Dead Bodies Don't Cryi.
You are born with twisted feet
and a pockmark on your chest.
Your poor mother is drenched in sweat,
straining to breathe,
thanking God that it's over.
She cradles you in her arms
and kisses your forehead with curved lips.
Your father reaches out to hold you
but has to pause because
your mother will not release you yet.
The family pays a visit,
hovering in awe, praising, laughing.
You look around for someone to blame.
When you learn to write
you use all the wrong letters
because you feel sorry for the ones
that get left out, like X and Z.
And you wear mismatched clothes
because you don't like the idea that
only certain colors "go together."
The first time you are punched
in the face it is by a girl with pigtails and braces.
You're sitting on a swing,
digging your toes into the dirt,
when she approaches
and says she thinks you're weird.
You tell her she's even weirder, and her fist
goes sailing into your jaw.
You're red and sore for two days.
You meet your first crush
Something Borrowedgirls in white dressesSomething Borrowed2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
don't always want weddings.
the priests would speak of leaps of faith
and my hands would clasp the wood in horror,
knuckles bleached like bone- and i found
something old: the knot tied in my throat.
my vocal cords did not let empty words escape.
and there was something blue: the heart
that hesitated. how can a seedling prophesy
its harvest? how can a caterpillar promise
the power of its wings?
so let others gather flowers.
we will skip the mass
but not the bed: and through
this something borrowed,
earn a little time-
and a place to rest our heads.
terabyte ruinswe've clicked the help buttonterabyte ruins3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
on the tool bar.
we're the first to admit we're confused.
this morning the council met with a proposal
to replace god.
there have been complaints.
"dear eternity, i'm disillusioned
your god is a single snapshot of deep space
and a soundtrack of silence.
i tried pressing reset.
my old model featured google images,
a personal blog, and a comment section.
yesterday's god had to be recharged.
it was a rough way to be hardwired,
but there was a five-year money-back guarantee
and excuse me, but i'm dissatisfied.
i'm not so sure about redemption,
and i saw it on the news yesterday:
they recalled the golden rule.
it had a bug called desire."
give us a refund,
and we'll continue shopping.
our browsing has offered up
some promising candidates:
and technological giants.
we're not sure yet, god,
but we're pretty sure you're out.
it doesn't come highly recommended,
but we're considering a newer model:
idolatry. instant gratification.
on old sanzu - absolutely true fictionlast fall i stole my friend down by the tama river. we sang. we danced. we skipped dead fish like rocks and watched them get swallowed by the undertow. we got sick off of bad chinese food and went skinny-dipping and then a week later she drowned herself.on old sanzu - absolutely true fiction2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
her uncle was a yakuza, i think, but he really just wanted to be al pacino or something. anyway, she loved him a lot. maybe that’s why she went down the way she went down; cement shoes. not real cement, but it was the same idea. she had two cloth bags with yellow-painted cinderblocks inside, and they were tied to her ankles like the prisoners’ chains from o brother where art thou.
in my mind’s eye i can see her, limping dreadfully close to the edge of the current, her left hand gripping at her breasts through a loose t-shirt. kneeling by the wastelands, elbows in the gravel, crawling forward out into the water. angry like a dermis under wool, all teeth and salt and sand. sleepy, submissive, sublimated.
Empty GardensIt was a wine-petaled pansyEmpty Gardens3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that my mother pruned from the garden box;
it reminded me
that I had blossomed late and wilted.
At fourteen I created pansy petals of my own,
waking up with hot-fisted cramps
and the proof I was a woman.
I was not a rose, perennial,
as I went from blooming monthly
to not at all.
