Dear Poetry,I might be dangerously on the verge of being poetic, but-
Sometimes I don't feel me in my own skin.
I am too many breaks between pulses,
& a heart still living in the autumn of 99.
I'm telling stories about a girl.
A soul made of ink & godly metaphors,
too much for a non-homeostatic body.
There were once fireflies in her smile,
alight between the gaps in her teeth.
love letters carved into wrists
she never sent.
She is Porphyria, & you are her lover.
Losing my BreathIt's 2amLosing my Breath in Free Verse More Like This
and the calling birds
are hatching in my heart,
I feel it crack and they emerge.
Feel them drilling on my ribs,
the steady anxious thrum
of a flight risk
waiting to happen.
and I can't breathe,
memories of you
are nesting in my throat
I can't work around them.
It's cutting off the circulation,
and my frantic heart
tries to keep on.
and tears scratch their directions
into my cheeks,
they flounder and meander
and they erode.
My skin and soul is scraped down
layer by layer
and another day is heralded
by the angry flutterings in my chest.
I try to swallow my pride,
dam the tears
and crawl through the dark again.
Coughing up blood
and inhaling iron filings
(The remainder of
what used to be my life).
Of ForestsPinecones are the skeletons of foetal trees.Of Forests in Free Verse More Like This
They are the hopes, desires and dreams of a forest
reduced to the brittle, breakable bones under it all.
They are the unburied memories of loss.
MatterIt is only a matter of timeMatter in Free Verse More Like This
until the stone lays down with the sheep
Rested firmly above the holes
where our eyes used to be.
It is only a matter of matter
until epitaph and eulogy diminish to dust
becomes the eternal home,
not where our souls used to be.
It is only a matter of fact
that our words will become reductionist, redundant,
the world will forget
where our words used to be.
How She BurnsShe has astral eyesHow She Burns in Free Verse More Like This
and the tongue of a phoenix
that scorches you
should you dismiss her.
With those milky whites
with a galaxy dropped in
and spooling in the iris
she sees right through.
She has asteroid eyes
that flicker so fast
you might not notice -
you just might not
notice the milky ways
that a galaxy dropped in
spools in the iris
of a phoenix gone wild
Hard.On days like this it is hard to move,Hard. in Free Verse More Like This
it is hard to dress myself.
Blouse, a chest plate; dress me in chain mail.
- with the helmet on it is hard to see.
It is hard to open my eyes, or lift my chin.
On days like this, it is hard to be human.
It is hard to raise my hands, to button
or to brush my mangy hair.
It is hard to construct the image of a person
out of these destitute materials.
It is hard to pump clotted, crumbling blood.
On days like this, it is hard to be human.
WallpaperShe leaves the window to let the rain in. She watches the lazy river form and fall, seeping into the designer wallpaper and staining it. She watched the rain tug at the seams of the walls and imagined the room coming undone around her. She imagined the ceiling caving in and crushing her. She lay still and watched the rain fall. She lay still and tried not to breathe, to burn, to break.Wallpaper in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
GrowthI remember the day I caught him 'gardening'. His cheeks stained cherry with the brisk wind that trotted beside him up and down the smothered garden path. He dropped a seed as his feet brushed past each other. Up and down he walked, a solemn lieutenant. I asked him what he was doing and those wide sky eyes reflected the ice as he told me he was trying to grow flowers for his mother. I looked at the seeds spilt on the snow and told him that they could never grow in these circumstances. I will never forget the clench in my heart when he responded, with a child's tongue; "I know".Growth in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The DescriptionHe drinks coffeeThe Description in Free Verse More Like This
its the art of seduction,
and quite honestly
when he does it
it might as well be.
You'll catch him
frowning into it
as he hastily scribbles
in a notebook
to make the world
El cambia a español
en la mitad del frase
and I don't think
he even realises.
He loves the world
that to be a part of it
leaves you feeling
He makes the world seem
to contain his love
and when he smiles,
because he reminds me
that there is hope
to be had.
For the world,
For people like us.
He is soil,
Salt of the earth,
of everything good
that will grow from
He is a ramshackled
waking up to
the realisation that
he is an innovator;
and that his passion
could change the world.
The Bone CollectorSometimes my breath catches in my throatThe Bone Collector in Free Verse More Like This
and the very stillness of an earth going
a thousand and three miles per hour
gets lodged there.
Sometimes these simple exchanges
leave me breathless, croaking on dust:
the unfiltered pigments of other people's skin
and blood and ash
but with my tarred lungs and itchy eyes
I sit and sift through charcoaled remains,
alphabetising them from c to c. I am lost
in a world charred brazen.
Many things I have loved have turned to ash.
Many people. I was naive enough to think
that there was some perfect nutritional truth
that could outlast hell-fire.
I claw through a world turned ashen
and know those dead embers collect in my cells
They are the harbingers of a truth
I do not want.
