skin peels from bones, submerged in crimson liquid:
and if you were to look inside me,
damn aesthetics, break my ribcage free and
delight my lungs with your tongue of venom,
your eyes would light with glee at the
i listen to too many 8tracksi've never told anybody this,
but i'm telling you now that someday
i'm going to swim into the ocean
and never come back.
i'm going to swim so far out
that not even the largest lighthouse
could find me. i'm going
to let the seawater soak
into my veins until i'm bursting,
salty with the bitterness
of all the times i never had,
like the nights you rubbed
circles on my back. i'm going
to fight against the current, knowing
that i'll be defeated before
i even begin. it doesn't matter
that someday my body will be found
by either man or animal, for this body
is mere transport; my soul
will be of the sea, of the tides
that wash onto the shore and cling
to the sand. and maybe,
if you look closely enough,
you'll find me riding the current
probably a few weeks agoyou’re seven cups of coffee in and it’s 1 a.m.
the waffle house countertop seems
expansive in the dim light.
for the first time this night,
you deny your waitress the right
to pour you another cup.
if coffee can’t keep you awake,
you lay a tip on the tabletop when she is
bent over her phone.
she might be your age,
rings etched under her eyes
from a procession of shifts spent
waiting for the sun to rise.
outside, you spark the lighter.
smoke slides down into your lungs
then shoots back out your nose,
curls in haloes above your head.
wade out into the adjacent field of barley
where the plants are hunched over
in their opulence; teeming with granules
that beg for the harvest.
cup the soft soil in your palms,
mix it with the scintillating light from the diner,
and realize you are only just beginning to understand
the complexity of things.
saccharineshe’s made of cotton candy:
spin, twirl, break, then dissolve.
sugar rushes through her veins,
viscous, arteries clogging
from the buildup. her eyes are filmy
and she leaves a sticky residue
wherever she touches. many
find her a delight but she rarely stays
for long, her presence disappears
as their lips forget her name,
their tongues forget her taste.
she starts everywhere and ends
nowhere. parents warn their children:
stay away, she’ll make your teeth rot.
yet they persistently return
with their nickels and dimes,
insisting on just one more taste.
seasonal reflectionsi. autumn arrived with a reckoning,
the pine cones held secrets and they’d whisper
to me in the night as their sweet wood hands fell
to the ground; i tasted maple honey
while sticky fingers scraped bark
that screamed sweetly to the sunset
ii. winter came slowly, timberland
freeze and peppermint icicle swirls
on frosted puddles as cold as Siberian igloos,
Eskimo girls in bear skin hats and leather gloves;
i was never one of them but i heard
they breathe out steam in glacial time
iii. spring bloomed and so did the bruises,
black and blue like Van Gogh’s starry
night, minus the stars; my teeth grew crooked
as wildflower veins and my hair sprouted
like meadow grass, i pretended i was a coppice
nymph and at dusk i sang with the cicadas
iv. summer sought the hidden gardens,
the scorched earth cultivated secrets in barren
soil, foolish, i dug for the answers but uprooted
only last year’s seeds, tore the foundation down
with broken nails; i danced with honey feet on
It’s been a year and I can still remember waking up, disoriented and alone. You were my compass, and you left. I don’t quite know how, but I’ve managed to make my own way without you. And it hurts. God, it hurts. Sometimes I wonder where you are and what you’re doing and who are you with? Are you with someone else? Are you with him? I know you won’t ever receive this letter, that the postal service will realize how hopeless these efforts of sending this are, but I can’t help myself. I can’t help that I still think about the way your lips fit perfectly with mine or how right it felt to be with you. I know that this message will end up as one of thousands of others in the dead letter office but maybe, just maybe, it will reach you.
Six months and four days: that’s how long it’s been since he has sent the letter. He lives in New York City, in an apartment that he still has yet to pay
Theological Semanticswe are on vacation in Florida
when she asks me, “what is God?”
and i correct her, “who is God?”
and she shakes her head, repeats
“what is God?”
the sea sounds fill the gap.
i can see a storm roll in
over the ocean expanse
and i take a breath and answer:
God is all of the things that can’t be explained
with recitations and verses.
God is the space that empties itself to tangibility
and the ghosts that scream in the wind.
God is the meaning between the breaths and last night’s
whiskey running through your veins.
God is the reflection in your eyes and the mist exhaled
into January nights that evaporates under the moon.
God is the sounds too high to hear, frequencies
not meant for humanity because we would misinterpret.
God is all of the pasts that never were and all of the
futures that will never come to be.
“does that answer your question?”
and the sea washes
away our footprints
The Eventual Give and TakeI can always tell when I’m pushing you over the edge, and I want to stop, I do. I want to close the wounds I’ve opened, to patch you up with dollar store bandages so you will no longer bleed sorrow. I want to make it okay. I want your eyes to shine like the stars you capture and your smile to reflect sincerely when you look in the mirror. I want to please you and I want to unburden the weight I put on your shoulders. I want you to be joyful, but not happy, because happiness can be washed away as quickly as sand is pulled back into the sea. I want to be your escape, not your prison. So give me the key, and I’ll lock it away with all of the other things that I want.
