eight things about growing up.eight
I told my brother I was going to be a fairy when I grew up. Or a bird, or sprite something with wings so I could touch the clouds.
I learned that fairies weren't real when I was six, after I tried to jump off a parking structure to see if I could fly.
That day I also broke my leg in three places and saw an angel's face in the clouds. (And don't tell anybody, but sometimes I spend all day looking for him.)
My neighbors back in Denver had a son who was a schizophrenic. After he went off his meds for the third time, he painted the windows red and told his wife she had to abort their baby because it wasn't human.
A year later, I heard that he was arrested after pointing a hunting rifle on his family. It was loaded, but he didn't pull the trigger because his mother said she trusted him.
I guess love is kind of like that, too.
Seattle didn't come until I was fifteen, in October.
My family and I took a boat ride on Friday. We listened to the captain
short-term memory.and you'll never forget:short-term memory.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
When you realized that everybody dies alone.
When you didn't take your eyeliner off one night, so in the morning
your eyes would look as hollow as you felt.
When you spent a year blacking out the sad endings in your books.
(When you wished that life could also work like that.)
When you learnt that "We need a break" means "I am going to break your heart."
When you fell in love with the stars, and the way he says "us."
When he told you, "More than just a long time."
The first time you hung up to the sound of your father laughing.
When you walked home from a party in January, and couldn't remember
if you were still breathing.
When you begged him to let you be sad, and he smiled and said, "No."
When you saw the irony of drawing trees on paper – and how alive you've felt
after being sure you were dead.
april 18th, 2012.therapy:april 18th, 2012.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
"I'm not an artist. I'm just a kid with a keyboard."
“And, y'know, I’m probably not really sick.”
“I read a lot of books. I probably just act like this because I saw it somewhere on the Internet.”
“I just want to be more like my dad.”
“I’m really just a pathological crybaby who wants attention,” I tell you.
You say, “I think there are better ways to get attention than fake a mental disorder.”
“Maybe I’m doing it for fun.”
The problem isn’t that I need to see a therapist.
The problem is that I need to see a therapist because I dream about slamming your head into a tree.
Right after we broke up, you took me to the bike cage and promised me everything would be okay. Then you got together with that fifteen year old from Michigan and told our friends that I was a freak.
Slamming your head into a tree might be painful, but nothing will ever hurt more than kn
was it easy?i.was it easy?3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When I met you, I would only bring tragedies up to the rooftop, or down to the street corner, or to the bike cage. You asked me if any of them were true.
"You make the saddest stories so beautiful with that pen," you said, on the same day that we held hands for the first time and I found out you smoked.
It's all we are now, though. Just more depressing words from my pen. You loved my writing that much; and that was more than me, and it ruined us.
The January before you turned twenty-one, you told me you were afraid to become an adult. "I don't want to be somebody a child will hate."
You had always smelled like peppermint, cologne, and the truth, and it made me so sure when I told you, "You won't be. You're different."
And hey it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.
We spent the summer talking about baby names and our house in Colorado. You wanted a daughter and I wanted four boys, and one of them had to be called James.
It was October when
if i could.1.if i could.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i’ll be honest with you;
there is a certain authority to being
somebody said once that writers struggle with reality
because we spend all of our time
constructing our own.
the truth is, life may be impermanent
but the details are not.
time has one direction
the past cannot be revisited
and history cannot be redone
with a red pen.
what happens, happens.
we are walking permanent records
that can never be expunged.
no matter how many orphans we pull from fires
no matter how many dying children we sing to
we still made our mother cry once
we still let our little brothers find us passed out
on the front porch when we were nineteen.
imagination is our primary retreat
because there, that boy does fall in love with us
and our first kiss is not spit on our chins
or misses landing on our nose
(maybe there are waves crashing in the background)
and we say everything right.
there, we have crafted a version of ourselves
that lives perfectly.
“if i could,” someon
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
queen of nothing.what I've learned:queen of nothing.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I still remember singing in my room when I was six, and having my mother come down the hall and slam the door so hard that the windows shook.
Her nails hurt when she scraped the tears off my face. "It doesn't matter what you want," she'd always tell me.
Like, when that drunk driver swerved and hit her car I didn't want her to leave me, and it didn't matter.
Once on vacation I bought a pair of fuzzy leather heels for two hundred dollars, and when I wore them to dinner, I found out that
1. "Suede" is a fancy word for "fuzzy leather."
And 2. Good things don't last: That night my cousin told me that she thought 135 pounds was a little too big for five foot eight. So I tore my tights up to the thigh and threw those new suede heels in the garbage.
It felt good later, to know that they couldn't hate me more than I hate myself.
My six-word story from ninth grade reads, "If I don't laugh, I'll cry."
