i will dig craters
into my arms so
i can spread them wide
and burn brighter than the
this is my dying,
autumnmy body thrives on the migration of
tree limbs and human hearts -
a golden fist clenches onto modicum
entrails, thrusting pollen up my throat
and into the air you breathe.
tallest man on earthhe rolls in
to waltz out
and out to
before i have
a chance to
whisper, i miss
on loving a girl who doesn't love herselfYou used to tell her that you’d accept the reminders, the dark shades running down and over the hill of her waist, the shadow of her wrist. Far from unlovable, you said. So far.
Grudgingly, you realized that you could not fix her. She was not a dismantled puzzle just waiting for you; she was her own brand of porcelain, one you didn’t know how to mold back together. She wasn’t breathing for you.
The moments of silence between you led to a longer period, those weeks when you went days without talking – and you didn’t know if you were supposed to be proud of her or cry.
Stargazed at each other’s words until the night came when you learned she wanted you to kiss her scars and make love to them as if they were her self. You laughed without humor and said, "I might as well kiss them with the fucking blade then." She said nothing.
When she discovered that you would love her and her body and her past – but wouldn’t trace the lines on her skin
c r a c ki am the one.
not the one but the one -
that can't help but shatter everything
she touches, and my days are spent
ripping splinters from my skin
and wishing i could
insomniac?a lack of sleep
ugly & lionhearted -
( tearing holes in
the past and avulsions
through our future,
we've got impacted cracks
written on the walls of our house
& you never asked why
when i said i hated faithful
stalemates like you. )
- you've made these bones
so warm & cold,
unafraid to breathe in the bitterness of your
naive this is new york, new york
and i'm burning under the
cold coffee is crawling
over the bed-side table;
my fingers have gone
numb at the tips -
arctic fantasies of
radiosthere are some songs i refuse to visit because i can still hear you when i listen closely.
i love her, you say.
oh. i reply.
so i crank up the volume and i close my eyes and i imagine you are holding me and i am holding you and we are dancing.
leap through eternityi will sink my teeth into a supernova
to let the stardust and
slide down my parched throat and
wash over my intestines,
like a pebble
drowning in the sound--
Things I would Tell Her--C.I want to tell her the things
I'll tell her when she’s older,
but the information terrifies her.
In order of importance:
she has luna moths in her head,
monarch butterflies in her stomach,
and a feral fetus in her womb.
are collapse-clasped and folded
in her lap;
she holds her elbows like wings
away from her ribs,
ready to flap,
I want to tell her
to keep one hand in her purse
so she can always find her keys,
to keep an eye on the door
and the door always open
so she can run if she doesn't feel safe,
but her cheeks are rorschach-splotch red
and the tension in her shoulders
warns me she's not ready
to hear this.
And there is the possibility that
maybe I’m not ready to tell
I’m just as devastated as her;
that she is surrounded by friends and family
who are violated by a community
where no man can say yes all men.
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,
poem for borderlinesif i could concentrate over
seven hundred thousand eyes
at the roof to the numbers stepping
from the nicities & rows
to go back
to the shattered surface
& the ripples beating over the hang
halfway between shallow
biting lips. maybe--
she couldn't have known
that it takes a whole three minutes
for the lungs to
well, maybe she
who, oh well
the white; the haze--
the booming over
the spume and spray
me get out of my head
just pull up the shutters
my tongue the weight to talk
but that's all we'll ever be:
a match burning itself out for
under the backspray of someone else's wheels
.he splits hearts like
oranges in the
sinks his teeth into
ripened flesh, and
leaves nothing but the
rind, too hard to
.the cat keeps
leaving dead meat
on my doormat,
a pile of bones,
bloody and raw
he wants me to
know what i'm
walking into, he
wants me to know
just what i am
i just really don't care about climate changei am fourteen.
i am fourteen years old and they tell me
to take on the world, to hold the globe
like a precious creature in my palms
and to balance the continents
between my fingers.
i don't want to suck the toxins from
the atmosphere and pollute young
lungs, the exposition of explicit
curriculum drives me crazy.
