then there would be a semblance of the familiar. I want to ask you about the first time, but I’m sure it’s hard to say. Not the subject matter but the innocuous violations, the poison dripped from lips before even there were hands. I sometimes am not sure what even happened truthfully—did it happen to me or my brother? What are the brute details and what did I forget in a paralyzed shock? Will it return? Permeate? Hasn’t it wreaked enough foul baggage? Nothing is real just because we say it is. I bet he wasn’t even really a babysitter. I know he’s not really a doctor. 

(author photo credit:  Terry Smith)