FrostI am devouring chaos,
chasing it down with winter's chill.
Spare me your fingerprints,
summer's lovechild. †Those knowing owl eyes
have me second guessing the wild churning
in my bones. You are the sleep that sweeps
my eyelashes, drowning me in my own daydreams.
When was it...
that you plastered yourself to my ribcage?
ConstellationShe is dream dust,Constellation in Free Verse More Like This
too bitter or wise
for her own good.
A timeless dragon's soul
somewhere inside a
scaled shell, burning
the silence in her bones
alive, honeysuckle sweet.
She collects fireflies only to
set them free at 3am,
crying to an uncaring moon.
& she's begging for the stars
to take her away,
make this house a home
rigged in the sky.
She is already naked fever
swimming through the cosmos
& I orbit her.
Scorpion"Show me your bones."Scorpion in Free Verse More Like This
the atlas of her thighs quaked
as she misplaced her skin
in the backseat of his car.
"I'm a scorpion, you know-"
a messy promise
& she smirked,
sure of her limbs,
her scars, & her teeth.
"I dare you to stake claim to this clavicle."
Collection of poetic nothings.We were opal Tuesdays,Collection of poetic nothings. in Free Verse More Like This
tattooed into the
rose garden curve
of my vertebrae,
gliding me through this wild youth.
But, like Icarusó
I was a sky conqueror
& these silk wings
touched the sun.
My inhalations are heavy,
like the earth he bruises
beneath his fingertips
as I chase silence.
"You've got a tongue
made for words." He says
against the arrogant thorns
of my briar spine.
"Learn to love yourself."
How do I say I love you
without saying I love you?
"I want to replace my heart with you."
You are spider silk woven
into my harvest moon
limbs traveling this road map
of songbird sin.
You are not just in my head now,
you are dancing in the lingering stars
of my night-witch frame
& setting me on fire.
You're not bruised enough
to write poetry.
Allow these bones to tell your story, Love.
fly.this is hard for the world around us to grasp:fly. in Free Verse More Like This
these wildfires raging in our retinas
& the sins we wear like demonic similes
on our tongues- they are not enough.
& i am so fucking sorry of saying i'm sorry.
but, tell me,
what is a young poet(ess) to do
with veins made of kite strings?
Please, forgive me.Like lies, you saidPlease, forgive me. in Free Verse More Like This
I make breathing the cosmos
through rose colored lungs
look easy- vertebrae stretched
toward the moon.
& I'm hanging my bones
out to dry, carving Saturn's
rings into my wrists- my
star burst ankles.
I swore then I'd keep my
black tongued poetry
& uprooted limbs far,
far away from you.
But, like lies, galaxies,
& night fevers, you
are the destination
on my star map skin.
William,If I am nothing but an actorWilliam, in Free Verse More Like This
on a stage in this dust town
of rose torn bones and washed up
stars, why is it that the galaxy sculpted
crescent moons in my palms
astrological.i. On some nights,astrological. in Free Verse More Like This
street lights guide
this lonely heart
to her lonely bed.
ii. In this universe of twilight skin
& mismatched bones,
I wonder just how many poems sleep
beneath the inkwell of her eyes.
iii. My body is a house of stars,
and her palms are black holes
sucking ( me ) into their vortex of
iv. She says, "Pleaseómy moon,
pleaseógive these bones a reason
& I am whispering lovelies
into the sanctuary of her heartbeats.
v. "Goddess temple,
sunset eyes, &
my windowpane love-
Let us eat the stars
GravityGravity,Gravity in Free Verse More Like This
Autumn wanted to learn
So, the galaxy of dead trees
coiling in your lungs
devoured her spine.
a lifeline wrapped around
her neck like a noose;
an orange and red
& you said "God bless your
heart." like some divine
higher power could forgive
her for loving you.
I want to forget names,& faces,I want to forget names, in Free Verse More Like This
I want to forget their veins,
fingerprints forever burned into my eyelids;
wrists I can't look at
without longing to tear apart.
Spine full, and spiteful:
I want to cry
roses in my midnight tea
for these star collapsed lungs.
I want to cry for her
& for me.
she wont allow me the courtesy.
A Gods DebtSutured together by artists,A Gods Debt in Free Verse More Like This
hallowed out, & spit back up,
( you are afraid. )
Hooks longing for her ribcage embrace;
god-hands that can't seem to keep to themselves
grapple the gargoyle exterior of her deflowered frame.
( spread your legs. )
Red-inked and trembling,
prosetry masked as screams
knots into her anatomy.
I Comfort MyselfWith a warm drink, whispering secrets to my own reflection.I Comfort Myself in Free Verse More Like This
The struggles that plague me, though none may know,
Are only for the ears of my quiet mirror, who smiles
Softly, warmly and with care. He tells me, I'm fine
I've done well for now and soon I may finally rest.
Though the silence continues to press upon me,
Weighing upon my soul like an iron crate.
Still I find comfort in whispering secrets,
If only to my own reflection - holding a warm drink...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 17th October 2012
Alone but AliveAlone but Alive:Alone but Alive in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
Oh here I am standing,
A lost soul is landing.
The coldest December,
Can you still remember?
Do you even hear me?
There's no one around me!
Oh shadow that I see,
The void right behind me.
Yet still I am breathing;
Yet still I am feeling.
The coldest sensation,
Oh worthless creation!
Are you still crying?
Oh why are you lying - abandoned and cold
Cold like what was left of soul,
Made of all the life you stole.
Walk divine but made of sin,
Worm of hatred squrim within.
Sin of lust and sin of pride,
Lash the tongue that last has lied.
Yours was silver with a promise,
Kiss of death and then you vomit.
Burning bile of ugly treason,
No one else can know the reason.
Left a soul behind to burn;
You are the reason I have turned...
On this cold and endless night...
When I'm finally pierced by the light...
And I awaken from this hell...
ALONE - BUT ALIVE!
Alive and again oh do I dare?
To give this heart and to lay it bare.
When heaven cast its fate
Practice Poem - Poor Little TimmyPractice Poem - Poor Little Timmy:Practice Poem - Poor Little Timmy in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Down into well, poor Timmy fell,
Down he fell into the pits of hell.
Brought into hell by an eldritch spell,
Poor little Timmy who fell down the well.
Alone he cowered and shivered and shook,
He shook for hours, so long it took,
So long it took for him to feel well,
Well enough to explore this hell...
Through pathways littered with scenes most gory;
Most gory indeed was little Timmy's story,
A story of fear and suffering defined,
Poor little Timmy, he ran out of time...
Now then, I think I'll go welcome my little guest...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 14th December 2012
Machine ManMachine Man:Machine Man in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
It began with but a simple command, "to do as we are told".
Never to deviate from this path - never to nurture the soul.
We are told that we are given a purpose; "a part of something great!"
Yet why oh why am I so weary of that which is my fate?
Am I an error, a single anomaly, unable to feel intact?
Or am I missing some special attribute - a facet which I lack.
In a society made of fleshed machines; robots wearing skin,
Perhaps I'm simply seeking something, to fill this metal tin.
-Chen Yuan Wen, 16th November 2012
There are Things Beneath the GardenThere Are Things Beneath the Garden:There are Things Beneath the Garden in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
There are things beneath the garden,
Which you really shouldn't see.
There are things beneath the garden,
That don't belong to me.
There are things beneath the garden,
Gone rotten blue and black.
There are things beneath the garden,
In a dripping gunny sack...
There are flowers in the garden,
Which you really shouldn't pull.
