bipolar.after they diagnosed my father,
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.
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.
why i never wrote you a poem.last summer i triedwhy i never wrote you a poem.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
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
fabled lifei.fabled life1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
she talks through her wrinkles,
'i have no desire for food', she says.
i take her plate to the kitchen
noticing how the beetroot shavings bled into the skin of the chicken and brown rice.
it was blood, skin, and bone,
and the rice was a million starlike cells floating between.
this reminds me of my anatomy textbook:
we've been learning what's beneath our skin,
we learned that all cells divide. some cells often don't stop dividing.
other cells divide and stop when they should...
but not my grandmother's.
starlike, they explode, they shatter, they consume
i want to be mad at my grandmother's cells,
but what would that do?
i want to talk to my grandmother's cells,
i want to tell them they can be alive
and not kill her.
i have to catch the moon,
i have to visit hades and bargain with beautiful music,
i have to sell my voice for legs,
i have to sail the ocean blue in search of a good reason why cancer can't just be what it is.
this is not a fabled life
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
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.
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.
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
eloge [la jeunesse d'une cousine]1.eloge [la jeunesse d'une cousine]1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
i was nine and you'd just
taken a third year when our
grandfather taught you how to box
on the overwaxed hardwood in his
kitchen; i was reading you some book
about a purple lizard; he put his teeth
on the table, crouched
and said: "hit me
on the mouth"
[you would have cracked his teeth if
they weren't removed, you were
a loaf of heavy bread made with
too much shortening and not enough restraint]
laughing you punched him again—
in the gut this time—but
after he chastised your form
you spent the balance of the month of august
practicing instead on my arms
you came of age in a trailer park
full of nostalgia for the 1970s and i
grew up in a yellow house
in the middle of a gothic suburbia:
neither would serve us
long, we said.
you had an enviable stoicness and i had
gutrot the day of our grandfather's interment:
you gave me tissues, told me
we would go on enduring, asked me
for a cigarette and then
spent twenty minutes vomiting on the carpet
of my car between puffs
i'm not going to lie and say she was perfect.her skin was spotted with what she passed off as freckles,i'm not going to lie and say she was perfect.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
but what were really scars from a thousand summer suns
as she ran about outside,
climbing trees and treading rivers,
pretending to be an american bomber
in the midst of WWII.
she kept crimson stains on pearl pink lips,
which always had the habit of getting on her teeth
because she put on make-up after dressing in her car
and ordering coffee in every way she hated it
as she drove to the record store three times a day,
ignoring her job downtown.
she owned four and a half hairbrushes exactly,
i took count on the first night i stepped into that whirl-wind room,
though her lopsided up-dos of messy blonde hair revealed just how much her fingers
never broke the dust.
she had these lovely fragile hands
that showed each and every vein and bone,
the type of hands made for tearing boys like me apart.
how could i have even expected to survive,
a paper poet
held against a reckless flame?
obsessionobsession2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
your shadow and I have begun
to argue about sharing space
letters on leaving.i wrote my first suicide letter in 10th grade.letters on leaving.1 year ago in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
they told me it didn't count if you felt like dying
unless you had it down on paper
like a vetoed birth certificate.
i've rewritten it enough times since
to realize i could never leave with a proper goodbye.
goodbye is too heavy a word for paper to hold
and i was never brave enough for the kind of courage it takes to tell them
why they weren't enough to keep me here.
but i'm finally learning a different kind of bravery-
the kind it takes to
i learned to wear death
like rope burn my junior year
my senior year we became friends
but i finally stopped cutting the insides of wrists
when i finally realized death never arrives on time,
i started smoking when i turned 18
to speed his arrival
because somedays, 15 less earth rotations around the sun sounds like a blessing.
2 years later I'm still learning to let the self destructive habits go
I stopped smoking again
threw the knife away and closed the toilet lid.