The skittish earth throws its skirts about again
to unsettle us all, and I am unsettled
Alone in the dirt, organising piles of bone-dust
he did not love, at all.
Sometimes, it's the little things.He always told me I was deep.Sometimes, it's the little things. in Concrete Poetry More Like This
An unfiltered distillation of a humanitarian ocean.
He accepted me, gills and all -
He knew that I needed my eccentricities to breathe
under the seascrapers of pollution
that hung over my head.
Or he said he did.
At the end of it all,
he tugged the gills open to expose me;
my innards trailed across the coral reef
as I swam trustingly forward, hoping for the best.
I tried to believe.
I believed him, gills and all -
But eventually, he left me, with holes in my sides
Where he had spooned out my intestines
To tether them to a boulder.
I tried to breathe.
He always told me I was deep.
It must have been a surprise to read:
Death by puddle.
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?
No wander about it, just lust.You were a mid-morning train wreck,No wander about it, just lust. in Free Verse More Like This
the embodiment of poetry.
& my clavicles whispered too many nothings
about your summer storm hands,
folding like paper cranes
to make wishes upon themselves.
wishes are for the weak-
do something about this quaking heart
& freezing fingers.
I think I found God then,
dust.I'm chokingdust. in Free Verse More Like This
on the ink-dipped fingers
of verbs & metaphors
still lodged in this bruised,
paper crane throat;
of your words,
still kissing my ribs.
How can you judge me-
when you don't bother
to read the naked poetry
beneath the temple of my flesh?
How long can butterfly
ankles hold up a
Don't bother whispering
your secrets to nebulae,
not even the dust in my veins
will listen anymore.
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 Icarus—
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.
I am trying to be honest,but I write so fucking floweryI am trying to be honest, in Free Verse More Like This
it makes me sick,
rose scented stars & love.
Her: helpless as a lamb,
I want raw, aching
bone against bone
exploring the exposed, naked
poetry of her universe-
( warm, celestial hands
forging sandcastle ribs. )
Southern earth beneath her feet,
wanderlust burned like Apollo's touch
into her spinal cord, please awaken
the empty space between her skin
August Lover,I want to wrap myself in your air,August Lover, in Free Verse More Like This
hold your secrets between my
ribcage-embrace & just
RepossessionYour words tore into my abdomen like vultures feeding onRepossession in Free Verse More Like This
the raw emotion their filthy wings stirred up from the dust.
My ribs cracked from the blow.
But, I think sometimes
of how these were the ribs
that should have chased you away from me,
quietly wondering how you managed to
slither past this cage of bone and flesh
to engrave your fingerprints into my marrow.
You were sweat & spice & scars-
a thunderstorm of black and blue sex
jarring and devouring my insides,
shaped a faithless religion
through the cracks & broken shards
of my hollowed out womb.
(I want my insides back.)
NaPoWriMo: Day 8I was toldNaPoWriMo: Day 8 in Free Verse More Like This
to slice through the thickest
of scar tissue this evening.
Let all my inner demons
fall to the floor
& write them out
in my own black blood.
It’s not red anymore,
even though needles
& the bruises
laid out like war-lands
on my arms
I don’t think it ever was,
My mind is a mess
of free versed insecurities,
cat’s eye marbles,
& untamed forest fires-
I still don’t have the nerve
to slice open my skin
& bleed for her.
lub-dubThere are loverslub-dub in Free Verse More Like This
I will never be able to
crawl out from underneath;
I’m caving in, lungs
no longer able
to exhale lovely things.
However hollow, I’ve got
these artist hands,
these god hands of mine
that can save lives.
What’s the point
when I’ve got little
& no one can ever seem
to find my pulse?
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.
The Petals OnlyAnother late nightThe Petals Only in Free Verse More Like This
sober, without conviction.
Not loveless, not
a cat in the road,
not even moss on the doorstep.
The heat shimmer is bawdy
and the kids go to sleep
early for a reason.
It's just like
when you find out
you weren't born special.
When you find out
the pretty ones do
have petals on their beds.
Stepping on the sheets.
It's the pin-prick stars
that are sick of waiting
It's telling the clouds
what they look like.
Grab a handful of a dirt
with your back to the grass,
and choose which finger
to point at the sky.
Drink DeepWe are not yetDrink Deep in Free Verse More Like This
dead, but the
have you believe
that we are dying.
We have rehearsed
the methods of our
We make muses
from nature and
from each other.
We assume, like the
canyon's high-water mark,
that the floods
will not come.
Who am I
to say that
this is false,
that we have
that hold us apart-
(we are ever so slightly
levitating off the ground
and from each other.)
And the streets protest
by rehearsing the methods
of our end.
When our blood
turns to alcohol
and the first thing
they see of us
is the white
of our bones.
