Dear Teen MeDear Teen Me,
Too often, we lean toward writing to the general audience. I've rewritten this very letter at least three times, and had to scrap it each time because it did not accomplish what it needs to accomplish. It needs to be a letter to you, not to every teenage girl in America. It needs to speak to your heart, your dreams, and your faults. It needs to be about you.
Since we were able to comprehend compassion, we've used it as a shield to avoid ourselves. We've sympathized with the plights of the starving in Asia, the trafficked in India, the raped and tortured in Sudan and Burma. We've given to the Red Cross on behalf of hurricane and earthquake victims. We've spent hours coaxing the mentally ill out of suicide, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. We've given everything we have trying to help others. And it is noble and just and right and selfless to the point of being unhealthy.
You are a person, too. You need time and attention and care and space just as much as the
Growing Pains ManagementWhen I was four years old,Growing Pains Management3 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
my mother told me that the sky was the limit,
so I ran face first into the
pine tree in my front yard
to get the ground knocked out of me.
When I was thirteen,
I busted my head open in band class.
In the clinic, I wiped the blood
that flooded down my face with my forearm
and made the Vice Principal vomit.
Since then, I’ve made a habit out of making
When I was seventeen, Kevin put a copy
of HOWL face down on my desk and told me
not to tell anyone. I didn’t.
He still lost his job.
Now, I’m twenty two and I don’t know
what I want to be when I grow up.
My hair is thinning faster than my
patience is thinning faster than my
blood is thinning faster than my
wallet. I buy time at the ATM
and gamble it away.
It’s all maintenance now, like so many
car parts creaking. I haven’t put on
that many miles but when you floor it
for twenty two years straight
there’s going to be some damage.
expired warningsI hate to break it to you but we're all betting on the day whenexpired warnings3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
your nightmares will swallow you whole and you won't
remember how to open your eyes. we forget your voice,
it broke and no one buried the pieces. we're giving you up:
secessions (your ribcage is a civil war, your heart is the victim.
there will be no memorial; there are only red flags)
obsessions pick your bones dry, vulture needs, vulgar
mortality argues at least you're not alive
at least you can't see us anymore, counting the knots
in your neck and catastrophes in your mouth. in
your summer cage you were a soggy butterfly bearing
a cumbersome cross. now, we leave you naked and
seizuring on winter's doorstep as the little lamb who
never loved enough.
they haven't paid you for the dreams you pawned years ago
in exchange for a little sleep, no, they tied more rocks to your
ankles and begged you to fly - they said they traded your
misformed hopes for something a bit more fitting, a solid
dose of reality with a hint of self-h
Salsa, Rice, RhythmThere is something splendid aboutSalsa, Rice, Rhythm3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
a Peruvian man leaving the rice to burn
because he is unable to keep himself
when a good Salsa song comes on
there is something exquisite and wild about a woman
paying uncontrollable obeisance to the rhythm
thrilling to the beat
waxing and waning to the sound waves
there is something gorgeous about the
the movements, like an untamed clockwork
the way the line between sound and
limb's poetry blurs
fantasia's demise comes with a soft
followed by a drought of wakefulness
surprised to see walls and ceiling
surprised to be alive in
only three dimensions
ResearchSome writers frequently delete browsing history.Research3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Keepers of My Hearti.Keepers of My Heart3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
you are in love with being in love
like you're caught on the train tracks,
tied down by want, waiting for that
insistent collision to
steal you away into the land
of concussions and self-medication
and hearts that barely heal
and stories confessing the notches
in your bedpost, the lines in
your smile. the sour note in your
liberally dissonant melody.
you did not want tangibility
cotton trees cascading and butterfly
innards, serenading clouds and
(until the sky came crashing down
and you reoriented the earth)
you did not want me
I am solid and as notable as
the ghosts sleeping in your ears,
their snores telling time as
the days blur together
I am not of starry kisses and
back porch promises-
I am the wrong kind of accident
on the train tracks.
I am broken,
(but not in the right way)
I am real
these are the things we carry with us:
a knife in the side and a
cramp in the lungs; a longing
in the mouth for words or tastes
or people or something m
SwellI am in a hospital, having a baby. I suppose I love children, but shit, I’m having a fuckin’ baby, after being pregnant for a year and a day or maybe longer. I’d expected my belly to be bigger, I think, more than just a shallow rise against the sheets. I anticipated a full swell, high tide. Real pregnancy, not just the suggestion of it.Swell2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
There is something wrong. With either me or the child (my little womb mate, I say with affection), no one knows. Doctors have hooked me up to monitors, stuck needles into my gangly child’s limbs, taped sensors to my sunken chest. At night, I tear them off in my sleep. The machines beep angrily, jerk me awake. I call for my mother then, but have only the cold hands of faceless (faithless) nurses to soothe me. They tell me I do not have a mother, that Sarah, dear, it’s time to grow up. After all, you’re having a baby.
