stop me if you've heard this one beforei.
there is a man on the corner of my street
who gave me a bottle of bleach
and told me if i drank it, i'd finally feel clean.
but i gave it back to him, and went home to take a shower.
because i am almost happy,
and i do not want to mess that up by
chugging bleach or fingering knives or thinking too much
about that man who turned my insides cold
from inside of his car.
because this has to be happy.
this has to be what happy feels like.
it feels like god gave me a vodka bottle
filled with nature and people and oceans and deserts and seas,
cause see, it feels like i'm drunk on life.
i have this nervous habit of scratching holes in my skin
and my mother says it's because
i'm trying to find something beautiful inside me.
she said i need a psychiatrist.
my friend asked me if i needed itching crème.
i keep laughing about stuff that's probably not funny.
i don't want it to rain anymore.
used to, i liked the rain,
because if i squinted, all the lines would be blurred.
you break it, you buy it.1. someone came up to me the other day, and told meyou break it, you buy it.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that if i didn't start using capital letters in my poems,
she wouldn't read any more of them.
i just told her in a quiet voice that i was tired of screaming
at people who would never listen.
the thing with me is that i always
read too much into things-
people, newspapers, fucks, metaphors.
and usually i fall in love with things that
could never love me back.
2. i destroy the things that mean
the most to me, and i've never gotten the hang
of writing in stanzas.
most days i walk around reciting numbers
and other people's poetry, but usually
i just count the seconds i spend falling apart and
avoiding the things that make me whole because
self-destruction will always be my forte.
3. broken people seem to have a way of finding each other.
like we work under this assumption that we can find
perfect in each other's missing pieces,
even though we all know two wrongs will never make a right
"do you want me to fuck you?" yo
criss-crossed veins for the trigger girliii.criss-crossed veins for the trigger girl3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
"you're not okay."
"no, you're lying. i can tell. everyone has a trigger."
she's walking around in circles
and trying to pick up her broken pieces, but they're
not fitting like they used to,
something's damaged beyond repair.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?"
"because i've forgotten what it feels like to heal."
she regrets not cutting deeper, when she sees the life
still running through her veins, and her parents asleep
on the hospital chairs.
she comes to school the next day with a bandaged hand
and blue eyes that seem a bit dimmer.
"i broke a mirror."
her cracks speak louder than her words.
she slams her locker door and almost hits the boy walking past
and if this was a movie, she thinks, they'd fall in love
but this is real life, and she is too damaged to even
she's too broken and he's too oblivious
and it's too goddamn late, no matter how pretty h
count to infinity before you sleep.cause i knowcount to infinity before you sleep.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there are days when
it's painful to even breathe,
your throat closing up on the knowledge
that you don't know
how much longer you'll be waiting on this
band-aided, superglued planet.
every cell in your body vying to be the next to die,
and all you have to tell them is
maybe. maybe next time.
those are the days you spend
cutting rose thorns into your palms
and clenching your fists tight around
jagged reflections and prismed rainbows.
the days you realize
we're losing so much faster than we're learning.
we're maturing faster than we're growing.
adults stuck in the bodies of kids,
moving around, making the mistakes
no one ever wants to look back on.
those are the days you realize
it's not worth living here anymore.
you're using too many burnt-like sugar words
to get what you want, a mistaken human in wolf's clothing.
your lies are becoming louder than your screams,
but if the knife fits wear it on your skin.
this is the age where you feel caught between
sometimes i feel like a superherothe house across from my bus stopsometimes i feel like a superhero3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is a temporary funeral home, but back when the Yankees controlled the town,
it was owned by a family whose daughter rode bareback
twenty-seven miles in the middle of the night to warn her
rebel leader of a lover that the Yankees were coming for him,
the Yankees were coming, the Yankees were coming,
the Yankees are coming, John, get out, quick!
and maybe she tripped and fell,
or her red cape got tangled up in her stirrups and ideals,
because by the time she rode into the neighborhood,
the houses were already on fire, children were already
crying for their mothers, and her John
was already hung up on the gate as an example
to the other rebel.
the next morning, the Yankees strung her
dead body up next to his.
no one ever told them life wasn't fair.
maybe that's why when i first tasted lemonade
i spat it out onto the ground,
and didn't drink it again until i was twelve years old,
and feeling biter and sour and in need of a little sugar.
when i was little,
fishbowl reality.the boy next to me just diedfishbowl reality.3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
but he pressed play again and started
to chase his tail across a screen of purple blocks.
five seats away, a girl is trying to draw a human heart.
another girl is trying to finish her test.