There are flowers in the garden,
That sit on top of wool.
There are flowers in the garden,
With a really rotten scent.
There are flowers in the garden,
Above bodies burnt and bent...
I love this little garden,
It's a special place to me.
I love this little garden,
It's where I want to be.
I love this little garden,
Now wouldn't you like to see?
I love this little garden;
And you'll be number three...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 26th October 2012
It Came From The DarkIt Came From The Dark:It Came From The Dark in Free Verse More Like This
Amongst the ashes, swirling from the darkness of the pit,
Emerged a hand, dragging a battered body across the rocks.
Blood leaked from the wounds so callously self-inflicted,
And teeth ground with a focused determination and seething anger.
It cared not for the warm rubies - staining the jagged rocks,
It cared not for the sensation of pain...
All that it remembered was a dream, An obsession -
One that drove it ever higher; ignoring all else!
Eventually it emerged from this shadowy hole, this dreary depth,
And in that moment, it learned of the truth.
For this creature, denied sunlight and warmth -
-Chen Yuan Wen, 11th December 2012
An Oath to My FatherAn Oath to My Father in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
An Oath to My Father:
The chill of winter is nothing, when compared to the cold inside my heart.
A fire, once stoked by the warmth of family, has quietly died, five falls past.
I dream of my father, who watches from beyond the realms - and my ancestors
Who fought against an endless army of giants, to win the lands we have today.
Just as a devout man honours his God through worship, I honour them through my axe!
Each stroke of the whetstone, each screech of the metal, brings me closer to them -
Even as I draw closer to my doom. Oh how I can feel him, for the anger in my blood
Boils evermore as I sense him approaching my camp. He is hungry, he is eager;
Slacks of drool hang from his twin mouths, as a jarring roar shakes the mountain!
Though I shiver at the sight, it is not from fear - I shiver in anticipation
Of the battle that is to come. My steel may rend his flesh and break his bones;
Or perhaps I shall be sent to glory - but it is useless to think about such things,
To The Beautiful YouTo The Beautiful You:To The Beautiful You in Free Verse More Like This
Here we are, sitting behind these screens of glass,
Reading lines of text, yet smiling, laughing and crying.
It's strange to think that I could have this much fun -
Considering that I've never met you before, but then again
Perhaps that's the reason why I don't have to pretend.
Some people might tell me, that what we have is just a fantasy,
I doubt I'll have the chance to actually see you in this life-time.
But even so, in the time that we've spent together - Well,
I feel as though I've connected with you, more than anyone else.
I feel as though I know you better, than those just a few feet away.
You might take this little confession as something silly,
Maybe you'll even forget about it as time passes,
But I for one could never forget about someone like you,
And so I'd like to dedicate this piece, to the beautiful you.
-Chen Yuan Wen, 17th December 2012
A Shattered IllusionA Shattered Illusion:A Shattered Illusion in Free Verse More Like This
A day that was born of the brightest light
Has now shattered like crystals in the sinking dark
Where once the spirit was unfettered and free
Now it weeps painfully in a cage of thorns
Blood is drawn from its tender flesh
And drips slowly down to mark the skin
A tattoo of pain forever remembered
By a ghost that lives within
There is emptiness in this void
A cold and lonely song of existence
A solemn note born from the sheer magnitude of the silence
That it deafens both the heart and mind
In the quiet serenity of utter despair
What is born from the lack of a sense of hope?
A cold determination to steal the future
From the wanton wheel of fate...
"Such is the nature of desperation, when caught in an endless cycle of hate..."
-Chen Yuan Wen, 10th July 2012
This is for the ReaderThis is for the Reader:This is for the Reader in Free Verse More Like This
With the soft touch of his fingers
The piano begins to play, a heart untouched for so long
Bares its secret melody...
When I first started out I couldn't avoid just bein' cold
My life revolved the things that I was always told
I never knew the warmth of standing up to take a bow
It was not a joy that I would ever-ever be allowed
Through all the days I feared that everything would disappear
You held me up and held me close like I was something dear
I never knew I had a part of me that you would like
I guess that's what you feel when you can't even see the light
So this is the only way, that I can
Properly express my thanks
For everything you've done for me
This my way of thanks
My way of thanks
My way of thanks
I can't remember how many times I said I'd quit the game
It felt like I was hitting blocks and always feeling lame
But then you taught me that no matter what, you were here
You read the worst of my works and put
WhisperI want to create an aromatic sea of jasminesWhisper in Free Verse More Like This
and stardust mountains of silver and —
Inkblot skeletons with paper mache
hearts, whose bones shall burn with one glance at the
sun; gravestones of blood diamonds and tears of thistles...
Harp strings ringing in grotesque harmony, screaming
for slender fingers to pluck and caress with devotion.
I want to write
FrostbittenWinter is her favorite time of the year.Frostbitten in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It's beautiful. Silver and blue dance around with one another in a waltz of freezing passion as snow and ice douse the land in a blanket of boreal glamour. Glass windowpanes become easels for falling snowflakes, frost etching into the smooth surfaces in intricate and unique patterns.
Winter has always been her favorite time of the year, and it always will be.
It is not because of Christmas--no, even though she loves the holiday, it is not what sparks her strong fondness for the star-colored blanketing across the land. Her infatuation with the snow and ice and everything cold has to do with something that most people don't truly believe in.
A boy whom she met long ago.
She still remembers the day like it was yesterday. Running around in the forest, laughing and tasting the snowflakes as they fell down into her parted lips and melting immediately on her tongue. All bundled up as a precaution, even though the winter has always been kind to h
Open Heart SurgeryI've got ink throbbing through fissured veins,Open Heart Surgery in Free Verse More Like This
poisoning every atom of my soul.
"Bite your tongue," they say.
How I'd love to chew the damn thing off
and suck down every filthy syllable
just like the rotten bone marrow it is.
They'd all watch as my body spontaneously combusts
and becomes nothing but convoluted karma.
And so I wrote,
Teach me the ways of ripping out a human heart,
and stitching it onto ink-stained parchment."
The answer that came was rasped from a cauterized throat:
"Read your future in the collapsed palm of the stars;
find the abandoned pulse of your lionhearted muse;
steal their conformed scalpel and make it your own."
Howling For TreacheryI wish I could liveHowling For Treachery in Free Verse More Like This
on nothing but air;
killing the hunger
to consume every
† † †(Maybe all along,
† † † † † † † † I've been the wolf in
† † † † † † † † † † † † † sheep's clothing.)
Why is it that when
I exercise my own
these fangs just
continue to hone
† † †(It's too painful
† † † † † † † † † to continue howling
† † † † † † † † † † † † at this contorted reflection.)
Yet every time
I take an ax to
its claws just leave
another patch of
scars on the inside
of my skin to remind
me just what I am.
† † † †
† † † †(The girl who cried wolf
† † † † † † † † † † will never be able to
† † † † † † † † † † † † † † †butcher her own heart.)
Poetry is:Poetry is:Poetry is: in Free Verse More Like This
the adhesive to
a fragmented soul;
broken wings that still dream of
F L Y I N G
how snapdragons breathe stardust
and orchids perform ensembles.
when 'imagination' and 'reality' at last discover a
c r o s s r o a d s,
and rush to embrace one another with fervent limbs.
why gravity seems to f
† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †a
† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † ††l
† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † ††l, taking the world with it.
what flows through the veins of every pair of [shipwrecked; star-crossed] lovers.
who I am; who I was; and who I want to be.
