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unrealistic ideologies of an
are toxic; breathing
is a chore. there is
a careful warmth in the
combined effort of
we are the forgotten.
we are the tangled limbs
and childhood stories for
a more sensitive future; we
are the longing, we are
we are measured
in the people we touch;
and I will love you
in the UV light of
hide and seek paranoia.
I love you in the red shimmer
of harbored dreams, I love you
in the industrial gl
in which I gain sentiencesave room
for doubt, in the silence between
religious guilt and stolen
body heat. I am made of helium.
in my dreams they
pop me and
watch me flutter. I wonder if everyone
else’s head is so congested as mine,
hyperactive with inattentive people.
you are never serious--
he stares at me in a different
set of eyes; there are words
I cannot say, there are
things I cannot tell you.
(twice a week
I watch the people I love
leave me for good.
spiders in my throat,
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,
sleepwalking with stars
like bulletwounds, tonight
is for wandering and
loving people I’ve never met.
I have a hole in my heart for
the boy on my bus who balances
the world on his chin as he sleeps.
I’m drawn to a sunshine girl leaking
beams every time she opens her
mouth to smile. and still, I follow
a boy who walks across clouds;
I want to ask him to send me up
like a balloon.
ways I need to be loved:
a hand heavy on my hip to remind me
gravity is more than an ideal, a
soft kiss to bring me back from
other galaxies, a calm whisper
when I’ve run out of words
but the silence is too
I’m severely broken up,
fragments of words and
heartscraps and sky-pieces;
crawling backwards through
open windows trying to find
a home. I’m trying but
I was untaught how to
function, I’m trying to
be correct. I’m trying to
be normal. I’m trying to
be correct. I’m trying.
words I need to hear:
I Love You. i love you
i love you i lov
accidental exposurenewton’s laws never
applied to you. maybe
tomorrow won’t come, and
we will always be a
few gestures short of
you are that glint
on the edge of the
flirtation of a star, of
a wish whispered
into skin that
cannot listen. I
traced so many apologies into
your spine; Dear Amy, my
body is an empty bookshelf
and I’m sorry I couldn’t
give you a perfect ending.
Dear Amy, you are more than
the hands that hollowed you
and made you quiet. Dear Amy,
stunted emotional development
is a blessing but I’m so scared I’ll
hurt you I’m so scared I care
about you, you’re the first person
who didn’t want me selfishly,
the first person to make
there are so many shades
of blue in your eyes
I can’t capture; so many
poems caught in your
hair. I dreamt about you
every night this week;
I was the monster hiding
under your bed.
car crash on an empty roadit happened before
we did. it was more a person
than you or I or that boy
in the park trying
to convince us to
stupid. it happened
before your smile
cracked the sky in half, before
our laughters slurred into
a dissonant song, before
your fingers traced the stories
lying on my face before I knew
just how many pieces of sunshine
were trapped in your hair before
the walls became the ceiling and
I wasn’t claustrophobic.
things I remember:
the red blur of your room like
God was experimenting with the
symbolism in abstract art, the
tri-tone shimmering of your eyes
like the surface of the water, the way
you defined perfection as a scale of
women ending with a less than sensible
me, the way you always moved like
you were dancing and no one was there to
to the girl with hungry footstepsI'm sending all my words back
to the people who need them--
people who wear scars like
war trophies, like jewelry, like
an identification for those suffering
from the same acceptance of
self-hate. this is to the people
who sleep with one eye open, who
cry when footsteps enter their room
at night; this is to the girls
who love by cutting their hearts
into snowflakes and watching
them melt. I left you behind and
I can't be sorry for that.
you are the type of beautiful
that kindly asks the world
to fuck off. the days we buried
have decomposed, headstones are
snapshots; sanitized breakdowns,
rusty tongues, sighs laced
with fear, I love you, I love
you. saturdays were the best
because we could sleep through
the nightmare. you painted me a
picture of the world with your words
and they made us wash it away
for being transparent.
we were afraid of nothing
but the monsters in our eyelids.
back then, we counted days
like shooting stars; it took 67
to wish myself away. this
is for you, skygazer;
negative spacethere are bruises on my skin
like fairy dust, (i wish i could
it’s late and
night creatures are crawling between
anticipated gestures. my hands are
shaking but I am not scared. I am
an earthquake dressed in moonlight, I
am a natural disaster, I am an
is static and I can’t decipher my own
thoughts, he is
in my throat, crackling like a fire.
every word crumbles before it stands tall. he
is the future come back
parasthesiaand i guess i should have said i drilled this
cavity through my chest for you; you hid
in my mouth instead. there will always be you
holding my hand protecting me from
monsters in the dark worse than the ones
inside of us. goodbye
is not a word. it is the way
you will not meet my eyes when i
tiptoe back through eggshells and phantom
heartbeats. i guess i should have said
i don’t know the labyrinth of myself. i
should have mentioned the pinpricks
on my skin where you injected
yourself like a vaccination. i should
have told you that your eyes remind me
of a watercolor sunset and your hands
are anchors and you are always warm
and i am tired of shivering. i should have
warned you that i’ve never loved anyone
as much as a prescription. i should
have held you closer to me, i should
have held your pieces tighter, i should
have carved a bigger hole.