I spend forever in the hospital and still the baby does not come. I ask a nurse for the date. She tells
Borrowed SpaceThere’s something about apartments that feels second hand. When we moved, our neighbor gave us plates with apples printed on them. Their colors have faded into a chipped sigh. They would have gone with our old kitchen—we had red curtains and apple-lined wallpaper. She got those plates from the bank, a gift for opening up a new account. Probably the same bank that took our old house. Will they want the plates back, too?Borrowed Space3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I shelved the plates with the tired, mismatched coffee mugs. The blue, flowered ones are from Grandma—she didn’t want them anymore after her husband died. The clouded grey mug came from the machine shop Dad worked before he got laid off. The checkered, lavender mug was a Mother’s Day present to my mom when I was in fourth grade. It was one of the few things she left behind after she moved.
Our thrift store couch looks weary, as if it’s tired of moving from place to place. The dark blue cushions sag in the center and its arm
Happy New Year, loveSuddenly, the nights seem to end so much quicker and the days just keep dragging onto forever. Futility overcomes me as I continue being spread too thin and snap. I am caught in these moments where I finally forget all the rules, all that need not- cannot be spoken, and capsize under the bludgeoning weight of your smoldering stare. Don't you dare; my body is drenched in crude kerosene holding a matchbox in one hand and a single stick in the other, waiting on your signal to strike. 12 seconds are all I need to grab you by the shoulders, push you against a wall, unbuckle your calm and composure, wrinkle away your wry smile, place my hand upon your heart and press my lips unto your ear and whisper, "Happy New Year". Love is the only thing we lust for in all our ravenous rendezvous, our always close calls with death; we drown ourselves in all that we will never be. I want to kiss you like a song, like I'm a siren who'll soak up all of you till you're long gone. In my fondest memories you wHappy New Year, love3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
What it is all about.My last journal was way too bummed out to stay up all the way till I get to Washington. So here's a slightly happier one with one main message. Thank you. Not only for the comments on the journal itself, but for the notes and the hugs and the journal features. And for the journals that reflect the kind of compassion that makes humans awesome. And for the kind of artwork that makes my mind stretch itself into new shapes.What it is all about.3 years ago in Personal More Like This
Last night I went for a walk with my favorite book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I ended up sitting with it in the rose garden at the college campus up the hill. The sun set while I read through part one, and when Charlie got to the tunnel and started feeling infinite I cried very softly because though I do not have an old pick up truck or a tunnel that takes away the noise, I have all of you. And all of you make me feel infinite.
This is not about you .These words are not about you.This is not about you .3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
The curves of these letters are here to imitate the shape of your spine when I have you pressed against the wall. They mock the shape of my breasts against your burning palms, the sharp prickle of your jaw resting at the base of my neck as you moan the name you could have sworn you've forgotten but it always just wiggles its way free from between your teeth.
Don't misunderstand, these words are not about you.
This is purely and solely about me and my battle between giving up and giving in. Either way, the winner turns out to be you.
I was counting crooked stars and telling you that snow feels hot to my touch when I'm high on apathy, when you caught me off-guard and set fire to my fingertips. I trusted you when you promised to leave me completely undesirous, and accidentally misheard that you can only promise to break every promise leaving your lips. For one second I believed that I have learned to keep my heart in a pocket, and then suddenly you stripped
where i dance alonei. I mistook a shy boy for a thunderous one in the days when I lived inside his lungs.where i dance alone3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
ii. I wanted your hands in the early morning, or in 8 o' clock light. (Does it matter? I just wanted you.) Hands like paper cranes, hands like wind chimes. Then we could've been like lovers in a parody: "I love you, I love youno, I don't. But you are beautiful." And while I was not your lover, neither was I your queen. Either way, you wouldn't hold my heart.
iii. Our fingers would've taken flight and then the rest of us, too. Then you would've known of the ballroom in my chest, the migrations inside my body, of the tiny secret nothings that make their way like monarchsas if by instinct, as if they have been here beforefrom ballroom to piano hands to the museum that is my mind to my stomach. But you are the only lost boy afraid to fly.
iv. I was a foreign land and you would not dare travel without a map. But I do not possess a souvenir shop in which to purchase one. I am a des
Well HelloMy friendlies!Well Hello2 years ago in Personal More Like This
Long long long time no speaks.
I thought I should stop by to let you all know that I am still alive and kicking.
I have been a busy Slinkers working my tail off trying to save monies for the HOUSE I am buying in May this year. Yes that's right. Slinkers is getting a HOUSE.