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
Untitled (2)I would never fall in loveUntitled (2) in Free Verse More Like This
with another poet
All that fragility
with pieces of glass
BoxcutterWe areBoxcutter in Free Verse More Like This
in her hardwood apartment,
that we bought
because of the neighbors
and the windows
that light up
the dust on the floor.
She is kneeling
in front of
sliding the knife
down the sides
with a paper sound.
And I am staring
into the empty rooms.
If she pushed
into my lungs
the air would rush out
When you look at me
and bite your lip,
I see brown hair
and darker eyes.
And I would let her too
if it didn't
make such a mess
for the dust
and the neighbors
and the hardwood floor.
WildYou could never be strangers againWild in Free Verse More Like This
in that void of charged space
between the eyes and the air.
And the other people, who are
less than faces in the crowd.
Maybe it was a true dream of
dark times, always walking,
you are thief protected by gloss
that they could break
if only they knew how.
The lion at the zoo could
jump the fence, the wolves
could dig beneath the glass.
Safety is a mutual ignorance,
and it is something to be reminded
through wilds of the woods,
that she has fangs
and so do you.
GaspThere was noGasp in Free Verse More Like This
she pressed her
lips to his
HephaestusWe had this neighborHephaestus in Free Verse More Like This
when I was a boy,
he was a bit
younger than I was,
rented the house
He would come over,
step over the knee-high
He would promise to
show us how
Daylight from our
He had us gather
all the petals
that had fallen
from our flowers.
And once we had
picked up all
the petals, he
cupped his hands
and threw them
in the air.
I was disappointed,
I expected him to
pull a lighter out
and for some
in the flowers to
He threw them up
again, and I still
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.
An Infinite MomentThere is so much writingAn Infinite Moment in Free Verse More Like This
and music on our
death, our inescapable
we are fighting
and we deserve this.
It is not something
to dwell on,
or mourn ourselves
with cracked speech.
We are here for
each other, as
together we will
pray for rain.
.in the night. in Free Verse More Like This
time you are
skin and stitches
you up with a
purer love, until
the morning comes,
the sun runs his
teeth through your
seams again, splits
.dead flies scatter. in Free Verse More Like This
the windowsill, their
bodies shrivelled and
dried by the sun
i mourn the spider,
hung with his own web
.he stood on the shore,. in Free Verse More Like This
and told the sea he loved her;
the jealous wind tore his
voice in two
.my bedroom. in Personal More Like This
so sometimes i climb
out the window and
curl up on the
there used to be a tree
down the side that kept his
arms open for me
but he said i don't think
you're ever gonna know
how it feels to be
you know you've
already got a heart
of gold and eyes
i said now
to touch me
(i can drop down into the alley from here, or sit with the cat like a gargoyle)
.a scalpel from. in Free Verse More Like This
wrist to elbow-
you will not be
living under my
.your heart. in Free Verse More Like This
not to beat
.and god-. in Personal More Like This
i saw the moon
leaking into the sea,
a great big silvery slick
on the waves
and as i held my hands up
to the hole in her side,
she smiled and soaked
(gentle, gentle, she doesn't have long)
.some people are dead. in Free Verse More Like This
long before they die -
there's just no burial
for the spirit
Yeah I'm Stupid!Yeah I'm Stupid!:Yeah I'm Stupid! in Free Verse More Like This
Indeed you are absolutely superior. A divine being, more intelligent,
Learned and completely right in everything you say about me.
However, if I might be permitted to as they say in slang
"Drop the beat", then I'd like to show you my own style of doing things.
Art thou ready for this my sibling from a different parent?
Sir can I have just a moment of your time? I think I lost
My will, let me sit and bust a rhyme rappin' like I'm
Edgar Allan singin' Raven songs, thank god I have a
life and love that keeps me really strong. See I
Understand the fact that you may not like the things I do,
Structure in your brain is wrapped tight like a metal screw.
But this is what you do when you are young
I'm breaking all the rules until I finally get sung!
So pass it on over if you're done with the whiny mic,
I'd like to show the world a new style it's the Chen life;
So everyone go 'Chen boo', this all the 'Chen boo',
Poetic Practice - Love Like AshPoetic Practice - Love Like Ash:Poetic Practice - Love Like Ash in Free Verse More Like This
Yes sir, he is clinging to insanity.
He remembers all the things he said, profanity.
Bare the shame on his naked old humanity.
He is the doll claiming love for his vanity-
When he woke up, desire!
He made a move like fire.
His whispers; a liar,
His heart snaps, like wire!
But what are you thinking of this man as I make him out?
Is it an image or a type that you seem to tout.
was it all his fault with no one else to blame,
Or were there cracks in the story that they both will claim-
Spit that and live that,
Hate when you love that!
You rip that and tear that,
Scream like you know that!
Stop for a moment and just listen to this silent cry,
Time has stopped now for both of us to say goodbye.
Both turning on these clocks, living lies that have stopped;
And when the love turns to ash, let the gloves be dropped...