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.
Turn my words against me.I want my words to take
root in your stomach and grow
up your esophagus, the calyx
of your tongue brushing the edge
of your teeth until the words blossom
from your lips in a slow
explosion of elegance, jawline
trickled with nectar, charming
hummingbirds and honeybees
with the promise of butterfly kisses.
and then the gods come forth your lips were bleeding ichor,
as you dreamt beneath the universe
and i thought to myself...
i. head underwater, they watch you
with cassiopeia eyes as you
seep into her star-stricken skin
ii. we carved our names in hearts
on the flesh of dryads, arms
branched out, head full of sky
ever-expanding, infinity between
but falling leaves
indicate that the tree is dying
iii. iii. you're like a flower in the winter,
storm tucked behind your ears, and
oblivion in the corners of your lips
the summer heat is getting to your head
fall-ing for you-is the season of change
(but have i not changed enough for you?)
iv. i think of you spilling out the lyrics
to a heartsong, a blurry crescendo,
with the drip-drip-dripping melody
of the november rains and the honey
sunsets that fill up your cheeks that
you'll never realize you're singing all the
w r o n g w o r d s
the writers were ice-pick lobotomistswe made a temple out of
layered bones - fit them
together with grey matter.
poet kids, we were waning,
wasting, rotting out our
teeth. heavy hangmen
hammered nails into our
skulls; we were scrawling
watercolour sky shrinking,
too late, teeth fall; pearls
from a broken string.
Blink and the moon ignites—
but the sheets are still
eleven reminders to love yourselfi. When I talked to myself in
kindergarten, my teacher caught me
nestled between crayons, and towers of neatly
stacked voodoo drawings, darting to find
the perfect color, saying, "Mommies f-f-feed
their babies through the b-b-belly button;
that's why I have one. But they cry,
I c-c-cried, because I came out of my mommy's
mouth." My mother was called to school
that day; the teacher explained that
I was s-s-stammering a lie and it needed
needed fixing, so my mother
halted my stammer in its tracks
and didn't hold back when she said,
"With a head that big, you never would've
left my body, darling."
ii. The gold of the sun is
painful to me; I'd rather let the Margalla-exhausted monsoon
winds, subtend over its study of yellow
and blue to give me grey, (which once made
me cry because the color wheel said
green was right) and I'd rather
let my scarf darken under the reign of
a lightning-mustachioed sky,
bellowing a thunderous roar
My melanin levels couldn't
dampen me on s
a.m.the kid's writing in crayon:
i am sprawling white void
others have had it
worse, more spectacular vomitings.
the kid inspects the salmon-
blue flesh of his ankle instead.
you try to navigate the rim of the crater
soaked in iodine.
but you never name the issue itself.
will be no different.
re: chromesthesiaon the body and proprioception
as subjected to
upon inspection of varying souls
and sounds, this
that at a certain frequency
the ribs expand to make
more room for reverberations--
that the sternum shakes
as pillars do--
that the chest lifts in an attitude
of breathless expectation--
and that at a particular, powerful wavelength,
all subjects reported that they had never felt more impaled
upon their own spines.
apollo, i am not for salestitch a pitch perfect sonnet of
into the infinity
of my ear canal. i
have a storm inside
me but no beaufort
scale, oh how i beg
to be impaled
with less appreciation
conviction; i am no
land and you
are a bulimic seeking
from the twenty one guns
at my unseen funeral.
only hope and Hecuba. feast
on my peace with me.
on my sermons
of affection, the ones
branded into my
chest with the sizzle
of experience. feast on my
numbness and this
raffleticket roll you received
and second-third-seventieth thoughts,
of exhuming my heart
and taping it back
into my spine.
(perhaps with a softer
tenant inside, from
each of my vertebrae
will come a spine that will not -
cannot - break)
feast on this hidden
feast on my will to
take all the things
you can only
you must give
back to me
of my civil war;
and mine. perhaps
someday you may
unarticulatedtonight I ask myself:
where are you going with all these names
in your pockets? syllables that taste
unauthentic in the desperate American
repression is a series of images
earthbound angels breathing
flame, starving hands speaking
in tongues, glazed eyes
asking are you fucking okay
pale skin becoming moonlight,
reflecting and refracting and
the quiet understatement
if you need help making it through the dayremember:
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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