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
the worst miraclereading my drunk poetry about you
makes me feel drunk again
dizzy eyed, violent desire
you’re the only calm to my storm
with respect to my past self,all of my writings have led up to
y o u and m e
and i should have known before we even started,
i warned myself before i even knew the color of your eyes
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
LessonsIn forty-seven minutes I will be twenty-one years old and my throat is tight with this notion
that every passing moment is a boat taking me further from the boy on the side of the road.
I am terrified of the swelling tide of time, the ripples I will create,
the creases that will be etched into my face
without the laughter lines I know he would have left and
one day someone will ask me how many siblings I have and I will hesitate
because he will be so distant and I can feel it coming.
I never intended to swim without him, but
I am drowning under the weight of pocket-stone-people,
the ones I love who he has never met and won't ever meet
and its forty-four minutes until I turn twenty-one when I realize the relentlessness of this;
how I will age away from him and I am disgusted with myself, with his ashes on the bookshelf,
with this world that keeps making mistakes that can't be fixed.
Twenty one years old and I am a semi-colon, a shuddering pause on the floor,
remembering the time I broke
beautiful.i hate my stretchmarks
the vertical the horizontal the ones running miles down my arms
stripes on a circus tent
my body is a freak show
75 cents a ticket
they are the bars on a cage
trapping me inside this prison cell of flesh
(not letting me run away
from all i once was)
reminding me that i am
still that little girl who
was told that she had too
much weight in her stomach
and in her thighs
to be called beautiful
my stretchmarks are the debris from when i tried to collapse upon myself
tried taking up less space
because beautiful is small beautiful is skinny
diets upon diets
because i've been told that
i am only worth the sharpness of my collarbone
why i never wrote you a poem.last summer i tried
to use the words that you fell asleep to
to write you a love song but
every time i tried
my fingers froze up.
i failed the test of describing you
in a paragraph
in a sentence
in a word
there is nothing in my head adequate enough
to describe how you look
on the train station platform
when you smile at me.
i can tell you that
my heart climbs into my throat and
my body prickles with heat and
everything disappears, for just a moment, but
the thing i cannot describe
your mouth caresses my name
like it’s the most beautiful sound
it’ll ever know,
like it understands me perfectly,
you are not made of verses.
you have no meter.
you are not written in stanzas
that i understand
and i find myself captivated
at how beautifully complex
your language is.
you say i’m the mesmerizing one, but, baby,
you've stumped me.
you have left a girl,
a person who wants to build their life
girls that photosynthesizeI.
i asked my mother to buy me sweetener,
and she said "no," and she said "no,
sugar is better for you it's more natural"
so i shrug and i clamp my teeth over
my tongue and sew my mouth closed
and i steal sweet n' low
from the pizza place
my friends watch me pick at my lettuce,
a rabbit-food-lunch that makes me sick
to my stomach, and when i run to the
bathroom during science class they
follow me and ask what i ate for breakfast.
i say "waffles" because they can't know
i won't let them stop me
my therapist asks me if i think i'm sick
and i'm not, i'm strong, but i can't be
not here not here, and the $$$$$$$$
are ticking away as i consider my answer
so i say "yes" and she asks me what
i will become and i say "better"
because that's all they want to hear
my dietitian sets up a rough meal plan
and she says i won't gain weight on it
somehow i trust this woman with art
on the walls of her office and i pick
through the day in corn-kernel bites,
Dear Homophobic ParentsDear homophobic parents,
How the fuck do you think it makes me feel
When you walk out of the room crying
Because you can’t stand the thought of something I can’t control.
I’ll tell you that it makes my insides burn.
The living room feels like a closet.
Suffocating, and yet I can breathe fine.
I am choking on the air,
Polluted by your homophobic slurs.
Making uneducated guesses about things you know nothing about.
Someone ought to teach you to look shit up
Before you go about, shouting your false claims to the world.
My very existence is an error.
Some messed up chemical defect that went wrong,
I don’t belong
I am the Titanic,
To you I am supposed to be perfect
I am supposed to be straight, and happy, and fine.
But I am so very far from fine,
When my lungs are filling up with water,
Your words are an ice berg,
And I am sinking fast.
Why I DanceI dance as if I am sick,
And the movement is medication.
As if getting up in the morning just to practice is the only motivation
To stay awake.
Because well- worn soft shoes
Feel like home.
The world is cold, and lonely.
But when I dance, there is a fire inside my heart, warm and lively.
I feel like a bird,
Like I am able to fly as high as I want.
Gravity, I taunt
As I laugh in its face.
Because the Earth was never a place
Because leaping across dance floors,
Allows me to soar
Higher than I could in my dreams.
Hard shoe dances make me feel powerful.
Like a raging storm at sea.
My stamps, and clicks are crashing waves.
But I am also the sea breeze.
Strong and graceful.
When I dance I feel like I am trading
Secrets with the universe.
My head is clear,
And my will power is strong.
I am a force to be feared.
On bad days,
The rhythms of hard shoes sound like a heart- beat.
A life line.
And I’ll dance until my feet bleed
Just to feel something.
Because dancing is the only thing
A Letter to the Girl who Hates her BodyA letter to the girl who hates her body.
A letter to that girl
Who scrolls through tumblr.
Admiring all of those models.
With thigh gaps that look cute with skirts.
And a waist that you can barely see.
A letter to the girl
Who looks at models,
For their curves.
The way their hips go outwards
And their size D cup breasts.
Please don't look in the mirror,
And hate the girl you see.
That girl is you
And she should be loved unconditionally.
Because you deserve love.
And how much love is not determined on your waist size,
Whether you're chubby or skinny
You're still so very pretty.
You're so perfect.
So for every time you look in that mirror.
And tell yourself you aren't worth it.
That you're arms are too big,
Your hips aren't big enough.
I am a woman.
I am strong.
I have a body like a castle.
A kingdom made just for me.
And I will not destroy that castle,
By trying to starve myself.
By taking brick by brick and dismantling it
There is a weight
You asked me to hold.
(Just for a while,
Just for a while.)
My tendons strain and snap,
I lack your Atlas strength.
The crushing force of gravity
Makes me weak, makes me sore.
Take it back, take it back,
But you’ve gone away.
I’m sinking down, I’m sinking down.
The water rises to my throat.
Pushing down, rising up
Drowning and drowning and drowning.
Take it back, please take it back,
Where have you gone?
I’m pinned beneath this weight,
With water to my nose.
My lungs fill up with salt,
Choking and screaming and breathing
Only freezing thickness of water.
Where is that mild friend oxygen?
Where has he gone?
My stinging eyes are blind here.
I cannot to escape, unwilling
To shed this leaden snare
Wherein I dwell confined.
I grip it tightly.
Surely I will die,
Sweet air has left my blood
I lay back and let black water take me,
Frozen fingers loosen on Your weight.
And all at once
it falls away
I watch i