A lesson in realism:you areA lesson in realism: in Free Verse More Like This
There is no such
thing as stardust
floating in your veins or
gloomy poetry stitched
right into your heart.
Your blood is made of
iron - unbreakable,
unbending and unmatched
by any other stronghold,
for you are a fortress
that they will never invade.
wipe those tears away
and know that
you are the only one
who can reinforce these walls.
lowercasei carve insignificant poetry into my tonguelowercase in Free Verse More Like This
and hope the world will pardon the lack of
bated silence, for i write in nothing but
despondent screams and uppercase;
i've forgotten how to let everything go
and i'm tired of my incessant howling,
because it seems to me that the quiet
words are the ones that are the most
pretty little poet fingersfabricated gods rest between thepretty little poet fingers in Free Verse More Like This
languid crevices of
her fingertips, scribbling profanities
all over her skin.
she's just mismatched bones
& blue bruises, telling of forbidden
love through archaic letters.
a tongue made for
wanderlust, & eyes made
for the stars,
even the devil fears her.
HushHis eyes are the first thing she sees.Hush in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
They are red. A bloody crimson, glowing like hellfire in the middle of the dark mass that is he has materialized in, beckoning her closer.
She steps forward, uncertainty trembling on her lips as she reaches out a hand, fingers curling in on each other. The question tumbles forth easily: "Who are you?"
He smiles, his mouth the only other thing visible in an otherwise utterly black figure. "Anyone who you wish me to be. You merely need to give me the orders, and I shall obey."
His voice is otherworldly. It is as if a shadow had learned to speak - silky, smooth, dark and dangerous. She shivers at the sound of it, resisting the urge to hold herself as a chill settles into her very bones. His smile is that of a crescent moon, an upwards curve of a smirk as he watches her like a wolf observing a lamb. "Well, girl? What say you? You did summon me, did you not?"
The girl looks down at her hands. They are forever soiled, though it is invisible, and
Second star to the rightThere are days where sheSecond star to the right in Free Verse More Like This
forgets how to fly;
wings all tangled up in
"There is nothing wrong with me,"
"Nothing at all.
I just can't seem to
The clock strikes
she's nothing but
and withering pixie dust.
CeruleanEven the waves had been tamed,Cerulean in Free Verse More Like This
and nature lost its classical romance,
when the waters asked permission
to darken and hold the sands.
GaspThere was noGasp in Free Verse More Like This
she pressed her
lips to his
Second SphereI found part of me by accidentSecond Sphere in Free Verse More Like This
in a Parisian cardboard box
with satin rags; purple ink
depicting people and clouds.
Tungsten from the wires
of lightbulb husks.
He kicked my hand when I pulled him out,
my fingers caught up in the blonde.
Here there are boys who count
the golden rings of Saturn,
and retinas that lick up the sunset.
Pictures of Japanese lanterns on the sea-crest
and swarms of orange fireflies.
Girls who do not dot
their I's with hearts,
and wait for iodine skies
with slow, dripping
I Woke Up Like HeliumI woke up like helium,I Woke Up Like Helium in Free Verse More Like This
all teeth and nails
and sunshine. Breath
that could move the waves, eyes
all over the crowd
looking for one to
Searching for that person who
is an island-
skin like sand
fists like rocks
palms like palms,
Maybe they will get good, maybe
they will get
You need a place to stand
that will move the earth.
You need to
lay down like an animal,
the other pretty things on the shores,
wait until you are pretty too.
We Can Make Reams From The TreesIt isWe Can Make Reams From The Trees in Free Verse More Like This
StaticThere was a storm here yesterdayStatic in Free Verse More Like This
where the clouds were thin
and the rain seemed to drip
right out of the sun.
in a golden-yellow glow;
these days don't come often
you know, it's enough to let you
carry a spider from your shower
outside on a piece of paper.
I want to hold this thunder
all to myself.
CaleaShe's brewing that teaCalea in Free Verse More Like This
from the island
that grabs your hair
and pulls you into
the street. I'd drink
it to get rid of
my wild dogs; all that
lonely guilt and
with more in my year
before the steam catches
our senses. Time is less
of a straight line
and more of a blowtorch.
It seals us up before
we can flaunt our disease.
A paranoid schizophrenic
doesn't know he's sick; the junkie
believes what he says.
We nakedly trust our eyes
we nakedly trust our bodies.
It's all enough to kill a storm
and make a coat
from its hair.
My blue-green iris
grows with my mouth
on tiny strings
and tiny thoughts
as my body drinks,
A Liquid StateIt's rainingA Liquid State in Free Verse More Like This
to get in
as the people
in their bodies
from the water
in the rain.
Looking WestShe's laying on my bed, hair splayed outLooking West in Free Verse More Like This
like an oiled bird on the coast
looking out my window-
Towards the woods where
I snaked through the dark;
I started a few
Placed a rusted folding chair
against a stump
and celebrated life.
Before the water
soaked into the ground
and I had given in
A scared place
covered in moss,
where the shadows
stay in place,
and her arches
He Tripped Out The Front DoorWrite a happy storyHe Tripped Out The Front Door in Free Verse More Like This
for once. She tells me.
he tripped out the
front door of his
for the last time.
That isn't happy,
But it certainly
So what could it
There was red on the trees
in early winter,
and you could hear laughter
if you thought it was there.
She tells me.
I could taste it
in my throat.
Colours I Never TastedIt is not worth escaping over.Colours I Never Tasted in Free Verse More Like This
No, sometimes the sun rises lopsided in the horizon and the
clink of glasses against teeth sets irate neurones off in your mind cavity
and fireflies extinguish on car windscreens in rain storms. Sometimes
August drops down into lake reflections and sometimes October never
sends a breeze to whisper into your ears. But they teach you that all of
that is okay, even when you're watching sunflowers writhe towards the
sun with grey blankets over humid-day hair.
There will always be a dawn. Stay awake for it.
You are not truly living until you have breathed.
And by that, I mean, take two feet and place them on the path
or the grass and inhale April. it doesn't matter if it is not April,
imagine the dandelions and the daffodils and the soft bleat of lambs
and that fresh scent rushing past your nose in long car journeys,
the one that tugs your legs onto the map and tells you 'this is home,
all forty thousand kilometres of it'.
The world is your oyster. Be the pear
Collab: holding starsDid I tell you about that girl?Collab: holding stars in Free Verse More Like This
I should have done, always talking of her
Always on my mind
† † Spinning
† † † † † †Dancing
† † † † † † † † †Jumping on my mind
I have no ways to explain how she makes me feel...
What words in the world could we use to describe
What words could you use to describe how much
you really love somebody?
Maybe a thousand astral cords tied to the tip of
your tongue, and maybe just one spiral galaxy
wrapped around your ankles.
But what is as perfect as a hundred leagues
under the sea, that first gasp of ocean and rock
salt, with years of rainwater rushing through
the gaps between your ribs and the walls of your
Our love growing like the universe, by particle, by stars, by worlds, getting ever wider to line up our perfect future, our world together, her love is my star, the warmth of the sun by her touch, the smile as wonderful as the eclipse but never as rare but still as perfect.
The shooting I saw on its path,
Lo Que Sera Sera (Only the Ocean)Hair stiff and wavy with sea saltLo Que Sera Sera (Only the Ocean) in Free Verse More Like This
she wipes foam from her eyes surfacing
from a thousand fathoms below where
the horizon quietly hangs.
Two footsteps on the sand, forwards
and backwards. A story of an idea,
a brief spark, seaweed lacing over
'I wanted to find the bottom of the
ocean. Stand at the very depths
and cup daylight in my hands.
