he rolls in
to waltz out
and out to
before i have
a chance to
whisper, i miss
risei 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.
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
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
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
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.
boy,Bone-Maker, you've built my coffin higher
than tree tops and I'm sorry but I am too
small for your world.
so go back to your Mother and
scratch scratch scratch on her
door until she opens arms
and teaches you how to
basiliskI was Snow White
sleep walking; see-through
eyelids colored with
broken crayons and
shards of charcoal.
(Dead Girl, dreaming.)
I am their princess-
fallen, shut out
because I am not
afraid to smile with
my teeth and dirty
my lips in blood.
wake me, Prince
me in the shadows
and we can breathe
my body is not a
corpse but a frame
trapped in time. I am
no sleeping beauty.
you are a
so come a
and kiss me
until my lungs
work once more.
I am a Dead Girl,
dreaming; of waking
every night my hair is falling outI have heard that in 7 years
every cell in your body
& isn't it beautiful that it will be
a body you have never touched
but I know that when your brain cells
fall like ashes through your skull
they stay dead
& I can never scrap the memories out of their corpses
the tattoo artist.she finds gems hidden underneath my skin and
rips them out with her teeth, the sores
along my arms swelling with pride and red; never
has she wondered if the pain would make me
grit my teeth into powder—no, she knows
i take it like a man takes steak:
raw and tough and bloody, like my fingers
after picking scabs to let some fresh air in; her
words are etched on the point of a needle, and she
is a tattoo artist drilling ink into my body, her lines
thick with moxie: "alive" splayed out across
my wrist, "awake" above my heart—she paints
a vision on my eyelids of an endless sky and
tells me it doesn't belong to me, but that i
can have it; perhaps foolishly,
i believe her every word
a cure?they say Van Gogh
used to eat yellow paint
so that he could get
the happiness inside of him.
especially on nights like this,
I wonder if that would work.
I wonder if the pigment
would seep into my intestines:
would spread through my veins
like an elixir:
would curl and coil and cast
on every angle, every aspect
of my body.
I wonder if endless trials
and retrials of drugs
could be replaced by the
occasional dose of cadmium,
liquid sunshine, intangible dream
I swear I can almost
I wonder if it would do
than make me sick,
curled up on the bathroom floor
and left choking on a life
that I can never have.
To My Biology TextbookOn page 159 of my biology textbook, it reads,
“...cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells”
as though that could explain everything,
and I thought it did for a time.
But my textbook never warned me
that his skin would pale
to a point where I could see
the blue freight trains
carrying eighteen pills
throughout his frail body.
My textbook never warned me
that his watery irises would freeze over,
that he would hurl insults like knives,
and that he would clench his jaw
as tightly as his fist clenched his wine glass
because the only person to blame is himself,
and he can’t swallow that as easily
as he can the olives in his martinis.
And my textbook never warned me
that it would be this difficult to breathe
because of my acute awareness
that his breaths are limited,
and that there would be nothing I could do
but soldier on searching for that silver lining
clinging to these foreboding thunderheads.
my father lived in Indiamy father is a man of many colors.
on the nights when the moon stays asleep,
he lotions his palms with pomegranate juice.
the sugared blood pools in the creases of his
skin, staining it India’s red.
sometimes, my father scrubs his hands until
they are nothing but flesh & fruit rinds.
when he was younger—all skinned knees and pocket
knives—he must've slipped on a thousand marbles.
my father’s father was a welder who rolled and spun
steel into tiny spheres.
when he died, my father’s hands became blue and
free of pocket knives. to this day, he keeps a bag
of marbles on our mantle.
from time to time, he shakes the cool metal into
his open palms and waterfalls it back and forth.
see, this is the trouble with blue hands:
they never let go of the things that scar them.
they try so hard to be red again.
my father doesn't like whistling because
an old woman in India told him it was uncivilized.
she perched herself on the edge of the Ganges River
a letter for someone who hates thinkingin the beginning i wrote poems
about death and darkness and
the complex metaphysical arithmetic in which
that would equate to the love i carried for you,
beneath the headaches brewing like bruises
between my eyes, my ocean eyes;
even after convincing me the planets
were dead gods, powerful skeletons with
internal expiration dates and the stars
were their lingering parables, their stories
blinking out years before we were born, i knew
you were a nuclear angel, atom bomb
savior sent to save me from
there is no more mystery
in the world. i sent you
five letters to the PO box you told me
about in florida, the first
was a catalogue of every
angsty song lyric or campy postcard
or description of a flower
crooked in just the right way
that reminded me of you,
the second was a retelling
of every dream i woke from
forgetting who i was, the third
was an apology-- i'm sorry
for who i'm not and who you
need and that your dad always
reeked of bacardi, i'm sorry
for my bukowski-wannabe complex a
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.
