Rap & Revelrye: “Present Pretense, Parts I & II,” by Hugo Lau

I. November 17th

I make a note: She wasn’t here today
I noticed maybe here’s better with-
I’m not even actually sure if she was actually here
I’m sure she knows she knows how could she not
I’m not exactly, no
I’m not
I just
I like her.

I like the way she looks right into my eyes
I don’t want to look away. That’s it. Sure, make a note,

Why would I? Away? That’s stupid.
Right into my eyes, though.

Where she’s concerned I’m happy to repeat myself
to drift into it after a couple,
really cool and spontaneous, like,
I think we
I think we should
I think we should maybe
I think we should be more
shit no I’m not sure about that phrasing actually and
actually I can’t say it anyway because it


I think we should be more.
And that’s a problem, apparently,
And anyway I would get frustrated
And she would get frustrated
by her
by me
And respectfully
But in a beautiful way maybe, you know?

What’s the problem?
We used to dance to this.

Because, see,
I like her   her teeth
And the way she


The way she


And her little


(When she can laugh)

And I am



Of her, obviously, no

And she might know-
All of this already
But now I know

She knows

And it would be just before
for as long as she could put up with me


I forget.


Forget about her?

No dice, grandma. I just, whatever.Screen shot 2015-02-14 at 16.51.40

No, yes, that’s cool, I just.

I don’t trust myself. Why would I?

She doesn’t ask.

“You’re so hard on yourself,” she says, and then
She tells me
She likes what I’ve done with the place,
first time she’s-
since she last-
the colours, she means,
but doesn’t quite say



II. December 17th

You write your notes with your hands and I barely allow myself to watch.
You write me a note:
“I want to fly.”
It’s easy,
Just make the shapes with your mouth, I don’t say.
“Really?” I lounge.
“Really.” You assure me.
I’ll show you someday, I don’t say

Run away

I say, “That’s cool,” I say,


Oh, me? I’m just crawling up into a ball of zen mastery, I say.

You make it easy to drift into the present tense, but
You don’t know me.
You couldn’t.
You still think I’m ‘capable’ and ‘restrained’ and all those other things we’re supposed to be, when all we are

We are just
lost orangutans
clawing and pawing at each other
and kissing and gnawing the armpits off each other with all these
and while you are on the edges making it blurrier I am
and worrying about maintaining and
I just need
new skin
I just need
to breathe to see to break to live for now for you with you and I and
we will make it out of here.


“Where did you go?”
“Nowhere,” I smile. “You’re made of magnets.”

Illustration by Lenny Buckley


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