I would rather spend a day
curled up like the fetus I may never carry
than flat on my back wondering
why God allowed worse women than me
to bear children.
on unlearning how to diethe space between intention andon unlearning how to die2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
inaction has been redefined. they say
the first step to sadness is
to be happy. the second step
is learning loss. they tell us
depression is an abundance of emotions
but everyone here is a balloon
deflated with time, a sun
dimming as years eat away years
and everything changes but
nothing's really different at all.
we drowned before we even saw
the sea, dreaming of that cemetery
a million miles deep; and still,
I cry for the people worth forgetting:
the girl who couldn't take enough
sleeping pills to live her dreams,
the boy so doped out on an inability
to live that he told us about his trips
to Jupiter and back, and
expected us to believe him. the girl
with a ghost smile named after the prayer
she was born to forget, the boy
who slept like an angel and cried like
a fallen, and me, me
choking on gravity and the ever-growing
weight of my own fucking inadequacy
tied tightly around my neck like a noose
not quite designed properly, right,
because I survived.
You can't have it allbut you can have the glazed heat bursting from the blacktop like a brokenYou can't have it all2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
fire hydrant. You can have the jangle of keys
swinging from your hip with each stride.
You can have the tactility of leather and the graze of
bathroom mosaic tiles under a cold shower pelting
bullets and when the water cuts off
you can have dry book pages. You can have happiness,
though it will often be bitter, like finding a stranger’s
wallet full of pictures of smiling children until you
return it to find that the couple is barren.
You can have the scratches on the back of his knuckles,
faded, yet raw. You can have the translucency of sheets
in the sun, silhouettes but no details,
never revealing anything more than a fringe of hair
and frayed laces tripping over themselves.
You can drop obscenities like bombs until
they don’t mean anything anymore. You can pull out the Monopoly board
that broke your family. You can’t put it back together,
but you can pretend the thimble is your mother and the
a hospital bird with soot in her lungsshe slept through a car crasha hospital bird with soot in her lungs3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that almost killed her.
through whitewhite walls,
where her lover dies.
nobody thought she'd make it,
but she woke up a few months later
with flowers in her hair
and ash in her airway;
trying to remember how to start all over,
but forgetting to remember how to live.
fall slipped from her open eyes
and winter crawled in for a long hibernation
to her the clouds looked sick
and pale like they might
let everything inside them out,
but she opened up wide instead,
spilling blood where there was none to be spilled.
her heart slipped down the street
and with unsteady hands
she stitched in a bird and cut off its wings.
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Trust IssuesI. (Set the stage)Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Trust Issues3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"The color of my bra is called Flirt," the girl says, popping a bubble in Amelia's face and winking. The sickly sweet scent of chemicals and sugar mixes with the chemicals and the sugar of the bar, hags low and heavy about their faces. The girl slides closer, beaming, her eyelids low. She's wearing too much mascara. Amelia grips her drink tighter and pulls her elbows in collapsing, she fills less space than she did before. Volume stays the same, the number of atoms composing her stays constant, but she appears to be smaller. Could this be expressed mathematically, or with a computer simulation, she wonders, and sips at her drink. She says nothing.
"See here." The girl tugs down her shirt sleeve and shows Amelia the thin bra strap pressing into the moon pale skin of her shoulder. The orange lighting makes her seem healthier than she is. "Flirt." She wiggles her eyebrows in a way that would be suggestive, if her makeup wasn't so dark that it made her look
now it's just dirt under my fingernails.Novak carried an umbrella with her everywhere for nine years. And when he asked her why, she told him, "Ever since my dad died, sometimes it feels like the sky is falling."now it's just dirt under my fingernails.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
That was six months ago, and he still catches himself checking for cracks between the clouds when it rains.
He likes to remember her eyes. The left was blue and the right was brown, like two people in one, and faded, like old photographs.
But then he remembers that old photographs are the only things she exists in now, and his office will get so small that he needs to go outside to breathe.
He wanted to be gentle, even if he couldn't think of a way how. But things were already ruined between them, and he knew that long before he ever sat her down in his parlor.
"If you have to hate me, I want you to," he said. Her face was deadened by the weight of her pain. "As long as you feel anything for me, I want you to."