- Chen Yuan Wen, 17th January 2013
They Watch UsThey Watch Us:They Watch Us in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Perched high upon the mountains;
With wings as black as night.
They watch us in the hour,
Before darkness turns to light.
I've seen them in my visions;
In dreams they come and go,
But the things they seem to tell me
I guess nobody should know...
I've seen children that are buried,
Beneath a frozen lake.
A maiden sits there weeping;
Her heart is soon to break.
The crows flutter downward,
A noose amongst their hands.
They take the maiden away,
To a dark and distant land.
And even if I follow -
Even if I try...
I'll simply end up buried,
Where the frozen children lie.
-Chen Yuan Wen, 10th November 2012
Practice Poem - Man In CagePractice Poem - Man in Cage:Practice Poem - Man In Cage in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
When I was young I was taught that pain begets pain,
Anger and animosity, malice and cruelty;
So deeply inflicted, so lovingly gifted.
I tasted of its rotten core and dared to call it sweet.
But what do I have to show for it?
White hot scars that burn in my dreams.
Reminders of a fragmented bi-polar self;
Self inflicted propaganda, to reinforce the "truth".
Truth so lovingly fabricated by a weakness within,
So desperately crying out for vindication;
Openly denying all that might shed light upon me,
Seeking only the company of shades in shadows...
Within four walls I sleep in exile;
Quietly pretending that I am still sane,
Never noticing how it has all turned out;
Alone I remain the same...
Never reaching, never living; I am free within the cage
-Chen Yuan Wen, 1st January 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
Immortal ButterflyImmortal Butterfly:Immortal Butterfly in Free Verse More Like This
I remember the Immortal Butterfly
Translucent wings that drank from the sky
Glittering dust would fall with every flap
Like warm tears dripped upon my tiny back
I would always chase this butterfly
as it makes its way across the sky
When I look I feel as though I can forget
The painful needles that twist into my back
I would always dream of this butterfly
and I wonder if I could ride it and fly in the sky
When I dream about it, I don't regret
Not being able to leave this tiny bed
Sometimes I can't see the butterfly
My vision turns grey like a stormy sky
I get scared during those times, because it makes me think
Of how everything could fade, before my eyes can blink
I remember when you first brought me this butterfly
You said you plucked it right out of the sky
Did you know it was the first thing that made me smile?
I'll tell you that story, so let me rest awhile...
I love...this little butterfly
It gave me dreams...of a beautiful sky
Although it was somethi
Child PreyChild Prey:Child Prey in Free Verse More Like This
He sat in his corner
Like a cold winter horror
The child that has turned out this way...
As a boy he was painted
By your lies he was tainted
Now in the devil's grip he'll stay...
Though you plead as you might
You've caused your own plight
I'm afraid that you die tonight...
It's a pitiful sight
When things are set right
For only in death can you see this light...
"Now then, move along sir, I've got other souls to welcome to hell..."
-Chen Yuan Wen, 14th April 2012
Letting Go of YouLetting Go of You:Letting Go of You in Free Verse More Like This
You abandoned me in the past
without so much as a proper goodbye
One day you simply chose to walk out the door
and you never did come back...
I was angry then, hurting badly
I wondered if I was in some way inadequate
I wondered if you left because I am so easy to despise
and eventually my sorrow turned to anger
I wanted to become great
to show you that you made the wrong choice
to take my strength and throw it in your face
just so you would regret it
But then I saw how happy you were...
In the time we've been apart
You've made a new life for yourself
You've found someone who loves and treasures you
and upon seeing that, my anger faded...
Your smile, that which I fell in love with
is more radiant now than the morning sun
a gentle blush upon your fair cheeks
takes my breath away, just as it did so long ago
Of course, I don't hold any hope for us to be friends
I don't think that it would be appropriate for me to come back
but perhaps one day, if
Aren't You Ashamed Yet?Aren't You Ashamed Yet?:Aren't You Ashamed Yet? in Free Verse More Like This
Truly an object of mystique and mystery
A simple device, with a painted layer
That conceals a face of rotting worms
Oh, I'm sorry, was I supposed to overlook it?
Let me rephrase it in a more appropriate manner
You are a cowardly, pathetic, miserable, filthy
Unintelligent, soul-sucking, perfidious, bag of rotting worms
You who once held my respect, you who were once my friend
you shared in my secrets and you shared in my dreams
But in the end, it was the lies
The horrible, filthy lies that spew forth from your tainted lips...
I guess it was a simple decision
I had no need to keep up this facade
and so I decided that I too should enjoy this game
and I began to taint my lips with lies
Oh how I enjoyed your anguish and misery...
That wonderous feeling of having you squirm
and before I knew it, I found myself wearing
a mask to hide those rotting worms...
-Chen Yuan Wen, 9th
Saved!Ocean mist's defused lightSaved! in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
lost souls swim for shore.
