they say sad girls change their hair color
and forgive their monsters.
i change my morals
and become one.
starsi pray that someday soon, in a lonesome winter, your bones will cease to ache.
regrets will no longer break your morals like glass figurines,
you will not ask God to pardon your sins.
you will forgive yourself.
i hope, for your sake, that your butterfly-flutter eyes
will only be dampened with tears worthy of shedding.
your glory will shine out of those 2 crystal windows
and you will finally know what freedom feels like.
one day, in the midst of a dreary december, i wish for your wings to open wide
and carry you to heights far past any you have ever experienced.
your lungs will become blooming forests
with snippets of poetry carved into the tree trunks.
you will no longer be broken, but instead, crack into miniscule pieces
of yourself until all of the grace & goodness
buried deep within the crevices of your flesh
is soaked up by the atmosphere.
i am awaiting the day that i can finally lay next to someone i call lover
and point up at the stars to show him
fragments of you scatte
swimming in spacelet's ask the stars to build us a castle
so we can rest our shoulders like royalty -
put the weight of all these words
for a few millennia
and just breathe.
our lungs could use a few hits of truth
to open themselves up to the calming hymns of the heavens;
breaking ourselves apart shouldn't be too difficult.
(our wrists mean war - forests of insecurities & impatience)
wait a few more months
for distance to build itself a bridge between our arms,
saturn is stretching its rings across your chest,
deeming you responsible for all the black holes
and stray planets enveloped in the universe.
i went swimming in your blood stream,
no diver came in after me.
i dreamt that i was drowning in your veins,
the chill of september's rains still haunts my bones
from time to time.
colors without names flash before my eyes
making themselves a mantra of sins under my skin.
we lifted our heads in unison and crafted a tragedy
from all these mistakes.
the riverbed & jesu
there are 2 things that not even the most
forceful of rains can cleanse me of:
sometimes, i feel like a caged lion.
only with a lot more impatience
and a lot less resilience.
i have yet to discover what it means to be content.
i am either too stagnant or too fluid.
no middle ground.
i have mastered the art of leaving.
it's the idea of moving on that still haunts me.
i fear that the light in my eyes is so dim that it will burn out
before even i have a chance to see the world with it.
i am not as clever as i pretend to be.
someone needs to teach me that
i don't need reassurance; i need self-assurance.
that someone should be me.
my greatest fears are loneliness and cancer.
the second because all my beauty is in my hair.
the first doesn't need an explanation.
i am still discovering what it means to be a woman.
everything is confusing me.
i am secretly afraid of massages.
feels like i'm being stabbed.
we all know how that is.
water stainsmy father's silhouette painted on
the canvas of waves
assures me that
water stains are not permanent.
darkened fabric means nothing more than
the fruit of possibility spoiling on countertops.
i ask grown men for more answers
than there are chandeliers
in my parents' abandoned mansion.
the creases of my grandmother's forehead
skitter over concern and
land on laugh lines.
i've always been a clever joker,
spreading lips like a contagion.
they could never catch me;
my intoxicating serpent
slithering through sidewalk cracks
breaking backs as children do.
my limbs may have expanded,
but i am just a hot air balloon.
if there is anything
pavements & dark rooms have taught me,
it is that
broken means i'll be okay again.
kingdom animaliawe crash into each other like embers,
fire-flakes falling to our tip-toes.
we've been burned far too many times
to recall so you collect me in your arms
and we dance a slow dance.
we've mastered the steps to distance and Lionel Richie
has a voice like gravel but our fire-branded soles step to it
with ease like experience taught our souls to teach our feet.
you taste like winter, all sharp and forced
with your tongue cutting corners, except
we were born on the edge of a cliff neither
of us had the guts to jump over.
your summer is a half-finished book & a fireworks display,
and i don't know who this "they" is who does all the saying,
but they've told me that if the world condensed itself onto
the top of Mt. Everest, then everyone would love each other
so we gaze downward like the pressure of the blood
flowing through our eye sockets can b-r-i-d-g-e the
g a p between us and potential.
eventually, our bones will cease to swing-set us home
but our hearts will carry the weight
forest firesmy signature scrawled across all
of your sentences like a stain of apologies:
i'm sorry for anchoring you to my hip
like a one-sided promise, like a flood of insincerity.
i'm sorry for collecting you like a well of wishes,
for whispering you into every crack in these walls.
i do not have the depth to tether our limbs
with the tautness of our smiles, but i will
balance you on the edges of my knees until
you slip away.
i have been kneeling with my arms outstretched
but the divinity of your touch
never graced my expectant stance.
our bones built forest fires together,
but it was always my tears putting them out.
