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TorrentsI retain you and swell at the lungs,
I cover up the stretch marks around my thighs
when you've gone away.
Through historic hikes
and around seaside wars, I lay us
like home-bound sighs awaiting the brewed catastrophes
that bring us together.
We crash onto each other's decaying bones
like territorial waves
and I keep myself against your billows, feeding off your breaths,
barely alive on my own.
We are undulating whispers,
Codeinei remember thinking of bruises as just visible
i thought it meant that i might be
fasterfaster and it wouldn't take so long
i remember you
and how effortless you would make dying sound.
and then there were some marks
i couldn't trace. and i wore them like garnets.
i wore me
until all i could remember
was how to mark at all.
latethe worst part is standing at your desk
and being asked to do the hardest thing.
i wish they made me talk about him,
so i could splatter these watercolored words
into something that might make sense;
a waterfall frozen in mid-disintegration,
seeds that fought the soil only to be plucked away,
love that became as necessary
i wish they asked about my poetry,
and how much i hated the way my penmanship lessons
made me neat and error-less
when all i wanted was to make a mistake
that someone might think was brilliant.
but they tie my braids,
strip me of clothes that covered everything,
and ask me "who are you?".
and i don't know yet.
EnnuiHere's where things got hazy:
you talked about pulling the stars closer
because the bigger they got, the less insignificant you felt.
I presumed it was because I called you mine.
Bottle caps and paper punchers
were the things we made love on when you decided
to live life more dangerously.
Indentions were made on my skin and not by
your touch, but by distractions - carefully planted, unlike
the way you used to kiss me. Your lips
lost instinct, but still tasted as they always had; soft
and pure, in the way no one else before me understood.
Maybe simplicity pulled you from me.
Or maybe you felt like I was too easy,
too predictable, and my endless sunday morning-coffee
overdosing lifestyle didn't feed your fingers the words
you'd slam into the typewriter. Maybe you really needed me
to anger you into spiraling verses,
until you realized that we spilled the words on the floor
and never bothered to pick them back up.
I feel like I've finally learned you, or possibly
unlearned what I'd taught
And he said there's no tryingI've changed my words so much
that they spread across my skin like lace,
like fabrics that won't cover my innocence
and even when I peel them away, I don't look any better.
Cold tea and cold fingertips and everything
became a winterland and I've been spending so much time
swaddled in my own sheets made of bombs and bonds and
so much of the uprooted pasts that I don't even know
what time of day it ever truly is.
And with blood clots along my chest and fevers in the bath,
I hold on to the ceramic versions of who I think I am;
mirrors and broken tiles and empty cups of creativity.
I brood over my inability to hold these fragments
so that even if they're never placed right again,
they'd still all be there.
I've changed my tears so much
that I don't recognize them in the flooded lands
and with desperation, I traipse through them blindly,
seeking myself but hoping it is changed too.
self-portraits of scorch marksi peeled the paint away because
it terrified me. and at the center
of quiet when every moving thing
is still and silent you can hear
the secret alarms consuming your head-
space like the wind chimes of dying.
like wallpaper, an adhesive for your limbs;
you wear thoughts like a floral coat
so the ugly can camouflage with
the petals of hopefulness you have
long discarded as understatements and falsities.
you left a handful of paint swatches
on the kitchen table. you had been collecting
them from every place you've lived in:
the washington sky an airy grey
soaking my fingers through, massachusetts
like the color of your eyes where they meet
your pupils, except straighter at the shoulders,
and paris the glossy red that stained your shirt sleeve
when you thought you would never leave her.
i think we could be more dramatic
in here, am i right? dropping them on the table
and turning to leave, always leaving.
so i've become colorblind in your grasp,
and can't differentiate between stop
AffannatoIf my ribs were weighted keys,
I'd play you an ocean song that tips you
right off the edge of the earth,
and clinging to my last phrase, you'd say
'what a tragedy, what a helpless dreamer,
such a beautiful pair of lungs gone to the dust'.
And night would hold us in that distant desperation,
playing our heartstrings so we couldn't keep up,
no, not with that soulful, off-tempo portrait
of who we could have let each other become.
I'll crawl back to bed on my bare boned knees
and when I wake to the black holes you've burned
into the sheets you and I were 'us' on,
I'll write you a desert song
about how I jumped off the edge of the earth
and you weren't there.