When I read that treating people like trash to gets them to nee
and then, you changed.For years, you used to ask me what you were to me.and then, you changed.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
And I would always say, "Nothing," until you finally understood that there was nothing you could do that could ever hurt me.
When we were children, there were no monsters under your bed. Just dead frogs and lizards from the pond on your doorstep.
You asked your sister, "Why do things die?"
"Because death is a part of life," she told you with a loving hand in your hair and a calming hug waiting for you later. But her eyes pinned me over your shoulder.
She never told you it was because Erik wouldn't stop killing them.
Flowers die, too. So I flattened them in your schoolbooks for you to find.
And you thought it was romantic. You showed them to your friends and told your sister you had a secret admirer.
I often wondered how you would've felt if you saw their ashes blow away with the wind, when I later burned them out on the deck.
It took you two years. You left a note in my locker junior year asking if I wanted to go out
and i have tried to make it right.i.and i have tried to make it right.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
let me tell you a story
using six words.
their names become parts of statistics.
let me tell you a story
using six words.
“suicide is the easy way out.”
let me tell you a story
using six words
that will never be told.
pain is not a fucking
do you still pray,
knowing there will be no answer?
see, i cannot speak for those
who have no voice to give
but, sincerely, these are the six words
i respond with:
i wish i could save you.
we live our lives being told that
there is always a safety net -
that there are people designed to protect us.
i’m going to use six words because,
the saddest stories
take the fewest words to tell.
for them, there was never anyone.
blades can cut wrists but
here are six words:
blades can cut stories short, too.
i have approximately 250,000 words
to choose from
to try and describe to you what suicide is
but i don’t
infinite/opposite.being an adult means knowinginfinite/opposite.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that there are things much scarier
than spiders, or snakes, or clowns.
the ocean, for one.
losing your parents.
empty tequila bottles.
waking up, still reaching
for someone who left you
a long time ago.
i live like there’s an end for me
because there is.
plants will wilt.
forests will burn down.
eventually, even the stars will burn out.
people will come to us.
they will touch us. they will hurt us.
they may keep us. they may not.
but i never hold on too tight
because when it’s time, my time,
i’ll only be letting go.
the heart has valves
that constantly open and close
giving love, taking love.
and my best advice
is to be selfish.
know when you’ve had enough.
know when you deserve better.
close the valves and
keep some love for yourself.
know that you are perfect
even if you eat that second cheeseburger
because there’s magic in this world.
we’re proof of it.
is fear o
dichotomy.i.dichotomy.2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
there’s a monster inside of my head.
it moved in four years ago, but they say it’s always been there. my daddy has one. so does his mom.
they say that’s where i got it. dad says grammy’s monster made her beat him until he was seven. dad says his monster made him drink until he blacked out, for twenty years.
they all say, “don’t let it in.” they all say, “it’ll control you, because you are weak.”
(actually, they say “vulnerable.”)
they tell me its name, so i can paint it on my wrists, on my forehead, along the curves of my ears. keep out. no BIPOLAR DISORDER allowed. they say it notices loud things. capital letters, for one. or crying children. or hatred. or fear.
they do not tell me what it’s like to see it. they do not tell me what’s it like, to feel it burrowing under your skin.
when it came to me, i pleaded with it. i said, “please go away,” and it didn’t listen.
colors.red is a power color.colors.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
red is stoplights, anger. rage.
red is my nose when i cry about my parents.
“women are more attractive to men
when they wear red,” he says once
so you cut yourself
because red is blood
and when he ignores the bandages, you say,
“no. look what i did.
look what i did for you.”
but he doesn’t fall in love with you
red is the scream that
comes out of your mouth.
blue is the veins under your skin and
blue is depression that tells you to slice them
blue is the weeks you spend after him
and blue is the great, wide sky above you,
trying to remind you that the rest of the world
is still waiting.
your brother says he’s looking for the light
at the end of the tunnel
but the world is full of light.
(you would know. we can hardly see the stars
because of it.)
the world is not full of you
so you try.
black is what surrounds him
and black is burns
and you’ve been burned, scalded
so you blend in.
adults.i.adults.2 years ago in Philosophical More Like This
The media doesn’t support a positive body image
because it’s not good for business.
They want us anxious and afraid
of seeing the numbers on a scale go up.
We’re not worth our weight in gold.
It’s what we don’t weigh
My first boyfriend, who panicked when I touched him
would say “I’m fat”
the way somebody says “I should have never been born.”
They want us spending our money
on designer jeans, instead of groceries,
on concealer and diet plans, instead of an education.
Please don’t starve yourself.
Believe me, I’ve tried
and your body will start to eat itself from the inside out and
if you let it
it’ll get to some valuable stuff.
they’ll only appreciate your body when it’s a corpse.
