a lie that tells the truthplease don’t write me as a ghost girl,
all blurry lines and faded features
that caricature themselves into the minds
of those that think they see me--
i am not a canvas.
my life is not a blank sheet for you
to paint your vision across,
and i have no wires in my bones--
you cannot pose me so i’ll catch the light
like a kaleidoscope of clever quirks
and tragic backstories;
i am written in the words i discard
when i write bad poetry at 3am, and if you look,
you can find me echoed back to you
in my all time top five favorite movies.
i am the way my hands hurt
when i get nervous;
i am the urge to speak italian,
even though after a year of classes, i can barely
i am the calmness that hits
when i smell cigarettes, even though
i’ve never smoked,
and i am the grudges that have lingered
because i forget to let things go,
and i am the passive-aggressive comments
that i should be sorry for, but
never really am.
if you want, you can trace your pen along
Oaki knew a girl once,Oak2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
with an oak heart and guarded hands
(gloved from touch)
uncrossed her ankles,
let naked fingertips
touch well-read lips, and
her heart kind of turned
i miss that girl,
with the oak heart -
she was tougher.
One of those NightsThe morning sunOne of those Nights2 years ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
beams through the front windshield
like an intruder:
brash and unwelcome, forcing you to wake.
Whiskey eyed, smelling like an ashtray,
parked at the back end
of some ghetto ass neighborhood
wondering what the hell you did the night before.
It's like trying to remember words
you haven’t written yet.
One thing is for certain:
a little bit of rope goes a long way,
but a lot of rope
will hang you.
your teeth leave different scarswhat they didn't tell me--your teeth leave different scars2 years ago in Visual & Found Poetry More Like This
the amnesiac is
61.8% water &
on watching the night
close its eyes on you,
I only know beauty;
maybe Anne Sexton was on to something
& for the woman shamed,
arise and breathe. Seabones
with taciturn eyes
after we lost him:
mermaid thirst for
Your virginity is like an envelope,
a lover's observations on
post-it notes, cupping rice
always, and always.
a ribcage drenched in dusti have your ribcage, you said.a ribcage drenched in dust3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
what should i put in it?
i told you i'd always wanted a fire,
the kind that would fill my eyes with starlight
and pump my blood full of passion, but
you're made of wildflowers, you said.
a fire would burn you to ash.
you wanted to fill my chest with
the sound of a train, whistling
far away in the night;
with the sound of rain smacking leaves;
with the sound the wind makes
when it seems like it's trying to speak
and you wanted to throw in the
smell of midnight in august
and the feeling of sand being
sucked out from under your feet
when the ocean inhales,
and the strange little moment of
bittersweet joy you get when
someone else puts your soul into words
and you realize you're not as alone as you thought.
i told you that if i had all that inside me,
i'd ache all the time
and you smiled a sad little smile,
because you already knew that ache.
because you were a writer, and you ached all the time.
i've got it, i said.
words to say to your reflectioni am a collection of dust and stars,words to say to your reflection1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
blue luster in a sea of inky void.
i am a tongue licking lips, clicking against teeth,
shaping sounds that matter.
i am the lightning that explodes in purple storm clouds,
four miles of haphazard beauty
on a lonely night.
i am the sea in autumn, still holding the warmth of a summer of sunlight,
though the air outside is cold
i am the snow at 6am.
i have not been touched, not stepped on. my surface is smooth as glass.
i am the snow at 6pm.
i am still beautiful.
i am the sound of rain just before sunrise
on a sunday morning.
i am the swirl of cream in a coffee,
blossoming and unfolding like a galaxy.
i am the smell of lavender
after a storm.
i am breathing.
soft as waterthis is the funeralsoft as water2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
where grey ash spreads
& in the air, a traffic of kites stream across the horizon,
the ash of sails, ghostly non existent,
sails set wide, slicing across the Hudson river
the water heals itself
rescinding wounds, sowing back together the places
where edges meet, and we become soft as water
doves sow the horizon thus, weaving through the kites on fire
& the lovers on fire
and the burns and burns and ink stains
on quiet carpets
everything became a silent memory buried under graves
in the cemetery sails bloom in deathly renaissance.