She shook her head. And she kept shaking it when he followed her, his bare feet
State of MindThey buried her today.State of Mind4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I stood in the crowd, all of us dressed in blacks. I straightened my tie nervously as ladies I didn't know in big, veiled hats exchanged soft, sad words about what a shame it was. How she'd been so brilliant, how she'd had such a full life ahead of her. Ladies that didn't even know her.
There was a coffin, but there wasn't much in it. They didn't open the casket either, like they did sometimes. The man at the funeral home had said there was a limit to how much they could make fit for viewing, and I didn't really blame him for not even trying.
"This sucks," Cindy told me. We were sat at one of the cheap metal tables they roll out for occasions like this, both of us with a glass of alcohol in our hands. I hadn't asked if it was wine or something else. Didn't care.
"Yeah," I agreed, tone muted. We exchanged a look, Cindy's eyes heavy and ringed, her face lined in stress like a mirror of my own. Together, we drank. It was white wine, dry, about a 4. She would have li
a modern opheliashe found fennel beneath her pillow,a modern ophelia5 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
and felt the familiar flutter
of glassfish between her ribs.
to distract herself, she
scattered the reddest petals
in her bathwater.
she braided poppies in her hair
let regret invade her lungs.
JackMy grandmother fell in love with my grandfather when his skin was still yellow with malaria.Jack3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
At twenty-four, he had just returned from war, his pockets heavy as his heart, weighed down with souvenir scars and unspent bullets. Gaping trenches hung beneath each of his dark eyes like open, sore wounds, or sorer memories. At nineteen, she had not known the taste of oranges. The first time she held one, she bit straight into the pasty skin, expecting sweetness and coming up with shell-fragments.
In the pictures, my grandmother, radiant in her gray wedding dress, stands before my grandfather. Those trenches are still there, still yawning beneath each eye like caskets, but they are beginning to fold under, to fill themselves in. Standing together, they are joined by out-stretched hands, his free fingers reaching up to hold her cheek in his palm, the pale skin there blushing the softest pink: a single petal, unfolding, held erect in his hewn hands. In the pictures, it is there in the space lef
supernovae"Wouldn't it be great if we could watch a star explode?"supernovae2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It was just like her to say that. The violence of another world's ending was, to her, poetic. If our own sun exploded, I think she'd open up her arms to embrace it.
"I don't know that I'd want to be that close," I said.
"That's the cool part. You wouldn't have to be." But she still didn't think we were close enough.
That was how we always ended up like this, sitting in a car, driving to nowhere, with nothing but the sound of the tires on the highway and the company of the stars above us. She couldn't sit still long enough to color in the details, so we never did. We just kept driving.
She leaned back in the passenger seat and kicked her feet up, staring at the ceiling of the car as if it wasn't there.
"When stars exploded a long time ago, they painted pictures of them and wondered if the gods were looking down on them. What do you think we'll do when we get to see one?"
"Take a picture."
She shot an expression at me that I
Oaki knew a girl once,Oak2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with an oak heart and guarded hands
(gloved from touch)
uncrossed her ankles,
let naked fingertips
touch well-read lips, and
her heart kind of turned
i miss that girl,
with the oak heart -
she was tougher.
salti of you,salt2 years ago in Visual & Found Poetry More Like This
such a beautiful mess, intertwined and overrun.
your arms, copper lips, citrus,
a lovin' with a twist.
my summer away at space pirate camp,
i took to howling with you the first thunder of june;
the hunt for human brains,
Maybe Zombies Just Want To Hug?