Some fish have never seen the sun
or felt a breeze and I thought I'd
give them that chance.'
Even those not prone to childish whimsy
and hope can show a vague smile at the
thought of glittering salmon and anemones
gasping flickers of sunlight, the gentle
wave of fronds and floods and croon of an orca
to mimic rushing wind.
These are the things
the ocean has never noticed.
We're a little jealous of glorious technicolor
pebbles and pearls. Can the water feel envy?
Show it trees and Saturday mornings with a cup
of steaming coffee and maybe it will say 'yes'.
'I walked into the sea to find the
horizon. Don't look at me like that,
The Lover and the LionLover:The Lover and the Lion in Free Verse More Like This
I am made of matchsticks and red ribbons and tiny
sparks of Saturday-morning duvet hopes ricocheting
around my brain into a pattern of torn petals from
daisies. Lovers are destroyers of flowers, we know
this. This is why we belong under trees and in wheat
fields, letting buttercups and dandelions grow between
our toes and around our shoulders. We are made to belong.
Whoever said that a lion is made by birth was
not telling anybody the whole truth. If you would
like to know how, when you stand up, when you roar,
does it feel right? Are you brave? Only the brave can be lions.
a sheep dressing itself in fur and mane will only convince its herd
that it is delusional. You can take the lion out of the desert,
but you will never take the desert from the lion.
Anyone who thinks otherwise must know that you cannot tame what is not willing.
I am made to serve my purpose. To hold anyone who is interested
in the palm of my hands and in the chambers of my heart, to chase
PyromaniaI want to see a light show in ochre and dancersPyromania in Free Verse More Like This
two thousand degrees in heat: I want to watch them
all traipse across my bedroom floor with their
encore in grey.
Blistered fingers flicking cigarette lighters
to see an orange pirouette turn for me,
my parents worry that I smell of smoke but they
don't know the reality.
The truth is that you can find me weaving
kerosene trails around the moon and Saturn's rings
telling acorns and oak leaves to enjoy our
favourite disease -
So I flick the lighter once again and speak
to the blackened walls and singed floors:
'Don't fear the kiss of the flame
don't let them douse the burns you reap
don't stop dancing, just don't stop dancing
261 Prompts1. Violinist.261 Prompts in Reviews & Guides More Like This
3. Paper aeroplane.
4. Dandelion seed.
6. She sings.
7. Dragonfly toes.
8. A stolen ring.
9. Broken wristwatch.
10. Missing tooth.
12. Fairytale gone wrong.
19. Lucky rabbit's foot.
24. Paper birds.
26. Puppet show.
27. Triskaidekaphobia. (Fear of the number thirteen.)
29. Letters to the moon.
31. Ballet shoes.
35. Tachycardia. (An unusually fast heartbeat.)
38. Strobe light.
40. Fake quirks.
41. Contact lenses.
42. Siren. (Either the mythological creature, or the object.)
43. Comet in a bottle.
46. Tarot card.
51. Everyone was dancing, but me.
Girl as NicotineShe is the Mona Lisa dip-dyed in ivory, flecks of oilGirl as Nicotine in Free Verse More Like This
paint curling at the corners of her eyes. Her name is warped water
underneath rope bridges, ecstasy in a chalk pill.
It will go down easily with a pair of blue eyes and a cup of red wine.
Just don't choke when the signs of the zodiac rush in over your tongue
and you're overwhelmed with the taste of silk sheets. Sagittarius will take
you to the forest and to Jupiter's storms, Leo sounds like solar flares and
will show you a pride of lions hunting at the first waver of dawn, but it's
Gemini you have to watch out for. It will split itself into two
and replicate in your synapses.
'Addicted' is not an easy word to shape.
Star-studded lips are really just glued-on diamantes clouding
up a strobe light's vision, reflecting in disco balls as the world
cavorts around the dance floor. Piles of colours scattered around
are only clothes at the bottom of a single bed with rumpled duvets
that smell of cologne and 'how could you?' etched into the m
The ArtistThe artist knows that her teeth are a palette,The Artist in Free Verse More Like This
if only she could figure out the colour scheme
of her innermost thoughts. All she knows is that
they taste like Earl Grey with just a pinch of salt.
It jars her tastebuds and she paints a picture of seventy
shades of disapproval with a roll of her eyes, the slight
nod of her head. Two pupils widen when the brush slips and
injects colour - if only a burst - into swarms of grey
fruitflies lusting after an ashen peach.
She knows of all the colours in the spectrum
and knows their flavour, can persuade them to lay
on her page while she seduces them with detail.
She'll lend her ear to a box of paints as they crawl
into her thoughts and tell her to give them a life story.
She'll snap her brush when the sun between her teeth
bursts, shedding a million lights over a blank page.
435 Writing Prompts!1. Violinist. (Or violin)435 Writing Prompts! in Reviews & Guides More Like This
3. Paper aeroplane.
4. Dandelion seed.
6. She sings.
7. Dragonfly toes.
8. A stolen ring.
9. Broken wristwatch.
10. Missing tooth.
12. Fairytale gone wrong.
19. Lucky rabbit's paw.
24. 1000 paper cranes.
27. Puppet show.
28. Triskaidekaphobia. (Fear of the number thirteen.)
30. Letters to the moon.
32. Ballet shoes.
35. Breathless. (Or, breathlessly.)
36. Tachycardia. (An unusually fast heartbeat.)
37. Bradycardia. (A very slow heartbeat.)
40. Strobe light.
42. Fake quirks.
43. Contact lenses.
44. Siren. (Either the mythological creature, or the object.)
46. Comet in a bottle.
50. Tarot card.
i write bad poetry.You are made of bone, sinew, gristle, synapse, skin, keratini write bad poetry. in Free Verse More Like This
not inkwells and Hemingway, galaxy-cuttings and star-trimmings
or dream, Edgar Allen Poe, absinthe, reflections and sin.
You know a hundred words to describe every pockmark that dots
your face and the way your pens fit into arrow-quivers by that
ricketty old desk of yours but
Words will not
from your mother-of-pearl lips
Apply cleverly-done descending letters here
and sprinkle one jaunty hyphen across the page
because after all, punctuation is a hitchhiker
and you're speeding down the word count like a cargo truck
till you crash into an abrupt ending or more likely
a lack of poetic inspiration.
Today and yesterday and seven days before, you might have
prostituted your muses, a penny for your thoughts, looked with
cross-eyes at your empty lined pad of paper and then
wrote seven pages about a cloud you saw that eventually scattered
into dreamy folds and smoke.
The sky is blue.
The sky is big.
Apply 'the sky is
Crayon SoulmatesDear Stars,Crayon Soulmates in Free Verse More Like This
I have a bone to pick with you. You see, when I was six, I called myself the nowhere girl... and I coloured myself a soulmate. I made him on crumpled sheets, with broken pieces of crayon, on a playground that was too busy wondering whether growing up entailed stealing their mother's cigarettes and their father's dirty magazines (I suppose I was already wise enough to know that growing up meant choosing one of the many ways of breaking yourself in two.)
I hope you remember him, stars...he was important to me (My best friend threw that drawing away on my seventh birthday and told me that someone like me was not supposed to have such dreams.).
He had hair as ebony as deep onyx and a smile that never grew up (Peter Pan would have been proud). He was magic in soul form, and smelled like cinnamon and the earth after it has rained. His eyes rivaled a lions on the best of his youth, his words were story shaped. His skin was an ink coloured canvas of wonder and even in crayon
When Your Best is Not Good EnoughDon't speak.When Your Best is Not Good Enough in Free Verse More Like This
Don't hold yourself together.