02. nomad, nomadi set my good intentions down
for an impossible duration to
make myself sleep sounder.
i strip myself naked & rough;
my frail convictions flow out
like acid rain droplets
on the sill.
and i am not a breeze, but a sharp gust -
wind blown into an envelope like a
29-cent secret never meant to be kept
and you were not a mistake, but
destroyed yourself before
i was given the chance
to undoubtedly do the same.
what does it mean to lie in someone's wake?
to be in the ever-presence of another human,
to feel breath short and isolated against an empty chest?
you showed me patience,
but never how to recognize hopelessness
when you stretched it like a glove,
testing my hand at tolerance.
i march across Chicago
from bus stop to bus stop
attempting to prove resilience.
i am fooling no one.
i wish i was colorblind
so i could experience you in black & white.
admire your ink-stroke eyelashes like artwork,
read your cracked-skin palms as if they were poetry,
ashthe first time i looked into your eyes
was one year after meeting you.
my toes barely dipped into the pond
of blue before i realized there wasn't
much to swim to.
i fooled myself long ago into thinking that
if i was ever brave enough, i could plunge
into your endless depths and bathe in purity.
soak up your little-boy grins and weave laughter
with you, creating the most infinite soundtrack.
but when our irises finally connected,
i felt the make-believe ropes i had looped
through your fingers snap like convictions
too heavy to maintain.
it was the first time in a while
that i had a name for the reason
i was broken.
i shook in a rhythm so violent
our bones couldn't dance to it.
instead, they cracked in half
and crumbled to ash; remains
of what we never were.
unanswered phone callsmaybe if we enjoyed the lullaby of empty
dial tones, we would fall asleep somewhere
amidst the clatter of unanswered phone calls.
there is a melancholy to be found in silence.
nothing but the static between our muted voices,
only the sterile hum of knowing you are
watching TV or driving or laughing or fishing
or out with friends or asleep somewhere.
love is not a limb; if it's lost, it will always grow back.
i am discarded bandages and surgical knives.
you are an amputated arm; your phantom limb
haunts me whenever i doubt your ghost.
i learned a trick to uncovering the scent of a hospital without
actually going to one. pick a beach on Lake Michigan and swim
to the point on the horizon where the clouds become water.
you will find me there and immediately recognize the smell
of emergency. do not be alarmed; love is no urgent matter.
again, we will hug a hospital bed with no way to pay the bills.
the best way to dance is to a soundless song.
remember: the silence. when i’m re
calamity.the poor boy got a lecture from deaths secretary
"deaths busy enough as it is without walk ins"
"but it was urgent," he stutters.
"it couldn't wait, it was now or never"
he was simply told
"take a number, and wait over there with the rest
who 'couldn't wait' "
slingshot words.there are a million worlds living in your head
begging to be wrapped around your tongue and released like a slingshot
into the heart of some stranger you may never meet.
white noise.sometimes i turn off the greasy yellow lights and run the water lava hot.
the quiet porcelain is an untouched coffin
familiar as the look in your eyes.
i can hear my heart beat in my ears
and i stare at the ceiling until it darkens and blurs at the edges.
my body is heavy as lead
i cannot remember the weight of movement.
sometimes the closest i can get is the suicide between each breath
and the apology unspoken on the inhale.
my skin is a ladder i keep climbing,
i can see through the rungs to the fat cells that weigh down my bones.
my hand becomes his when it creeps uninvited over the landscape of my body
and across the staircase of my ribs.
i can't erase the feeling of his body pressed like a book
over my flower.
my head is white noise that bleeds red,
but i'm tired of all the blood.
tired of all the memories like channels
i keep flicking past.
sometimes i wonder if i cut enough slack in my skin,
wallflower clippingsthere's scar tissue in her throat,
swollen around the words she never said;
dark rings around her eyes
like planets unremembered, and
a staleness to her touch,
the crystalline Dead Sea.
she's living like a story
that's already been told
"if no one loved you
would you mean anything at all?"
in that moment,
we forget to exist.
lost memories between the sofa cushionsi found the lost boys under the sink again,
their eyes boring as dark as a stygian night.
black ink tallies were scrawled on their arms --
an imaginary clock ticking life away in place
of the years they weren’t growing.
they reach their hands out to me,
beckoning, whispering the mantra
“be our mother again, again, again...”
but it was your words that echoed in my mind:
even pixie dust isn’t strong enough
to help me fly anymore.
bad days.on my bad days,
i open notebooks like bibles and hold pens like lifelines.
i keep opening the book of my memories
just to see if it still leaves a bruise.
i am covered in the bruises of your hand
your ghost is in my bed. i can't sleep there,
again i find myself miles from home
wishing on stars i can't see
and spitting memories into the ocean like watermelon seeds.
i sit on my longboard like driftwood and send my shivers into texts
like letters i never should have mailed.
on my bad days,
i wear cuts like ropeburn,
like i just don't know when to let go.
i get lost inside the sadness and hold tea thats long since gone cold
as hours escape like small birds set free.
i forget to open the blinds
and paint my fingernails black
and stare at the too-big numbers aligned on the scale i can't stop stepping on.
eight things that hurt more than a broken boneone,
i have never had broken bones,
but i imagine it would snap,
splinter, pierce my skin.
i imagine it would be
the pieces i cannot put back together
scratching their way out of
this body bag.
i imagine my demons would
not rest until my arms are torn
by the claws of my inside.
i'd imagine broken bones
would not hurt as much
as broken confidence,
(my lack of it.)
fluctuating positions in life.
the backbone of a dreamer
who finds nightmares her companion,
the fingertips of a mother,
pressed against feverish foreheads.
the lips of a teenage girl,
forgetting what truth sounds like.
i cannot remember the last time i did.
knotted hair pulled out at the roots.
nail polish remover spilled into wounds.
lips chapped red.
burned at the stake
dying on a scaffold,
unable to speak.
numbers on the scale,
tick-tack-toe on my wrist.
every blistering insecurity
that sends me spiraling.