They won’t notice you
until there’s nothing to be noticed
they’ll mourn and wish for something
that is no longer
In the second grade, I learned that
a meaningful poem about nothing.this is a poem about how fixing peoplea meaningful poem about nothing.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is not romantic.
we’re not meant to be somebody’s answer,
we’re not meant to make someone feel alive again.
this is a poem about why you shouldn’t kiss him
because he’s broken
because you want to save him.
save yourself first.
kiss him because he holds a place in your heart, not
because he's the only thing making it pump.
kiss him because he’s in your life, not because
he is your life.
hold him, but don’t hold onto him because you believe
(get to dry land first.)
this is a poem about how i find poetry in everything.
breakups. my dad telling me i mattered.
nightmares. my neighbor’s insomnia.
how it drove him crazy.
how he swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills to fix it.
my neighbor’s funeral.
this is a poem about the split-apart theory.
the idea was that when humanity became arrogant
toward the gods, we were split in two
and were doomed to spend our live
red leaves and Robert Frost.When I was young, my virginity was sacred. Entire religions pray over it and my father bought a gun so long as it meant protecting it.red leaves and Robert Frost.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
We throw away half of our refrigerator each week meanwhile, 24,000 people die of starvation every day.
Hardest part is, sometimes wasting things can't be helped.
At the bus stop, before I could drive, boys would ask for my phone number while I tugged up the neck of my shirt. Asked me how old I was while I crossed my legs under my skirt.
I told them I had a boyfriend even when it wasn't true, because they'll always respect another man more than my disinterest.
Hearing "I love you" for the first time is like getting hit by a train and only feeling the angel as they pull you up to Heaven.
People who are manic can jump off roofs or sell their house to buyers who don't exist.
For me, it was fucking six guys in four days and spending $150 in three.
That wasn't good enough, though, so instead of help all I got was a smiley-face sticker and long, quiet c
scar-crossed(my fingers are colder than the solemn bluescar-crossed2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
buried in her eyes. so much dead beauty,
like an ocean without waves).
she is fading and i cling to her,
and in this tiny little moment
we barely even exist.
zero.5. I think I'm afraid of sex.zero.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
It's terrifying that two people can fit together perfectly, without even really liking each other at all.
4. I'm afraid of the day I start replacing myself with somebody else in all of our pictures; of the day I'll see my reflection and wish I didn't have to.
3. I'm afraid of doctors, and medicine.
The first time I took lithium, I couldn't hold it down. So I locked the bathroom door and flushed the entire bottle.
The second time, I couldn't walk more than ten steps without falling.
Honestly, I'm just wondering why they use poison to purify me.
2. I'm afraid of the ocean.
I'm afraid of looking down one day, and not seeing the edges. Of there being nothing there.
I'm afraid of falling and having nothing to catch me.
There's already nobody. The ground is really all I have.
1. I'm afraid of breaking things.
Like, once, I broke my dad's trust in me.
Once I broke somebody's heart.
Once I broke my kindergarten teacher's favorite
things i want you to know.0.things i want you to know.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there is a picture in my living room
of my parents in their twenties, in sunhats,
there is a picture of my father holding me
when i was two years old.
there is a picture of my parents
on their wedding day.
there is a picture of me when i was
ten, eleven, twelve.
i’m seventeen now and
i won’t let my mother
take any of the pictures
i need to believe that, at one point,
this house was more than just
i was born on the second-to-last day
i weighed seven pounds, two ounces,
and it was ninety-nine degrees out.
four years before that, in 1992,
the officers who beat rodney king
within an inch of his life
five years before that, in 1991,
a cyclone in Bangladesh killed
138,000 people and made 10 million
ten years before that, in 1986,
a fire in a Los Angeles library
damaged more than 400,000
and on that day, april 29, 1996, i was born
and i’d like to pretend
that it was a go
numbering the steps.I'd like to count the number of times you fucked me over, but I only have ten fingers and toes.numbering the steps.3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I never mentioned this but I really should have.
Because it was so hard that you were blowing me off, especially after the third/fourth/fifth/fourteenth time.
Or in September, when your eyes could look everywhere but mine when I finally stopped telling you, because I knew you weren't listening.
Oh, and you killing yourself last April. There's that.
(Your note said: "Tell Scarlett I'm sorry." And oh God, Charlie, please believe me, I tried so hard to make it right, I did.)
Fourteen days, two hours, and fifty-nine minutes: how long it took for us to fall in love.
Overnight: how long it took for you to fall out of it.
You loved me like a bomb loves a crowd. Like the boys mothers warn their little girls about, except you had softer hands and nicer eyes, so I never thought you could take everything when you left.