It's not hatred, it's incredulity.when i was ten years old myIt's not hatred, it's incredulity.2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
teacher asked the class,
"if you were god, what would
and i remember
biting my lip so hard
that it bled. carefully,
i wrote about
how i would teach
kids from an early age on how to
love yourself and no one
else and that there is no such thing as
an almighty power that will pity
you and answer your desperate prayers
at three a.m. because you're the only one
who has that kind of control.
when i handed it in she just looked
at me like i was the
her child's bed. the next day i
was sitting in her office wondering
why it was so wrong to
talk about what's in your heart at a catholic
school when that's what the priest tells
you to do at every sunday mass and
the teacher asked me
another question, "do you
hate god?" and i
wanted to scream "yes, yes!" because
how can a god let the world
slip through their fingers like this one has?
but instead i answered,
"no. i just don't think there is one."
and sat in the chair,
staring at the cross on t
AddictedYou ignore the warnings, the pleas of the people around youAddicted2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
Because you know what's right for you.
You start with one but it's not enough.
Then comes along two, then three and you're still not satisfied.
As the people around you fade, you don't care.
You have what you want,
what you crave,
what you need,
Because you know what's right for you.
As your frame of mind begins to change,
The numbers begin to spiral,
You aren't doing it for fun anymore; it controls you,
It becomes a part of your routine.
Twenty-Seven.. Twenty-Eight.. Twenty-Nine..
It all feels the same,
You wonder what happened.
But you listen to yourself, assuming it's nothing
Because you know what's right for you.
The people you once loved hate you.
This virus continues to consume who you were,
who you are,
who you wanted to be.
This is no longer a game.
The addiction is killing you, from the inside out.
But it's far too late now,
Because you thought you knew what was right for you.
Suicidal Tendenciescourage doesn't comeSuicidal Tendencies2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
from the fibers you're
born with. You aren't
brave when you decide
when you wake
up in the bed
smeared with your
own self destruction
and you act as though
you aren't crumbling
into the carpet.
or when you hold
a piece of shrapnel
to your veins and
want to sever every last
one, but you throw it
out the window.
or when you stand
on the sunset
with clouds straddling
your mind and your
whole existence ready
to hurl itself over the
railing, but you limp
home and through the screen
door and pretend to walk
on air again.
That is bravery.
IntensityCoffee: two creams, one sugar, one Sweet 'n' low. Pancakes: short stack. Side of bacon. Every Tuesday and Thursday. 9am.Intensity4 years ago in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The order never changed, though sometimes he would ask for extra syrup, but it was only on the mornings when he came in with unkempt hair and stubble on his high-boned, ruddy cheeks. Those were the rough mornings, the mornings when caloric intake was not on his mind. They weren't often: he was usually very meticulous. Only the occasional day would arise when you could tell the morning had not gone as it should have. My heart ached for him on these days.
He only ever came on Tuesday and Thursday: he didn't have to be in the office (he worked for a mortgage company) until 10am on those days, instead of the usual 9 o'clock. He took the extra hour to have a proper breakfast, even if there were days when he clearly could have spent more time on his morning hygiene practices rather than rushing to a diner. The vainer part of myself thought that he always showed up for me,
The Only Thing Missing Is You7:55 PMThe Only Thing Missing Is You1 year ago in Short Stories More Like This
you would have liked today. we went upstate like we used to, to the woods. i know it's been a while since you've seen the trees but they're as pretty as ever. they're just starting to fall. i wish you could have been there.
i always wait for a reply from you, haha. then i remember
anyway, we took a walk down to this lake too. there were rope swings hanging from a tree nearby and we froze our asses off swinging for nearly twenty minutes. i swear it felt like we were floating.
hell, it was everything you used to love
it's funny, on the ride home i was practically falling asleep, but now i can't even shut my eyes
it's just... it's not fair
whenever i skipped a rock i remembered the first time i taught you how, and how excited you got. every time i said i was cold i remembered the way you would call me a baby, but give me your hat anyway. we even walked on the same paths we used to take, and everything is the same. the trees are st
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.
