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what to do when he doesn't say it backa)
you will give all of yourself to a boy who won't know you at all.
he will recycle your parts, make you stationary, bind you into
paper that he will gift back so you can write poetry about him.
you, too, say i love you quickly.
when he doesn't say it back, evaporate.
he will kiss you in places you didn't know existed.
until him, you were a peasant in your body's palace.
he crowned you princess, broke the lock of your castle's gates.
when he doesn't say it back, load your cannons.
you are a fountain pen.
look him in the eye when you write him letters on your skin.
when he asks to read them, surrender.
you have always been this way: too eager
to make wildflowers bloom inside of him.
when he doesn't say it back, trim the stems.
when he tells you that your eyes remind him of tree bark,
show him that your gaze is sturdier than nature's limbs.
without breaking eye contact, slowly back him into a wall.
when he expresses discomfort,
ask if he knows what choking is like.
the garden familymy father met my mother on the train tracks
leading out of Hackensack, New Jersey.
she was clad in blue and embossed with blisters;
he was wearing a black sweater and had a stumbling tongue.
the night they exchanged promises, the moon
was hiding under a cool blanket of factory smoke.
my mother wore a black n’ beige dress,
my father was decked in the finest leather shoes.
their love was a budless stem:
to appreciate it, you had to do some gardening.
the botany of our family is complicated.
i am a shovel and my brother is soil.
my mother is a watering hose and
my father sets with the sun. come winter,
she will freeze in time and we will
barely see him through the clouds.
the occasional drought will manifest into our lineage,
but my mother will burst like a floodgate.
sometimes, it'll get so cold that the crops will be frostbitten,
but my father will break the barrier of clouds.
i will help dig my brother out of messy situations
and we will be
just a plot of land on the map of our f
you can find my heart in the Pacific Oceanon the night of salt and leftover secrets, i tell him about
the Pacific Ocean, how in Mexico, they say that it does not
you can walk to the edge and curl a million secrets
under your tongue and spill them all at once and
the water will drop them the second it picks them up.
he and i have never been fond of life jackets and the Pacific Ocean
is much too deep to swim in. if you look closely, you can see the
floating bodies of those who tried to cheat love but drowned in the process.
see, humans are not like the Pacific Ocean. try as we might,
we will never forget the taste of robust love or the way a smile
feels after a long day of bearing burdens.
listen, the Pacific Ocean breaks in waves.
all we hear nowadays is each other’s silence;
the water swallowed all of our words and forgot they existed.
he and i will go swimming, desperately searching for them.
within minutes, our bodies will become martyrs for a cause
we’ll never be able to remember.
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
my father lived in Indiamy father is a man of many colors.
on the nights when the moon stays asleep,
he lotions his palms with pomegranate juice.
the sugared blood pools in the creases of his
skin, staining it India’s red.
sometimes, my father scrubs his hands until
they are nothing but flesh & fruit rinds.
when he was younger—all skinned knees and pocket
knives—he must've slipped on a thousand marbles.
my father’s father was a welder who rolled and spun
steel into tiny spheres.
when he died, my father’s hands became blue and
free of pocket knives. to this day, he keeps a bag
of marbles on our mantle.
from time to time, he shakes the cool metal into
his open palms and waterfalls it back and forth.
see, this is the trouble with blue hands:
they never let go of the things that scar them.
they try so hard to be red again.
my father doesn't like whistling because
an old woman in India told him it was uncivilized.
she perched herself on the edge of the Ganges River
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.
crooked noseswe fall in love in those in-between moments,
like when the sun is buried right at the brink of
that fine line and if you want to know the truth,
the boy i sit next to in physics drew the horizon.
his name is Cameron and in Scotland, that means
“the essence of deviation.”
his feet have always followed a wayward path,
his hands grip things much too loosely to mean anything.
he crosses his heart and swears to God for everything
and when i think about him, most times i want to
shake him by the shoulders and say:
show me how you cut the world in half. your blueprints
must’ve been just a little crooked, you made the skyline
an eternal smile; how do your lungs find all that breath
in all these in-betweens?