Ellie, one-oh-one.she doesn't know her name.
it isn't surprising really. it has been so long since someone said it with any vigour, any affection, that it seems almost natural for her to have forgotten it.
she has lapsed into herself. her shoulders, with their warm-hearted mammal bones, quiver and shake beneath the weight of her own uneasiness. her arms, they shiver and the bruises ripple slowly - rocks in a pond. she has turned fetal.
the voices shudder as they cry out into the emptiness of her soul, their lips casting names against her chasms. none of them stick, none of them strike open the shell of her heart and set her aflame. none of them wake her from this coma, this darkness.
the world contracts and stumbles into yet another winter around her. it freezes her bones and the leafless trees whisper apologies into her matted hair, her flaking skin. the earth sends kisses up through the soles of her feet, the sagging flesh of her backside.
the world apologizes into her and the voices cry but her stoma
excuses for why I'm shakingwe live in a world of apologies.
I made a mistake a year back,
choosing my addiction to oxygen
over less demanding things.
I’m sick of trembling for problems
that aren’t mine and I’m sick of trying
to romanticize black holes and
the indiscriminate nature of lithium and
I’m sick of waking up every morning
feeling sick. and truly, I’m sorry
but I’m not ready to accept my role
in the making of myself. I’m not ready
to lament for those with a smaller
pain tolerance, and for my dislike
of anything that requires commitment.
I’m sorry I miss you and I’m sorry
I won’t admit that out loud.
how scary is it to be something
so unalterably heavy, to be diagnosed
as your own worst enemy, but god,
you’re so fucking beautiful,
and not in the stereotypical boy
meets girl meets fairytale way, but
the kind that makes my heart
bleed a million miles quicker.
I just wanted to cry on all
your scars and wash them clean.
when things are bad for
...And the Stars ScreamedI'd long since stopped
against an ocean lacking color
for a glimpse of the light
that glinted off a sharpened knife.
But even then,
although the dust and flame
had passed me by,
and I heard.
Not much had changed
in their fiery song;
I'd avoided the void
for far too long.
I'd gotten by
on solid smoke
and a few scarce sips of water,
inhaled your burning scent
like it was pure oxygen
as the stars screamed
at me to stop,
I always spent
too much time
focusing on things
that could never be mine,
and maybe I should have spent more
on my darlings,
shrieking silently, pointlessly
upon deaf ears
whether they should have grabbed
i am beautifuli.
i am beautiful
with tear streaked eyes
and shaking hands
clutching my blanket as hard as i can
i am beautiful
as i walk down the school hallways
faking a smile
watching masks slipping off of people's faces
as i walk by
i am beautiful
as i stand facing a bathroom mirror
clutching only a towel around my bare body
thinking about how numb seeped it's way into my heart
and how it feels like there is nothing there to stop it
from destroying me...
i am beautiful
with closed eyes and shaking hands
i can believe i am truly beautiful
and not pretend at all
the snow is white
as i stand at heaven's pearly gates
looking at a reflection
at a girl
who has the widest smile i've ever seen
and is by far the most beautiful girl i've ever looked at
what we're not supposed to talk aboutI could make a story out of
this. The blackout epiphanies
blinding me like a total eclipse
of any sense of rationality I ever
stole out from my parents' blind spots
when they turned the other way. The
boy I fell half in love with and
my therapist's unassuming questions
about why he was different, the way I
was never beautiful to him but he
still looked me in my bokeh eyes,
betraying and quiet, so that was enough.
My vain addiction to anything
permanently damaging and
more or less glamorous. The dreams
I can’t swallow no matter what shade
of delusion they come in, about
the imminent death of stars named
after deader lovers, and places
where the air is intoxicated with
the promise of Ecstasy, or whatever
name heaven goes by after you begin to doubt
the reality of putting one foot in front
of the other will get you anywhere at all.
I could write novels about my path
to self-martyrification and the moments
I cried for no reason except that
I had no reason tor cry. I could write