Dear Teen MeDear Adolescent Self,
I know, everything sucks and you don't want to hear from some lame-ass old person. Lame-ass old people try to tell you things like this all the time, but they're just stupid old people that can't possibly understand. You don't respect me because I'm not in a band, I don't have black hair, and I don't look awesome. I don't write screamey songs that speak to your weasley black soul, nor am I Tim Burton or Freddie Mercury. I get it, past self. I get it. Frankly, I don't want to hear things from me either most of the time. As lame as I may be, just hear me out for a minute.
There's this thing you should really, really try, and it's called being happy. No, I'm not high. Yes, this is really quite terrible and hokey. Shut up and stop judging me for a minute, I'm trying to help you, you little twonk. Also, start thinking of absurd insults now, it will help you in the long run.
As I was SAYING, you spend far too much time and effort on being miserable. Part of it is the ho
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.3 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
To My Future SelfTo my Future Self,To My Future Self3 years ago in Teen More Like This
Breathe. You must be thinking, seriously, my teen self is acting like an old fart of a teacher telling off overstressed kids, but seriously, breathe. Stop. Pause. Listen. It's your heart beating. It's telling you, I'm beating so damn hard, I might just kill you one day.
Okay, let's digest. There can only be two reasons for your heart to beat like that. One reason is because I wouldn't have changed- I would still be that overzealous, neurotic, depressed teenager with a penchant for word thieves, dream catchers and moment makers. The other reason would be just the opposite: it's beating with life, with purpose, with hope.
I hope you'll be that second person.
Because being that second person means being serenaded by Chopin in a boy's car, travelling down to Bondi Beach watching sculptures rear out of the sea and you're feeling like, maybe, love may finally find you at last. Being that second person means you just won't shut up talking to patrons
SolsticeOnce upon a time, when you were still sunlighthouses and shimmering existence wherever you were needed most, you found him. He was November, shaky on his first last legs, and you saw through the mind-twistings he feigned to the mind-twistings that were really there, knotted up in his dreams.Solstice4 years ago in Scraps More Like This
You were still birdsong then, and thunderstorms, and your bodyheat melted the frost claws that held him tight. You held onto him as his November deepened. When he howled, you howled with him, and the wind played with your voices and pressed the softness of your lungs against your cageribsand then against each other's.
November became solstice, and you felt him shiver through that long night and didn't mind the coldbitten nails that grazed your skin. He slept when the moon drowned below the treeline, but the iceflakes began to drift in like small animals seeking the pulsing riverheat of your blood, and chilling you. He lay there, vulnerable as his world turned slowly towards the light, and you
RatsWhen I was a little girl, I went to church. Our church was an illegal one: the building was unregistered.Rats3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
We would sit on the benches made from stolen floorboards and listen to a man dressed in black as he read us tales of angels coming to save righteous men from evil, their swords clean and their trumpets blaring.
The man dressed in black was old. He was sick. His Bible was missing pages.
One day in March, my mother turned to me and said clearly, "Masha, I want you to remember something for when you grow up." Maybe she knew she was dying. "God loves murderers."
I just looked up at her, thumb in my mouth. My mother was still a beautiful woman. She was young when a man at an after-riot party had given her a child inside of her, a bruise on her face, and a few kopeks for her trouble before running away forever.
So I watched the dirty gray sunlight washing through her sickly blonde hair, watched it illuminate the dark hollows of her eyes, watched her face, and asked, "Why, mama?"
Breakup SpeechIt's not you, it's me. I know it's the oldest excuse in the book, but hey, when it works, it works. Did you really see this lasting longer than a couple months? When does anything last longer than a couple months with me? I hope we can still be friends.Breakup Speech2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Yeah, 'cause everyone wants to be friends with the ex-lover. Like it ever works.
You know me. You know the type of person that I am. I've never been able to settle down. My heart wanders like a nomad. It seeks shelter where it's offered but only stays long enough to get warm. Attachment isn't an option for me. My mind is too warped. It's too dark to ever let someone in. Truly let someone in.
No, fuck! That's all wrong. It's too personal. Too emotional. Let me try again.