001 i am a whirlwind of
an aching heart
a regret that could
virginity is like an envelopemy mother said her mother knew.
i wonder if she stumbled home like i did,
fifteen and beer-loose
tied to the door like a thunderstorm with black lips
and i wrote a story about disaster,
a quiet two sleds long.
a box full of beads, i swallowed
fifteen needles, mommy. don’t
tell me i’m not sorry.
don’t call me a whore you bag of bones
you lock-loose suitcase do you even
recognize me look at my face my toothache skin
i am not the one with the knife.
my mother never slept with a boy
who didn’t love her never let a boy
sleep on her while she lay awake beneath
the shroud of his skin breathing only
when her voice-box gathered too much dust.
you have to know i didn’t do
it on purpose. he slid beers down my throat
till i felt like a landfill.
i was not yet a crescendo. maybe i was a polka-
you couldn’t tell. i got home
with my legs full of nightmare.
the doctor said xanax.
i said i am a ruin like the ones
we saw in peru.
a balloon in a funeral poem.
SurrogateI stopped using his full title
because it started sounding too formal,
and it’s hard to be standoffish with someone
who swaps albums and memories so generously,
who loves German chocolate but hates the smell of oranges,
who knows me by my boneless,
drowsy form on the couch and by my words.
And maybe one day he’ll ask
me to drop the title altogether and call him Brad,
but I won’t.
Because it sounds too much like dad,
and I’m afraid of slipping up.
i would never number the poems
i wrote about myself because that
would be like ticking off the days
until my breakdown;
i was a moth, unapologetically throwing myself
at any gleam of hope; wasting my wings
on industrial promises
colors always felt much more
appropriate for the purple boiling
beneath my heart and the pallid
purposelessness of my head,
but i was born into a colorless world--
no one sees me behind the metallic scars
of my skin and iron grating of my voice against
the grain; no one sees me as more than
gray regret or monochrome mistakes,
no one sees me but
all i ever wanted was for a
fallen god with feathered heels
to believe in me: to pray upon
the monuments i built for
broken dreams and to baptize me
in his tainted tears,
i just want him to be real. more
than anything, i want to be real, i want
to be more than an imaginary friend
to various mental limitations; i want
to trade my liquid skin [evaporating]
for a chance to be
i am a moth and you are the lighthouse
summergirlNow read aloud over here. Do give it a listen, won't you?
you are crowthroated and tumbling
through the aspen grove
hair on fire with sunrise, lungs
full of sky.
eyelashes like wildflowers
and every morning brings
a new spray of freckles
and a sharper curve to your collarbones.
the cornfields hold no shadows
for your lighthouse eyes
and there are no endings in that
ii. you have grown
autumn finds you with broken ankles
leaning on an oak branch
and watching the skies.
crow to sparrow--you are quiet.
summergirl, there is peace in silence,
fallen antlers in your hands.
you will come to mourn your deer.
keep them close.
iii. by winter you have paled,
and like the streams
your eyes have frosted over.
you feel the chill--
there is no need for sight.
fast-forward through the goodbyesthis is the beginning of the end
“i know you,” he says.
and he looks defeated, he looks sad, he looks like
he's a boy who may one day realize how much
he cares for you, so you cut him off and say,
“minus all the secrets i don’t tell anyone.”
“well, yeah, minus those.”
“then you don’t know me at all.”
and then you tell him,
i love you. but you don’t use those words
because those are taboo. are jinxed.
are knock on wood three times fast.
instead you press him in a hug and say,
i’m sorry, knowing he won’t understand
that this is the first time you ever cared for something
enough to try and fix it after you hurt it.
you hope he doesn’t ever realize what you’re saying
and his response will always be ‘what for?’ because
if he figures out he loves you nothing changes.
he’s just going to be in love with a corpse, a memory,
a pair of trigger happy hands,
Confessionsthere’s a lot I never told you
1. I have a habit of lying, about
the simple things (like, yes I
forgot to remember and I swear by
soul mates and I’m in love
with your susurrus voice
and no, I’m really doing fine).
It was not an act of infidelity because
I believed it, too.
2. I’m infatuated with the concept
that I am more or less fictional, the
delusive beauty a million men will
dedicate novels to: I am fragile,
a dust angel sent to save the world
from commonalities and
3. Since I’m not allowed
to remember your name
I will commemorate you
in acts of escapism,
killing off the pieces
of the person you left behind.
4. I believe in a past life
I was a bird with a tendency
towards tall buildings; the sorry kind
of bird with heavy bones and crumpled wings
who never quite learned
to fly away.
5. I miss you. I used to think
you were a person, but now I know
you’re the happiness I will never
6. I'm sorry.