why i never wrote you a poem.last summer i tried
to use the words that you fell asleep to
to write you a love song but
every time i tried
my fingers froze up.
i failed the test of describing you
in a paragraph
in a sentence
in a word
there is nothing in my head adequate enough
to describe how you look
on the train station platform
when you smile at me.
i can tell you that
my heart climbs into my throat and
my body prickles with heat and
everything disappears, for just a moment, but
the thing i cannot describe
your mouth caresses my name
like it’s the most beautiful sound
it’ll ever know,
like it understands me perfectly,
you are not made of verses.
you have no meter.
you are not written in stanzas
that i understand
and i find myself captivated
at how beautifully complex
your language is.
you say i’m the mesmerizing one, but, baby,
you've stumped me.
you have left a girl,
a person who wants to build their life
you are single.you’re not single because you didn’t forward that chain letter,you are single.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
because your replies were too quick
because you missed one of his
because you said the wrong thing.
you’re not single because
your tits are too small or
her ass looks better in those pants or
you have a stomach or
“men want women with curves.”
you’re not single because you’re messy
you’re not single because you’re not ladylike enough
because you don’t fit in
because you’re too ugly
because you’re too this, you’re not enough of that.
you’re not single because who would date somebody like you?
you’re not single because you fall in love too easily,
or because you don’t open up enough.
you are not single because your heart is too big
or too small.
relationships are not gained through meticulousness,
at how precisely your words land
and how perfect your face is when you laugh.
you are not single because it’s what you deserve
titans.they don’t tell you thattitans.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
sisyphus just let the rock roll down
and collect his body
they don’t tell you that you can still walk
with holes in your legs
and you can still love
when your heart has already been ripped open.
they don’t tell you that
you are 75% of an ocean
that is six miles deep
and eats ships alive,
75% of the water that shapes canyons,
75% of the rain that drowned the earth
for forty days and nights.
they don’t tell you that
your body is made of the same carbon
they don’t tell you that
there is a fire burning inside of you
or that your bones are stronger than steel
or that the things that fuel you
fuel tigers, too.
the greeks and romans wrote stories about
how strong you were
and you are icarus,
and you died laughing
because they didn’t tell you
how beautiful the world really was
even as it was swallowed
by the waves.
and i have tried to make it right.i.and i have tried to make it right.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
let me tell you a story
using six words.
their names become parts of statistics.
let me tell you a story
using six words.
“suicide is the easy way out.”
let me tell you a story
using six words
that will never be told.
pain is not a fucking
do you still pray,
knowing there will be no answer?
see, i cannot speak for those
who have no voice to give
but, sincerely, these are the six words
i respond with:
i wish i could save you.
we live our lives being told that
there is always a safety net -
that there are people designed to protect us.
i’m going to use six words because,
the saddest stories
take the fewest words to tell.
for them, there was never anyone.
blades can cut wrists but
here are six words:
blades can cut stories short, too.
i have approximately 250,000 words
to choose from
to try and describe to you what suicide is
but i don’t
viii.you tell them how you've been seeing his face in clouds lately,viii.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
and how fast your heart races,
and how tightly your hands clamp shut,
and how his eyes are just too green
for you to speak.
swaying and smiling,
a sigh in your chest,
you call it love.
they call it fear.
10 ways depression can say i don't love you1. "i'm sorry10 ways depression can say i don't love you2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
i don't want to
come over today."
the clock reads 4pm
and i roll over in my bed
2. "i forgot it was your
i'd forgotten my own
3. "i promise i won't
the ER doesn't believe
it's an accident
4. you asked if i loved you.
i had to sneeze and it
i think you took that
as a no.
5. we haven't had sex in a month.
6. we don't see
we don't see
i even have any.
7. i never answered your text.
it asked if i was okay.
8. "i need you to open yourself
up for me," you said.
i stopped talking.
9. "what do you want from me,
apparently you didn't.
10. tonight i will sleep alone
but not really.
depression will hold me
and stroke my hair,
telling me everything
will never be
quirks.when i was a child:quirks.10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
i loved to steal.
i would go around my neighborhood
and steal lawn ornaments.
at daycare, i would steal money
once, i stole my next door neighbor’s
when my parents confronted me,
the lie was smooth and solid:
i saw so-and-so take it.
when i was a child:
i loved to lie.
i would make up stories
to get reactions out of people.
to see if they’d believe me.
once, i convinced my friend charlotte
that i had twenty-four hours to live.
when she burst into tears,
i had to bite my tongue
to keep from laughing.
when i was a child:
i loved animals.
i would lock my dog in the closet
and in the bathroom.
a lot of my neighbors left birdcages out
during the day
so i set all of the birds free.
once, i imagined what it would be like
to kill an animal.
then, i imagined what it would be like
to run over it repeatedly
with a car
so i did it with my scooter
to a rose i found
because it was red
when i was a
two-fifty an hour.let me save you the trouble:two-fifty an hour.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
because what i'm trying to say is
i'm not a good person.
i don’t tell valerie about how i planned to rekindle
my friendship with charlie’s best friend last year
just so i could get to him and hurt him.
