Bailey Cohen-Vera

Intervention with Debt in the Time of Climate Change

The lowest estimation by conflicting news sources suggests seventeen months. Anyone who believes this bullshit deserves to die says the egg profile picture. More specifically fuck the new Tesla cybertruck. My first failing grade was on a seventh grade geometry quiz. Right now my heart is beating sixty-four times per minute. Please refrain from smoking littering or playing loud music. There are people here. They are trying to sleep. They don’t care who you are but I do. I didn’t have an answer when you asked me where my name came from. It’s like how when I say sleep I mean escape but when you say people you mean people. I don’t think January will be a good month. Did you know the world ended in 2012? That’s why nothing since has felt real at all. I feel like I give off short person energy. I’d smack Joe Biden up the head on sight. Kanye West bought his own mountain. It’s okay to steal from CVS. We didn’t do anything to deserve this world but we did everything to get rid of it. I remember when you paid for my hemp milk vanilla latte and blueberry donut. You told me to watch my sugar intake. I spent an hour rubbing my thumb into your wrist. Is there any way this can happen again? No, this jacket isn’t real leather. My baby sister turns eleven tomorrow do you remember her name? I never put her in my poems because I know that everyone in my poems is going to die. Some people are way ahead of me. When Ricardo asked me to play soccer with the Dominicans in Queens I wanted to kiss him so badly. I hate every single piece of excess in my life. Calvin says Trader Joe’s organic coconut oil works surprisingly well as lube. Is colonizing Mars really the most important mission of our time? An earthquake might never bring you home. You’re in France, you’re in the mountains. Greenland is disappearing just for next century’s conspiracy theorists to claim it never existed. Maybe that’s why I pushed you away. I don’t believe in the refugee crisis. I’m such a peaceful citizen. Will you please come back and lay your head on the despair my shoulders held? I’ve been planning this for weeks. I’ve loved the way your purple socks looked when you wore them with your brown loafers. I still have bits of your eyelashes stuck between my teeth. Give me the rope, I need it, give it back to me, where are you going? I promise I’ll stop with the silly questions. I’ll be your pretty little doll for throwing. Help me shave my beard.


Intervention with Desire and Police State

Good morning. I’ve done my best to have a productive day so far. I’m calling because two nights ago you were in my dream and today I woke up having forgotten yesterday entirely. Did you hear about the riots in Ecuador? I’m about to spend three dollars on a very small coffee. I like doing my laundry early in the morning so I can spread out all my clothes without taking up anybody else’s space. There are some things that would make me happier but it’s so hard to get them done. This has been the worst month of my very short life. Each week feels stranger than the one before it. With enough weed I can go through a half-gallon of passionfruit juice a day. The only reason you remember my hands is because they get clammy when I’m anxious. I hate how things just keep on happening, what do you mean by that? Do you think of me in the shower when you use the eucalyptus exfoliant you recommended to me the last time we spoke?  I still want to meet you. I know it’d be better if we just blocked each other’s numbers, but have you ever thought about what would happen if we eloped to Mexico and just lived on a farm? In all my memories of the moment I slaughtered the chicken in my uncle’s backyard I can see the moon in its eyes but it was only two in the afternoon. Time’s made such a concept of me. I’m sorry I keep rambling. Believe me, all I want to do is listen to you breathe, I want to map the sound with the rising and falling of your chest, I can never let it get quiet enough. There’s a word for the moment in a tragedy when the protagonist realizes everything’s been going wrong. There’s a book I’m reading that I think you might like. I wish you were here so the man in the Burberry scarf would stop looking at me. I’m wearing the silver coat we picked out together, I sent you pictures, I had purple hair. Every morning I make an extra cup of coffee for the abuelita that sweeps the floor of the entryway of my apartment building and takes out the trash and she absolves me of my sins. It sounds less formal and more genuine in Spanish but we still don’t know each other’s names. I don’t miss Martín, I miss his asshole. I’ve never understood why I can’t just invent my own words. On October 30, Adrian Napier was held at gunpoint in a subway car after jumping a turnstile to avoid paying the $2.75 fare. Can you explain to me what the market wants? You’d look so sexy in a crown. There’s this restaurant that’s full of mirrors full of mirrors full of mirrors and in one corner they align so perfectly that the exit sign is reflected into infinite versions of itself; when you say loneliness, that’s what I imagine. I wish I was sober more. I wish the chocolate industry didn’t waste 70% of the cacao fruit. A male PhD student sitting next to me is telling his tinder date about how he wants to design a course merging philosophy and biology to better understand our place in the universe through science and she’s nodding and I’m counting the amount of times that she nods. I’m eating strawberries, banana, kiwi, figs. Is everything this hopeless and unfulfilling? If you’re not doing anything right now, I’m spending my weekend masquerading as any possible version of myself that could feel right beside you, you can dress me in your favorite face. Don’t grow old. Don’t move to Europe. Can’t you forget me here instead?


Bailey Cohen-Vera is the Assistant Editor for Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. A poet, essayist, and book reviewer, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Iowa Review, Southern Indiana Review, Waxwing, Grist, Poetry Northwest, The Spectacle, and Cherry Tree, among others. Bailey is an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU, where he serves as a Wiley Birkhofer Fellow, writing obsessively about bananas. His website is