- 6 lies to tell yourself if shipwrecked.
i can't explain the feelings i get.
blue dream before i sleep:
the soul cupping rice (glass figurines, lamp light eyes).
my fear is milk two sugars.
drink drink drink
beneath it all,
floral growth, silver spoons,
losing my spine, strange preoccupations with skin,
Obsessive Compulsive DisorderWhen I was little, it use to amaze me how colors were made. In art class I would sit and mix paint because blue and red didn't stay the same when they fell in love. Every single color found its match and danced beautifully as I swirled them together. Black and white were my favorites. I'd pour the creamy paint into a bowl and watch as black and white swirls, turned into grey swirls and owned the container holding it captive. Grey was amazing to me. Because black and white are nothing alike, and grey is in the middle. Black is dark and scary and demanding. And white is graceful, and trusting, and clean. Grey is nothing. Grey is bland. And safe. Grey is careful. And I would do anything to be grey.Obsessive Compulsive Disorder4 years ago in Emotional More Like This
Friendship is black and turns to ash in my hands. It is dust, so hard to hold. I am keeping still so none escapes, but it feels like at any moment, the wind will kick up and steal it all away. Every move I make is monitored and judged. I am wary about my words and am second guessing everything.
oh my archimedesthere is a mediterranean maelstromoh my archimedes2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
inside of me, and frankly these demented bones,
are inventing a thousand ways to drown
my soul inward,
the curves of my cartilage are overripe vineyards
for myriads of apprehensions blossoming
age, insipid sand charting the honeysuckling
progression of snapping parabolas
the tempests swat opposing ranks
& I am afraid that I have begun to lose myself
between the roaring of my ears,
torrent in a can,
a soulless man -
and what is a man without a soul
[ I'm lighter than that]
these mythical caverns of what once was my days
are condensing into dripping pages,
I want the books to etch my ru
cherry treesi was born 4425 miles away from herecherry trees2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
in a country rich with history
that is starting to disappear.
to add insult to injury,
centuries-old castles are crumbling,
falling away like our citizens
and tragically few are stumbling,
not even a backwards glance.
me? i left over ten years ago,
an anniversary marked on the calendar,
a reminder to not look back, just go.
pretend there never was danger.
pretend that we all have a better life.
pretend that our hearts are here.
pretend this is the direction in which to steer.
pretend there is no resentment.
my mother left behind a doctorate,
my parents left behind a life of strife,
but we have no family here.
i've never heard my baby cousin laugh.
i grace funerals with my absence.
i don't know if my aunt's eyes
crinkle at the corners when she smiles.
my parents had to start anew,
and i know they thought this through,
but the weight of this sacrifice
weighs down upon my shoulders.
i am atlas, carrying foreign boulders,
and my muscles ache.
virginity is like an envelopemy mother said her mother knew.virginity is like an envelope2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i wonder if she stumbled home like i did,
fifteen and beer-loose
tied to the door like a thunderstorm with black lips
and i wrote a story about disaster,
a quiet two sleds long.
a box full of beads, i swallowed
fifteen needles, mommy. don’t
tell me i’m not sorry.
don’t call me a whore you bag of bones
you lock-loose suitcase do you even
recognize me look at my face my toothache skin
i am not the one with the knife.
my mother never slept with a boy
who didn’t love her never let a boy
sleep on her while she lay awake beneath
the shroud of his skin breathing only
when her voice-box gathered too much dust.
you have to know i didn’t do
it on purpose. he slid beers down my throat
till i felt like a landfill.
i was not yet a crescendo. maybe i was a polka-
you couldn’t tell. i got home
with my legs full of nightmare.
the doctor said xanax.
i said i am a ruin like the ones
we saw in peru.
a balloon in a funeral poem.
the back of your head against my washed pillowcaseI find itthe back of your head against my washed pillowcase3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you are the King
of my own Head
& that I am
by my own
My bones, your
to your insatiable
I find this
rebirths in my
three years of
the wrong gods
you are the best muse
for struggling artists
everywhere & worst
case of the bubonic plague
since the bubonic plague
I find you
in the middle
of any where,
I shot a flock
& ate Adam's
I remain ignor
ant and ignor
ed by you
I find Nothing-
& leave me be.