"this class ends at 2 and it is 1:55."
the boy next to me has given up and
is checking his e-mail, while still others
pull out their computers to start clicking
away at letters that will never fade.
i am sitting here, wondering how to tell my mother
her sister tried to commit suicide.
some people say that an umbrella turned upwards
is a sign of bad luck, but there is a lot of bad luck
that has to do with umbrellas
so i just want to stand out in the rain
and deal with wet clothes and no bad luck
but no good luck either.
people ask kids what they want to be when they grow up.
(an astronaut, loved, a cowboy, a doctor, happy)
no one ever asks what they want to be
when they die. i guess the answer is obvious:
i like reading poems
from the end to the
pumpkins, pogo-sticks, and lip-to-lipdear october.pumpkins, pogo-sticks, and lip-to-lip3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the leaves haven't fallen yet.
maybe this year, they will not.
i am sick of things dying prettier than they live.
i am walking streets full of dead carcasses
and making sure to step on them to feel the bones crack
beneath my feet and it makes me feel powerful
and alive and deadly and beautiful.
i am three months away from january
and my unfulfilled new year's resolution is still
sitting heavily on my collarbone, trickling down my ribs
melting into the soles of my shoes.
last year, i celebrated the new year in my friend's friend's apartment
in india and two minutes after the countdown was over,
people set off fireworks outside the window
and i grabbed my shoes and ran down to the balcony
to watch things explode, drunk on
the hope of things changing.
one- keep the scissors from my skin.
two- hold on to my hope in my palms like lifelines
three- first kiss
four- let go.
right now, i am used to time running out
and stepping over lines that would have broken my mother's
the aftermaththe temple of her body was torn open tonight,the aftermath10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
desecrated and lit on fire. i swear, gods have burned
and felt less pain than i do as i write these words down,
because she’s crying in my bathroom right now and i have
to go and convince her that the handful of feathers
i have left in my palms could ever equal the wings he snipped
off of her tonight. she will never fly again. she will never
believe so wholly in herself again. her body is no longer
a temple, her body is a landmine, an open wound, a thousand
foot drop off of a bridge, a stranger to her. she will never
again be able to trust her body, to know her body.
this is not the first poem i’ve written about rape. but this is
the first poem i’ve written about rape when my hands
are shaking and i have a twenty second phone call still ringing
in my ears. it’s not about statistics anymore. i cannot
distance myself from the cold, hard facts by using pretty
metaphors about dissolving and beginning anymore
because a gi
catch the stars to remember her wishesi.catch the stars to remember her wishes3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
she rememberes the little things first.
her favorite color is purple
she likes blueberry pancakes,
and leaves pennies face-up on random street corners.
even with these pieces, it feels like
a huge chunk has been torn away that she could never retrieve
there are scars on her person
she does not remember getting.
her body is a map of memories
she does not know how to read.
they say she used to be calm and collected,
but now she is hot and fiery,
and they don't know her anymore.
but that's okay, because she doesn't know herself.
she misses the sun,
and the bad school coffee and English projects
and her own bed
and the person she was before.
even though she can't remember, she misses.
when they tell her what happened,
car crash. one dead, one survived.
internal bleeding. damage to the brain.
amnesia. amnesia. amnesia.
and she doesn't remember but she flashes between images
like loose strings that she can't help pulling.
a hand to hold. a quick
a litany of things better left unknownI wonder if we had a time machine, how many peoplea litany of things better left unknown1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
would go back in time and how many people would go forward,
and if that would say anything about us or not. I know
some people are afraid of the butterfly effect: when I was
eight, a girl named Alexis stopped me from a catching
a monarch, told me I wouldn’t like the way I looked
if I had its colors dusting my skin.