*Constellations*Out of earthly reach*Constellations* in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Eighty eight constellations
*Snow*Crystal illusion*Snow* in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Radiant under moonlight
Clouds and Koi!Reflection on pondClouds and Koi! in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Clouds drifting on still water
Playful Koi swim in sky
*Shadow Play*Vampire lies dying where shadows play*Shadow Play* in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Stricken with grief by his side I stay
Starvation played vital part
Now I too die with broken heart.
Promise profound, he would not break
His thirst on me he did not slake
Begged, pleaded would willing give
Anything, everything so he could live.
Now falling tears freely mingle
My body alive with lethal tingle
He slowly dies holding my hand
Soon will depart to deathly land.
Memories invade permanently haunt
love that happened that came to naught
When shadows play over my life
With love remember was vampire wife.
*The Lie*Lie to me, is love hopeless?*The Lie* in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
*March of Time*Time's momentum impartial, wrinkles speak eloquently.*March of Time* in Free Verse More Like This
Catacombs!Catacombs where slumbering deadCatacombs! in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Have slipped from life, emotions shed
Blistering dark where insects creep
Crypt will all its secrets keep.
Concrete world, doom laden grey
Remember occupants had their day
Marble guardian down through years
Stoic resolve shows no fear.
Blank eyes stare give nothing away
Silent wait 'til judgement day
Dust motes dance, display macabre
Sign of life? movement starved.
Tourists come, quickly leave
No place for life quickly perceived
Eager to join life's happy melee
Memories fade and so will we.
Man From Space!Infinite universe, silent voiceMan From Space! in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Listen with soul, have no choice
Boundaries breaking, outer space
Terra firma not my place.
Alone on bridge, infinity I spy
Amazing even to Vulcan eye
Virgin worlds unsurpassed
Warp speed Scotty, hold on fast.
scraps and sacramentsyou,scraps and sacraments in Free Verse More Like This
beautiful siren girl with melodies
entangled in her hair: you are
shell-shocked and sea-struck
even though you cannot stand
the sensation of sand beneath
you have fingers for prying, picking,
pulling at your skin and nesting
in that hollow space between
your bones. and if anyone asks,
you will swear there are monsters
sleeping in the concaves of your ribs;
there are ghosts beneath your tongue,
embittered, and you are not the words
they say there is an answer, little girl
(sometimes you begin to believe you are
a scarecrow on the border of reality
begging people to turn the other way;
and the mirror will agree)
how far have you gone? a feather in
the breeze who won’t promise to return
again; there is a wandering warmth in
the hesitation of your harbored fear.
where will you be in six months when
the future has become itself and you
are still astray? little one, no one is like you
in the way you sway to the cadence of a
dissonant night. no one knows your
ghostwriterhere, everyone’s pupils are dilatedghostwriter in Free Verse More Like This
and skin is stretched too tight
to expose the wind-swept spider webs
writhing beneath their porcelain composure
here, the shadows are afraid of us.
(and it is our desire
to finally come down to that place
at night, the rigid ghosts rock me to
sleep. their cardboard hearts and
inky eyes just begging to be seen
(it is only in the
darkness that I am
perceived to be more
than I am; holy
star to guide them
the current carries my name,
I have spent too little
too long on rivers that
only flow south
I vomit up saltwater and
try to remember,
Storybook AddictionsI want you to love me as much as you doStorybook Addictions in Free Verse More Like This
the thorns in your side; seeds planted and
forgotten and bleeding cyclically.
when the swallowed night drowns and
drains darkness like a trickled lullaby, I want
to be the last thing in your dreams.
I want to be your mistake East of Eden, your lack
of redemption; when they tear apart your paper
flesh with metal claws, I want to be the one you
come crawling back to with bloodied knees.
[right now I am an empty vessel, unfulfilled
and metaphorically obsolete. I want to clear
my throat for once, without seeing the ashes
of my disease.]
I want to love you like a swansong;
breezes make your bones ache and
I am always cold-- no one wants the
wind: it bites and they identify my
prickled flesh as its invitation.
[I wish I weren’t the pendulum
around your neck, counting the days
until you’d finally leave]
I only ever wanted you to love me.
Before I Can Become a WriterDevelop insomnia. DevelopBefore I Can Become a Writer in Free Verse More Like This
problems with substance abuse,
nothing serious, but enough
that I can say “write drunk,
edit sober” and mean it.
Drink tea. Write about drinking
tea. Take up smoking, ignore
the thoughts about it being
a slower suicide. Write about
suicide. Don’t mean it.
Write about sunsets and
ink veins. Mean it.
Fall in love with someone
who will never love me back.
Lament. Write a million
crappy poems and two good
ones. Never show him.
Move on. Write a few more
bad poems. Fall in love with
someone perfect. Screw it up.
Fall in love with someone awful.
Call him perfect. Screw it up.
Cry. Cry for the inevitable,
the way my family never
loved me right, the way my
first kiss was regrettable
at best, the way my therapist
says my depression is a demon
taking over me. Cry for the
changeable, the way
I hate my body and my writing
and everything I live to be.
