the lump in my throat isn't always a poema man with a scruffy beard and ice-blue eyes once told me:
when we love, we get angry when we are not loved the same way.
i wonder if he saw the hint of indignation,
the fragments of promises still swimming in my irises.
i want him to know that my smile still stutters across sentences,
that even though i haven't broken yet, i'm pretty damn close.
i want to ask him:
if an avalanche occurs when no one is looking,
will there still be a feeling of panic?
what happens to the leaves on apple trees?
if the piano is out of tune,
why do we bother dancing in the first place?
there is this lump in my throat that has not yet translated into a poem.
i think it's stuck there for good.
the human body cannot discard vitalities;
it is not designed to expel emotional things.
as he undressed me for the third time that night,
i tried to imagine what the moon tasted like.
my tongue kept clawing its way to the back of my mouth.
i enjoyed it too much.
now, his hands find themselves curled i
what to do when he doesn't say it backa)what to do when he doesn't say it back1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
you will give all of yourself to a boy who won't know you at all.
he will recycle your parts, make you stationary, bind you into
paper that he will gift back so you can write poetry about him.
you, too, say i love you quickly.
when he doesn't say it back, evaporate.
he will kiss you in places you didn't know existed.
until him, you were a peasant in your body's palace.
he crowned you princess, broke the lock of your castle's gates.
when he doesn't say it back, load your cannons.
you are a fountain pen.
look him in the eye when you write him letters on your skin.
when he asks to read them, surrender.
you have always been this way: too eager
to make wildflowers bloom inside of him.
when he doesn't say it back, trim the stems.
when he tells you that your eyes remind him of tree bark,
show him that your gaze is sturdier than nature's limbs.
without breaking eye contact, slowly back him into a wall.
when he expresses discomfort,
ask if he knows what choking is like.
16 knocks on wood1.16 knocks on wood2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the moon disappears every 28 days.
it wanes & waxes in fractions; it's smart
enough to not try everything at once.
i have been taught that every 7 years,
the cells in my body will die & be born again.
this means the moon will vanish & reappear 91 times
before i will have skin free of your fingerprints.
Proud Lake is located in Commerce, Michigan. at the crack of dawn,
you can find a boy with a gravel & honey voice casting fishing
lines into the abyss. you will wonder if he'll catch a good one.
time knows no boundaries;
just benevolence that doesn't always work out.
once, when i was 2 years old, i choked on the leaf of a mulberry tree.
not every seed bears good fruit.
sometimes, something is so beautiful that you can't breathe.
sometimes, you won't even try.
my palm is roughly the size of a nectarine.
in Chinese culture, nectarines symbolize mutation
and mutation is a change in structure.
i still don't know what my hands are trying to tell me.
a boy named Joshua tol
burning bodiesand we yearned for something deeper tangled between bed sheetsburning bodies2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
but our palms were always split open, spilling malice.
our bodies, always in dire separation
even in scalding proximity.
je dis beaucoup des mensonges.
i tell a lot of lies.
we curled ourselves alongside icicles to bury the flames.
my waist still feels like a graveyard.
even after all the times you tasted my bone marrow,
you still have the nerve to say i'm not bitter.
our mansion is burning from the inside out
and we force-feed the desire with
prolonged gestures and held-breaths.
our combined scar tissue lies in a heap on the floor of our shrine
and the skin is nearly poison when we add our cancelled convictions.
i tore myself apart until all my limbs
seeped into the dirt and sprung dandelions.
neither of our backbones found forgiveness.
we are hiding in the crevices of bedrooms
behind locked doors
underneath all the fight we never knew we had.
this is how smiles tear:
my teeth are lodged in your ribc
palm readingsi exist in the city limits because i want the wind to make me frail.palm readings2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
fragile like a ghost,
a sorry sin i promise to abstain but inevitably commit.
my bus fare is a kick down memory lane.
i walk instead.
he told me i spun words that dissolved on the tongue
before he even had the chance to taste them.
he called me sugar like a midday ritual,
dressed me in compliments more fit for kings than commoners.
i turned complacent; comforted by new beginnings
and frightened by sudden endings.
my mother never taught me how to avoid heartache.
she only told me that my heart was a gold mine
and i should never let fake jewelry lay over it.
once, out of spite, i showed her my palms and asked what she saw.
she told me that in this world full of practice, there was no time for games.
when i showed him, he said that i am overworked.
now, it is the purgatory between autumn and winter that sinks my guts.
the waiting room lacks couches and candle scents.
