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Similar Deviations
I could make a story out of
this. The blackout epiphanies
blinding me like a total eclipse
of any sense of rationality I ever
stole out from my parents' blind spots
when they turned the other way. The
boy I fell half in love with and
my therapist's unassuming questions
about why he was different, the way I
was never beautiful to him but he
still looked me in my bokeh eyes,
betraying and quiet, so that was enough.
My vain addiction to anything
permanently damaging and
more or less glamorous. The dreams
I can’t swallow no matter what shade
of delusion they come in, about
the imminent death of stars named
after deader lovers, and places
where the air is intoxicated with
the promise of Ecstasy, or whatever
name heaven goes by after you begin to doubt
the reality of putting one foot in front
of the other will get you anywhere at all.

I could write novels about my path
to self-martyrification and the moments
I cried for no reason except that
I had no reason tor cry. I could write
a million dedications no one
ever asked for, to the boy who’s more
scar tissue than man, or to the girl
who sits alone in the library
reading people like dirty magazines
and ends up disgusted with what
she sees, or to that watercolor child
on the better half of the mirror.

I could write so many poems
about my salty lungs and aching
stomach and blossoming wrists,
I could tell the whole fucking world
what it is to be in love with all these
people that never existed and
to resent the ones that do, what it is
to buy lessons on how to live. I could
make something worthwhile out
of every second I wasted mourning
catastrophes coming to life inside
my ribcage (you needed this.

here’s my poem about
the things that keep me going.)
i need to leave a legacy
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i
does she know the astrological significance
of the bruises starring along
your wrists? if I could, I’d

run away somewhere where
the sky is silent and the people
hate honest eyes. here’s my problem,

I’ve wasted all my time daydreaming
in the universe of your scars. I wonder
if substantiality is lethal.

ii
[when will you move on
like you know what
you’re doing with your life,
like this tiny existential
failure is only a hazard sign
on the roadmap of your journey,
like the world weighing down
upon your shoulders is an
exercise in vanity and quietude
instead of someone
else’s burden?]

iii
lists of necessities: methods of
starvation, hours to fall asleep by, sharp
objects, words that mean nothing.

I’m sorry this isn’t better. I’m sorry
I’m not better and I’m sorry
nothing is bright anymore.

things you remind me of:
the november sky
right before it rains.

I have nothing good in me to put on paper
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we live in a world of apologies.
I made a mistake a year back,
choosing my addiction to oxygen
over less demanding things.

I’m sick of trembling for problems
that aren’t mine and I’m sick of trying
to romanticize black holes and
the indiscriminate nature of lithium and
I’m sick of waking up every morning
feeling sick. and truly, I’m sorry

but I’m not ready to accept my role
in the making of myself. I’m not ready
to lament for those with a smaller
pain tolerance, and for my dislike
of anything that requires commitment.
I’m sorry I miss you and I’m sorry
I won’t admit that out loud.
how scary is it to be something
so unalterably heavy, to be diagnosed

as your own worst enemy, but god,
you’re so fucking beautiful,
and not in the stereotypical boy
meets girl meets fairytale way, but

the kind that makes my heart
bleed a million miles quicker.
I just wanted to cry on all
your scars and wash them clean.
when things are bad for so long,
everything’s an answer. I’ve developed
an unkind predisposition to all items
toxic, but goddamn, every song
by Nirvana understands me so well.

I would’ve loved you more if
you had hated me. but now, here
I am, recreating you in verses
on my wrists. all things

are in a constant state of recreation;
in a year, I will be reborn, but
I’ll still tremble when I’m made to wake up,
I’ll still reference you in poems
I shouldn’t write.
and I'm sorry for this
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I have a headache and not enough time
to explain the irony of how I want to be
every pretentious poet making art out of
themselves, cutting open their side and writing
in blood and pixie dust; or how difficult
it is to make a good allegory out of carsickness
and household complacency. this

is every secret I ever hid. when I was 9
someone dissected the world in front of me,
showed me it was a living, wanting thing
and that I was just a lonely cell, functioning
through my dysfunction; when I was 11
the boy I liked told me he’d be interested
if I were prettier and I learned starvation
was more a state of mind than a presence
of being. when I was 13 I researched the lethality
of cleaning products, because god, I felt so dirty,
and nothing can clean you more than a couple cupfuls

of bleach. when I was 15 I was old and decrepit
and mostly dead, returning from war with flowers
for graves that weren’t filled and a heart of
tragedy, vulnerable and draped in every shade
of mourning for the people I loved that didn’t exist--
people with crippling mental illnesses
who’d already lost the battle with themselves
(the soldiers wilted like petals; we sent them off
but ultimately they died of neglect.) I’ve learned

sadness is a monster that’s terrified
of other people, but it’s still with me
when they leave-- hiding between pages
of my notebook, at the bottom of my pill bottle,
in her throat every time she says it’s my own
fault. that’s what nightmares are made of;
empty rooms, broken orb eyes, the demons
you weren’t brave enough to kill on your own.