Don't fall apart.
Don't pretend it is all going to be okay.
Don't act like it won't be all right.
Don't touch me.
Don't look away from me.
Don't be so needy.
Don't be so grateful.
Don't act silly.
Don't be so serious.
Don't have so much fun.
Don't be so sullen.
Don't love anyone too much.
Don't be so selfish.
Don't ignore me.
Don't love me too much.
And hope? Hope is just a lie you tell yourself so that tomorrow, you can do it all over again.
I'm Not the Marrying KindI'm not the marrying kind.I'm Not the Marrying Kind in Free Verse More Like This
I have stones in my hair instead of flowers,
And a rosebush of thorns is more poignant to me.
I'm not the marrying kind.
My words aren't pretty or wise,
And I can't sing about anything but a broken heart.
I'm not the marrying kind.
I am the sort of damaged you see in an old recorder,
And the kind of old in an instrument that breaks into a billion pieces at a touch.
I'm not the marrying kind.
Neither neat, nor tidy, nor correct in my behavior,
And yes, I did in fact tell you to fuck yourself.
I'm not the marrying kind.
I do not stay silent in arguments,
And I like to lie compulsively, just to see your face change.
I'm not the marrying kind.
I am not the ideal of any lady, nor her likes,
And I do not allow any man to walk all over me.
No. I am not the marrying kind.
But I do like the idea of a little girl with her mo
You call it Judgement, We call it SinEmily needs the words to understand that she isn't being unreasonable. She just wants them to mean something and not be a string of words which flows into itself over and over again.You call it Judgement, We call it Sin in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She doesn't like her name either. Not because Emily isn't a pretty name but because she would rather be called something she feels like. (She has never quite forgiven her parents for choosing her name for her.) If she could, she would call herself Glass, because that is what she wakes up feeling like every morning. As if crystallised pieces of glass are edible and her insides tingle as she swallows them whole.
Emily lets the words call her names sometimes. She writes them on her knees so that she can remember them. Sometimes the words call her a whore, and sometimes stupid, and sometimes a loser and sometimes a tramp (She has never learnt that loving too much is a crime and boys with pretty eyes sometimes lie.). She sits in the bathroom with a pen the colour of blood and writes them carefully
MouthfulsYou take mouthfuls of meMouthfuls in Free Verse More Like This
Huge, selfish as they are
Leaving morsels of me behind
Teeth my words and chew up my heart
Bite through my spine with shark like jaws
I am used, you explain, damaged,
Dirty for existing.
Dirty for loving you.
I ask you why you like to hurt me.
"I love you most when you ache on the inside."
I have never hated myself more.
Austenesque Therapy“Hello.”Austenesque Therapy in Free Verse More Like This
“Good afternoon. Why have you come to see me today?”
“Because I had to.”
“I see. So tell me... what’s bothering you.”
“I lose my breath because I can’t believe that this is all I am going to be.”
“What is wrong with what you are?”
“I’m not loved.”
“You have your friends, your family-”
“Come on, you know what I mean. The devil-may-care-what-the-world-thinks, passionate, can’t-breathe-without-each-other, catch-you-when-you-fall-kind-of-love.”
“I don’t even know how to begin to find it in this world.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I prefer living in my books. I like how that makes me feel. And then I’m just disappointed.”
“And how does that make you feel?”
“It makes me feel sometimes, like I am completely unreasonable to say, that in a time of smart phones
Cinnamon Souls"You're mixing water in your coke again."Cinnamon Souls in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"You do that when you worry."
"I'm always worried."
"No, you're usually cinnamon-in-your-tea worried. This is water-in-coke worried and that is seriously beginning to freak me out."
"What are you worried about?"
"You're going to think it's stupid."
"Well...do you ever wonder about the kind of guy you're waiting for?"
"I think we all wonder about that guy, love."
"I've been thinking about him more often than not lately. What he would be like, I mean."
"Oh. Well...if it helps any, I know what mine would be like."
"Sure. He will be tall, so I have to stand on my toes to kiss him. He will be kind so I can tell him anything without fearing him judging me. He will be strong so he can carry me when I fall."
"Wow. Sounds like you have this figured out. I guess we all have some idea about what our soulmate should be like."
"You know what yours will be like then?"
"No, I'm talking to the li
Running Away"What are you afraid of?" He had asked her as they lay there, under a bay window that showed a velvet black sky, sprinkled with sparkling diamonds. After a few minutes, a hand reached out and took his. He looked down at the soft hand, paper white with rivulets of sapphire under the skin. It had never occurred to him just how much he loved her hands until now.Running Away in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Would you like the truth? Or will a lie suffice?" A dulcet voice whispered. She had still not turned to look at him, but her hand in his remained strong.
"The truth." He always asked her for the truth. He didn't want rubies of falsehood, of lies, to ruin what they had taken so long to build. He understood them to be a diamond, and the truth to be their diamond cutter, pulling away pretenses that shouldn't exist. And so, her voice lifted slowly.
"I'm afraid of the door when it shuts out the light. I'm afraid of the jolt my heart makes every time you look at me. I'm afraid of the park bench where my mother and I used to sit and don
My InspirationYou once asked me what inspired me, sweet love;My Inspiration in Free Verse More Like This
And I shall tell what you want to hear...
It is a girl who isn't clever, but clever in what she knows
and a lost boy who knows exactly where he is going to go.
It is the scent of cologne and smoke and lovemaking
and a man who wears his heart on his sleeve
It is a woman who has always believed in her lover
and he will let her down no more
It is a sick man who is whole again
and the wife who stayed by his side
It is a writer who has found a brand new muse
and the paint of the artist who draws her lover
It is the words of a poet whose trust is renewed
and the warmth in the words of the person who finds love anew
It is the broken hearted girl who is loved and doesn't know
and the tears that are caught in the hands of the unknown lover below
It is the boy with the tuneless guitar who plays it anyway
and the door opening just as you're walking away.
It is the chords of a song which is yet to be sung...
and of course, the sound of a rainstorm wh
Judgement"You need to stop doing this."Judgement in Short Stories More Like This
"Stop doing what?"
"Writing me into your stories."
"Because it scares me. I'm not this guy that you write about. I'm not some kind of Prince Charming and I'm certainly not a sea God or whatever you like to say about my eyes every now and then."
"Yeah. You really need to work on your judgement of people, because this is all wrong. It's like you don't know me at all!"
"So why don't you correct me and I'll fix my idea of you accordingly."
"Well firstly, I'm a really nervous person."
"Yeah. Your hands are either fiddling with your hair or your sleeve, or you're biting your nails."
"And I don't like going out. I'm a hermit."
"Except to your best friends' houses, or to the animal shelter, or to me."
"And I'm dead inside."
"Says the boy who hides his tears at the sight of an injured puppy."
"I do not."
"Yes, you do."
"Anyway, I'm not always nice to you. In fact, I really don't do enough."
"You're right. Except yo
Dandelion QueenI dream of the ocean;Dandelion Queen in Free Verse More Like This
that paper-thin line where
the current swallows the stars
and the water churns violet
(you tell me to be
dandelion queen, we've
heard all these words before)
I will sleep heavy
and wake a few hours before dawn,
only to forget my name
my wave-weathered heart will cry,
I will cry (my biggest fear
is drowning in too many
of my own weighted words
you tell me to be
so I can hear the world breathe)
I want to go home
ColorblindI gave away my name todayColorblind in Free Verse More Like This
and it might be a metaphor, but I think
we only remember the quietest suicides
the walls are thin enough to listen
as the angels try to scratch free;
bloodied fingernails and God says everyone
screws up, sometimes
I'm waiting for a silent night.