My dear, what you lack in understanding you make up for in insolence. You have never come close to pushing me over the edge. You have never made me bleed sorrow. I may appear to break and bend to the whims of your subconscious desires but remember: an ounce of advice makes for a wealth of p
The DregsThere are kids killing
themselves on concrete
beneath flickering street lamps
that watch over the city like
and T.J. Eckleburg would
shake his head,
lost in the urban sprawl
of the future eating the
past. They are
trying on tongues
under clouded moonlight,
for mother, madre, mére,
ahm, abatyse, äiti,
but stumbling over strange
vowels and unfamiliar
consonants because their
teeth are stained from
too-hot coffee and a
of fluoride. Caffeine
overload, synapse electric,
a metropolis made hectic
by layered skyscrapers
clawing at the sun, shadows
casted over the neighborhoods
no one speaks about
How to Ride a HorseBecause he’s kicked you
assert your dominance
Lead him to the mounting block
Climb atop his back
Let him feel
your weight before
you squeeze his belly
Take the reins
between your fingers
to the ring
Warm him up
with repetitive circles
Before you point
him towards the jump
urge him to a canter
as you fly through
the air and land
Straighten up— don’t
Ugly Scars“Why do you cut, dear?”
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
Of course it does –
It hurts more than I’m worth
“Why do you cut, dear?”
“Aren’t you ashamed?”
Of course I’m embarrassed,
But I’m used to the blame.
“Why do you cut, dear?”
“Why don’t you stop?”
Can you stop a dead body
From starting to rot?
Because, darling, you see,
I’m not even here.
I’m only a corpse
With no hope, and no fear.
“Why do you cut dear?”
Well, don’t you see?
There’s a pain inside
So deep within me
And it’s coming to the surface
But no one understands
So I put that pain
Inside my hands.
And I lay it out
For all to see
On wrists so red
And forearms that bleed.
“Why do you cut, dear?”
“It’s ugly, you know.”
“ugly” is exactly
What this is meant
bullets in a shot glassAgain the archers are aching,
again their bones are breaking
like the cracks in the Colosseum.
Death does not defend
fighters; he does not fulfill
godly goals of
heaven and halos.
I am inverted, introverted,
a jester jeering
at kids who kiss
like life is long enough to fall in love.
my mouth is a machine,
a new nightfall
ordering our soldiers out
into pits where they pray for peace.
the quirks of our
ridiculous readings rule us,
sand us into sculptures
thin and tall, trembling.
our universe is built on uncertainty
and vicious virtues
written by long-dead warriors who
expected to live forever, and
I do not yield to your
he saved me, but he killed me.
i. first light- i met you in a crimson forest.
it was a rose garden summer, and out of a black mercedes
you walked out, your five year old eyes greener than
you reached up to pluck a rose from its stem, and offered it to me.
"what's your name?"
daddy told me that i couldn't tell strangers my real name.
I looked at the rose in my hand.
you smiled, you were a seastorm of now long-gone innocence.
i didn't understand
but I knew.
ii. i forgot about you for
1562 days, 11 hours, and 22 minutes,
my name, but i didn't recognize you
until i saw your eyes.
iii. my father fell and didn't stand back up again.
i screamed, and you carried me home.
iv. i didn't talk for a week.
i stared at the gray of the sky. it was the color of my father's eyes.
you sat next to me in the pouring rain,
Self-Harm Isn't a HandbagPick at the scabs of the ghosts of scars
On the insides of my wrists,
White hot pain memories shoot up my veins
And the tear vapour creates mists
In the lenses of my glasses.
My world narrows down to those
White stitch marks that keep the
Patchwork of my forearms and thighs
Keeping the dark ugly hurt
On the insides
How could I have done this to myself?
Could I blame you?
And her too?
I’m a big girl now,
And the blame rests on my wrists,
That flicked the blade
And sprayed the blood,
And the mind that forbade
Me to ask for help.
I’ve said it before
And I’ll say it again;
It isn’t beautiful
To put yourself through such pain.
When your head is buzzing
From the hit of the high
Of a new cut on your thigh,
Or your mind is lost in a mist
Of ecstasy from a new slice
On your wrist
And you’re dependent on it
A junkie needing a hit,
It isn’t pretty or cute or special.
No amount of kisses
Will undo the cuts
Or absorb the scars.
Anxiety attackAs the attack begins,
I feel myself slipping away again.
And I question things that are better left unsaid.
And contemplate if I am better off dead.
My anxiety is killing me,
I feel my hands shaking.
And I am sobbing.
And am I dying?
I am just trying,
To get a grip.
But I feel my reality slip through my finger tips.
Nothing is real,
Except every bit of pain my mind forces me to feel.
Every memory that I had shoved away.
Is now racing around my brain.
It's driving me insane.
And my limbs turn to jello.
Every time my head hits the pillow,
Before I go to bed.
I start to panic and I am wide awake instead.
More thoughts are swarming around like a hurricane.
Make it stop!
And just like that,
The attack is gone.