I only look tired because I haven’t slept
since I found out I was dying. I guess we’re all dying,
some of us are just better at it than others.
the future has already been written, and
I’m stuck here, trying to paint unbeautiful things
and make poems out of dirt and relapses. tell me
that scars aren’t special, tell me someone will love me
fully clothed and honest. I don’t remember
the last time I answered the question how are you
without lying. tell me loneliness isn’t a disease,
and that I have something good inside of me. tell me
what demons keep you up at night. tell me

what your world is made of, and
I’ll cry with you.
if we were a portrait,
you'd be the sunset 
and I'd be the dull brushstrokes
that never captured you right
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to him;
you are afraid of phonecalls. you
are afraid of your own voice, and
opening your ribcage to let
your heart come live on your sleeve.
you are afraid of living without caffeine
or alcohol, whatever the day calls for;
you are afraid of being real

without laughing afterwards, becoming
everything you worked so hard to get
away from, acknowledging all
that you still are. know this:

I am afraid of loud noises.
I am afraid of honesty and drowning,
people I don’t know and words
I won’t say. I am afraid
of growing old and living alone and
you not accepting me. I am afraid

of myself. In that, we are the same.

to her;
I have the compulsion to grab you
and cup you to me like you are some
half-alive bird, like that sound
as the lazy sun paints you a portrait is
your hummingbird heart and not my own
shallow breaths. in the beginning,

you were my peace of mind. you traced
the contours of my being with a scalpel
and held me up, a shadow puppet,
as the darkest, blackest figures I gave off
became my identity. when you left,

the cuts remained. when you came back
with an I miss you card and a girlfriend,
the cuts remained. when you cried on the phone
as I told you every gory detail, I remembered
the day I let myself fall apart
in front of you and you forgot.

now, I haven’t seen you in half a week
and days are measured in thoughts I must
avoid. now, the cuts remain, but I still hear
the ghost of your hummingbird heart
in the shadows they left.
hey hey

pay attention to me
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I'm sending all my words back
to the people who need them--
people who wear scars like
war trophies, like jewelry, like
an identification for those suffering
from the same acceptance of
self-hate. this is to the people
who sleep with one eye open, who
cry when footsteps enter their room
at night; this is to the girls
who love by cutting their hearts
into snowflakes and watching
them melt. I left you behind and
I can't be sorry for that.

you are the type of beautiful
that kindly asks the world
to fuck off. the days we buried
have decomposed, headstones are
snapshots; sanitized breakdowns,
rusty tongues, sighs laced
with fear, I love you, I love
you. saturdays were the best
because we could sleep through
the nightmare. you painted me a
picture of the world with your words
and they made us wash it away
for being transparent.

we were afraid of nothing
but the monsters in our eyelids.
back then, we counted days
like shooting stars; it took 67
to wish myself away. this
is for you, skygazer; I keep you
in my fingers because you
slipped through the holes in
my heart.
today, i write a letter
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it is a snake
coiled in my stomach,
the urge to vomit
everything inside of me, to purge
all the toxic not-
good-enoughs. to retell
the same story and expect
a different ending is
the dysfunction that landed
us in here. I'm sorry
I don't follow you into
your dreams at night. I'm sorry
my smile is not the moon,
I'm sorry I did anything
to make you notice
me at all. no finger
down the throat could ever
take that
away.
READTHISYOU JUMP-TO-CONCLUSIONERS

when i get really horribly depressed i feel like i am going to vomit
this is an expression of that depression
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take two.

a week past the end of the world,
and there’s something therapeutic
about not caring.  I must’ve

really messed up in another life. I
wake up shaking and forget to sleep
shaking and hold your hand, shaking,
remembering the moment I became

poison. I feel crazier than ever; cementhead’s
good and gone with his plastic wrists
and missing soul. the boy who entertains
his unfriendliest nightmares couldn’t
muster up enough innocence
to make it right. (today, he writes
a letter; dear Sophia, he tells me

it doesn’t get better. I’m
locked up for a crime I
didn’t commit. you did it,
Sophia. you built me

wrong.) but you know me,
I fell in love with a problem I
couldn’t fix, a boy blinded
who’s never seen the light.
He was a stormy violet but I
am cyan graying with age--

I spent most of my life dying,
and the rest of it wishing I
was someone else. they tell us

only god will see your ugly;
and the girl who swallowed
razorblades can’t cry, and
the serial killer before her time
can’t cry, and the boy who created
a father out of thin air doesn’t
even remember he exists;

about now, it seems like
I don’t either.
if this is at all triggering tell me and I will put up a filter

this is all pretty real though
I met a boy who smashed his head open with a cement wall,
a boy who feared a man named Wallrider and wrote to his god Sophia,
and a lot more. you know me,
I never sleep.
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she smells of smoke, tastes
of cheap dreams and cheaper makeup,
sounds like someone who's used
to giving; her eyes are two

glossy sunsets out of a few
trillion that have set before--
when she shuts them, no one

blinks.
(sometimes, i feel you
when i sleep, heavy on my
chest, with your combat boots
and eyelashes sharpened to daggers,

slicing your wrists open like
you finally won the war)

trying maybe failing short poems
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there aren’t enough moments
to love you, or words
in the English language to call you
beautiful. there aren’t enough
heartbeats in me to dedicate you
something you might deserve.

you can no longer lie.
a vengeful earthquake births itself inside
your unkind frame-- bones and skin and
muscle knotted together as an attempt
at something durable; but when you scream,
you don’t wake up. your world

collapses in mounting seconds. words
are a currency and you are
finally rich. you have lived
in the mouths of ghosts for so long
that you can walk through walls;
you aren’t here, you’re choking

on other planets from a lack of oxygen
and understanding. but I will love you,
I will love you; dear wallflower,
your petals are not wilted. dear
anonymous, I could give you a name.
dear hopeless, there are not enough words

in the English language for how beautiful
you really are.