(i don’t tell her how, in the end, i ended up liking
his friend instead, and charlie dated another
fifteen year old
because shit happens and what was i doing,
expecting things to go my way?)
there are certain things she doesn’t need to know,
certain things i can’t say because
putting it into words what it was like waking up,
that sort of shame that came with it –
it was like – it was like looking into a window
and swearing there’s a monster behind it
before, slowly, i realized
it was a mirror.
what therapy promises me: love yourself, forgive but
never forget, tell us your past
then let it go.
what i learn in therapy: nobody has all the answers.
we certainly don’t.
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
normal is a six letter word.something went wrong around the eighth grade, when those mean boys followed you home, when they cornered you in an alley and pulled your hair out of its braid and told you to get on your knees because one boy had never gotten a blowjob before.normal is a six letter word.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
nothing happened. you got away; horrified and shaking, but you did. it was after.
when everything happened.
used to be, you’d cry when you scraped your knees, and you'd let people finish their sentences before thoughtfully adding your own – but that was before, before those boys knocked something loose in you, because now it's a cycle of not stopping. you can't stop talking or thinking, thinking all these big, bold thoughts that can take you away, that can surround you like a deep, dark tunnel, you can't stop eating because girls are supposed to smile and sometimes eating fills that emptiness inside of you, just for a minute, but then you can't stop starving because there's no time to eat, because you can't stop,
bipolar.after they diagnosed my father,bipolar.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
my mother told me,
if she had known,
she would have never had children.
it scares me to think that,
one day i could hear a small voice saying,
“mommy, i don’t feel right.”
“you don’t look sick,”
they say, noticing that i’m not dragging around
an i.v. stand.
noticing that my sweatshirt is black
and not a white hospital gown
swinging around marbled, knocking knees.
“but i’m still unwell,” i say
in a voice that doesn’t shake
and they just look disappointed,
like i don’t fit.
like i’m the skewed painting
on the fucked-up-person wall.
“but,” they say, “don’t bipolar people
usually kill themselves?”
“but i tried,” i say
with my wrists unmarked
and they just shake their heads
almost as if to say
not hard enough.
“poor girl,” they say, looking right at me,
sitting next to my dad as he laughs too loud.
How to love a poet: Expect them to be flawed,How to love a poet:1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
a field of wild flowered-
& an inability
Love them anyway.
Know that when they look at you
they are noticing the little things.
for those who want to be in loveyou want to fall in lovefor those who want to be in love2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
hard enough to break your bones and
lighten your feet
lighten your heart
so softly that the butterflies you feel
pattering with their gossamer wings
beneath the cage of your ribs
and the breath,
blue in the summer,
can kiss you and the monarchs
as sweetly as your love
and her lips.
you dream of them at night.
silken like clean bedsheets,
familiar as your favourite chair
when you curl up with
a mug of herbal tea.
you feel at home
with her body curled in yours,
only able to sleep
with her skin under your fingers
scenting the blankets
with something no perfume
could ever mirror.
you write love letters
you dream emptily
unless she is there.
you want to fall in love
the way the gods drink ambrosia,
you want to treat her
better than their nectar,
sweeter than honeybees
and their summer-sticky feet.
you want a love beyond poetry,
from winter flurries
to springtime rosebuds
to summer sweet lemonade
to autumnal red leaves u
suicide can come in bottles.dad was an alcoholicsuicide can come in bottles.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
by the time he was twenty-two.
he was thirty-three
when i was born.
i am eight years old.
dad is drunk on the couch.
he wakes up and tells me to buy him food
and i tell him i’m his daughter.
he gets up to yell at me
then, as if realizing, starts laughing.
i am scared.
i am nine years old.
there’s a picture i don’t understand
printed out on the table.
i look at the web address and type it in
and there’s a site full of them.
the men look like they’re hurting the women.
they call them mean names
and tie them up.
in the one my dad printed
there are no faces. just genitals
and i am nine
and i understand.
i don’t tell my mother.
i am nine years old.
every night i get up when dad leaves
to close the browsers open on his computer.
there are seventeen open
and i close them
one at a time.
some of the pictures are scary.
one woman is screaming.