In stillness1. My bones are rocks, curved and exfoliated and shaped
by the heavy ocean storms in my lungs,
like cyclones of dust and regurgitated diary entries
have been lifted by the trembling earth
and slammed into my spine, repeatedly, until I bow
before everything more powerful than I could ever be.
And they are yours.
2. I love you,
like my lips thirst for more than your mandarin gums,
so I can eat through the hurt, clogged in your throat.
"My heart is obviously incapable of holding love";
let me prove you wrong.
3. Our sex lies in the pain along my neck,
where my blood has pooled and frozen.
I can barely feel my fingers or my toes and I am lost
in the kind of surrendering you never (have the time to) think about.
4. Like plates, we can only make something
when we converge or diverge;
mountain ranges for our breaths to circulate,
or new plains for our feet to soak into our soles.
Clamber over the trenches your fingers have carved on my chest
and hide under my immobile muscles.
Smoke alarmsI stopped smoking cigarettes on the day I realized
that the more I tainted my teeth with it
the closer my lips got to tasting like yours.
The thought of our tongues; plastered with a layer
of rebellion and faulty filters,
wrapping around each other like ribbons that keep words
close-knit and silent,was unsettling.
I couldn't blink quick enough
before the fugacious images of the ways
you could fit yourself inside of me hung over my eyelids,
like a direct beam of scarlet sunlight on my skin.
You are the cafe patron I had last night;
a creeper that boils in my stomach
and floors me when I try to stand on my own.
I am the Light Weight.
I lit up today and put the ashes in an envelope.
You liked to lick the places I sealed your letters
because you could taste me.
Here's hoping my kiss tastes as terribly right as yours.
white noise.sometimes i turn off the greasy yellow lights and run the water lava hot.
the quiet porcelain is an untouched coffin
familiar as the look in your eyes.
i can hear my heart beat in my ears
and i stare at the ceiling until it darkens and blurs at the edges.
my body is heavy as lead
i cannot remember the weight of movement.
sometimes the closest i can get is the suicide between each breath
and the apology unspoken on the inhale.
my skin is a ladder i keep climbing,
i can see through the rungs to the fat cells that weigh down my bones.
my hand becomes his when it creeps uninvited over the landscape of my body
and across the staircase of my ribs.
i can't erase the feeling of his body pressed like a book
over my flower.
my head is white noise that bleeds red,
but i'm tired of all the blood.
tired of all the memories like channels
i keep flicking past.
sometimes i wonder if i cut enough slack in my skin,
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.
we are all waiting to be found.August 17, 2012
I met a girl five years ago on a train to Paris and she told me she was running away. I asked her why, and she said she didn't know why—just that she had lots of things in her life that would justify her escape.
She held a cup of coffee in her left hand and periodically, she'd inhale the steady steam and sigh. I think she caught me staring at her once when her nostrils were on the plastic lid, so she explained that the smell of caffeine kept her heartstrings alive.
Her eyes were forever open, as if she never stopped to blink because she was afraid she'd miss something, and the sun sat on her eyelashes like birds on a wire because she told me she didn't know how to cry.
She had a habit of dropping things, and the third time she stooped below the table to pick something up, she screamed and hit her turquoise beret against the desk and spilled the sugar out of my tea. She apologized like a little kid, with her bottom lip sticking out ever so slightly, and said
001 i am a whirlwind of
an aching heart
a regret that could
Worn Out Siren TalesI was once the moon-rippled, crystal clear
disturbance at shore
and you found hope, resting
on the borders of
sand and wave.
When I moved, you breathed,
It just isn't worth it,
I was carved on ship hulls for a
and I was summoned from sleep to
drown myself in the clutches
of a sea that disowned me
for one too-
and I wrote on woody parchments
for more attention than
So when you moved, I stopped,
Tell me this is eternal,
I had not.
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.
I hope you are reading thisthe person I love loves music much too much
and the person I love loves that I love the quiet and easy days
loves that I like to stay up late (or early) till the birds sing of morning and
the person I love loves that I love to hold hands and hold a body but only when I know them fully
and the person I love loves listening to my songs and listening to my voice and to my poetry and stories
the person I love has songs to share too and a voice that melts my heart and words that mold it back into something nostalgia old and inspired new
and the person I love loves to look around and take it in once in a while and wonders why we can’t just run away to a secluded place in the forest with a cabin that harbors all of our needs, keeps you and me in a space apart where it rains when we’re sad because we would always be sad together and where the sun is warm on our skin when we are smiling together and laughing together because I made a spectacular pun out of seemingly nothing sp
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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