I wonder if God ever stands in front of a mirror
and realizes how amazing it is that He can see Himself
when millions of people would kill to be able to.
I wonder if vampires ever get lonely when
they’re sleeping and if they ever get
self-conscious because they can’t see themselves
in a mirror. I wonder if vampires ever ask people if they’re
pretty. I wonder if God thinks He’s pretty
or if pretty’s just a human-made concept and Moses has never
had to look God in the face and say, “People love You—
that’s all that matters.”
I wonder if you can lie in heaven. I wonder
waking upand imagine my surprisewaking up2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
when my insides bloomed
into so many dandelions,
and in a single breath
Audreydear girl i sit by in englishAudrey3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
this is for you.
this is for you because you are
the dreamer of impossible dreams, and the
doer of improbable things.
this is for you, because
you balance on two legs when your life
is spinning out of control
and poetry will always confuse you.
you love fudge brownies like you love
every single guy you like.
for so long, the only thing i knew about you
was the fact that you liked reptiles in second grade.
this is for you, because
you walk around swim meets without pants
and brush your hair in the bathroom before lunch.
you're a mess of contradictions and the most
securest insecure person i have ever met.
this is for you because
i still feel guilty about the reptile thing and
you once begged me to use the line,
"you played fruit ninja with my heart" in a love poem.
this is for you because
you told me in third grade that
grace, everyone has the thing they're best ató
ady's the artist, you're the writer, mili's the smartest.
what am i? what's my niche?
acrimonyi have spent too long loving youacrimony5 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
like a store shutting down, slashing my prices,
hoping there’s something here you might
want to buy before i go under.
this is not your fault. i was told that loving
desperately and wholly was light years
better than loving practically, but you
have spent four years loving me like i am a siege
and you are worried that your fortress’s walls
are not high enough. i think i mean
that you love me cautious; you love me
most nights i waste hours not looking at my phone
and trying to remind myself how much i am
worth without you by my side. the numbers
never add up. maybe this is because
you have never been constant enough to be an equation.
look here, i have it on good authority
that universes exist in my skin and stars have died
so that i could live. stars have died and i have
survived and you will not be the one to make me wish
my soul was nothing but a black hole.
i can’t shake the thought that you are my novel and
i am y
an open letter to my twelve year old selfone day you will cut all your hair off,an open letter to my twelve year old self1 month ago in Free Verse More Like This
and hang up a map of the world in your
room and you will look at it on days
you think your life is going nowhere.
i hate to tell you this, but this isn’t
your worst year. it also isn’t your
one day you will cut all your hair off
and realize that some poems need to be read
out loud, to an audience, so you’ll take a hammer
and some nails and build yourself one
out of a girl whose veins look fragile but
whose bones are strong, a boy who isn’t as tall as
he thinks he is, but whose lifelines are the deepest
you’ve ever seen, and a girl whose eyes remind you of the
east coast shore.
one day you will cut all your hair off,
and learn that you can like pink
just as much as you like blue
and the world will not fall apart
along its fault lines. there are other flags
you can wave with pride that
one day you will cut all your hair off
and figure out how to forgive yourself,
figure out how to sta
for magdalenei think i’ve figured out the reason you’re sad all the time.for magdalene1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
it has something to do with your mess of a tongue, bitten through
and scarred from the times you’ve tried to hold your words inside.
stop doing that. let them out,
they’re not worth the blood in your mouth.
neither is your parents. and i’m not going to try
and tell you that they’ll understand one day
because some moms and dads never will.
but you’re always gonna have a skyline, you’re
always gonna have something to look forward to.
believe me, the world never ends.
not even on the days you want it to.
not even on the days when you’re looking
for gods in the weirdest places, like the broken
spine of the book you’ve read thirty-four times,
the front seat of your brother’s truck, the gap growing
between your niece’s front teeth, and all the other things
you find holy.
the world doesn’t end; and for that matter, neither do you.
the only thing i learned
Confessionsthere’s a lot I never told youConfessions2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
1. I have a habit of lying, about
the simple things (like, yes I
forgot to remember and I swear by
soul mates and I’m in love
with your susurrus voice
and no, I’m really doing fine).