I don't want to do this, but I'm only going to hurt you if I don't. And that's the last thing I want to do. So I'm ending this before it goes too far. I completely understand if you never want to talk to me again.
SouvenirsWhen her mom went to check the mail at breakfast, she returned with a thin box in her arms.Souvenirs3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It was a package from her father.
Her dad was sort of like a traveler... at least, that was what she assumed he was. His job always had him jumping from city to city, country to country. He'd been to almost everywhere around the world, and every few weeks, he would send her a letter with a little souvenir from his stay. This time, it was a miniature Eiffel Tower.
So he's in France again, she mused, studying the two-foot tall replica. A small chuckle escaped her lips. It was about time he remembered to get it for her! He really should've thought of buying it six visits ago. She opened the small envelope attached to package and read the letter inside with a fond smile. When she finished reading, she stood up and excused herself from the table. Her mom answered with a sad smile as she nodded.
She raced up the stairs and headed for the Gift Room. It was a special place in the house just for h
the trouble isi'd like life to bethe trouble is3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
quiet and lovely
like distant church-bells
chiming through snow,
muted by the smell of
an old book and the
feel of a fire warming
me into my chair, and
a mug of tea, steeping
the moment in hushed
gratitude, easily in reach.
Five Seasons (Alternate) There was this moment, early last May, when I could have glanced up from the book I was reading at the breakfast table.Five Seasons (Alternate)3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I could look out my window and see you standing on my lawn, this waif in a windbreaker grinning at a daydream you're probably too old for. I could bring you an umbrella. I could invite you in for coffee, and we could lose the whole day debating questionable Scrabble plays. We could take to the streets after dark and try to find an all-night diner that will feed us both for less than fifteen dollars. I could fall in love with you.
But I don't.
You go home with nothing but a story about how springtime leaves you feeling lonely. Your roommate blows off a dinner date to take you out for drinks. You send a Chardonnay up to the stage between sets and the singer takes you home.
The new girl at work works up the nerve to ask me out.
I don't have a reason to say no.
for riley i think i have forgotten how to dreamfor riley2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
for the last time it happened
i smiled and ran my palms through your hair
sifting out sand and fumbling at the
buried shards of sea glass
that bite at my calloused fingers.
your frothy eyes threaten to drown me
but instead i inhale dopamine and
carefully trace the thin boardwalks
that wrap around your skull
where the hair is missing.
you ask me if i cried
and i said that i
didn’t think i knew
once when i was young
i saw a baby cardinal
huddled and bleeding in the grass.
i watched the ants and the flies skim over the contours
of its closed eyelids
until i scooped it up and held
WaitingWe are still waiting for the thunder from the distant stars,Waiting3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
The echo of mortality,
the whispers of a storm, half-remembered,
in sepia-coloured hallways in buildings that smell like books.
Time gets slow in waiting,
ghosts are formed from the wanting,
taking shape in the spaces where sunlight,
or moonlight doesn't touch.
The stars shake from the vibration,
and the ghosts shimmer in anticipation,
but we can't hear your voice in the dead of the night.
earth circuitAnd when the sun sinks, the earth's skin crawls:earth circuit3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I wonder if this awkward creature would notice me the way I notice him.
He's so tragic at his throne
I stare after him longingly.
He never realizes that I'm the one
Who forever basks in his brilliant beams.
If only he knew how much brighter he could burn
He'd light up the universe.
I heard him speak of thirst, once.
The quenching lust of the stars had run dry.
So that night, I brought along a jar of acid.
(And how it gleamed in his glow).
I handed it to him, wrapped in taffeta ribbons,
I wish curdling joy
On my gurgling boy
I love his eyes, now
Clouded white like milk from a poisoned tree
And his throat,
Swollen and clotted
And his lips blue as the
I try to get him to laugh but
His body is stuck and
RosesYou love too much, I am told by a man with a briar heart, thorny sinews and collapsed ventricles bearing down on him, hardly beating in his tight chest. He looks at me with flat, slate eyes, chipping and eroding. His hands are dark with cigarette burns and rough with calluses; I feel them on my shoulders as he looks down at me, face collapsing in at his eyes like a dead man's.Roses3 years ago in Emotional More Like This
For the first time, I realize he is dead. His briar heart dried up when winter killed his rose; my father, he is all thorns.