the smiles are either plastic or
your name has a familiar tasteunder the moth-like hum of a lamppost,your name has a familiar taste2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
your lips molded around hers like a cast
mending a broken wrist.
i stood motionless and watched
as her figure became shapeless,
conforming to your crevices and
letting your hands glide over it
like sudden rain clouds.
as i choked in the outskirts of your paradise,
i couldn't help but wonder if we, too,
looked this way before sickening ourselves.
as we multiplied in fractions and 2 became 1,
did the crunch of the leaves
beneath our backs realize the magic?
your teeth imprisoning my tongue for never too long,
my fingers shaping themselves to the curve of your neck.
our gentle caress disintegrated
like a thunderstorm to a campfire
to solemn ashes and broken twigs.
i first sensed your absence when i knelt in prayer
and your taste was not on the tip of my tongue. from
then on, i ritualized purging myself of every memory.
2 months later and you are still not ridden from me.
regardless of all this mess, your touch is still the epitome of content.
i'm a paradigm of self-destructionsnap your marlboro bones &i'm a paradigm of self-destruction1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
grind them into watercolors -
bay-water boy, paint your brains
on the wallpaper like a sinner's
sermon; you won't wilt the way
that deities do, you solipsist:
you're just a suicide drone.
you can find my heart in the Pacific Oceanon the night of salt and leftover secrets, i tell him aboutyou can find my heart in the Pacific Ocean1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
the Pacific Ocean, how in Mexico, they say that it does not
you can walk to the edge and curl a million secrets
under your tongue and spill them all at once and
the water will drop them the second it picks them up.
he and i have never been fond of life jackets and the Pacific Ocean
is much too deep to swim in. if you look closely, you can see the
floating bodies of those who tried to cheat love but drowned in the process.
see, humans are not like the Pacific Ocean. try as we might,
we will never forget the taste of robust love or the way a smile
feels after a long day of bearing burdens.
listen, the Pacific Ocean breaks in waves.
all we hear nowadays is each other’s silence;
the water swallowed all of our words and forgot they existed.
he and i will go swimming, desperately searching for them.
within minutes, our bodies will become martyrs for a cause
we’ll never be able to remember.
because i'm like a relapse (of you or youth)baby blues cannot cure suicide agendas.because i'm like a relapse (of you or youth)1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
all these poets do is wither, wither,
waste - decomposing bones just
enough to trade them in for
words & kill them
conversations bloom between my tongue &
teeth or two choice vertebrae; thoughts
burst like blood vessels,
like self disgust
(i am more catatonic
than i am catastrophic).
what it means to move on1.what it means to move on2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
he told me that if i caught the next train to Detroit,
he would grab me by the waist and take me to the
edge of Proud Lake in Commerce, MI.
holding both sides of my face, he would list off
all the reasons why i was the one.
i am burying this fantasy,
pulling the hum of his voice out of my ear drums.
if you were here right now, i would kiss you
he said before spilling gasoline under my car tires
and flicking his half-smoked cigarette into it.
i miss the taste of his nicotine.
i miss every strand of his hair.
we are both addicts.
his hand was the span of Orion.
in it, he held mine and squeezed all too forcefully.
i should have taken this as a warning, a sign
of love's tendency to strangle its participants.
i just want my best friend back
he whispered in between apologies.
my arms ached to accept, but
some promises are better off broken.
i spent my 16th birthday reading the palm of his hand;
little did i know i was dyslexic in the art of skin.
his canvas was calloused and w
i can't keep walking on these dry-rot bonesoh, i am not a poet;i can't keep walking on these dry-rot bones1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
like the ink scratches
of plath, i am
specter boy: decay,
dispose, & disappoint
because this is the way
that writers wane -
(this hangman head is no
survivor story, & gods
do not burn out
vandalismI.vandalism2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it was only under the weight of the stars
that vulnerability personified
and he floated into my arms like an honest promise.
we built castles with our mouths,
safe havens with our teeth.
after all this time, i still can't tell
whether he decorated my life
or vandalized it.
and i wonder if i will ever see him again:
painted and proud with those lips like royalty.
you should be home by nowlast tuesday the house took my hand & said,you should be home by now2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
it's more of a hurricane than a fire
since he broke in & burned
but sometimes I see her with a lighter
& she finishes what he didn't do
(I think she's afraid
of settling in,
but last tuesday I realized that she kept the lights on
to frighten away the bridges & the people
so no one will come inside
& smash the teacups, steal the pipes
because since he burnt her beds out
no one lives there anymore
the love machinei never claimed to be bulletproof but people aren't gunsthe love machine2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
so when a boy shoots me a smile,
i shouldn't bleed out through firing holes.