It was not an act of infidelity because
I believed it, too.
2. I’m infatuated with the concept
that I am more or less fictional, the
delusive beauty a million men will
dedicate novels to: I am fragile,
a dust angel sent to save the world
from commonalities and
3. Since I’m not allowed
to remember your name
I will commemorate you
in acts of escapism,
killing off the pieces
of the person you left behind.
4. I believe in a past life
I was a bird with a tendency
towards tall buildings; the sorry kind
of bird with heavy bones and crumpled wings
who never quite learned
to fly away.
5. I miss you. I used to think
you were a person, but now I know
you’re the happiness I will never
6. I'm sorry.
i don't have a dog1. i get up at ten.i don't have a dog1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
this is an accomplishment.
by eleven, i’m awake enough to miss you.
to be honest, that part never goes away—
but eleven is when the typewriter grows fangs
and threatens to swallow everything i am
if i don’t put a name to the feeling. even the dog’s
tail does not wag. he keeps watching the door.
he will not even touch his food until the sun has
set as deep as possible. he is giving you every
chance to come back.
i try to tell him there’s no use,
that you will never come back.
but dogs don’t understand things like that,
don’t believe in the concept of ‘never come back’.
they believe in the sound of a key turning a lock
and the inevitable stomping of feet on the welcome mat
no matter how many times they’ve heard
the car engine start and the crunch of gravel as it pulls away.
2. this must be what missing you feels like.
i have lived lifetimes in the minutes i keep breathing.
i keep breathing. this is an accompl
let's pretend this never happenedbecause honestly,let's pretend this never happened3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i don't know you and this was
just a big mistake, she says
the morning sun peeks in
through the curtain as she pulls
on yesterday's shirt and i catch
my last glimpse of her thin
shoulder blades, protruding like
wings about to burst out of their
seams. she won't look at me.
the floor creaks with her weight
as she gathers her things. i've
already forgotten her eyes, wide
with wonder, and her lips, her
slender jawbone. i wish she
would turn around. i try to speak,
but words don't come.
her bare feet pad across the
room and she pauses in the doorway,
head turned to the side, as if listening,
perhaps to my heavy heart beating.
the set of her shoulders, hunched like
an eagle about to take flight, makes
me think she's going to break into a
thousand pieces, and i long to catch
them all and fix her. i long to know this girl,
this girl without a name who carries
herself like a hummingbird. i want to ask
her about the tattoo that runs along her
sempiternali saw you today, for the first time in months.sempiternal8 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
i admit, it took me a few seconds to remember
all the words to the song you played on repeat in
your car, the one you couldn’t sing with open eyes.
the music used to come so easily to me,
but when i saw you today, i could only remember
the chorus, and it stuttered its way through my head
over and over again. for the life of me, i don’t know
what comes next.
i have spent years picking up the pieces of you
that you left behind, years spent memorizing
the echo of your heartbeat and the rhythm of
your breaths. your favorite color is purple.
you like sunflowers, autumn, and the creek
that flows behind your house. you like movies
and popcorn, you like ferris wheels and candy apples.
you love your mother and miss your father. you’re
afraid of alcohol and terrified of yourself. there
was a point in my life when i thought maybe i’d
be able to grow old next to you.
i know it’s stupid, but i’m afraid of not knowing
fake it till you make iti don't want to live on this planet anymore.fake it till you make it3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
so i'm packing a rocketship to mars
(no you're not invited),
where the seasons don't change and
the people forget.
i can learn to forget too just give me some time.
i can write an entire book on how to lose your memories,
if you want.
you might want to find someone else
to help you make those memories though, because
i'm the kind of person who's never seen a shooting star
but sits in the dark
when there are meteor showers outside.
i'm also the kind of person who ignores your phone calls
and hides under her blanket.
maybe for the same reason.
make a paper crane. burn it, starting with its head.
the wings should be last, don't make something that can't fly.
