her spine was dusk
and unmade nests,
but he tried to live there
he was neither nocturnal
nor a dawn-believer,
so he suffocated
in the birdhouse of her ribs.
enter: therapyfingers in the mouth,
pulling each ‘bad’ out, and
drowning in the screaming
that god is never watching
before meds swallow whole brains
and the wavelengths trying to terminate
a morosely-colored mind.
(but they were never mine.)
cutleryfall up the moon,
and talk if you want
(but she might not talk back).
one word to use but fingers
hailing with skins, and bones, and
maybe even the veins of a poet
saying there's not enough razors
to open her lungs.
fall up the moon,
and talk if you want
(but kneecap letters
and river-run wrists
might never talk back).
burning bridgesHe planted hope into her spine,
in the hope each hunch
would water it.
It grew crooked vertebrae
and aching knobs that bruised
beneath his calloused thumb;
eventually hunching was all
she could do to maintain herself.
Sometimes she’d curl herself
into a ball so small,
that even his voice
dare not reach her.
but she choked on his rain
and she grew his name
until her remains
were hunching soil.
UntitledI covered my head with rosemary—breathed them so far in, I planted a seed and the seed did grow, and feast, in me. I held myself like trees and tried to grow fingers, and feelings, but the sky wouldn’t keep me safe—stone shoulders and calling names who would not hear, knees soul-stained and dripping with the phantom touch of you.
Be the lightning in me, and forgive the fire, for I thought I’d roast my ribs to black—a soul-eater, and a thief to such small sympathies… but it’s okay, love, it’s okay: be you here or there, your home is now inside me, and I will breathe you safely.
Though I be oceansIf I push you away, do not leave, for I am probably in the chasm of a pain so wide, it swallows me in days. It’ll spit me out eventually, and dear I’m sorry if I hurt you, but I hope you’d be there to tie me down. I still do not know how to love without being broken and splintered in so many places, that I’d hope you’d be forgiving, despite the stakes I aim at us.
If I throw those broken ‘me’s at you, please lock them back inside of me… and know it was not you whom I was remembering. Know it was not the present I was lost in, but the past, and give me time to reinstall my gravity. I trust and love your prints, but my brain stumbles over fingers: They can be used as hooks, and I was a fish once before, but lord never again.
If I forget your touch within the memories of another, please sink your fingerprints into my lungs so I may breathe nothing but you and ‘now.’
If there comes a time when I forget the ‘now,’ plea
comets in my head againThere are bruises on my legs again.
Maybe I tried too hard for the stars - struck hemispheres of dreaming too big - while I count one, two, three, four, five shiners on my legs, ten lookers on each arm (your jointed peals of rage) and, probably, forty-four on my heart – though it’s not like I ever counted the number of times you beat me down, before.
It never did matter if I was enough for the 16 years - or for the Escitalopram - because I was never a star jumper that could trade in comets for the cratered, disfigured life of meteors.
There are bruises on my legs again, and I think I should stop dreaming.
“You’re winter… someone unknown—unfeeling,” I am told by the inferno minds of mothers, poison ivy-handed and strangled by a sorrow far deeper than blue trenches… and perhaps, then, bruises are truly meant as warmth for starving hearts.
When you browbeat desolation with the same fist, I drown and sob in nailboards, your absence pinned within my throat.
“You’re nothing but deserving,” I am told by stainless steel and death, angry and hidden alongside pillow-roofs and prayers. And maybe I don’t believe in god as I believe in it, directing midnight shadows through the intersections of scar tissue. I am only known by five white walls.
weightless and dizzy-faced, they are the only true friends: iron-lipped and stable.
“You’re too pretty to be so shy,” I am told by a man with fishing hooks for fingers… so I sing and sigh in song, like sirens ‘neath his boat.
I am skinned from the sea three
child-bearerMy face no longer bruises like fallen
apples, because for the past three years,
she’s taken more to thunder.
She rumbles about moths in my head,
their useless flutter in my blood as they
make me earthquakes, my inability to react
hyperventilating as I try and puke them out.
She thinks I should be able to burn them,
but still doesn’t know me well enough to know
that I can’t even kill a spider, and that’s one
of the reasons there’re so many in the basement.
She still doesn’t know me any better than the airports
and therapy sessions, where she would meet me, then, anew.
