Another Mistake, by Nicole Antonio

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Another Mistake, by Nicole Antonio
Another Mistake
Copyright 2014 by Nicole Antonio

"Another Mistake is a powerhouse chapbook. This is a hyper-awake, penetrating, gritty, humane, fearless literary voice. Each of these poems displays exemplary control of the pressurized energies at its core. Another Mistake bears fresh, deeply affecting witness to the speed at which Nicoleís generation lives, loves, hooks up, slaves and suffers. Our need to embrace dark urges and our fucked up origins, to understand and master pleasure and pain, to be wildly alive but also to face the music, itís all here, articulated with the perfect mix of distance and immediacy. I am an avid fan who hopes a full-length collection is in the pipeline."
Amy Gerstler
author of Dearest Creature
and winner of the
National Book Critics Circle Award  
Poet Bio:
Nicole Antonio
Sample Poems:
Reverse Aubade        Keep it Dark        D-Land

Nicole Antonio
Nicole Antonio  
Nicole Antonio studied poetry and screenwriting at the University of Southern California, obtaining both her Bachelor's in English and Master's in Professional Writing. Her work has appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, Watershed, and The Truth About the Fact. After serving as the Editor in Chief for the Southern California Review, she moved north and now lives in Oakland, California.


Reverse Aubade

He usually sleeps through my nightmares.
I wake up kicking at nothing, tangled
in the sheets after battling
something I've already forgotten. Sorry,
I whisper, holding my breath until
I hear the soft, throaty sigh that means
he's still asleep. My eyes won't close—
or rather, stay closedófor hours after
as I try to bore myself to unconsciousness:
counting by fours, reciting every third letter
in the alphabet, naming each teacher I've had
in reverse chronological order. Silently,
of course. Heís slept through earthquakes,
snoring quietly on his side, facing the middle
of the bed, but I still donít risk disturbing him,
ruining his day before it starts. Inches from
his side, Iím aching to do something, anything,
or just fall asleep. The ceiling hasn't changed
since my eyes adjusted to the dark. When
sunrise begins to tint the curtains,
I cover my face with a pillow, wanting
to groan over another restless night.
I never stay asleep at his place.
He lifts the pillow and peeks at me,
grinning and drowsy. I apologize
and donít know why. He breathes
a word I can't understand, moving
his head to my pillow and bending
his body along my spine, his pulse
setting a slower beat for mine
to follow into sleep.

Copyright ©2014 Nicole Antonio

Keep It Dark

Donít let me make a memory out of this, this
pseudo-romantic, whiskey-drenched
act of premeditation, moonlit through
your missing vertical blinds, throaty growls,
and desperate moans bouncing off the shadows
in some demented echolocation. I donít want
anything more than ambiguity. I want to taste
your skin and sweat and not know if that scent
belongs to you or that girl who danced too close
while I stood at the bar, thinking about how
we shouldnít do this tonight. But then it was
two a.m., and your lips practically
attacked my face in the club's shitty light,
teeth tapping mine with too much thrust.
You took my scramble to the door as a rush
to get you in bed, not to get away. Then your
hand in my back pocket pulled me close, and
our hips kissed with something like relief.
I wanted to believe the lie, so I bit back and
kept the momentum going. Keep your hands
off the lamp, before I change my mind and decide
to look at you and think this through. Then again,
you know me. I've never been one to stop a crash,
not when weíre both flooring the gas. Just
let me pretend a little longer. Let me pretend,
in night this dark, it's not just another mistake.

Copyright ©2014 Nicole Antonio


The churros are four bucks a pop,
and the wait's an hour plus
for a 30-second ride. Imagineers
design from exit to gift shop, hiding
painful prices on Made-in-China goods.
The newer rides are built on land
dear Disney stole from farmers, but I don't care
if it's a corporate brothel of manufactured joy;
it's my childhood.
At least, it's the parts I want
to remember. It's where
my family never fights.
Itís where the illusion is okay.
Itís a place that hurts my bank account,
but itís worth the brief escape. I know
Tinkerbell's hanging from a wire,
but just let her light the castle.
Let some kid wish
on a firework star
while heís still a kid.

Copyright ©2014 Nicole Antonio