Use clichés. Live clichés,
breathe clichés, be
a cliché. Write a poem
AutonomousShe asks me to tell her a story,Autonomous in Free Verse More Like This
a quiet ignorance of the self,
the unaffected scratches
on her freshwater skin and
years she spent
searching for the dreams orbiting
her like forlorn moons;
love happens on the sharp
nights unbalanced with
a little too much of the things
you don’t understand. She never
liked her eyes, full and honest and an
unignorable admittance she was real.
But she never was a cheater,
she claims, no one
put a price on her; the things she gave
away cost too much like
doctored up, re-polished
silence. Sounds familiar.
Imagine a place where
no one has a nightmare. No one
has a voice, their lives are
in their hands: calloused and
beautiful. They wake unweathered
and they are not blind and
she is the sun, unaware she
could never catch her
dreams. Even now, she
wants to be a bird when she
grows up (the endless cliché
when you’ve already sold all your
time in exchange for a pleasant
absence of memories)
with wind gliding down her back
RestlessI’ve been living in the same breathy dreamRestless in Free Verse More Like This
for too many days now; I’m bed-ridden and
stale and I reek of those moments that come
full throttle like a car crash on a winter night
this is evolution where weak hearts
are afraid of the shadows and where
an apologetic wind births no remorse;
he will move on—anchored ship
set sail, I am the sunken wreckage
that never learned how to swim.
he will move on, Darwin says
I never had a chance
I wish I were the textbook sadness,
symptom and solution and endurance
but I’ve spent too long sleeping on the
thoughts of shooting stars and gravity
and reasons, scientific calculations with
thrice-checked proofs for the skeptics
that don’t believe in the sleight of hand magic
reality wants to imply
I am not the insomniac writer with
better things to do than sleep; I am
the heavy bones afraid of what
lies in the darkness beneath
the skeletons of childhood monsters
on how I need youtoday is a six-word story:on how I need you in Free Verse More Like This
I’m tired of waking up
I will peel back your
every insecurity and anxiety
and watch them fall to the floor
like vodka petals, regurgitated mosaics,
I will see you naked and
reborn and you will break apart
into passive aggressive poetic
dedications and unsent letters and
I will hate and love you
for the very same reasons and
I will move on.
beauty is a state of mindforgiveness is thebeauty is a state of mind in Free Verse More Like This
scent the violet leaves
on the foot that stomped it;
I am beautiful in remembrance:
I am beautiful
in a body two sizes too
large, in eyes dilated
with questions (eyes
you cannot name; gray
like the ocean, blue
like the heart, green like
the fever dream I cannot
wake from) I am the
hair of a lion, a wild
thing, ignition upon
tempted glance. I am the skin
you cannot name, always fleeting;
you always see
but never truly take in.
and I know a boy
carved of ivory silence,
a letter for someone who hates thinkingin the beginning i wrote poemsa letter for someone who hates thinking in Free Verse More Like This
about death and darkness and
the complex metaphysical arithmetic in which
that would equate to the love i carried for you,
beneath the headaches brewing like bruises
between my eyes, my ocean eyes;
even after convincing me the planets
were dead gods, powerful skeletons with
internal expiration dates and the stars
were their lingering parables, their stories
blinking out years before we were born, i knew
you were a nuclear angel, atom bomb
savior sent to save me from
there is no more mystery
in the world. i sent you
five letters to the PO box you told me
about in florida, the first
was a catalogue of every
angsty song lyric or campy postcard
or description of a flower
crooked in just the right way
that reminded me of you,
the second was a retelling
of every dream i woke from
forgetting who i was, the third
was an apology-- i'm sorry
for who i'm not and who you
need and that your dad always
reeked of bacardi, i'm sorry
for my bukowski-wannabe complex a
Poets Always Lieambrosial fabrications arePoets Always Lie in Free Verse More Like This
easier to swallow down when
incandescence is a blessing bestowed
only upon those with silky tongues.
deceptions are beautiful
in the right words
because they are salvation, like a
rapture, they save the sickly,
self-indulgent souls from those
tragedies they used to write on the insides
of childhood notebooks about who
they could never be [themselves]
they rescue them from tremulous
corners and closets, hideaways
where they've grown too akin to
the demons they nurse; and drag
them into a land beautiful enough
to wear light as a second skin
(where lies are never discussed
but always shared)
are so much more comforting
than the absoluteness of reality
because self-resentment is as
natural as a heartbeat to those
who were born breathing and
abhorring and denying all from one
steady gasp of what the existent world
had to offer to them
back then their eyes opened, and
their fingers fumbled, born, they realized
the world wasn't as pretty as promi
SeeDrinking malt whiskey in a bar in West EndSee in Free Verse More Like This
the smoke cocooning us in lazy curls
I watch the fall of dew of the glass on your hand
your fairy elf smile and shy eyes meeting mine.