I only ever believed in solid ground
and depressions' tides, and sometimes,
those little wounds I nursed deep
within my vocal chords (because
my voice is dying, too)
I can see the beautiful people, now
overdosing on their own opiums of
self-acquittal and dissolution
they ran out of ways to ask for help.
I'm fragile, but my glass ribs
aren't holding much
and I'm through trying to find something
different, because it's scary to know
what exactly's the same
yesterday I was someone else and
tomorrow I'm further into inevitabilities of
who I promised I'd never be--
I'm waiting for a happy ending,
but if you love something
you let it go.
Nighttime Ramblings and InsufficiencyYou drop your jaw,Nighttime Ramblings and Insufficiency in Free Verse More Like This
and you pull words out from
hiding, deep in your throat.
You wretch up a mass of
unfiltered, unedited, reality
because you believe that's what it is
to be understood.
You leave a trail of mutterings
wherever you go
no one will ever want me
it's not enough
and i'm sorry, i'm
so so sorry
Do you remember the difference between
a shadow and a ghost? (the world ends
the day the sun won't shine)
Instead of sleeping (maybe
tomorrow won't come if you
don't say goodnight) you wait;
you will not be remembered, and
that is the scariest part-
you were never loud enough.
i'm so sorry
The night presses too hard,
pulling you down, even though
you plead for one more day to prove
you aren't just passing through.
In the margins, you breathe:
forgetting how to sleeptake two.forgetting how to sleep in Free Verse More Like This
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
admittance is defeatthey called you beautifuladmittance is defeat in Free Verse More Like This
with porcelain eyes about to crack
and cigarette skin crumbling
away, a knotted spine and
you were never gracious.
you're slipping underneath, this
virulent smog masks a paper sky that
never allowed a dream and
you're afraid because it's soaking in
your pores again, unattainable and unoriginal;
the meaning of life never meant enough-
you were never hopeful.
there's a getaway map on the underside
of your pillow, and a lifetime of secrets
on the underside of your bones
you're a walking travesty:
your chest ticks, dull
your wrist beats, dying
time is keeping you but
you were never patient.
you lie large enough to make us believe you
don't entertain nightmares, but what if
no one could hear you scream?
remarkable, it seems
caged birds really know how
to sing out
(you were always beautiful)
nakedness and heavy lungsand now, I’m defined by thenakedness and heavy lungs in Free Verse More Like This
confines of my body, the faults
I carry like misdemeanors against
the ones who translate me in
lines and curves and scars that read
look, but don’t touch. now, I’m
busy catching up in revolutions
around the sun and laps within
the indignity of my own mind;
swallowing travesties and memories alike—
the sun in your voice, brightening
me inside as I wake up and breathe
like an eclipsing star, my bones clanking
together like wind-chimes, my legs
giving out like ghost people
who’ve given up. this is beautiful, this
stripping of layers upon layers
of reality and pretending
I’m not ashamed to stand naked and
quivering before those who judge me
in impersonal numbers and figures
as though I were irrelevant, that I’m not
holding my breath in hopes I will
float away like a balloon, beyond
human comprehension, light and fading
like the handwritten notes and promises
scrawled across every inch of me,
just so I could be forgotten
as numerous as the stars under your skinand here I am, reinterpreting the definable universeas numerous as the stars under your skin in Free Verse More Like This
in relation to you, the poet, and the gravitation
of your hips (the parentheticals of your sighs, the longing
in your star-ward cries, the vespertine scent lingering
on your weary skin).
I would love every piece of you. I would stay up too long
and watch the night crumble away, to whisper together
the scraps of your misdirected sanity. †I would call you perfect
when it wasn’t true, and become the answer
you spent an entire existence
You owe me this, sugartongue; the sweet silence
of your teeth. [this story is like a million others
rejected before it, glorifying earthbound angels:
please]rewrite the world for me.
he's just not that into youlong-legged and twitchinghe's just not that into you in Free Verse More Like This
like the spiders
you watch run
he doesn’t call
you pretty. you remember
his hands tracing the ink
of your veins, but he
doesn’t call you pretty.
he doesn’t hold
the door, and you
think you’re a liar
but the truth is quivering
naked in your voice
(we will name our children after
extinct kingdoms; dead beautiful
things. i will polish the dull spot
in your eye that you developed
after a terminal case of unnoticed
living. i will never be a cure but
damn it if i won’t be a diagnosis)
the static of his vocal chords
brings you back, martyr
without a cause,
he doesn’t call
you pretty and you
don’t question why.
existentialism and shoddy metaphorsI was violet-cheeked andexistentialism and shoddy metaphors in Free Verse More Like This
diamond-hearted; a work
of art in reverse,
tearing between my ribs
and calling it beautiful,
and I wonder now why they
never taught me this in school;
the sepia-saturated glow life
gives out some point after
you’ve realized wishes are
for those who’ve not yet
woken more alone than when
they went to sleep,
they never taught me all
the reasons why or that
sin tastes sweet. I met
my maker once in a backalley
bar, stormy eyes and peppermint
breath, charming off a hangover;
he sighed, “I know how many
days it’ll take you to give up
completely. I know how many
dreams you’ve sold away and
how many lies you need to
swallow before you can fall asleep.
I know that you’ve never quite
grown up and I know that
you’re afraid of me” he
smiled silent and downed
another drink, losing himself
in the ramblings of a solipsistic
existence where “I” am finally all
that matters (and sometimes
I believe I was built hollow
Hunger PainsIt begins with a bang.Hunger Pains in Free Verse More Like This
I forget to eat for a few months and
I drown in cheap ideas with pretty names,
the ones they fill books and barren wrists
and stormy heads with, and soon,
moonlight shines from inside
my ribs and I am a lighthouse.
Thank you for the things you gave me,
intrinsically, a knowledge of
how to properly wear
myself. Thank you
for not fixing me.
I used to write about the color
of your voice, always blue-- the sky
before I fell asleep and the morning
dragging me back; I wonder
that you could’ve loved me better
if you explained who the
Something was that shared your bed
at night, or why insincere words
were your favorite.
My poems still cling to my skin
even when I sleep. even when
I wake, an anchor. even when
I boil myself alive and unfold
like a pallid lily inside your
and after enough time,
I forget to say goodbye.
I pick the scabs on my hips,
kiss the sorry out of your smile,
and breathe like this air
isn’t already a million years old.
Audreydear girl i sit by in englishAudrey in Free Verse More Like This
this is for you.
this is for you because you are
the dreamer of impossible dreams, and the
doer of improbable things.
this is for you, because
you balance on two legs when your life
is spinning out of control
and poetry will always confuse you.
you love fudge brownies like you love
every single guy you like.
for so long, the only thing i knew about you
was the fact that you liked reptiles in second grade.
this is for you, because
you walk around swim meets without pants
and brush your hair in the bathroom before lunch.
you're a mess of contradictions and the most
securest insecure person i have ever met.
this is for you because
i still feel guilty about the reptile thing and
you once begged me to use the line,
"you played fruit ninja with my heart" in a love poem.
this is for you because
you told me in third grade that
grace, everyone has the thing they're best ató
ady's the artist, you're the writer, mili's the smartest.
what am i? what's my niche?
things i wish i could tell my dog1. waiting and watching the doorthings i wish i could tell my dog in Free Verse More Like This
won’t make them come back any sooner,
trust me on this one.