maybe i'm a shell-shocked soldier, fighting
just so i can hold onto something.
there's a difference between holding on & not letting go;
the former has a lower casualty rate.
i collect the bodies littered on battle fields
in the hopes of surrender.
there's a difference between surrender & giving up;
the latter is something i have never been taught.
so i see the ugly in a boy who has Detroit, Michigan
pulsing through his veins. i watch the firing squad
take turns twisting his insides with ammunition,
see him coil himself into an automatic trigger
with ranges set to 300 miles worth of promises.
the force behind his release is worthy of statues,
enough to alter venus' orbit.
we lost each other somewhere amidst the debris,
the space dust and rocket emission, flailing arms and all.
he abused his right to bear arms,
wrote me love letters on the strap of his AK
Farmington Hills, MII.Farmington Hills, MI2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i have this tendency to hide behind tall buildings.
skyscrapers are home, but your lap
is the most familiar place i will ever know.
when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb,
he did not account for your smile.
the brilliance of the two can blind,
subsequently terminating his patents
and deeming light fixtures illegal.
every time i'm on the highway past midnight, i'm reminded that
the difference between us is a 300-mile span of lampposts.
i'm sure that Thomas Edison didn't consider this, either.
if he had, he would have used that mind of his to invent teleportation.
he wouldn't want me stranded in a bed too large for a single body,
shivering with thoughts of damp fields and crunchy leaves and interlocking fingers,
mumbling about how quickly we turned upside down.
still, i think of you in the moments before i do something brave
like tell a secret or hold someone's hand during a movie.
you taught me that forgiveness comes in floods.
my eyes are a tsunami-tide away
fidelic whore-- this is appropriationfidelic whore2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my sweet synchronicity ,
i have downed your appetite
in a bed of front teeth
(it is morning in perth
midnight in dublin, and the noon
sun has been lost behind
a dress of mothy curtains)
do i taste of
of love making;
do i reek of
the weeds that
the posture of your spine?
you bend over
my lap a curve of guilt
and weep all night.
i collect each knob of your body
like a gift. press it to my mouth.
carnival ridesJesus came from smoke & moonshinecarnival rides2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
so whenever i blow out candles,
i write God a grocery list and
set fire to wax in the back of a church
with waning moons for parishioners.
faith comes and goes like carousels,
so i guess that means that i can count on clowns
but i can't count on light.
crack your glow sticks upon our congregation
like rainfall amidst the baptized first.
i spend more time in bed with myself
than i do whispering secrets into the
onion paper of Bible pages.
i vandalize hymn books with my favorite lines of poetry.
i never bothered to ask God if he was okay with this,
i've just always been apt at assuming too much.
maybe, when my father's language unfurls like a Persian rug,
i will relearn the taste of cotton candy & confection sugar.
i will build monuments for my convictions
to make up for all those times i just faked it.
maybe, like a holy convict, i will shackle myself
to good deeds that do not self-fulfill but, instead,
teach every lesson i
scars are more than upside down smilesto put the parallel lines decorating my wristsscars are more than upside down smiles2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like outdated wallpaper to use, i would peel
the scar tissue like the rind of a blood orange,
link the massacred pieces of myself into a chain,
and then throw it 300 miles right to the foot of your bed.
if there was a way to shift cities and collide hemispheres
until the stretch of miles between our aching bodies tightened,
i would do whatever it takes to bring you closer to me.
i would show up on your doorstep like an unexpected hurricane
and you would draw me in like a high tide. your porch light would
flicker like a fake smile and we would twist ourselves into foreign
tongues in each other’s mouths.
sometimes, our teeth rot in mason jars that used
to house fireflies in a time before we began this
downward spiral of inevitable events, and
you collected a basket full of skinned knees and
repeated apologies when you extinguished all of
my house fires with your bare hands.
my worn heart cannot fill the holes in yours.
Bite Your Tongue Till It BleedsBite Your Tongue Till It BleedsBite Your Tongue Till It Bleeds2 years ago in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Speak now or forever hold your peace,
Or is it piece?
‘Cause if I hold this piece of my mind,
To myself, there will be no peace,
Only an explosion of the mental mine
That riddles mine.
I’m no man, I’m a mime,
Holding his hands over his mouth,
Biting my tongue so these words have no way out,
With my eyes half-lidded, the other half brimmin’,
With tears near the bottom half of the rim,
Ready to fall like rainwater races down a windowsill.
Angry to the point where I wish I could control the skies,
Rain down Hell and fury that has built up inside,
And watch my furious vision destroy the night.
