Something More Like a Sex Spreadsheet

Jon Woodward


She had her feet replaced by leg extensions! She’s a different person than I once thought.

I’ve mostly been able to sustain the loss. I’ve amortized the loss over the remaining months of my life.

I go to sleep ten years ago. She does this amazing thing with her mouth that I really love.

Nothing gets in the way of me watching her. I insist that I disappear or at least that I’m removed from the intervening space for a while.

Her unwillingness to let it end this way. Why should it end the same way it always always ends, or shouldn’t it.

We spend a long time negotiating something we both want. We settle on terms.

The sexual possibilities seemed to be arranged in an Excel spreadsheet, although not explicitly that. Just that when I woke up I had the sense that I was an ox, pulling something more like a sex spreadsheet than a plow.

We go to her hotel room. But first I make her tell me to touch the tip of her nose with the tip of my nose.

I’m not giving anything away, not anymore. Everything is a negotiation, now.

She shoves me back in my chair and climbs on top of me. Straddling me, she takes both of my hands and presses them to the sides of her skull.

I can feel a pulse, there, but maybe it’s my own pulse in my hands. Or maybe it is truly, really, the pulsing of her heart.

The last sex dream I had was about a specific woman who might actually read this. Two spaces filled the space between us for brief shreds of moments over and over again.

Men should not write anything. I myself never write anything.

She was quivering with pleasure and gasping my name, forming her shortness of breath around my name. I woke myself up saying her name back to her, kind of, but luckily nobody was there to hear me say it.

Tired of gut punches. Hoping for some failures to connect.

Parts of any game are unplayable. You spend an awful lot of time playing the unplayable parts.

Sentences appear in dreams that would be unbearable in real life. They’re treated as inevitable, like if they’re so impossible to say here, to you, awake, I’m just going to fucking say them when I go to sleep, so there’s never any kind of aesthetic choice available, at all.

That amazing video of the starfish extruding its radio ID tags (and apparently any subcutaneous foreign matter) out from the tips of its arms. Look it up if you haven’t seen it.

Stories about people’s last words, and the visions of the beyond they bespeak. I don’t buy any of that stuff, do I?

I mean on a daily basis I’m thinking “contingent” about everything, contingent, contingent, contingent. Dreaming seems like the exception, except when I’m dreaming.

It’s a beach, but it’s enclosed in a large glassy cube, like an aquarium. Normal waves roll right through the glass.

Suddenly everyone is gone except for a woman I’ve never seen. “I’m going through a real dry spell, romantically and creatively,” she tells me.

Something about her arms doesn’t seem to belong to her. I ask her eyes, “What’s with your arms?”

The less sleep I’ve had, the more I crave and can more fully ingest loud music that would otherwise exhaust me. “Louder,” the ringing in my ears seems to say, “louder, worse, meaner, crueller…”

The music gives you glimpses of yourself plus and minus a bunch of typos made of numbers. All these typos are made of numbers and they would normally bother me but today I just write my two sentences and so on.

The burden of the proof, though. The music is louder than you can possibly listen to so all you get is glimpses of yourself.

The thought of asking you to touch my nose with your nose just slashed me through the diaphragm and three meaningless sobs followed like echoes. I’m okay now, I guess, but, it wasn’t even “my” thought!


Jon Woodward is from Colorado and lives in Boston. His most recent book is Uncanny Valley, from Cleveland State University Poetry Center, and his website is

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