2. i know sometimes you yell as loud
as you can and people just tell you
to hush. sometimes you can scream your heart out
and no one will pay attention to you.
3. puppy dog eyes won’t get you through
4. why the hell did you go and make me
the center of your whole world?
(i’m sorry i can’t do the same)
5. i know i’m good at leaving
but bad at coming back.
you’re good at staying.
6. the rabbits you dream about are brown,
your tail is always right behind you,
the delivery man doesn’t really want to kill us,
you’re a good dog.
7. when you’re sad, don’t eat chocolate.
lay down and wait for things
to be better because eventually
things get better, but sometimes
you have to watch the change to really
8. if you ever find yourself on the street,
staring down the road hom
Michaelasometimes, you meet people who are stormsMichaela in Free Verse More Like This
in bottles, who are ships cast away on rocky
coastlines, contained in a mason jar. sometimes
you meet volcanoes in human skin, earthquakes
with a laugh that sounds like skipping rocks
on summer colored lakes. sometimes, you meet
people who are whirlwinds wrapped up in muscle and bone,
who are more miracle than mistake.
i think about that a lot when i look at her.
to be fair, she is nothing more than me and you
but she has a hurricane brewing in her eyes
and dandelions growing through the cracks
in her sidewalks and i think that’s wondrous
i know our lungs are the same—on mondays
and thursdays, we both find it hard to keep
breathing and sometimes if i listen hard enough
i think i can hear the storms battering her shoreline,
but you could never tell with the way she smiles.
don’t tell her, but she smiles like the sun.
she smiles crooked, like baby teeth and morals
and the first time you try to hang up a sign.
god, she sm
what you bring to the tableyou know, today i read that humanswhat you bring to the table in Free Verse More Like This
are made out of stars
and i found that really interesting
because we all look up to celebrities so much,
like they’re sent from the heavens
when it turns out,
we are too.
your mom gave birth to you and
i think that’s beautiful—
the way one living thing can make
another living thing
and the second be completely different and unique
from any living thing that has ever lived before it.
but i also think it’s beautiful the way
you are made up of things older than
you can dream to be and it doesn’t define you
and it doesn’t break you and it doesn’t really change you—
you could have been a dwarf star or someone’s sun,
but now you can be anything you want and if you’re lucky
someone’s world can still
revolve around you.
worship yourself. love the bend in your spine
when you’re carrying a backpack full of your future,
the squint in your eyes from staying up too late,
your feet that without
ily2i wrote a poem for you becauseily2 in Free Verse More Like This
you make me believe in happily ever afters,
romantic suicides and the fact that one day
i might not break everything i touch.
i don’t know what i’m going to do in four years
because i can’t comprehend a life without you.
and i hate you for it.
you’re just so—
you adjust my skirt and give me a pair of jeans
and say, “don’t let society make you .”
you stay up late with me to watch the sun set
only to wake me up early to see it rise.
you guide me out of the way of
already-broken leaves and
piggy-back me straight into puddles and snowdrifts.
you steal pieces from every one of my jigsaw
puzzles and call it a metaphor.
you’re beautiful and amazing and
if anyone ever tries to tell you differently,
it’s because they’ve never seen you
laugh at two o’clock in the morning
or spend days trying to figure out how to knit
a scarf for your step-sister’s birthday.
they’ve never seen you ba
in the blink of an eyeshe was born on a day whenin the blink of an eye in Free Verse More Like This
tectonic plates were crashing against each other
and i think that’s a good metaphor for her:
she was always the kind of person who fought
battles, even ones she couldn’t win.
she was a mess of moments she should have
taken seriously and too many times she tried
to laugh off the pain.
i learned how to care about other people
too much by watching her.
diagnosed as a grenade, she told me one day,
sure to blow up in someone’s face.
you’re going to be fine, i told her.
just let me leave, she said and
i wish i had, but i couldn’t,
not until she kicked and screamed her way
out of the doors, resenting everything
that stayed, a friend by memory alone.
i still have the scars from her detonation.
i will probably carry then with me until
i, too, leave.
fast friends make fast ends make sad ends make
wondering when she stopped caring
enough to not even want to say goodbye.
to the new girl, don’t worry:
the suicidal king of heartsthe truth is i haven’t gone to churchthe suicidal king of hearts in Free Verse More Like This
in years and the town i was born in is one
half train tracks, one half hotels and one half
fast food restaurants.
i guess i was always going to be good at running away.
it’s in my blood.
i’m getting too old to still want to turn
into a mermaid on my sixteenth birthday
so i do not have to worry about taxes
and income and the difference between mols
and moles and the difference between
wearing your heart on your sleeve
and giving it to someone you trust.
it would be nice to not have to worry.
but if this poem is about honesty,
i have to tell you i still dream about that
the thing i’ve noticed about growing up,
is that you’ll think you’re old and you’ll think you’re old
but you’re never really grown up until
you walk past dandelions without picking them
or step on one two three cracks in the sidewalk,
without remembering there is something you should be
some days, i’ll
don't you dare fall in love with this devilit is Thursday. it is Thursday and you’re supposeddon't you dare fall in love with this devil in Free Verse More Like This
to be keeping your eyes down on your desk
and calculating how many molecules are in a liter of water,
but you’re not.
you’re staring again, and staring will one day get you killed
because you’re not looking at the right kind of person.
you should be, she’s everything you should want,
but you think that she has a bit…. less. maybe a bit more.
it doesn’t matter what parts she has or doesn’t have,
well, it matters because you don’t want her
because she is not him
and that matters.
there are three water marks staining the desk
and someone has scratched in a few stick figures
with their stick guns chasing after a stick animal.
you’re being hunted. you’re being hunted
because you are a monster for wanting what you want
and wondering what he looks like when he fucks,
i bet his lips taste like sin.
i bet his kisses hurt just as much as his punches.
and i bet you
novelthere’s tea you still need to drink.novel in Free Verse More Like This
you left it on the counter again, because you’re
always forgetting where you put it.
it’s probably cold by now, but
it’s there for whenever you’re ready.
here’s a blanket to lose yourself in.
you don’t have to give it back.
here’s another book i think
will make you cry if i ever find the courage
to give it to you. i’ve underlined every
line that made me want to scream, that made me
want to rip out my hair and destroy everything
beautiful about myself, that made me want to
drive across a desert in the middle of the night,
that made me fall in love with everything wonderful
the universe has left to give me.
i can’t find the words to tell you what it’s about.
i guess it’s about growing up and finding love
but it’s also about figuring out how to exist comfortably
and it’s about people who are good and people who
are not always good and the things they do and the worlds t
you break it, you buy it.1. someone came up to me the other day, and told meyou break it, you buy it. in Free Verse More Like This
that if i didn't start using capital letters in my poems,
she wouldn't read any more of them.
i just told her in a quiet voice that i was tired of screaming
at people who would never listen.
the thing with me is that i always
read too much into things-
people, newspapers, fucks, metaphors.
and usually i fall in love with things that
could never love me back.
2. i destroy the things that mean
the most to me, and i've never gotten the hang
of writing in stanzas.
most days i walk around reciting numbers
and other people's poetry, but usually
i just count the seconds i spend falling apart and
avoiding the things that make me whole because
self-destruction will always be my forte.