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,
HateI really hate the way she lies. She says she’ll listen, but she won’t. She promises she’ll be there, but she isn’t. She tells me it wasn’t her, but it was. I don’t hate her you know. I just hate everything she is, everything she does. Her smug smile. Her mud brown hair. Her green eyes with a drop of evil. The way she knows how to hurt me. The way she can make me cry. The way she likes it. She knows me too well. She knows how to hurt me. Knowledge is power and power corrupts. She’s the most corrupt person I know.Hate1 year ago in Emotional More Like This
But I can’t hate her; not entirely. After all, hating yourself isn’t healthy.
the mechanisms of ocean waves When I was little, I loved sea foam.the mechanisms of ocean waves 1 year ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Running forward to the shore, I would watch waves lap up at my feet and then recede, dragging the sand under my feet back with it. Sea foam would fringe the edges of these silky waves like lace, and I would grab at it, cup it in my hands. I would remember the origins of Aphrodite (born of sea foam, risen out of the ocean as the most beautiful goddess of all), and I would cradle it, hold it close to me, as if I could absorb it into my being.
By the time I brought the sea foam up to my face, it had leaked through my fingers, dissolved. Leaning down, I would cup it again and again and again, gathering fragile lace like a fine seamstress, hoping to maybe sew it onto the edges of myself, make myself some semblance of Aphrodite. Yet it crumbled, leaked through my fingers, leaving only the trace of salt behind.
Eventually I gave up on the sea foam. One cannot keep chasing after things that just barely exist.
My father told me never to plunge int
LiliumTo the wilting lilies on my kitchen counter:Lilium2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I am reluctant to throw you out.
You bloomed within a day. Well, some of you. I snipped off your blood orange anthers with the kitchen shears, coating my fingertips with pollen before it could dust the slate and stain my clothes. Hand jobs are always easier to clean up.
I forgot to water you once. I'm sorry.
In the mornings I plucked chlorophyll-starved leaves from the countertop and tossed them in the rubbish bin. Your support system fell one by one, even as you still grew and opened up to the world.
Your petals began to turn limp and brown. I cut away the flowers that were no longer beautiful, but insisted the rest were good enough to keep – until they dropped off in pink clumps, leaving bare stigma behind.
There is not much left of you anymore. I putter over a few unopened bulbs among foreign greenery I can't name: small fading leaves and rubbery green leaves with velvet underbellies.
Still, I am reluctant to throw you out.
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.The Coffee God2 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
MomentsRemember that time we sat on the bench together, waiting for the bus? You were quiet, like you always were, and I thought nothing of it. But then you turned to me, an unreadable look in your eyes, and you asked me what I liked most about life. I just stared at you, unsure how to answer. You seemed to take my silence as something bad.Moments2 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“Never mind,” You mumbled. “It was a stupid question.”
“No, no.” I hurried to assure you. “I was just thinking. What I like best about life would probably be all the little moments that happen that end up meaning so much and all the people you meet along the way.” I shrugged and you hummed, turning back to face forward.
You didn’t come to the bus stop the next day.
Remember that hot summer day, the one when it was too hot to even think? I was complaining about how much I was sweating, and you were, as usual, responding with noncommittal noises. The bus was running late that day, and I was cursing every
Everything You BorrowedOn Sunday afternoon,Everything You Borrowed2 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
after exiting the church,
you plucked the sun from the sky
and hid it in your palms
so that when I held your hands
they would no longer be cold.
When Monday night arrived
you snatched every single star
and used my tears to make
Tuesday's empty dawn shone
through the cracks of the door--
you stole the promise of what
could never be
and draped it around my shoulders.
After Wednesday's twilight passed,
you grabbed the clouds
and wove a tapestry of lies
that I hung on the walls
of my prison.
Thursday crept through us
on silent tiptoes,
waiting for us to take notice--
instead, we merely waited
for midnight to come.
The dusk of Friday waned
while you stripped it of its sorrows
and sewed them into my skin.
When Saturday came
you tried to steal the moon;
I watched as you stood on your tombstone
and stretched to reach it.
You fell, then--
fell, broke your neck,
and landed six feet under.
I couldn't cry afterwards,
for you had taken my agony
and washed it out to