The air is cold at 1 a.m. and our breath is before us
we breathe each other in.
I catch your hand
and you offer me your coat
but I'd rather feel my own heartbeat in my chest
insistent to be warm
warmed by your words and your press of your body alone.
We get lost in the city together
10 hours of steps tattooed into asphalt
and of drinks left full of hushed promises
waiting on empty tables
the soft slush ice melting pink like the blush
on your face.
We're leaving footprints through empty streets
a disappearing trail of breadcrumbs
to find ourselves again
and the backstreets are a home for restless feet
I could listen to your laugh forever
and wrap myself in your voice.
We laugh and stand together over the river
the city lights soft blurs
on the water like a surrealist world.
We talk about art an
CelestesYour breath sweeps light into dark cornersCelestes in Free Verse More Like This
an ocean moving beneath your lips
in soft waves.
Light refracts into hollow depths
a lullaby speaking grief into deep blues
and long boats whispers sighs of love
against the hull of you
the streets step lies over our tongues
repeating as each sole meets asphalt
and treads shadow into black
each word falls over the page
or the gentled sounds of love
echoing in a silent grenade
the soft soliloquy of us
shapes under a new world
it murmurs into space
and speaks satellites
into black holes
Hospital Collection: Room 11Im in room 11Hospital Collection: Room 11 in Biography & Memoir More Like This
and I think its a coincidence.
11 was always my favourite number.
Two lines, never touching,
but never alone.
First Night pt2I.First Night pt2 in Biography & Memoir More Like This
Theres a green line pulsing
Across an empty black screen
Im frozen under its stare
With my fingertips pressed
The dark blue hospital
Im feeling desperately beneath myself
Listening for my heart beat
Searching for evidence of red beneath
A strangers hands are cold
Against my body
Stealing the essence of my soul
From the vapour of my words
My mouth shatters into pieces
Onto the floor.
My shoes whisper
Into the silence
Forgiving my mortality.
A nurse pours gold
Into a coffee cup
Hands me a liquid lifeline
Of bittersweet orange juice.
And I wonder what I would have tasted
If the drugs had
Deep memory spreads
Into my subconscious
Drowning me in sound
And shades of grey.
I wake, breathing whispers
Onto the pillowcase
Too afraid to bite my lips
In my surrender
To find myself
In an echo of a dream.
I watch quietly
As my horror grows
Out of the gentle dark
Hospital Collection: A FishA Fish Without Lungs.Hospital Collection: A Fish in Biography & Memoir More Like This
The oxygen mask
steps over my mouth
like soft frog's feet
and breathes into my lips
sticky with blood.
And I cough up pale white pills
like tiny frog's eggs
sticky and ripe in the dark.
The air tastes heavy
and vapour drops.
Hospital Collection: NamelessThere's an anorexic patient with meHospital Collection: Nameless in Biography & Memoir More Like This
in the mental health ward.
I've never heard her speak
or touch her lips
to the plastic hospital food.
Her skull is wrapped in
the alien fingers of
a pale feeding tube.
And I wonder if she's still
the keeper of her soul.
Her wrists are as frail as
the silver threads
of delicate spider webs.
Her skin is fragile
I've never heard her speak
or touch her lips.
She's just another patient
(without a name).
Her eyes are lifeless,
And I wonder what that makes
who sees only
Hospital Collection: SideSide EffectsHospital Collection: Side in Biography & Memoir More Like This
I swallow my meds
Even though I cant pronounce the name of them,
or remember why Im not dead.
No ones told me the side effects.
Hospital Collection: BeadsI make my sister a clumsy braceletHospital Collection: Beads in Biography & Memoir More Like This
In the craft session
While the patients argue over beads.
Victoriafragile bonesVictoria in Free Verse More Like This
and marked wrists
anorexia creeps the fingertips
into her ribs.
blue hair falls into
Victoria, in the
bed next to mine.
Hospital Collection:SmallSmall WorldsHospital Collection:Small in Biography & Memoir More Like This
Tamae was my best friend
when I was ten.
While Im waiting for a doctor,
a young nurse smiles at me.
Ruby. Im Kimmi, Tamaes mother.
Do you remember me?
I go cold with shame.
Tamae is joining the Peace Corps
and Im in a mental health ward.