I think maybe we’re due to meet again,
but I’ll be moved out and too scared to shake her hand.
the kids have never cared too much for breathinghe wrote memento mori in the flesh
between his ribs, growing ivy 'round the
rotting of his lungs. oh, that satyr boy
was more narcoleptic than dystopian. with
menthol bones, he was infected & festering -
(you cannot dwell in a wasteland head forever, vagabond).
note to selfgo ahead-
forge a few signatures
onto your curving
those wavering shoulders
believable because soon
enough will not be
can you guess
where you're going?
you're being dragged
headlong into an
ocean of void,
and do you think
that's all you'll ever be?
take the specks
of gold in your
greying eyes and
hold them in your
scatter them through
dictionary pages and
blades of grass
and metallic dreams.
lose yourself in
fantasies of wine
and subtle reds,
then find yourself
in train stations
a decade from today.
they want a messy
crisp white paper
and a suitcase filled with
want sweet calligraphy
on napkins, walls
paper cuts and
long sleeves to hide them
want guitar string
even if it means
you sleep on train tracks
and scream and bleed
and swallow pride,
you never want to touch
another ballpoint pen
so throw yourself in the fir
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,
And There Was Lighti.
He was seventeen when he died.
I never went to the funeral
but I walked past it the day of
the service. His mother
was in the backseat of a blue Dodge,
door open, head in her hands.
"My baby," she kept repeating.
"My baby." It would go from sobbing, to
screaming, to a soft whisper that
I could only hear being carried
on the wind.
It was a Wednesday afternoon that they found
his old red pickup truck parked
out front of Slim's, two beer bottles in
the back and the windows cracked to let the stale
I heard that his dad told the police he was
gonna take that old truck and fix it up, because
he had promised his son before—
because it's always in the before—
And in the after, his mother never had dry eyes
and I'm pretty sure my mom told me
that she saw his dad at the bar every night,
drinking his sorrows down because some people can't
handle the stress.
Some people can't figure out why their son would
"Some men just want to w
I willI will love you
all the way to the place where ladybirds go to die,
to the lushest corners of the earth
that hold the secrets no man was meant to see
and we will find them, and know them together.
I will love you
all the way to the place where bubbles are made
at the bottom of a glass of cider
that blisters the glass with condensation
as we trade hats and laugh at the way the air smiles.
I will love you
all the way inside a branch where buds dream of Becoming,
where those one-day-flowers stir wooden hearts
into an uprising, into a blossoming life
and we will plant our ambitions there, in the blooming place.
I will love you
all the way to the square brackets that hold our boxes
because you are my best friends, and you will be
as we fold papery hands around paper-cut wrists and cry
and mourn eighty-odd years flown by too fast. Even then.
Even then, I will love you still.
love letters to introvertsi.
To the boy who prefers spending Friday nights at home:
the world does not understand how beautiful silence sounds
As you crack open that book you've been waiting to read,
or plug in your computer,
or listen to music,
or just maybe stare at the night sky from your bedroom window-
(please) remember what everyone else seems to forget;
that being alone does not always equal lonely--
and that sometimes no company is the best company there is.
To the girl who does not speak up in class:
I was once you.
You are not deficient, I promise, despite everyone telling you otherwise.
You might be the only one who will ever know the universes
tucked inside your head,
because they are beautiful secrets you cannot bring yourself to share,
for fear that they might be vandalized.
When you speak,
cynicism only gets you so fari've been bleeding
for quite a while now, i've been
watching the sun rise through the webs
of skin between my fingers
i've been stitching up my skin like it's
an old pair of jeans, like tearing so easily is
i think it's because this skin isn't
mine, it's an amalgamation
of other people's expectations and
screwed-up pieces of paper and
morning coffee or
and breath made for a different set of lungs
i've been living off
caffeine and insomnia
for quite a while now, i've been
talking to the moon through the diamonds
on my window pane
i've been throwing myself into the glass like i'm
a sparrow, like i'm a blind bird
i think it's because i don't know any
better, i pretend to be the queen
of the universe inside my room and
the ocean inside my teacup and
the lullaby i don't know the tune
or the words to
and a lover wrapped in plastic for the holocene age
i've been dreaming of
for quite a while now, i've been
thinking about running throug
on moving outI take my bookends. I take my whiteboard
and that crooked letter opener I use to pop the caps off
beers, I take my poems,
I take my brand-new never-used coffeemaker
and my decades-old over-used typewriter which weighs
about 6 babies. I take my pictures, and those letters
you wrote me;
I do not take you. I take the
PS2. and the broken lamp. and your
shirt. I take no shit.
but my own shit.]
I take a blanket,
my good underwear
and a deck of cards.
I take my cat.
