New American Best Friend

New American Best Friend

by Olivia Gatwood


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One of the most recognizable young poets in America, Olivia Gatwood dazzles with her tribute to contemporary American womanhood in her debut book, New American Best Friend. Gatwood's poems deftly deconstruct traditional stereotypes. The focus shifts from childhood to adulthood, gender to sexuality, violence to joy. And always and inexorably, the book moves toward celebration, culminating in a series of odes: odes to the body, to tough women, to embracing your own journey in all its failures and triumphs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943735105
Publisher: Button Poetry
Publication date: 03/28/2017
Series: Button Poetry
Pages: 60
Sales rank: 249,658
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Olivia Gatwood is a poet, fiction writer, and sex & relationships columnist at and HelloFlo. Hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, she is a Brave New Voices, Women of the World, and National Poetry Slam finalist, winner of the 2015 Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam and has been featured on HBO and TV One's Verses & Flow. Author of the chapbook Drunk Sugar and a recent graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, Olivia has taught workshops on feminism, poetry and sexual health at foster homes, women's shelters, public schools and community centers nationwide.

Read an Excerpt

the boys and i are playing quarters with double shots of vodka and i am winning. by winning i

mean i am not one of the boys but i am the next best thing. by the next best thing i mean i am a

girl and i am drunk. every time i miss a shot, johnny gets to flick a quarter against my knuckles

and now my knuckles are bleeding onto my thighs but every time i make a shot i get to knock

back a throat full of liquor. i slam down the glass until it cracks up the side and now the game is

about who will still drink from it, who will risk shards in the belly, who will cut up their insides

for a pack of newports and it's not that i even want the cigarettes, it's just that i am not afraid of

blood which is also part of being a girl. but being the only girl means making yourself lose when

you've won too much so i bounce the coin off the rim of the shot glass and let johnny slice me

open. in thirty minutes, johnny is dragging me out of the bathroom by my wrists and i can hear

him saying something about blood on the carpet, about a drunk girl in the house who is staining

everything and i think that means i must be the champion of quarters. johnny is the kind of guy

who sleeps with a gun, not women. but johnny is always the one inviting me over for a game of

quarters and sometimes i wonder if this is how johnny fucks. like maybe he is the kind of man

who only screams when he is underwater or lets me feel how strong his fingers are without actually

touching me. maybe that's why we're all here, even the boys, to let johnny hold us like a

barred window. i work a double one day a week and on this day, don't answer johnny's call. by

one day a week i mean two men break in and shoot johnny in the temple for two-thousand pills

and i am scraping pasta from a business man's plate into the trash. at some point i'll tell you why

i didn't go to the wake. i guess i never really knew johnny like that. by that i mean sober or in a

church. when i say i didn't go to the wake i mean i drove by his house everyday for two years

and the for sale sign never got taken down like the house would always be johnny's, like maybe

the whole town knew what happened there. like maybe no one could get rid of the blood.

Table of Contents

Jordan Convinced Me That Pads Are Disgusting 3

Ode to Elise in Eighth Grade Health Class 4

The First Shave 6

Bubblegum or Bruise 8

Like Us 10

Liberty 12

Port of Spain, 2002 15

The Only Thing I Brought From America 17

Dry Season, 2003 20

Backpedal 23

The Autocross 24

Fourth Week of Two-A-Days in July 25

The Summer of 2008 at Altura Park 27

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Says 30

The Anthem I Have Sung 33

Ode to the Wedding Dresses in Goodwill 34

What Sex Becomes 35

The Ritual 36

The Scholar 37

Ode to the Word Pussy 38

Ode to My Period Underwear 40

Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me 42

Ode to My Bitch Face 43

Ode to the Women on Long Island 45

Acknowledgements 49

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