Cameron is the boy who resets broken noses. he’s always
had a hard time looking forward and keeping a straight face
so sometimes, he disfigures the bones without even knowing.
no one gets too upset. after all, he took a sharpie
to the edge of the Earth and made seven
burning bodiesand we yearned for something deeper tangled between bed sheets
but our palms were always split open, spilling malice.
our bodies, always in dire separation
even in scalding proximity.
je dis beaucoup des mensonges.
i tell a lot of lies.
we curled ourselves alongside icicles to bury the flames.
my waist still feels like a graveyard.
even after all the times you tasted my bone marrow,
you still have the nerve to say i'm not bitter.
our mansion is burning from the inside out
and we force-feed the desire with
prolonged gestures and held-breaths.
our combined scar tissue lies in a heap on the floor of our shrine
and the skin is nearly poison when we add our cancelled convictions.
i tore myself apart until all my limbs
seeped into the dirt and sprung dandelions.
neither of our backbones found forgiveness.
we are hiding in the crevices of bedrooms
behind locked doors
underneath all the fight we never knew we had.
this is how smiles tear:
my teeth are lodged in your ribc
the evolution of goodbye1.
your brother embraced me first.
his skin was warm and his chest was bony.
he tucked my head between his elbows, told me he'd miss me & meant it.
you pulled me from his arms into yours,
held your breath tight in your lungs,
and let me slip away.
i cherry-picked the memories of you and hid them under my bed,
but treasure always has a way of finding itself again.
i've never had the patience for puzzles.
still, you left me in shambles that used
to fit together. no instruction manual.
how do you assemble a working machine with broken parts?
in Grand Valley, Arizona, i was in my grandmother's
home after so long. you buzzed my phone to life and
the entire Grand Canyon collapsed from the shock waves.
you asked about my puzzle. i told you it was perfect.
to this day, orange dust puffs out of my phone to remind
me that i’m still missing pieces.
we closed our eyes at the same time,
said i love you the only way we knew how,
and clicked each other out of existence.
we were sure
6 ways on learning how to swim1. toes first
when i was younger i thought i was
beautiful. not like the other girls, of course, but i thought that
the sun followed me around because it thought i was pretty.
and i am a shop-a-holic. money burns a hole in
the back pocket of my jeans because i love to spend it.
but i do not like to go shopping. i love the idea and hate the activity.
there are few days that trying on clothes brings me
happiness because there are even fewer days that i love my
body enough to look in a mirror.
but i am trying.
("i love this dress! i can't believe that it fit!
i dropped another size!"
"what, mom? why are you looking at me like that?"
"...oh, please. one size?")
there are days when i don't leave my house and there are days
that i spend the time to put on makeup and
nice clothes to open the door and feel the fresh air and
to admire all the lovely, smiling, silently judging people who
i think are looking at me, but they probably aren't
you stoleyou are smoke,
and I forget
how the mockingbird
used to sing.
how to miss someone.
you left warm spots in me,
familiar dents and puckers
nothing holds my eyes in place.
they roll from one end of my skull
to the other,
I don't want to see
a world without you in it.
you let this place hollow out
and dry like infinite droughts.
the years age me,
and I don't know who I am
I only remember you,
but I forget that you are gone.
field notesi read some poetry
just for the sound--for the words lilting up and down
and the thick, honeysepia
polaroids unmisting in my head.
those are the poems i never understand
and the only conclusion i can draw is:
there is apparently
some supernova poetic awakening that comes
with the loss of virginity
and basically i need to get laid.
Evanescentonly the most
beautiful of creatures
live the shortest.
red roses and quivering
butterflies and other
useless things, like the
way she wishes on every star
she sees for a different
soul because she can't stand
the way it's rotting inside.
and it's only when
the thorns beneath her skin
start to bleed that her
monsters whisper, "have
you ever trembled, my dear?"
because they know
for every whimper that hides
faintly in the dark,
there is a pair of lips stretched
into a smile pretending
that all that is beautiful
is timeless and unbroken.
the presences we carryI.
I think that there are more ghosts in this house
than there are people.
I am a ghost and my illness is a ghost,
my brother is a ghost
and my mother has a ghostly aspect about her
she has ghosts who hang about her
in the dead of night, and so do I.
she can’t see them, but she can feel them
on the back of her neck
like a sudden chill.