overpopulation expands exponentially
underground, in empty spaces
(between the sand, rivers, dust storms)
waves recede and seagulls echo
and the shivering saline sea is rough
(baring our naked spines against the asphalt
of the shore, the seagulls soaring echo
more truth than we'll ever know)
they know about:
recessions, receding shorelines and horizons,
and men retreating within,
autopsyher spine was cracked down the middle,autopsy2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
her skin unraveled at the seams.
bloated lungs and an emaciated heart filled her no longer moving chest.
her eyes were still open
and her hands stretching for the last thing she ever saw,
though she'd never reached it.
no one knew the exact cause of death,
except the shadow of a boy who avoided her funeral
like it was a plague.
like she was the plague.
crosswords + dot-to-dots.two a.m,crosswords + dot-to-dots.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
in your kitchen,
lighting cigarettes on your stove.
i'm thankful for
or your arms wouldn't be
holding me close.
time is as long as
this cigarette will allow -
is here & now.
with each flick
of my wrist,
my eyes do the same -
from your clothes
to your oceanic eyes
to your sunken in face.
i want your taste -
but ashes linger
in my mouth
& your hand headed south
& i guess we were playing
i searched for the words
to fill your
but you searched for
my body's beginning
to connect its dots.
DisposophobiaDisposophobiaDisposophobia2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She had always kept everything. Ticket stubs, receipts, the torn-off edges of notebook paper. Any doodles or scribbled ideas, and any note afforded her by a friend were kept and saved. Not everything received the honor, but particular things from specific events did. She wanted to keep track of each and every thing she had ever done. She did so, on a corkboard encircling her room from floor to ceiling; each day had its spot, and one could trace her life along the wall with the zigzagging strings of yarn that connected each day.
She didn't often invite others into her room, for fear they might displace something, either by accident or purpose. A fear of forgetting had encircled her heart, and she did this as her blatant struggle to hold on to everything. Thus, apart from the walls, her room was clean and ordered. Her bookshelf was neatly ordered (alphabetically, of course) and each bauble sat proudly in its place. Her c
A Poet's RomanceShe was the quiet sort,A Poet's Romance3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
within her eyes,
to pottery skin;
she would mold herself
into moonlight butterflies
and glist'ning calla lilies,
pure and white and
and when night cast
itself upon her in
heated, hard'ning flames,
she’d smash herself
upon the rocks
and in morning start
pollenwasp-waisted beautypollen2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
pray into my collarbone
let your snake tongue slither
with the syllables.
i wish for soft-chested nights,
and the trickle of champagne down crystal glass.
poppy-lips, lull me to sleep,
nurse my coiling tongue with yours;
tap my scalp like a silent drum,
and wind my hair in between your fingers
like broken guitar strings.
(serenade me with the buzz of pollen in your kiss.)
the theatreit is a Tuesday afternoonthe theatre2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and I observe
the proscenium arch
of your spine.
I am separated from you
by several degrees,
a world and a half,
the ornate, sweeping divide
between watcher and watched
(and you've never cared
to break the fourth wall)
leap through eternityi will sink my teeth into a supernovaleap through eternity2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
to let the stardust and
slide down my parched throat and
wash over my intestines,
like a pebble
drowning in the sound--
Life Boats for Paper DollsI still throw salt over my shoulder becauseLife Boats for Paper Dolls4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it makes the devil thirsty.
He drinks from an oaken bucket.
We can live our lives without him.
I know a tree in Pennsylvania.
A girl nobody saw leaned against the moss
every day after class.
She wrote in a journal as ants
crawled between her silent fingers.
The summer I turned eighteen she tried to
hang herself from it
Not the journal.
I suppose our words may often feel like gallows.
You never forget the first time you
taste sour milk.
The feeling of time's betrayal.
Some things still have to be taken on faith,
not expiration dates.
Today, I saw her under a tree in Minnesota.
She still writes about damnation but only with a smile.
There is something beautiful about rotting wood.
Letter to a loved one, on losing a loved one.I want to tell youLetter to a loved one, on losing a loved one.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that this grief is temporary,
that even if you feel lost,
you are not a ship adrift
without a crew.
But darling, grief still
sits heavy on my tongue and
I will not lie to you.
[Grief gathers at the back
of my mouth and renders me useless
on days that feel like the day
she died, my limbs heavy,
my heart sore.]
Instead I am going to tell you
that grief is not the last thing
you will ever feel;
there will still be
rumpled sheets and lazy smiles,
your fingers will still find
my naked waist beneath the blankets
and mine will still fit neatly between
the knobs of your spine.