He squeezes my shoulders, too tight. You look like your mother, you know, he whispers, eyes shifting to the garden, to the yellow rose I planted for her. It is a rambler, sending shoots to the sky that sink back down. We never gave it a trellis. I loved her too much. And there are tears in his eyes, wet, heavy things that slip down his cheeks and on to the grass below us.
I don't know what to say, so I think of the rose, of her. I think that I'd like to send this
i want to tell youimagine a world without genderi want to tell you4 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
a world where we are not confined
to the arbitrary interpretations of
an inexact biology. imagine we could
rise above the places
below our waists, reside instead in
graceful hands, in angled cheekbones
in some deeper conception than this
skewed perception of you.
I strip myself bare of unforgiving flesh,
squinting behind dim caverns of girl parts--
what are girl parts? all we have are beating
I sit inside this trembling body, shoulder
to hunched shoulder,
stacks of bones too unsure
to be brave enough to tell you that
my gender will never fit on the plastic sign
above a bathroom door.
and I've never filled out a single
form where they didn't ask me for
me to choose one or the other,
sister or brother, father or
mother, i want to tell you but
I'm slipping between sidewalk cracks
walking down the street hearing wolf whistles and
I want to tell you please don't read between
the lines, erase the goddamn
lines, this has nothing to do with
and I w
homeYou once told me that Star Wars felt like homehome3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
And I laughed because
It sounded like such a strange declaration
And seemed so out of the blue
But then I started thinking
What could possibly remind the homeless of home?
note the difference between house and home
And I thought to myself that night
Long and hard
As I held you in my arms
In all my thinking I found that each place had a memory
But I could not bring myself to call any of those places
Because I am among the homeless
As I always have been
So I thought to myself some more
And after quite some time spent dreaming of long empty houses
I realized something
You remind me of home
Of warm nights spent with the one you love
Of laughing uncontrolably for ages
Of kisses stolen long past midnight
Of hopes and dreams and happy memories
Epitaph for an Old Italian WomanWe walk into the apartment building. The building for old people.Epitaph for an Old Italian Woman3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
It smells like old people.
We silently take the elevator to the second floor; her room is 205. Mom has the key, so she opens the door. The apartment is so empty. No little old ladies with white hair and a waggling crooked finger.
There's still newspaper on the floor by the door. Mom and I remove our shoes and put them on the newspaper, lest her ghost throw shoes at us. Or, maybe, hit us with a broom. She never did it to me, but Mom says she used to.
The pantry is full of food; mostly Fig Newtons. We always brought her Italian cookies when we came to visit, but she'd make us eat them while we were there. We would insist they were for her, but what good were cookies without someone to share them with? Italian cookies, Fig Newtons, and tea.
The cookie jar on the counter is full of tea bags. You could never have Italian cookies and Fig Newtons without
preludesi.preludes3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
blue rose into the city backdrop
like balloons, a million for the
morning sun prelude.
i've not slept a dream
but i have cried a salty face
and letters spilled like beans
into my moleskine,
almost as virgin as i once was
with few stories between my covers.
the kettle's belly boils
like my head upon a pillow.
i am guilty for rarely finishing my tea
even when i use the small mugs;
pour, rinse, repeat.
perhaps today i will play dead.
perched behind my blinds
it dawns on me that i am surrounded
by walled neighbours, strangers,
they're just preludes to lovers
the way i am always
prelude to the one.
The TypewriterThe TypewriterThe Typewriter3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It began and ended with a word.
Not a particularly strong or powerful word, but a word that changed everything. It wasn't too long or difficult to spell. It wasn't uncommon either. In fact, it was a perfectly ordinary word, but, I suppose, its commonplace origin is what made it so special.
I loved that word.
But the word doesn't mean much without the story along with it and I was always one for telling good stories.
I ignored the call from the other room and remained seated. That tone wasn't unfamiliar. Taking a bite from my toast, I waited for him to call again. It wouldn't be more than ten—
"Sammy! Come quickly! I've gone an' done it!" he shouted. I turned just as he poked his head into the room with a bright smile across his face.
