“The Girlfriend Problem” by Matthew Sorrento

And I would kill for him, still would, ever since we met.

Do it or I’ll kill you,
he told me.
Times like this
he’d turn on me, hit me.
Didn’t matter what we’re doing,
getting smokes, or dope, or
him smashing me
in bed.
With him, it’s always there.

You’re going in with me,
he said, and to pull up my hood
and the scarf on my face.
We had a driver, a young bitch
I knew he was smashing.

Listen, he really beat on me 
when we had nothing,
needed cash. I’d go out, take
men who stopped for me.
I learned how
to spot the quick ones.
He liked the flow, the fast bills, 
but took it out
on me later. Holding me down 
as if I wasn’t there any more.

That night, he said I’d have a gun, too,
but he rushed in, that convenient store. 
I ran into the cold light, no gun,
just yelling back whatever he said.
Give me all the cash! 
And the cigarettes! 
You see me looking all tough, on the surveillance?
I did it just like him.
Then he threw the roll of scratch-offs 
at the man 
once we had it all.

I swear he was ready to ditch me,
getting in the car with that bitch,
leaving me to get caught. 
And I would kill for him, still would,
ever since we met.
I’d love to hit him now, just for him to feel me.

It’s like I’m telling you.
Hear me.

Matthew Sorrento is Editor-in-chief of Retreats from Oblivion and Co-editor of Film International. He teaches film and media studies at Rutgers University in Camden.

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