A Note To MyselfJumbles and tumbles of words, mockingbirdsA Note To Myself in Free Verse More Like This
There's nothing new here, fly away
Find the edge of the day and lift it up
from the darkness
Build a city of dreams and live in it
Construct monuments to the Somethingness
The something that exists once you've peeled
all the layers away
Stop the yammering and hammering of worn-out ideas
Circling the same spot where nothing grows
Find the light and bathe in it until an Eden-like
Life, with a capitol 'L'
Tallmy words are green tonightTall in Free Verse More Like This
written in the air in a neon glow
standing on the corner in the snow
reciting poetry from memory
i feel very tall
there is power in words
and tonight i'm in control
looming large and strong and
and feeling very tall
have i had too much? no,
just enough to clearly see
my shoulders are straight, my
head held high
speaking green words
and very, very tall
ScabbageCrust clings to skin, puckered edges spreading redScabbage in Free Verse More Like This
On elbows and knees, shouting out where you’ve been
Raised white lines across wrists indicate attempts
Salvation, damnation, maybe just blissful sleep
Fog rolls in your eyes, bees buzz in your head
You paint the world bright and colorful, sarcastically
Because all you’ve ever known was darkness
And you do like your primary colors to dream in
Walk down the street, head hung low, mumbling
Expecting nothing from the world, and getting it
Knives in your eyes and poison on your tongue
Born to be crucified; who am I to deny you?
Love does not conquer all, not the likes of us
Festering wound souls finding a moment’s solace
Before the wind howls our names again
I am you, you are me; together we are we
Briefly opening the coffin lid to daylight’s touch
You raise your head high for me, and indicate love
Clasping hands, we jump together into the maelstrom
Leaving two hearts carved on an aging tree
JazzAn ambulance flies down the empty streetJazz in Free Verse More Like This
It's siren's wail becomes a saxophone
Playing cool beneath the blue moon
Flags wave in the darkness at half-mast
Hospital lights are white and cold
An IV in the ICU for cocktails
Play it, brother, play through the rain
Birthing notes as lost as our souls
Gin and a Pall Mall in the morgue
MorbidMoldy icing on a three-week old funeral cakeMorbid in Free Verse More Like This
Party hats on corpses sitting around a table
I dreamed you again in vast fields beneath the moon
Where the silence screamed out it's nothingness
You were so alone, so alone, and me so far away
In the farmhouse of blue light with my dead
I wanted to pour gasoline around and burn it all
But it would be improper to disturb the sleeping
My head is splitting with your obscene absence
And the rattling noise the dead make when they laugh
Acceptance?The silence roars at 4:30 on a Saturday morningAcceptance? in Free Verse More Like This
To a childless father
A wifeless husband
A friendless friend
Its too hot, open a window and let the snow in
Read the words from the dead child's hand
(Winter fences at the edge of the world)
Think, think, think of a way to fill the empty day
To make it count
To respect memories
To shout to the world
These were good people, they were loved fiercely
Why does the world keep turning, whats left?
(Their names float from the sky and settle)
Sun, ignite the world, turn the snow into ashes
Let us rest our dreams
Mourn our loss
Accept our fate
Remember every softly-spoken "I love you"
Live this and every day in hope that we'll join them soon
(Tall grass and tiny flowers begin to grow)
RegretI watched you from the bridge, swimming outRegret in Free Verse More Like This
I knew you wouldn't be back
Love leaves a bitter taste in the mouth
The sunlight twinkled on the water like stars
You receded into the distance
Love leaves a hollow place in the heart
At twilight I turned away, and realized that I
Should've been there holding your hand
Love leaves an emptiness in the soul
ErasedWoke up with needles in my head and a lock on my lipsErased in Free Verse More Like This
Snakes were crawling over me, around the floor
Embracing and licking me with their dry tongues
Cooing like mad old women over a baby
When the venom is injected I’m paralyzed, wide-eyed
Slipping down the depths of a gaping maw, whole
Sweating out beads of old dreams one by one
Memory becomes ice white-blank and fades
The last thing I see is baby-doll heads lined up on a windowsill
Snow falling behind them outside in the darkness
Then they too fade into white, and I don’t remember
Any of it anymore; I’ve been washed clean
A Fairy TaleDismembered limbs fall from the skyA Fairy Tale in Free Verse More Like This
Dramatic chorus sings silken ribbons
On the mountaintop, out there in the darkness
Where plants are withered from lack of sun
And all that is now will be what was
And all that was will be once again
As limbs attach themselves to torsos
We get up and walk, smiling, into the light
Teeth, hair, skin, bone re-assembled
New feathered wings stitched to backs
The plants are green on the other side
Growth ensured by the ever-bright light
ThursdayRumors of tumors, chatty neighbors, the grateful deadThursday in Free Verse More Like This
A broken swing on a deserted playground
And bones; oh, the bones that pile up, more everyday
Thursday I had nothing to say
A weak and pale moon glares down at the snow, impotent
Stars in motion whisper my star-name, calling
Tiny spiders build homes in my beer-soaked brain
Thursday I had nothing to say
Pizza or Chinese for dinner? I can't hold a thought
Craftsmanship went out on a three-hour cruise
Through the swamplands of South Carolina in the rain
Thursday I had nothing to say
A brass-toothed journeyer shines a light in dark corners
Nudges and pokes at the beasts sleeping there
Scraps of re-arranged words piled with the bones rot away
Thursday I had nothing to say