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scars are more than upside down smilesto put the parallel lines decorating my wrists
like outdated wallpaper to use, i would peel
the scar tissue like the rind of a blood orange,
link the massacred pieces of myself into a chain,
and then throw it 300 miles right to the foot of your bed.
if there was a way to shift cities and collide hemispheres
until the stretch of miles between our aching bodies tightened,
i would do whatever it takes to bring you closer to me.
i would show up on your doorstep like an unexpected hurricane
and you would draw me in like a high tide. your porch light would
flicker like a fake smile and we would twist ourselves into foreign
tongues in each other’s mouths.
sometimes, our teeth rot in mason jars that used
to house fireflies in a time before we began this
downward spiral of inevitable events, and
you collected a basket full of skinned knees and
repeated apologies when you extinguished all of
my house fires with your bare hands.
my worn heart cannot fill the holes in yours.
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
palm readingsi exist in the city limits because i want the wind to make me frail.
fragile like a ghost,
a sorry sin i promise to abstain but inevitably commit.
my bus fare is a kick down memory lane.
i walk instead.
he told me i spun words that dissolved on the tongue
before he even had the chance to taste them.
he called me sugar like a midday ritual,
dressed me in compliments more fit for kings than commoners.
i turned complacent; comforted by new beginnings
and frightened by sudden endings.
my mother never taught me how to avoid heartache.
she only told me that my heart was a gold mine
and i should never let fake jewelry lay over it.
once, out of spite, i showed her my palms and asked what she saw.
she told me that in this world full of practice, there was no time for games.
when i showed him, he said that i am overworked.
now, it is the purgatory between autumn and winter that sinks my guts.
the waiting room lacks couches and candle scents.
the smiles are either plastic or
bed sheets hold more than bodiesi engraved the curve of my fingernails
into his shoulder blades, his tongue
sweat with lust. we touched,
real this time.
linens are scrapbooks: snapshots
of midnight and kush smoke
and breathing speech.
i cried oceans for lips that flowed like rivers.
i moved mountains for men
who were often obstacles of their own.
uncut grass and dusty mattresses,
warm liquor and bruises.
someone else's shadow is not for hiding behind.
my mother mistook me for chastity,
men mistook me for a chalice;
both drank me dry.
i took for granted the time i had another body
next to mine and now
i realize his absence with startling certainty.
the art of leavingtimes like this, i am convinced that we were just faking it,
how we traded dreams and comfortable anatomy
for secrets and messy closets.
it is nothing less than an unmistakable truth
that our coils are curled around each other
like infantile fingers:
all passion for passing time, no direction or destination.
we were consumed by our desire for warmth,
by our shared ability to extract smiles and steady breathing.
we taught each other the art of leaving
and because of this,
my name jitters caffeinated on your tongue.
i am combing through my bed sheets
in hopes of finding the salt i shed
to decorate my wounds with stings.
the process of healing is one i am continuously beckoned into perfecting.
i have already tricked myself into believing i do not need you;
i have already forgotten the shape of your face.
the lump in my throat isn't always a poema man with a scruffy beard and ice-blue eyes once told me:
when we love, we get angry when we are not loved the same way.
i wonder if he saw the hint of indignation,
the fragments of promises still swimming in my irises.
i want him to know that my smile still stutters across sentences,
that even though i haven't broken yet, i'm pretty damn close.
i want to ask him:
if an avalanche occurs when no one is looking,
will there still be a feeling of panic?
what happens to the leaves on apple trees?
if the piano is out of tune,
why do we bother dancing in the first place?
there is this lump in my throat that has not yet translated into a poem.
i think it's stuck there for good.
the human body cannot discard vitalities;
it is not designed to expel emotional things.
as he undressed me for the third time that night,
i tried to imagine what the moon tasted like.
my tongue kept clawing its way to the back of my mouth.
i enjoyed it too much.
now, his hands find themselves curled i
Farmington Hills, MII.
i have this tendency to hide behind tall buildings.
skyscrapers are home, but your lap
is the most familiar place i will ever know.
when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb,
he did not account for your smile.
the brilliance of the two can blind,
subsequently terminating his patents
and deeming light fixtures illegal.