another is one who looks young,
like a high school girl.
things i want you to know.0.things i want you to know.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
there is a picture in my living room
of my parents in their twenties, in sunhats,
there is a picture of my father holding me
when i was two years old.
there is a picture of my parents
on their wedding day.
there is a picture of me when i was
ten, eleven, twelve.
i’m seventeen now and
i won’t let my mother
take any of the pictures
i need to believe that, at one point,
this house was more than just
i was born on the second-to-last day
i weighed seven pounds, two ounces,
and it was ninety-nine degrees out.
four years before that, in 1992,
the officers who beat rodney king
within an inch of his life
five years before that, in 1991,
a cyclone in Bangladesh killed
138,000 people and made 10 million
ten years before that, in 1986,
a fire in a Los Angeles library
damaged more than 400,000
and on that day, april 29, 1996, i was born
and i’d like to pretend
that it was a go
How to pretend that you are a writer.Act like you're notHow to pretend that you are a writer.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
okay when you are and
that you are when you're
not. Run barefoot in
the snow. Stand out
in the rain for an hour
and think about anything
and everything you can.
Fall in love with
riddles and things that
aren't real and the
way some stars
shine. Cry when
you realize that life is
just one big sham and write
one hundred cliché poems
about it, and then write one
that you actually mean.
Use profanity. Be the
one fucking introvert
in a room full of
extroverts and scream
shit just for the fun of
it. Swallow every goddamn
metaphor you ever dreamed
of and write them down
with your own blood.
Eulogize your own
misery. Put a crown on
it and let it rule your
heart for six years before
you throw a coup d'etat
but just end up with
your head in a basket.
Ask yourself why
you feel so
empty and when
you forgot how to
laugh and where you
last left your smile and
who you even really are
anymore. Mean every word.
Don't cry at funerals. Cry
yourself to sleep every
other night for
a meaningful poem about nothing.this is a poem about how fixing peoplea meaningful poem about nothing.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
is not romantic.
we’re not meant to be somebody’s answer,
we’re not meant to make someone feel alive again.
this is a poem about why you shouldn’t kiss him
because he’s broken
because you want to save him.
save yourself first.
kiss him because he holds a place in your heart, not
because he's the only thing making it pump.
kiss him because he’s in your life, not because
he is your life.
hold him, but don’t hold onto him because you believe
(get to dry land first.)
this is a poem about how i find poetry in everything.
breakups. my dad telling me i mattered.
nightmares. my neighbor’s insomnia.
how it drove him crazy.
how he swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills to fix it.
my neighbor’s funeral.
this is a poem about the split-apart theory.
the idea was that when humanity became arrogant
toward the gods, we were split in two
and were doomed to spend our live
tocophobia.the world of pregnancy and childbirthtocophobia.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
has been boiled down to the white,
neurologically healthy babies
in pink and blue knit caps.
“that one,” says the tearful father.
“she’s beautiful,” says the nurse
while the mother rests.
but why is it
that the default image of motherhood
is a white middle-class couple with a picket fence
and a golden retriever?
let’s postpone that cruise to the caribbean
and make a baby.”
what about the prostitutes
who get pregnant?
what about the girls in africa
who carry their rapist’s babies?
what about the babies left on the firehouse steps?
what about the welfare mothers
because they can’t pay the hospital fees?
who have heroin tracks on their arms
(like stitches that can’t hold them together)
where the patient bracelet is snapped on?
what about the 500,000 american children
waiting to get adopted?
what about miscarriages and women
who can never have kids?
we preach for the
colors.red is a power color.colors.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
red is stoplights, anger. rage.
red is my nose when i cry about my parents.
“women are more attractive to men
when they wear red,” he says once
so you cut yourself
because red is blood
and when he ignores the bandages, you say,
“no. look what i did.
look what i did for you.”
but he doesn’t fall in love with you
red is the scream that
comes out of your mouth.
blue is the veins under your skin and
blue is depression that tells you to slice them
blue is the weeks you spend after him
and blue is the great, wide sky above you,
trying to remind you that the rest of the world
is still waiting.
your brother says he’s looking for the light
at the end of the tunnel
but the world is full of light.
(you would know. we can hardly see the stars
because of it.)
the world is not full of you
so you try.
black is what surrounds him
and black is burns
and you’ve been burned, scalded
so you blend in.