"What did you do?" I asked as I walked towards his study. Chris had said those same words nearly twelve times this week. Every other day he had called me in for some discovery.
I pushed open the door t
The Best is Yet to Comeif we grow oldThe Best is Yet to Come3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there will be a sigh
an attention to the change
as your muscles slacken underneath
your faded, favorite shirt
the one that's threadbare, "holy"
in a sense less than divine
I'll have washed it for
the thousandth time
our eyes will crinkle, wrinkle
in ways that start to match
and we'll hold hands and ask:
when did the nerves and veins
begin to let our hands get cold?
-if we grow old
cosmic background radiationThey say that the big bang was not an actual "bang". It was really just static. Static, like the interference of radio waves. Of course, the universe did not happen instantaneously. The big bang took 760,000 years to happen. 760,000 years of static, and bang, the universe happened.cosmic background radiation5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I get myself together and actually go out. I go to see the New York Philharmonic perform the works of John Cage at Lincoln Center. I walk out during the second movement of 4'33". There's a very small difference between life and death. I walk home, my chin pulled down against my neck. I hum a constant note, providing myself with my own tinnitus.
I focus on this note. I cross Broadway where the walkers cluster on the curbside, awaiting the turn of the traffic light. People talking and the bioacoustic noises of their bodies moving. I walk against the signal. The tires of taxis scrape against the road. I go west on 65th Street, past Brooks Brothers and the slimy sliding of the revolving door, past vans parallel
Of Birds and Wings.Mr. Chuges was a man that didn't like going astray--he had never strayed from the normality of life and would never plan to, that's for sure. He was a man who would rather expect what would follow to having to deal with surprises and turbulances. Mundane prosaism was enough for him to be satisfied. His appearance gave out that much; mahogany, dull eyes which reflected no light, no life, looked through a pair of perfectly-squared, thick glasses. His lips were usually set on a hard line, their corners never lifting up to even fake a smile. A short, pointed beard covered the tip of his chin, giving him an austere look that made his students flinch in fear. Being wrinkled, his face was the proof he had completed at least fifty years of his life, even though none of them had been eventful. Whenever he spoke, his voice indicated no feeling, no emotion. To one, it sounded like it was emanating from a deep, hollow cell as he narrated today's Latin Lesson. He was lifeless. Moving automaticallyOf Birds and Wings.2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Dear You (Or, Alternatively, Me)Dear You (Or, Alternatively, Me) –Dear You (Or, Alternatively, Me)3 years ago in Teen More Like This
I worry about you sometimes.
I worry about how you are doing: who you are spending your time frolicking with, whether or not you have finally kissed someone, if you still get nervous easily. I worry about my friends in your time – are they still our friends? Or have you finally let them all go, or pushed them away, or left like we always dreamed of?
Sometimes I lay in bed in the late hours of the night, dreaming of your life. Do you remember? Do you remember staring at the dark ceiling so long it began turning red, tossing and turning, hoping and dreading what is to come? I wonder if the things I have done effect you as we have always worried they would; if they have broken you.
You see, the truth is – and I am certain you remember this about me – I fear you. I fear you like a lightning rod fears a thunderstorm. Do you remember why I fear you so? You do, don't you? Just as I shrink away from the possibility of becoming you, so you shrink
DreamersShe reminds me that she's a dreamerDreamers3 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Her right hand delicately grips a pencil
as she's working equations on a TI-89 with her left
She looks up at me and smiles,
and there are stars, meteors,
spanning across the cosmos of her expression
her countenance reminds me to look up at the chalkboard
that's attempting to teach me how
to make verses sing from pages in a plain 8 by 11 notebook
and I am only armed with
a .7 pencil and a purple pen,
stolen from my older sister's pencil pouch
My hands are inches away from hers
from the desks side by side
like cars parallel parked on a side road
her equations confuse me
until she flips the page
and shows me stories
filled with metaphors of the sky
reminding me that we are both here for the same thing:
I needed a reason to smile
She wanted a lesson in writing
She reminds me that I'm a dreamer
We exchange stories and poems like cigarettes
except the only price we pay is a small portion of our ego
when there are mistakes and flaws,
and we are gra