every time i'm on the highway past midnight, i'm reminded that
the difference between us is a 300-mile span of lampposts.
i'm sure that Thomas Edison didn't consider this, either.
if he had, he would have used that mind of his to invent teleportation.
he wouldn't want me stranded in a bed too large for a single body,
shivering with thoughts of damp fields and crunchy leaves and interlocking fingers,
mumbling about how quickly we turned upside down.
still, i think of you in the moments before i do something brave
like tell a secret or hold someone's hand during a movie.
you taught me that forgiveness comes in floods.
my eyes are a tsunami-tide away
lost but never foundseptember/october/november/december passed
and not once did i utter your name to my father.
never did i breathe a single syllable about our injustices.
the world never knew how these 2 raging skyscrapers came to be.
through the months of false beginnings,
i spiritualized 4 a.m. walks to abandoned amusement parks.
thought God was somewhere in the rusted roller coaster tracks
speaking in clicks and gusts of wind.
that's what happens when human bones
search for misplaced forgiveness.
we garnered our sincerest apologies
when we swapped wristwatches.
we lost all sense of boundary
when you became an owl
and i blended into the darkness.
we were monumental mounds of metal;
a testament to the past year we spent looking
at the same stars through different windows.
our structure could not take it much longer; a collapse was inevitable.
this time, we did not shield each other from the debris.
symptoms of red a materialist
inside of you
unknitting your sweater
& in your dream
you are a wolf eating
a flower in an orange field. the world
is ending. an unnamed girl stains you
as if she were tea
giving up to a
she writes a story: the unrequited
blurry visions of two visionaries
whitewashedmother refuses to drink the honey
she paints our rooms with, for
curtaining the timid female quarters of home
is just as frightening
as a monsoon-poor September.
the kind she weaves
with her own words seem far
sweeter than the jars they make
in the farm down
the tree-cut boulevard.
she hides stories in her collars, spilling
only when her honey jars are raised
her red-hot honesty
and our yellow, foolish,
the forlorn scent of industry
seeps into the cheap marble floor
and cracked bathroom tiles,
till it reaches father's nose where it
vaporizes in fear of being shunned.
father will paint the ceiling blue
because aloof girls make broken homes, sewn seam
by seam to a delusional perfection.
we are perfect, bent at the knees and spine
to the fetus we compare to
but the shoulders we always are.
we dare not tremble;
his reign, unquestionable,
on growing upmy mother seemed to think that the most feasible way to live would be through a penniless existence.
she’d say to me: baby, you will never know peace until you have stripped yourself naked,
until you have carved yourself into the shape of a man’s side, because the empire of your skin
teaches you more than one way to rule & fit.
she’d say listen: you’ll find meaning when you reflect and refract the tenderness of life that shapes your belly,
and communicate its variance after you’ve stretched yourself thin,
the philosophy of skinned knees,
2 am fights over broken curfews,
failure of recognition when becoming the embodiment of statistics,
the taste of dawn after a night of wrestling bed sheets, the taste of moulding food
because you were too tired to cook dinner last night,
collapsing under the influence of stoned music,
resisting the urge to let your blood breathe after finding a buried box-cutter,
skydiving into the lust of atmosphere, b
day eighty four.there was a frequency in the air that sizzled the way telephone wires do
when i picked up the electric buzz your body generated next to mine.
swam in it for a while; curiously mistook the hub of electrolytes
dancing ionized glory on the surface of your skin for something far less
superior, or more.
and i swear, i swear our continuance shifted. i swear that the stillness of
wavelengths radiating from the base of your throat rendered itself
the course of grace. dawn frowned upon day like it wasn’t supposed to be there
just yet. night crawled under the covers of starlit gaze. and all the while,
you just cracked and popped in time-strewn intervals dimly, vaguely
here and there,
here and there.