I burn the rest.
n(ever)you were never.
and and exhale
of a wistful propensity
your sky was celestially
unceremonious in its enclosure
in your blood-caked
your foot found its leverage
through a series of
dulled-down sepia tragedies
you were never
my life, you
had a penchant for knowledge
and a pendant for everything,
a wisp of sand in your pockets
and a wilted flower
in a blank notebook.
write on those petals
everything you have,
everyone you know,
everything you'll never know
and everyone you'll never have
and throw it in some
then come back to me
wishing you had written more.
my love, you
are a living sunset,
and the stars will outshine you eventually.
my heart, you
are the last leaf
at the crown of a dying tree
and i am too afraid to climb up to you.
my everything, you
but you are enough to be
she is an asteroid,
through belted dresses
that skim past stomach
and smoothe her flaws
and soothe her faults.
an axis awakening;
bend like this, flex like that,
aspiration reminding her
with angry rotations
that she is still present
in her heavy astrosphere.
she is seeking absolution,
absolut and freefallen
she flirts with the night-
club lights like aurora floating
just out of reach
under an ashen sky
atlas stained with atlantic salt,
there is no hall unmarked
and these nights segue
she strips her face acoustic
no make-up, no need to wake up
an hour early for this adagio
addiction to adding,
always adding more to her skin
to hide the parts that
gasp and poison her vision
like asp assassins.
be quick or be dead,
she moves so slow.
she measures minutes
by an aftershock timeline;
stunned autumnal by bricks
crushed to powder,
she's stuck between the faults
as they line straight through her world;
i am tired of being told i will be okaysee,
that's the thing
all anyone ever
tells you is that
it's going to be
(you are telling me
that you are leaving.)
they don't tell
you what to do with
the pressure in
your chest on
the dark days,
or how to
uncurl your fists
from your hair
or your nails
from your skin.
(you are telling me
that you don't know if
you are coming back.)
maybe i don't want
maybe i'm tired of
only ever being
(i am building walls
again and you are prying
my fingers from my hair.)
i want more than this,
i deserve a word so full of
hope and safety that it
weighs my tongue down
give me a mouth full
of flowers and remove 'okay'
from your vocabulary.
i need more than this.
someday i will cut my hairsomeday i will cut my hair,
let the dresser do her worst
will watch the ends go first, light
from holding all of the sun, hear the
sharpness of the shears, will feel
buoyant, and alright
and leave the dark waves behind --
someday i will bind my hands
with golden bands, will let a
man lace his fingers
through the spaces between mine,
palm to palm, squeezing tight
like a promise kept
but not yet, not yet -
for now i will spread my
.i have followed you, night
followed your voice, those silvery
ribbons of air -
led me to the black gates
where you lay,
i sit on my roof,
and the darkness sticks
out it's tongue
(it says make sure you smile, they'll think you're not glad to be here)
.the stars rock themselves
there is nothing left;
they have peeled the moon
like a ripe fruit, coils
of pearly skin draping the hills,
only god knows
what they did to her core,
where they buried her seeds
in the earth
(i put my ear to the ground now and listen, for her children in their wombs of dirt)
between my vertebrae, you are (cemeterial)oh, these writers never speak; they
claw words out of bird carcasses,
poets pecking viscera like necropolitans.
they count their ribs to remind you
of a corpse or of a matchstick. dry bones
between fissured wrists & funeral pyres,
these have been dying days &
they're all mortuaries.
time quantum egresswe bury our hearts
in the heavy glow of the horizon,
the electric hum of the New Moon
digging through the skull
we wander stateless, eyes blankly set
in dispassion. lost souls of a lost time
dragging wire-shells and pale furnaces
and we have outlived our selves.
three ways to fall aparti.
we were seventeen
when you promised me that
this tiny dustbowl of
a southern town was not going to be
everything my life was made of.
it wasn't hard to believe
because the maps you'd spread across
your ceiling never lied (since you claimed
it was easier to dream when they
were stuck above you
in the night).
i remember the lines you'd drawn
in a felt pen, red because it seemed important,
seemed louder than the rest, and
i remember how you
would trace the roads with your eyes until you
fell asleep. you had a knack for
memorizing every escape route, and when i asked why
you answered that it was because one day you
would have to run.
when i asked if i could fly away with you
you said yes, and that night i dreamt
of runaways and falling stars. i never was sure
if they were supposed to mean something bigger than us.
sometimes when i lie awake at night
i wonder now how far we might
have gotten if we ever left, if we had jumped into
your old impala and left the road behind us -