I can't write poetry for dead girls.there are tooI can't write poetry for dead girls.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
many pills in this
world and too
much misery in
the human heart
but that didn't mean
that you could just
up and leave when
we both know it
could have gotten better
and i miss you like
a wolf misses her pack
or a goddamn dragon misses
her fire and i'm sorry
that i can't give you
a bouquet of jasmines
(they were your
favorite, after all,
because that was
the only princess
with a pet tiger)
because poppies are
too cliche and i'm
sorry i wasn't there
when all you needed
was a hug and for someone
to whisper "it's okay,
you're perfect enough
for me, don't listen
to that junkie bitch
who just happened to
give birth to you" and did
you know that i'm still waiting
for a reply to that one
email about the world's
best puns because fuck,
there's a stubborn part
of me that still refuses to
believe that you're gone.
what I forgot to sayto the girl who lives like a hurricane:what I forgot to say2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
don’t expect to tell me about
your addiction to self-harm and
Nyquil and have me smile;
although, as I shiver from lakewater
and things less tangible, I seem to
acquire a talent for glossing over the list
of things I need to tell you--
is an asshole. California does not
begin and end in a tiny town where
people operate like clockwork around
the same happy working song. I am not
a fountain of wisdom, and, to be honest,
I can barely understand you over the
thunderstorms in my own brain.
you are beautiful and you are
to the girl I left back in time:
purpose is not a given. I am
the same teenage angst who used
to wear too much eyeliner and
complain about my future
as I’d foretold it-- loveless and whiny,
like me. I am her plus a few more
self destructions and minus
a lot more days to continue striving
alongside you for simple goals and
simple friends and simple memories
I won’t remember.
to the girl who see
I know you, I love youWe fall in love with the microscopic, rough-edged details of people. We crave the knowledge of our lovers, crave to know them the way nobody else can. In a way, these idiosyncrasies become our own personal gift, a sliver of our favorite person preserved within ourselves.I know you, I love you1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You love the way he licks his lips twice before saying something important, exactly twice, like he’s counting out two seconds to reclaim his composure.
You love how her fingertips smell like turpentine and lavender when she finishes a painting because she doesn’t stop until her brushes are clean, and then she spends too much time trying to scrub her hands fresh.
You love how he sometimes mouths the lyrics to songs under his breath, just loud enough to be audible over the radio, and you love the way he smiles and blushes and stutters when you notice him doing so.
You love her expression when she reads, shifting and flowing like a hundred butterflies in response to the words on the page; you love the frantic
pipe dream.dreams:pipe dream.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
I’ve always wanted a boyfriend
I could watch porn with
and drink straight vodka with
until we’re too drunk to know
who took who
I’ve always wanted a boyfriend
I could ride
without feeling embarrassed
that there’s a freckle on my breast;
a boyfriend who could make me fall in love
with his eyelashes
when they’re wet with tears,
with his breakdowns and daydreams
and every honest, vulnerable little thing.
I’ve always wanted a boyfriend
who could make me believe in God
because miracles were real
and I didn’t need evolution anymore
I didn’t need to believe
that things were destined
to change –
that I didn't want them to change.
(I just wanted it to be perfect.)
You called me heroin
because you were addicted.
“You ruined my life,” you’d say,
drinking straight out the bottle.
You never drank with me,
so I always knew it was you
who was too drunk
to get my je
bodies like star systems.“the neighbor’s house smelledbodies like star systems.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
like the ocean when i walked past,” you say.
“it’s a sign that i’m drowning.”
“i stepped in two patches of fresh dirt.
it’s a sign that they’ll be digging my grave.”
“i saw the boy i’d lost my virginity to today.
it’s a sign that i’m going to cheat on you.”
“you wake me up with this shit,” he says in annoyance.
“is that a sign i should break up with you?”
“no,” you say, not looking at him, fighting
to keep smiling. “it means -”
he goes back to bed.
he thinks you don’t get it,
but you do.
he teaches you about chemistry,
about physics and the stars.
he teaches you that the universe is finite,
but constantly expanding;
he takes you hand to his chest, and says
“like my feelings for you.”
used to be, you thought he was your gravity
because you were so drawn to him
painkiller.you show me a bottle of advil. you say to me, “if i swallow all these pain pills at once, do you think i’ll finally stop hurting?”painkiller.2 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
“you shouldn’t joke about that,” i say.
in retrospect, i should have been grateful.
it was the only joke you’d ever told where i wasn’t the punchline.
i’d like to write your name in a bathroom stall. i’d like to come back every day, checking for tears in sharpie’d letters. for a “he’s such a scumbag.” for a “you’re not alone.”
i guess i want to think that you’re a criminal mastermind. i want to think that you’re a serial heartbreaker. i want to think out there, somewhere, is somebody else like me, who you’ve hurt.
(i know you’re none of those things. i know that you’re just a boy – and, really.
that's the saddest part of all.)
i taught you how to stargaze, and how to uncross your arms and let people in