But this is not me,
This not how I am,
Nor how I will ever be.
It’s just that I’ve been holding my peace
For such a long damn time.
Now it just seems the only “peace” I’m holding,
Are pieces of my mind.
the garden familymy father met my mother on the train tracksthe garden family2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
leading out of Hackensack, New Jersey.
she was clad in blue and embossed with blisters;
he was wearing a black sweater and had a stumbling tongue.
the night they exchanged promises, the moon
was hiding under a cool blanket of factory smoke.
my mother wore a black n’ beige dress,
my father was decked in the finest leather shoes.
their love was a budless stem:
to appreciate it, you had to do some gardening.
the botany of our family is complicated.
i am a shovel and my brother is soil.
my mother is a watering hose and
my father sets with the sun. come winter,
she will freeze in time and we will
barely see him through the clouds.
the occasional drought will manifest into our lineage,
but my mother will burst like a floodgate.
sometimes, it'll get so cold that the crops will be frostbitten,
but my father will break the barrier of clouds.
i will help dig my brother out of messy situations
and we will be
just a plot of land on the map of our f
unanswered phone callsmaybe if we enjoyed the lullaby of emptyunanswered phone calls1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
dial tones, we would fall asleep somewhere
amidst the clatter of unanswered phone calls.
there is a melancholy to be found in silence.
nothing but the static between our muted voices,
only the sterile hum of knowing you are
watching TV or driving or laughing or fishing
or out with friends or asleep somewhere.
love is not a limb; if it's lost, it will always grow back.
i am discarded bandages and surgical knives.
you are an amputated arm; your phantom limb
haunts me whenever i doubt your ghost.
i learned a trick to uncovering the scent of a hospital without
actually going to one. pick a beach on Lake Michigan and swim
to the point on the horizon where the clouds become water.
you will find me there and immediately recognize the smell
of emergency. do not be alarmed; love is no urgent matter.
again, we will hug a hospital bed with no way to pay the bills.
the best way to dance is to a soundless song.
remember: the silence. when i’m re
146 poundsmy mother tells me that i should be ashamed146 pounds2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
for dipping my baby carrots in salad dressing,
that my food doesn't need the salt i sprinkle on it.
my afternoon tea doesn't need any sugar, skip
the lemonade and drink the water instead.
do you really need that?
her sharp tone echoes like military orders in the face of combat.
she tells me that at my age, her jean size was half of mine
and i resist the urge to tell her that maybe that means she
had half the character i do.
shopping with her, she butts heads with a body-image complex,
telling me to quit fooling myself and pick the next size up.
i shock her time and time again when i cram my corners into
every article of clothing i selected on my own.
how will you ever get married?
& i wish i could tell her how boys have seen me naked
in the emotional sense of the word, how they have found
truth and honor ready to burst from my so-called "fat rolls."
she will never know that i am a garden with an unlocked gate
and that each o
neo-Freudian idealsin 1886, Sigmund Freud employed free association;neo-Freudian ideals2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
the idea that a sick patient, terminally crippled with a nameless plague,
could list off the reasons why his bed sheets had holes in them.
paraphrased: the art of free speech.
my mouth is a gun and your name is a shooting range.
damp grass, our backs, semantics.
the psychoanalysts say we establish long-term memory
by stringing it all with prior meaning.
a flurry of sweatshirts and ripped jeans, stroking skin
in sign language only lovers speak.
hands, tongue, everything else.
Freud said that sometimes, a cigar is only a cigar.
i tell him how smoke spilled from your mouth into mine.
stale breath and gentle fingers probing, squeezing,
i trace my steps back to the night we crushed leaves into potpourri.
the scent of cold coffee permeated into the forest,
the tree roots soaking up our caffeine.
i remember you most clearly in the heartbeat between page turns.
you are full and real, the lump in my throat.
you are the holes in
symptoms of red a materialistsymptoms of red2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
inside of you
unknitting your sweater
& in your dream
you are a wolf eating
a flower in an orange field. the world
is ending. an unnamed girl stains you
as if she were tea
giving up to a
she writes a story: the unrequited
blurry visions of two visionaries
.i laid in the flowers and.2 years ago in Personal More Like This
i listened to them hum,
i think i loved your hands
the most, even when they
flayed me to the bone
and i don't think i'm
supposed to talk about -
the devil, he said i've
lived one hell of a life,
you see, just read my
name out backwards,
and god ain't nothing
but a dog, so don't you
even go wasting your time
(i left my conscience pining outside the door)