it may be compulsory but having
it drummed into your ears and weaved
into your innards is not the way that
(i want to live).
i am fourteen years old,
and they tell us that kids are growing up way too fast
in a world that's self destructing by the second,
but ignorance is bliss - weren't they the ones
who taught us so?
carnival ridesJesus came from smoke & moonshine
so whenever i blow out candles,
i write God a grocery list and
set fire to wax in the back of a church
with waning moons for parishioners.
faith comes and goes like carousels,
so i guess that means that i can count on clowns
but i can't count on light.
crack your glow sticks upon our congregation
like rainfall amidst the baptized first.
i spend more time in bed with myself
than i do whispering secrets into the
onion paper of Bible pages.
i vandalize hymn books with my favorite lines of poetry.
i never bothered to ask God if he was okay with this,
i've just always been apt at assuming too much.
maybe, when my father's language unfurls like a Persian rug,
i will relearn the taste of cotton candy & confection sugar.
i will build monuments for my convictions
to make up for all those times i just faked it.
maybe, like a holy convict, i will shackle myself
to good deeds that do not self-fulfill but, instead,
teach every lesson i
being dawnistart late-- come into the world
all screaming face and flailing limbs
and grasping fingers
that hold to the womb, the room
you've lived. welcome a brother
before you have learned what the word
should mean; before you are carried
on the shoulders of another brother;
before you can begin to understand
the responsibility of you. watch yourself,
your existence, tear apart your family--
be the reason she wants him to leave,
be the reason he can't control
himself. be the reason two brothers
don't understand a father's love.
drown. be flailing limbs and stolen breaths
and splashing water and your father's hands
holding you down. when he is bored,
gulp for breath, gulp for air; don't let yourself
remember this for long. drown again, drown
again; each scenario a different prison,
and you, barcoded into bravery you don't feel,
can't breathe. trail a teddybear from loose fingers,
but be a big girl. stumble over words
like daddy and love and no, no, no,
please. fall up stairs instead of down,
interlopershow me god the way your mother
knew him, show me the mark on
your body where he stopped
you from suicide, where he changed
your winters to summers and
address me by my first name to show
me that your respect for me hasn't
died, letter by letter, buried between
the bow of your hips alongside our
once-strong playground love.
tell me the preacher was lying as he
spoke of our comely desire falling to
the destructive hand of a deity no one
has ever seen, but feels as they speak
in tongues that never matched the ones i
spoke in to finally tell you that
i felt for you.
don't leave me in some drunken tantrum
across state lines, slurring words as
you try to tell me your love for someone
else is vivid and living in you, even in the
parts that have died away, breathing out
alcohol as you use the word "never".
curl into me with intimacy, touching the sadness
out of me, because i always wanted to be
the one you love, not the one you loved.
empty, fullthere are stars at the bottom
of this bottle.
in your head,
there are other bodies--
you should be home by nowlast tuesday the house took my hand & said,
it's more of a hurricane than a fire
since he broke in & burned
but sometimes I see her with a lighter
& she finishes what he didn't do
(I think she's afraid
of settling in,
but last tuesday I realized that she kept the lights on
to frighten away the bridges & the people
so no one will come inside
& smash the teacups, steal the pipes
because since he burnt her beds out
no one lives there anymore
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
things i have come to know about the sky1.
you are endless, a backlit canopy
or stage of infinites; some say
you speak to them in low murmurs,
that you rain judgement down upon us,
i fear you not, you've caught my eye a few times
but i only looked up to see what
the hype was all about
when i was born, doctors said i was blue
—cerulean as the sky,
entering the world with clenched fists
and held breath—
battle though this life may be, always it
will be by my rules
scientists say the sky is like an onion;
layers of celestial sphere you can slice off
with a thumbnail, 217.5 miles of teary eyes
& thick skin
we know not of what it is that compels
gravity to roll this sorrow down our faces
in some cultures they say the sky is a
thronedom, an altar for the gods; weather,
an instrument of rageful indifference,
a beautiful devotion worthy of arthritis
and a place in our school books
you torture us as the romans did,
we the bread for your melancholy circuses;
apathy never looked so poetic
as you do when you pain