Not even like a shack house...its a real one! Like with 4 walls (MADE OF BRICKS) and a whole roof. Holy shiznits I hear you all say....is this really the cucumber addict we used to know?
Against all the odds, all of the rebounds, all of the falling-off-the-cucumer-wagons....I have spent quite some time in cucumber rehabs and I got my life on track. I have signed a legal agreement to say that I will not use any rooms as a cucumber farm.
Over the past few months in my spare time I have mostly watching series 3 of Sherlock, which was excellent...but not as good as series 2 in my opinion...maybe you would disagree on that?
I have been watching The Big Bang Theory like it i
Her BirthdayShe was perfect.Her Birthday3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
But then, that was hardly surprising. He had created her to be.
In scientific terms, she was a marvel of genetic engineering. A manmade wonder, harbinger of a new line of beings who were more than superhuman - they could hardly be called anything resembling human at all. Humans were weak, unreliable, prone to disease and unprofitable mutation. They were slow, practically deaf and blind when compared to any other predator, lacking a sense of smell strong enough to be of any use, lacking the claws and teeth to bring down an enemy when unarmed, lacking and deficient in almost every respect. Soft. Pathetic. Breakable. Prone to unwanted emotion.
She was perfect.
She had not been so when he started work, of course. He had wanted an existing model to base his improvements on, not a test-tube grown creature, and she had fit the bill for that quite admirably. So had many others, at the beginning, but the experiments and augmentation had proven all but her defecti
elephant dreams.you are everlasting, transientelephant dreams.4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
& time sometimes sets as a stye's eye
waits in blind patience while haste tempts at fate,
feral faces out-foxing daisies.
sister earth, save me.
help me raise sturdy babies
flaming paths & suckling grass
help me gather growths amass
hatched of dreams, daring things
daunting tasks seeming freed:
seen, a seraphim: flings fawn-wings
careening clean 'cross crispen skies
cradles crystallized creations
baptized by babes howling orations
organized by nations, natal equations
& these earthly elations cause a calming sensation
cease inferior imitation
a knowing being, awake & feeling.
Someone Smokes.Sistine was supposed to be named after the Chapel, even though her parents aren’t religious. It sounds nice, her mother chirped after she was free from the membranes and amniotic fluid of the womb, still damp to the touch. Neither knew at the time that her mother had really gotten the name from a stripper she’d run into during a drunken night in her early twenties. The original Sistine wore Lucite heels and underneath her trench coat only had pasties stuck to her nipples.Someone Smokes.3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
This Sistine is not like the first. She wears flats when she’s out walking the sidewalk and is only willing to show an appropriate amount of cleavage when her legs are covered. She finally quit smoking in November, but that craving is back now. At first she couldn’t explain why, but she knew where the stress was coming from.
A young man who wears a nametag on his red polo shirt calls her at work to ask for a ride home.
“I’m going to be here until seven,” she groans
maybe you never belonged to meI can still feel the weight of your lips on the curve of my collarbone. Sometimes, it feels paralyzing, crushing, absolute. Sometimes, it feels like home. Like everything.maybe you never belonged to me3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I once heard that when you can't fall asleep it means you're awake in someone else's dream. I wonder which one of us was dreaming that night, because everything was too quiet, too easy, too perfect. You used to fall asleep next to me, your body curled against mine. It's a warmth that's not easy to forget. A hidden smile tucked into pillows and sheets. It's easy to think these things will last forever when you're tangled up together. For me, the strings of my life will always be tangled up in yours. Forever tied to you. No matter hard they attempt to fray. To fall apart. To sever.
It's snowing for the first time this year. Soft and gentle, glittering in the sunlight, falling in large flakes, easy and quiet – nothing at all like the storm that rages inside of me, turning up the corners of my heart, throwing shrapnel
the first poem i wrote since i told you i love youthe star-soaked stainsthe first poem i wrote since i told you i love you3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that covered our nudity
gives way at last
to a tequila sunrise,
so low in the sky;
it's still bright enough
to sting my eyes,
and yet i can't bring myself
to hate it.
your body next to mine,
every effort is made
to move a heavy limb
because any space
is space i don't want.
i am sometimes humbled
by my feelings,
the way they swell
in my throat
just how the ocean
tastes the shore.
there is always something new
to find hidden in my heart,
summoned by my words,
or the salt of your skin
wearing like wind on shale
i don't think i can ever tell you
i love you enough.
if i could, i would never get dressed
so that you could never be sad-
a rewind every time
my clothes touch the floor,
never anything but nude, not naked
because with you i can be bare
i can let you see my entirety
and leave my arms uncrossed,
i can let you in
and not fear that you will break me,
or force my inner things out.