The Problem With Elia.she could have been a violin;
born a week too late, she had
melancholy in her bones: doctor lizbet
took time out of her schedule to pluck her
newborn strings - calloused sanitation against
mottled pink-and-yellow flesh & thrashing limbs.
in three more years, she will have
nothing in her bones at all: doctor estair
diagnosed her with iatrophobia to fuel her
instinctive chords - ripple-free shells of liquid
lobotomy & a capsule to callous her pink-and-yellow
flesh against the thought of just getting over it all.
ten years after that, her mother will
find her face down and thrashing: her dust
bunny bones will flex as she retches up her memories
for display - lawyers will spend the next few years pawing
through them with clawed hands and heaving breathing until
one day, they find lizbet and estair huddled amid the rubble of her bones.
what you bring to the tableyou know, today i read that humans
are made out of stars
and i found that really interesting
because we all look up to celebrities so much,
like they’re sent from the heavens
when it turns out,
we are too.
your mom gave birth to you and
i think that’s beautiful—
the way one living thing can make
another living thing
and the second be completely different and unique
from any living thing that has ever lived before it.
but i also think it’s beautiful the way
you are made up of things older than
you can dream to be and it doesn’t define you
and it doesn’t break you and it doesn’t really change you—
you could have been a dwarf star or someone’s sun,
but now you can be anything you want and if you’re lucky
someone’s world can still
revolve around you.
worship yourself. love the bend in your spine
when you’re carrying a backpack full of your future,
the squint in your eyes from staying up too late,
your feet that without
i wore you like a bruise.all i remember is
the ridges of my knuckles
sinking slowly into
the valley of your cheek
underneath a regurgitated
slice of the moon.
you were always
fiddling with my holster
but i finally bucked up the courage,
cocked my elbow,
and pulled the trigger.
the night devours bloodshed
by covering up its tracks—
dousing our conversation
with an asteroid's kerosene
and leaving my metacarpals stained
with the indigo hue
i wore you like a bruise,
but quite frankly,
i was hoping for a scar.
a lover's observations.when you asked me to define love,
i answered with this.
i. a collection of sighs
by remembered dreams
and rapid heartbeats
ii. fingertips on knuckles
and the hugging of thumbs
iii. making silverware
on the mattress
in the company of the stars
iv. exchanging dialogue
with our mouths shut
and our eyes open
v. cheekbones and crow's feet
vi. turning every what if
into a reality
when i asked you to describe love,
you took the answer from my mouth
with your lips.
ocean lungsyou weigh something like gravity
in my tired expanse. you are
(my once splendid mountain)
my love is the ocean
that has worn you down.
with my monstrous tongue,
i pulled you in.
as you fall,
sweeping peacefully into the depths
and filling each crevice,
i am learning to inhale shores.
some would say i'm suffocating
and bring me buckets of air (only to have it
escape my slippery grip).
no, the tides need something heavy
to make of her
it was only under the weight of the stars
that vulnerability personified
and he floated into my arms like an honest promise.
we built castles with our mouths,
safe havens with our teeth.
after all this time, i still can't tell
whether he decorated my life
or vandalized it.
and i wonder if i will ever see him again:
painted and proud with those lips like royalty.
All Here For A ReasonI turned onto a shady, well-manicured driveway that, for all intents and purposes, looked harmless enough. Maple trees lined both sides of the street, and a parade of Canadian geese marched across the road to a wide duck pond with a flamboyant fountain. There were blooming crepe myrtles and rose-of-sharons, and as I grew closer to my destination, neatly trimmed gardens with neatly trimmed bushes.
I stopped to let the geese pass. They looked at me; one hissed. I honked my horn and moved around them.
At the end of the road sat a collection of grayish buildings and a number of signs directing me to the appropriate parking lot. "Welcome to Ten Creeks Hospital," said one of them. "Please enjoy your stay." I parked in the visitor's lot. Surely I wouldn't be staying.
I was shaking when I got out of my car. I had spent the morning getting high. One foot in front of the other, flip-flop noises, hot sidewalk. Mulberry and magnolia trees, freshly shaved grass. A bench and pan for smokers. A set o
[transmissions of a dead girl]i am the
moon: i am
the silver pill
to weigh down
into leaden eyes--
i am the
of the dark.
the stars are
all dead in their
you'll be safe, dear,
as i am the moon,
with all of your
(i am good bye and yet,
you think only of romantic
i am the moon.
i am the crescent
and dead altogether,
i still die.
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