(i can't imagine being a penguin.)
build a wall. anywhere.
maybe you can even tear it down afterwards.
change your favorite color from his eyes to
something that can't hurt you- like maybe
grass green or baby blanket yellow.
maybe buy a n
peccavii think you are lovely.peccavi2 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
but i am not in love with you,
and by the fifth time you catch my eye and look
away just as quickly, i realize
that i cannot will myself into being so.
if love were as simple as a field of flowers,
i swear i would pick you a bouquet
of daises, and make sure that every petal you
picked off ended with ‘she loves me’.
if love were as reliable as the sun,
i would never stand so far away from you that our
shadows did not touch.
if love were as predictable as the weather,
i swear i would spend every storm
kissing you in the rain.
if love were as fair as Lady Justice
i would tie a scarf around my eyes
and spend the rest of my life blind
just to be able to feel the way our fingerprints
line up together.
if love were—
but it’s not, and i’m not—
in love with you, that is, and
you deserve a girl whose heartbeat plays
the Hawaii 5-0 theme song whenever
you walk into the room.
i know that isn’t me.
and i don’t know how we can r
scar-crossed(my fingers are colder than the solemn bluescar-crossed3 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.
tear the skeleton from his comfortzonei want to build a skyscraper, seventeen stories hightear the skeleton from his comfortzone3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and fill each floor with a story from the people who never said goodbye.
a middle child, born in 1994,
she always wanted to be loved the most
until she learned how to give a blowjob
in an alley behind Miss China’s Takeaway
at knife point.
she lost her childhood
to an ocean who always thought it was small
and never stopped pushing its borders.
he’s not sure how he’s supposed to live without her.
staring at the closed coffin, he loses the ability to want to.
it’s not fair, she thinks,
that the house creaks when she’s trying to sleep,
but when he leaves, it doesn’t make a sound.
nine months and a small coffin later,
she thinks she likes the name “amber”
“tomorrow,” he says as she passes him in the hallway—
him from math, her to english. “i’ll tell her tomorrow,”
a thought he had had for the
heavy humansour breath mingled with the bittersweet burnheavy humans3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
of summer breezes and flushed our faces with
the sort of scent that nourishes nostalgia on
weary winter evenings.
the clatter of our bodies on the wooden porch planks
reminded me of the way my bus driver collects false
appreciation in her back pocket until she is uncomfortably
spilling out of her seat; basking in guilt that pleads
with your hips until you submit to feeling it.
waves of truth broke on our shoulders in patterns
as we struggled with each other's mistakes.
our bones severed themselves into swords
that our muscles swore never to use.
(better safe than sorry,
although they seem to go
hand-in-hand these days)
my heart was child's play, so you hop-scotched your way
over it again and again until you created a path more
war-torn than the highest of my convictions.
someday, years from now, the ashes of everything
we once were will flutter to the ground in a gentle
disarray and we will still be bending backwards for
all the wrong reason
Clichei. true loveCliche3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
& you were that one famous line
of a love poem 1863 sonnet
scripted down your spine, verses
of sternum & shuddering heartbeat.
i remember the sheets twisted blue
as the eventide, your eyes like thelassia,
that species of ocean grass. we swayed
to the music of galaxies colliding.
our song was the day the tides
finally curled round the moon's face.
eventides, thelassia eyes, moon
great and heavy as that one lucky coin
that refused to land, to grant a wish
or let luck decide for us. there were
star crabs scuttling under your
oragami skin. & i never realized
all the ways that you folded
until the doctor came back &
you folded into yourself,
please don't tell me it was disease.
please don't mention the fact
that there was a constellation
blossoming underneath your skin
as if it excuses the metaphor
of your candle-eyes dimming.
i was there for the treatment.
you weren't, rag-doll girl. you
hung limp as wet clot