i can love you with open arms
and my lip
How to Critique FictionThere is something that has been on my mind a lot, and that is many writer's desire for critiques on their works. Often, in a social situation such as deviantART, this is a "critique-for-critique" trade process. However, it often seems that people will just throw out some short excuse for a critique and expect some deep insights in reply. Often, this is done without realization of what has happened, and I must admit I am no exception to this rule. The purpose of this essay is to allow readers to expand on their critiqueing ability and in turn inspire others to critique at a higher level.How to Critique Fiction7 years ago in Academic Essays More Like This
To do this, I propose a series of questions that each reader should ask themselves when they finish a writer's work. They are quite simple to answer, and will give a writer insight on areas to clarify, what works and what doesn't, and what interests their readers. The questions are as follows:
Were you ever bored? Did you e
HighMy Dear,High3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I must confess. I never told you, but I got high once. And once before that.
The first time was the day I met you. In that old bookstore we touched fingers among the fiction shelves reaching for a Joyce. An awkward moment made majestic when you laughed. I knew right then and there. This girl is outside my comfort zone. Then you took my hand. As you led me through the aisles, I ran my fingers across the books and prayed inwardly for osmosis to give me the right words to say.
And we were off. We took turns riding the rolling ladder across the biography shelves. We encouraged an Asian boy in the self-help aisle. We asked the clerk, "Where in the dickens is Dickens!" He rolled his eyes. So we tipped him. We recited Hemingway for the war history buffs and Geisel for everyone else. We laughed at an old lady, blushing and shivering, leafing through the romance novels. And when she heard us, we blew her kisses. Peas and carrots. Hair and hipsters. You and I.
Afterwards, in the parkin
The ChalkboardWe had a chalkboard on the back wall of our kitchen. It was green with a wood trim and big like a front door. It did more harm than good I think.The Chalkboard3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I was nine and my big sister seventeen. Every morning we ate breakfast together across from each other and it was usually the only time I saw her.
Every morning mom wrote a new word from the dictionary on it. Winsome. Subliminal. Inept. The word in red chalk and the definition in cursive white. Every morning a new word was there, under the Maxim — a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct — mom made up and taped onto the top of the board.
The Early Learner Bird Gets The Word.
Between bites we said the word and the definition, over and over. Dad liked to say we sounded like broken record players. Mom said we were learning by Rote — mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned. After I said it ten times I could ask to be excused from the table.
It’ll let you express yourself b
Crayon DrawingMy brother drew me a giraffe today,Crayon Drawing3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
an orange and brown thing
with a square body and
a neck so long,
it’s head was off the page.
We took him to the zoo yesterday,
where he got to feed one
a fist-full of leaves.
He came back and exclaimed,
“it’s tongue was black!
Sissy, go see!”
And I replied,
“the crowds are thick,
I won’t be able to breathe.”
I came home to find
a crayon drawing taped
to my door,
and a promise that
“I’ll grow big and strong,
and hold you up,
so you can see the head.”
blood-red wine and skeleton jazzi.blood-red wine and skeleton jazz2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the day you left,
your cobweb dress clung to you in ways
that i would dream about for years,
in hot, fevered nights
when the moon thought it might burst
in the sky,
and even the wind wailed your name.
i remember how you called make-up war paint,
and you drew it across your face like a message
i could never decipher;
i remember how i got goosebumps when i heard
your heels clicking across the floor at 3am
when you finally got home and slipped into bed;
i remember longing for you with every fiber of my being,
feeling separate from you even when our clothes lay on the floor
and your fingernails dug into my shoulders
and your toes curled into the sheets.
you were always just out of reach.
i tried to break my fist against the wall
the day you left,
but i couldn’t punch hard enough
so i lay in bed nursing my bruised knuckles
and imagined you going to parties in hell,
drinking blood-red wine,
your skin glowing in the light of the flames,
decomposed corpses playing you
I try to avoid wearing shoes,I try to avoid wearing shoes, even the metaphorical kind.I try to avoid wearing shoes,2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
There’s something about being touched by every blade of grass and affectionately scratched by every crack in the sidewalk that dares me to take another step. And sometimes I need that.
And sure, after a while you find your feet stained black with asphalt, and some people think that’s ugly. Once or twice, you’ll probably notice a friendly piece of glass in the side of your toe, but at least in my experience, there’s always been someone who will gladly knock a stranger’s door and ask for tweezers.
Maybe wading through waterfalls means I’ll spend a third of my life with the sniffles, but hey, even illness is a feeling. So I’ll keep making snowfolk with my bare hands and dancing in the rain until my hair is soaked through. I’ll keep forgetting my jacket even though you’ve reminded me six times there’s a chance of a storm.
Once a butterfly has landed on your chest you can ne