I can see them, and I don’t know what to tell her
when she asks.
among those of us who see our ghosts,
it’s become a daily pleasantry—
“how are your ghosts today,” we ask,
and we wince and nod at each other
in tacit understanding.
these corpses rattling about behind us
have become a matter of course to us, I suppose,
though if anyone else could see their
stark figures and dead eyes,
they’d likely be frightened half
maybe we never really lose our ghosts—
maybe they fade over time,
their steps behind us less heavy,
their bodies less and less substantial
until they trail about fro
Ode to Souls
our society is built on the binary of proper lines.
spotless, picturesque, sanitary lives trailing cycle upon cycle of symmetry.
yet we function better without framed order.
we have wanderlust built into our core; we bleed out the seasons when it suits us.
our lives are made of tire treds feeding the clouded sunset, skies pouring violently over
ravenous hearts seeking catharsis.
the nyctophiliac, the heliophiliac.
the nemophilist, the pluviophile.
if we breathed in your blank normalcy, we'd crumble and die.
where i dance alonei. I mistook a shy boy for a thunderous one in the days when I lived inside his lungs.
ii. I wanted your hands in the early morning, or in 8 o' clock light. (Does it matter? I just wanted you.) Hands like paper cranes, hands like wind chimes. Then we could've been like lovers in a parody: "I love you, I love youno, I don't. But you are beautiful." And while I was not your lover, neither was I your queen. Either way, you wouldn't hold my heart.
iii. Our fingers would've taken flight and then the rest of us, too. Then you would've known of the ballroom in my chest, the migrations inside my body, of the tiny secret nothings that make their way like monarchsas if by instinct, as if they have been here beforefrom ballroom to piano hands to the museum that is my mind to my stomach. But you are the only lost boy afraid to fly.
iv. I was a foreign land and you would not dare travel without a map. But I do not possess a souvenir shop in which to purchase one. I am a des
you need to have a plan...so here's to
to some forgotten shore.
2. fall desperately in love with
i. the ocean
ii. the sky
iii. the honey sunrise and
iv. the steelgray winter dawn.
soul-deep into the water and
4a. search out the requisite words
i. from behind white and blue curtains
ii. and underneath clam shells
iii. and in the wakes of fishing boats, and
4b. pluck them from the ceaseless
scrawls of sunlight
against the slopes of waves.
5. make time for
ii. and other
beauty is a state of mindforgiveness is the
scent the violet leaves
on the foot that stomped it;
I am beautiful in remembrance:
I am beautiful
in a body two sizes too
large, in eyes dilated
with questions (eyes
you cannot name; gray
like the ocean, blue
like the heart, green like
the fever dream I cannot
wake from) I am the
hair of a lion, a wild
thing, ignition upon
tempted glance. I am the skin
you cannot name, always fleeting;
you always see
but never truly take in.
and I know a boy
carved of ivory silence,
my grandmother had a blanket of galaxiesmy grandmother once told me that if i gathered all
the stars in the midnight sky, i could sew them into
a giant blanket of galaxies for lovers to make wishes on.
this is what you do with your hands:
learn the same language my grandmother did all those
years prior to this moment of steam and shake.
come daybreak, we collapse into each other with the
sort of stumbling that my grandmother warned me of.
foolish hands know no boundaries, she would say.
thank God that i am boundless, finding you with probing fingers,
your shoulders a make-shift ladder i climbed to catch
just an inkling of heaven on the tip of my tongue.
if every i love you we whispered
into the gentle morning's ear
brought us closer together,
we would become each other.
folding until we are one:
nothing but a crease of constellations
on my grandmother's blanket.
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A two-time Community Volunteer for the deviantART Related category, Anne is well-known as a positive, helpful force. She is the community's resident expert when it comes to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and her personal gallery offers a wide variety of tutorials for new and experienced coders alike. In addition, each winter she hosts a calendar project encouraging members to create Journal designs for all to use, bringing more creativity to the community.
It is with immense gratitude that we acknowledge Anne as the recipient of the Deviousness Award for October 2014. Read More