We will still drink too much coffee,
smoke too many cigarettes, and love with
urgency but not with haste.
I will sit with your grief,
as you have sat with mine and
we will be okay.
gossamer, and yousome peoplegossamer, and you2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
(the lucky ones)
get songs stuck in their heads.
i, on the other hand,
am left with words
that beat incessantly against
the confines of my brain.
last week, it was "gossamer."
i thought it was whimsical;
that was pleasant.
i saw the word
every which way i turned:
a gossamer veil of sunlight,
a silk shirt like gossamer,
a spider hanging by a thread of it.
i hate the word now,
with all its whimsy washed away;
the hard g is too harsh and garish
against the roof of my mouth,
the double s too serpentine.
it feels numbingly stiff on my tongue,
like some sort of linguistic anomaly,
a could-be word that really shouldn't be.
today, it was your name.
(i never thought
proper nouns counted, but
evidently, they do.)
i didn't see you as much as i heard you,
in the whistling of the breeze
or the creaking of the hardwood floors.
your imposing yet warm presence
near the nape of my neck.
i admit that somewhere
in the recesses of my mind,
not grief, but something like itmy grandmother's tartan bag sits on an upside-down bucket in the basement,not grief, but something like it2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
full to the brim with little liquor bottles and cardboard boxes
I go to do the laundry,
pass it twice an hour
and every time, just for a moment, I think she's visiting
DivorceBefore that day,Divorce2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Sunday mornings had never occurred to me.
I must have slept through their every summons:
I never knew the time sensitive ritual of finding matching socks,
forcing “nice” shoes over misshapen toes,
the silent pact we would share with the warm cushions of the divan
waiting for Mother to ready us, memories that settle in the guts
like a madstone, which I could then pull out of my old cadaver
to save myself in the next life.
There were a few moments. Like that time, in the garage,
basking in Father’s sunrise sorcery as he fired his magic timing light
into the fluttering lungs of an engine, or when he let me aim
the water at his bucket, poorly, while he carved something
otherworldly into stubborn dirt.
I held nothing near of Sundays, nothing sacred, nothing dreaded,
save for the occasional shameful confusion
I would coax from my belly with dogged chimes
of christmas bells haranguing the church congregation
with their infernal sequence, hanging like nervou
Empty GardensIt was a wine-petaled pansyEmpty Gardens3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
that my mother pruned from the garden box;
it reminded me
that I had blossomed late and wilted.
At fourteen I created pansy petals of my own,
waking up with hot-fisted cramps
and the proof I was a woman.
I was not a rose, perennial,
as I went from blooming monthly
to not at all.
I would rather spend a day
curled up like the fetus I may never carry
than flat on my back wondering
why God allowed worse women than me
to bear children.
I do not like you poetsI do not like you poetsI do not like you poets2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
breathing into my sorry head
like the air hasn't been wasted a half-a-million times
folding up my lungs
to place them neatly into a wastebasket
how can you make me stop hurting
& then just leave me
a limp lettuce leaf
on the backside of some dirty napkin verse
I am not the jealous type
but I'm going to call up Melpomene & ask her where she's been
send her drunk texts
because I'm too tired of filling up my skull
with cicada skins instead of led
while you make it all too easy
to sleep through a heartattack or two
my pygmalion, my god, my thing of legends
when you were being taught the siren's song
was I writing myself a migraine?
he's just not that into youlong-legged and twitchinghe's just not that into you2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like the spiders
you watch run
he doesn’t call
you pretty. you remember
his hands tracing the ink
of your veins, but he
doesn’t call you pretty.
he doesn’t hold
the door, and you
think you’re a liar
but the truth is quivering
naked in your voice
(we will name our children after
extinct kingdoms; dead beautiful
things. i will polish the dull spot
in your eye that you developed
after a terminal case of unnoticed
living. i will never be a cure but
damn it if i won’t be a diagnosis)
the static of his vocal chords
brings you back, martyr
without a cause,
he doesn’t call
you pretty and you
don’t question why.
the first day of springyou are new in the way flowers are new:the first day of spring2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
brilliant green, soft purple,
the good smell of rain and soil.
let the miserable winter wind
chase its own tail for a while;
there’s something beautifulwonderfulmine
at the end of a sunlit driveway.