You wouldn't have come to me in January if our par
normal is a six letter word.something went wrong around the eighth grade, when those mean boys followed you home, when they cornered you in an alley and pulled your hair out of its braid and told you to get on your knees because one boy had never gotten a blowjob before.normal is a six letter word.1 year ago in Emotional More Like This
nothing happened. you got away; horrified and shaking, but you did. it was after.
when everything happened.
used to be, you’d cry when you scraped your knees, and you'd let people finish their sentences before thoughtfully adding your own – but that was before, before those boys knocked something loose in you, because now it's a cycle of not stopping. you can't stop talking or thinking, thinking all these big, bold thoughts that can take you away, that can surround you like a deep, dark tunnel, you can't stop eating because girls are supposed to smile and sometimes eating fills that emptiness inside of you, just for a minute, but then you can't stop starving because there's no time to eat, because you can't stop,
two-fifty an hour.let me save you the trouble:two-fifty an hour.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
because what i'm trying to say is
i'm not a good person.
i don’t tell valerie about how i planned to rekindle
my friendship with charlie’s best friend last year
just so i could get to him and hurt him.
(i don’t tell her how, in the end, i ended up liking
his friend instead, and charlie dated another
fifteen year old
because shit happens and what was i doing,
expecting things to go my way?)
there are certain things she doesn’t need to know,
certain things i can’t say because
putting it into words what it was like waking up,
that sort of shame that came with it –
it was like – it was like looking into a window
and swearing there’s a monster behind it
before, slowly, i realized
it was a mirror.
what therapy promises me: love yourself, forgive but
never forget, tell us your past
then let it go.
what i learn in therapy: nobody has all the answers.
we certainly don’t.
history remembers.i.history remembers.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
history repeats itself.
i realize this the fourth time i find myself on a couch
with the head of a boy i don’t know
between my stiff, nonresponding legs.
i realize this on the third sip of alcohol. on the fourth.
the fifth. the eleventh. the first time i black out. the eighth.
history repeats itself
and i am napoleon marching across russia
and i only pretend the water is poisoned.
i only pretend the earth is burned to ground.
i pretend that destruction is inevitable
and that help is not an option.
we got close, him and i.
sometimes you get so close to a person
you can feel their lips stiffen
when you try to kiss them.
sometimes you get close to a person,
under them, between damp sheets.
they never stop believing
that you are beneath them.
“help me,” he says. i say okay.
he tells me to sleep with him later
so i say the wrong name in bed,
but so does he;
he means it,
i say it because it’s the only way i can
painkiller.you show me a bottle of advil. you say to me, “if i swallow all these pain pills at once, do you think i’ll finally stop hurting?”painkiller.2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
“you shouldn’t joke about that,” i say.
in retrospect, i should have been grateful.
it was the only joke you’d ever told where i wasn’t the punchline.
i’d like to write your name in a bathroom stall. i’d like to come back every day, checking for tears in sharpie’d letters. for a “he’s such a scumbag.” for a “you’re not alone.”
i guess i want to think that you’re a criminal mastermind. i want to think that you’re a serial heartbreaker. i want to think out there, somewhere, is somebody else like me, who you’ve hurt.
(i know you’re none of those things. i know that you’re just a boy – and, really.
that's the saddest part of all.)
i taught you how to stargaze, and how to uncross your arms and let people in
boys that want you, boys that love you.1.boys that want you, boys that love you.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there are four kinds of love.
the first is honest.
the first is messy.
it’s smeared makeup.
it’s tears over a martini.
it’s people dancing alone.
it’s off-key singing, at the top
of your lungs.
it’s unmade beds.
it’s the hickey on your neck.
it’s the gasp he gave
when he first saw you,
how he missed your lips
when he tried to kiss you.
after he made you cry.
the second kind is what you feel
for the boy lying next to you.
there’s cigarettes in the ashtray,
panties on the floor,
a lump in your throat,
and he does not love you back.
the third kind is when you'll meet
and that little moment will stretch
into something huge and permanent,
into a month/six months/a year
of a million glances that you'd thought
it’s when you'll say nothing
and neither will he
because there will be no need
because he'll very nearly smile
and you'll know.
thoughts in my ankles 1.thoughts in my ankles2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sometimes i think i must be hanging
with hooks in my ankles
and chains strung to the stars, arms
wriggling to hug the planet close in
an attempt to reach the
and my eyes are bouncing
out of my head
on twine harnesses like they're
dancing on measuring-tape ribbons
until they slip and plummet and land far
below with a splat.
sometimes i think the moon has an
on a relapse-recovery-relapse
cycle. starving until
he disappears and then, frantically,
he climbs back into life,
gorgeous and round and bright
but the mirror cracks up
behind him and wraps her
arms around his neck again,
pinching cheeks and warning signs
and i watch from my twisted
perch in the sky.
if the skin of night is my notebook,
can they read the dark letters?
i hold pens b