suicide can come in bottles.dad was an alcoholic
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.
and i have tried to make it right.i.and i have tried to make it right.1 year 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
two-fifty an hour.let me save you the trouble:two-fifty an hour.1 year 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.
titans.they don’t tell you thattitans.9 months 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.
things i want you to know.0.things i want you to know.1 year 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
bipolar.after they diagnosed my father,bipolar.10 months 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.
Suicidal Tendenciescourage doesn't comeSuicidal Tendencies10 months 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.
why i never wrote you a poem.last summer i triedwhy i never wrote you a poem.10 months 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
a meaningful poem about nothing.this is a poem about how fixing peoplea meaningful poem about nothing.1 year 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.1 year 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
you are single.you’re not single because you didn’t forward that chain letter,you are single.10 months 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
viii.you tell them how you've been seeing his face in clouds lately,viii.10 months 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.
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.1 year 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,
colors.red is a power color.colors.1 year 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.10 months 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.
listen:1.listen:1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
People will let you down.
You’ll love them, anyways.
Don’t let anyone romanticize
It won’t be beautiful
when somebody breaks your heart
the first time
or the second
or the eighteenth.
Pain is not beautiful.
Maybe on paper
but not inside of you
not in numbers.
A million people
but you’re still here,
and that's important.
You're doing something
My father told me
“Be selfish –
if you don’t take care of you
I liked to think
that this is the reason
he ignored me
I don’t have good advice
on this one.
Because the people who let you down,
are the ones promised to save you.
Are the ones promised to love you
and protect you
and I’ll tell you,
nothing quite hurts
like waking up in the morning
to the police in your doorway.
Nothing quite hurts
like being eleven
and hearing a cop say
“Poor girl had to live wi
.i wanted to bathe.10 months ago in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
in fire; for the amber tongues
to lick me clean, pure
It's not hatred, it's incredulity.when i was ten years old myIt's not hatred, it's incredulity.9 months 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
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.1 year 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
.pour love all.10 months ago in Free Verse More Like This
over, then strike
the fire will
burn itself out,
but the ruins
if i could.1.if i could.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
i’ll be honest with you;
there is a certain authority to being
somebody said once that writers struggle with reality
because we spend all of our time
constructing our own.
the truth is, life may be impermanent
but the details are not.
time has one direction
the past cannot be revisited
and history cannot be redone
with a red pen.
what happens, happens.
we are walking permanent records
that can never be expunged.
no matter how many orphans we pull from fires
no matter how many dying children we sing to
we still made our mother cry once
we still let our little brothers find us passed out
on the front porch when we were nineteen.
imagination is our primary retreat
because there, that boy does fall in love with us
and our first kiss is not spit on our chins
or misses landing on our nose
(maybe there are waves crashing in the background)
and we say everything right.
there, we have crafted a version of ourselves
that lives perfectly.
“if i could,” someon
pipe dream.dreams:pipe dream.1 year 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
.and i stopped killing spiders.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
when i realized that we are both just trying
to make our way in the world
and he hasn't got a clue
how he ended up on my bathroom floor
and i can turn out the lights to
stop the moths from killing themselves
but i can't turn off my brain and
stop myself from doing the same
eight things about growing up.eighteight things about growing up.2 years ago in Emotional More Like This
I told my brother I was going to be a fairy when I grew up. Or a bird, or sprite something with wings so I could touch the clouds.
I learned that fairies weren't real when I was six, after I tried to jump off a parking structure to see if I could fly.
That day I also broke my leg in three places and saw an angel's face in the clouds. (And don't tell anybody, but sometimes I spend all day looking for him.)
My neighbors back in Denver had a son who was a schizophrenic. After he went off his meds for the third time, he painted the windows red and told his wife she had to abort their baby because it wasn't human.
A year later, I heard that he was arrested after pointing a hunting rifle on his family. It was loaded, but he didn't pull the trigger because his mother said she trusted him.
I guess love is kind of like that, too.
Seattle didn't come until I was fifteen, in October.
My family and I took a boat ride on Friday. We listened to the captain
how to be a poet: the basics.kiss all the peoplehow to be a poet: the basics.1 year ago in Free Verse More Like This
you know you shouldn't,
solely for the reason
that they look good
look at your scars
like mothers peer into
cradles. then make
more; make yourself into
a symbol for infinity,
or at least try,
because it never works.
patch yourself up.
say, "darling, you're okay,"
while staring at yourself in the
mirror with your hair
damp and your lips
chapped (refer to stanza
one). change. grow.
it's what we like to read,
miss the people in your life
until they leave,
and then miss yourself
as well. screw everything up,
and then write about it
like it had to happen.
try to believe it, ignore
the voice in your head that hisses
and groans in your sleep,
behind your eyelids.
"baby, you're a fuck up,
you know it know it know it".
try to carve the humming
out of your body
by exit way of your veins.
be hospitalized. give in, give up,
play along, stop writing.
but then you start writi