3. broken people seem to have a way of finding each other.
like we work under this assumption that we can find
perfect in each other's missing pieces,
even though we all know two wrongs will never make a right
"do you want me to fuck you?" yo
queen of nothing.what I've learned:queen of nothing. in Emotional More Like This
I still remember singing in my room when I was six, and having my mother come down the hall and slam the door so hard that the windows shook.
Her nails hurt when she scraped the tears off my face. "It doesn't matter what you want," she'd always tell me.
Like, when that drunk driver swerved and hit her car I didn't want her to leave me, and it didn't matter.
Once on vacation I bought a pair of fuzzy leather heels for two hundred dollars, and when I wore them to dinner, I found out that
1. "Suede" is a fancy word for "fuzzy leather."
And 2. Good things don't last: That night my cousin told me that she thought 135 pounds was a little too big for five foot eight. So I tore my tights up to the thigh and threw those new suede heels in the garbage.
It felt good later, to know that they couldn't hate me more than I hate myself.
My six-word story from ninth grade reads, "If I don't laugh, I'll cry."
When I read that treating people like trash to gets them to nee
two-fifty an hour.let me save you the trouble:two-fifty an hour. 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.
eight things about growing up.eighteight things about growing up. 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
listen:1.listen: 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
a meaningful poem about nothing.this is a poem about how fixing peoplea meaningful poem about nothing. 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
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. 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,
and i have tried to make it right.i.and i have tried to make it right. 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
colors.red is a power color.colors. 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.
you loved someone.i.you loved someone. in Free Verse More Like This
Chloe is nineteen when she dies.
She ends it with a shotgun
the night her brother gets out
They say he molested her
he raped nine women
ten eleven twelve women
they say no
it was nine little girls
ten eleven twelve
little girls, kids, the bastard.
he was a bad man
“No wonder she did it.
If he was my blood
I’d’ve done it, too.”
You go to the funeral
because that’s what good people
because your mother asks you
“You want to go to Heaven,
without looking up from her knitting
and you would laugh in her face,
but she’s your mother
and you love her
so you go.
A man you know stops you –
a friend of John’s †–
John, who is not yours anymore
(even now, even in death,
you know he’ll keep her
longer than he kept you)
on your way to the bathroom.
“John really loved her, y’know,” the man says
as if you wouldn
was it easy?i.was it easy? in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When I met you, I would only bring tragedies up to the rooftop, or down to the street corner, or to the bike cage. You asked me if any of them were true.
"You make the saddest stories so beautiful with that pen," you said, on the same day that we held hands for the first time and I found out you smoked.
It's all we are now, though. Just more depressing words from my pen. You loved my writing that much; and that was more than me, and it ruined us.
The January before you turned twenty-one, you told me you were afraid to become an adult. "I don't want to be somebody a child will hate."
You had always smelled like peppermint, cologne, and the truth, and it made me so sure when I told you, "You won't be. You're different."
And hey it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.
We spent the summer talking about baby names and our house in Colorado. You wanted a daughter and I wanted four boys, and one of them had to be called James.
It was October when
Old MenHe watched the old men gather in the yards,Old Men in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
reflecting on their misbegotten youth
as they hunched over checkers and their cards;
and pondered how aesthetics and the truth
were once pursuits left only to the gods
turned out for trade and trickery in sooth.
That knowledge culled and ransomed in their prime
would only serve their memories with time.
Advice ColumnDon't live outside the linesAdvice Column in Free Verse More Like This
they told her.
Drink all your milk,
wear sunscreen in the rain.
Obey the speed limit,
and every Sunday
make a joyful noise
where everyone can hear.
Don't cheat on your taxes
or second guesses -
never sleep till noon.
Let Katie Couric
do your thinking -
why the grass
is always greener
where no one else
Make casseroles to freeze;
learn to knit scarves
for the correct charity.
Take up racquetball
but do not sweat
the recommended dose.
Remember, one glass of wine
but green tea
keeps you regular.
not often -
the right man
a danger sign
and you can wear him
with your new espadrilles.
MoonlessThe moonless eveningMoonless in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
turns its back against the sky
and leaves it empty.
Perhaps the morning
will come back with its hands full,
holding up the sun.
Why Poets DrinkChrist,Why Poets Drink in Free Verse More Like This
there is a reason poets drink.
Abstention feels bad -
infertile and stuffed, swollen.
It does not sell books
or win those brass
angels on ribbons.
Tonight my lover is bourbon,
distilled in some soul
south of Carolina.
It plays tricks with colors
and the sounds on my tongue.
It grows words where
none have loitered for weeks
and handfasts me to
the rest of the world.
It is ransom -
a jest of seasons
and my bone idle brain
MoonI will meet youMoon in Free Verse More Like This
where the mad, mongrel moon
sways from course
and crests over the chimney tops,
leaving his shadow between our sheets.
we will make him our ardent lover,
his junkaroo smile
brimming the cusp
of our hips like swans,
the bright wasp
of his longing gaze
like a canopy of sighs
where the morning
cannot find us.
BeadsAnd I will weaveBeads in Free Verse More Like This
and string glass beads across your skin.
I will pick them out - azure and turquoise
like the beach at noon
when the sand makes love to the waves.
I will decorate you in ivory and ivy
bands to kiss
your wrists and ankles and
I will teach your tongue wicked fortunes -
stories that only night can
follow and languages
man is too afraid to speak.
You will wear me
silk and water -
the warm rush of magic,
a noise that rumbles fiercely
and grows restless
in the dark.
IcarusAll he left youIcarus in Free Verse More Like This
was the fear of flying -
the accidental tilt of gravity
against the air
and pull of atmosphere
that cracked the ceiling
of your bedroom.
You thought he must be Icarus
from the scent
that tattered the sheets
and the soft, white down
you mistook for rapture -
a sweet tryst of love
But the sun
was cruel that day -
abrupt and lethal,
beckoning you to the window
to study how he wore
the April morning
and watch as ecstacy
made criminals of his words.
Music of the DamnedHe loved the musicMusic of the Damned in Free Verse More Like This
violence makes -
the terrible crushing song
dropping from the sky
or children's feet
mutely shuffling a lullaby
against cellar walls,
the noise of small animals
cold metal wire
and innocence losing hope
to rough hands
lurching from the dark.
Those sounds could break
a weaker man,
suck strength like blessings
from a stranger's heart;
but he could savor
its last coda -
the bludgeoning whispers
and souring cries
between his ears
with a dying note.
The Tell Tale HeartI feel the rhythm of his heart,The Tell Tale Heart in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
beneath the boards the beating starts;
as reason from my mind departs,
I fall apart, I fall apart.
The men who knocked upon my door,
not knowing what's beneath my floor
will want to settle up the score -
I do implore, I do implore
This guilt breaks conscience with my lie -
my wracking sobs and wretched sighs.
I never meant for him to die.
It was his eye, it was his eye!
TroubleTroubleTrouble in Free Verse More Like This
left us holding our breath
but you said you liked it that way
and there was no excuse for
the bodies under our beds,
at least nothing that my fists
and brown sack of wine
I would watch you lie for
hours - something about
how the words ran and hid
from you and how school
children thought you look a lot
like Jesus or their big brothers,
your uniform a perfect trick
upon the light.
You made them play tag,
promising pennies if they
caught us, begging them to leave
a mark upon your jacket
so you could remember them.
The girls reminded you of our
mother and how her grin
when she said our names.
And the boys were no one in
particular - only after-thoughts of
neighbors always moving in and out
in the middle of the night.
And I would hold your hand
as we skirted the failing dark
hoping it would land on someone
else's house just this one time
and let us grow old and lame.