The rule of nines.I know more about half-moon palms
than most know about
the kind that beg dandelion child,
I know about forged castle ribs & broken homes.
Myths that are half fact & imaginary friend
turned bogieman -
Fangs that tear clear through ice-bone hearts
like they are nothing but pretty paper
to be folded over, again & again & again
by the hands of quivering youths:
Icarus, the reincarnated
sky conqueror searching for warmth.
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.
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.
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,
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
NaPoWriMo: Day 2sometimes,NaPoWriMo: Day 2 in Free Verse More Like This
i have this
sudden urge to cut
most of the time,
i just wish I were anything
other than me.
a rocket ship, a bird-
the sweet flavored smoke
I promised my girlfriend
these briar patch lungs
would not in.hale.
i have fallen in love
with the strangest of things-
eyes that intimidate
the way my scars
play hide and seek
with her hands. -
the love letters
that start and end
pressed against limbs.
i make promises
i know i can not keep.
but if i were a liar
i would say i was tired
of writing to the stars.
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?
NaPoWriMo: Day 10 Have you ever been so cold, Sweetheart,NaPoWriMo: Day 10 in Free Verse More Like This
your knees q u a k e d like that Jenga piece
that buckled just before your whole foundation
& no matter
how many times
I've restarted your heart,
one would think
I'd grow tired,
I'm still writing you in poetry
(in the most inappropriate of places.)
You forced yourself beneath my blades
& my fingertips,
Licking unstable knees,
you were death on my tongue:
angry apricot eyes, unforgivable sin
scaring my limbs &
haunting my dreams.
& I'd still try to save your fucking life.
NaPoWriMo: Day 9More respectNaPoWriMo: Day 9 in Free Verse More Like This
for hungry lions,
doesn’t want to write this poem.
As she forgets how to use words
(on most days,)
relying on curses
like casting some witch's spell-
with only ten dollars to her name.
The oldest daughter:
she’s still somewhere in the middle,
because they had no other way
to categorize her.
Getting her first gravestone at three-
not to the gods,
but to the lily stargazers
in her palms.
she would become a bird,
& never come back.
She doesn’t want her death
laid out like a fast-food
how does she begin to explain
cultivating in her breastbone?
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?
astrology.i lost my cigarettes today whileastrology. in Free Verse More Like This
sparing kisses to too many witches
with apastron blackberry tongues.
& like the scattered stars of scars,
saturn's rings whispered secrets
to the telescope eyes of these strangers
cradling galaxies between lovely bones-
( their fingertip heat
knowing nothing of intermissions. )
AbsenceShe used to lie awake all nightAbsence in Free Verse More Like This
consuming letters with voracity;
it was the utopian lair she created
to slip away from the turbulent world.
Only too soon she learned
that you can't always hide
within parchment crevices.
(reality always finds you)
Even now, when she yearns to fall between printed canyons,
she can't help but curse those passive and lethargic days;
"It's too damn easy to fall in love with words on a page."
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
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
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.
NecromancyI wanted to see what makes a human heartNecromancy in Free Verse More Like This
so I took a scimitar and ripped apart your decrepit
and inside that primordial ribcage I found nothing but
And you merely gave a cruel parody of a
dug your bloodstained claws into your
and tore out that infestation you called a
"Analyze that well, my little necromancer," you
fangs dripping with the acid I once begged to
"Perhaps you'll be as wise as me once you find the
I could only watch as you sunk back down into
clutching that contaminated Philosopher's Stone
knowing you had replaced my heart with the poison known as
'l o v e.'
Unheard of and undefinedSometimes,Unheard of and undefined in Free Verse More Like This
I have this sudden impulse to
bite off my tongue.
It wasn't made for
pretty words and kept promises
in the first place.
Back to back and
straight on til daybreak,
our soliloquy seems never ending.
When was the last time
you remembered to cry for all the broken hearts
that were not your own?
AimlessSpring forgot how to begin anew,Aimless in Free Verse More Like This
so Winter stole her amnesic heart and tossed it to the wolves.
"Devour me," the stars seemed to beg;
so Gravity plunged them into the ocean's nebulous depths.
These lips no longer offer hymns up to fallen gods—
so Fate sacrificed herself for the chance to be reborn.
skinwalkershe was a vicious prion,skinwalker in Free Verse More Like This
anomalous & infectious—
my fractured mind was the
perfectly unsuspecting host.
i was so ashamed of life
& you had all the answers.
"don't let me go,"
she hissed each night,
coating my flesh in a
(it was just too damn easy
to grasp your viral hands.)
i know my ribcage is almost on empty
& my heart is converting to toxic waste,
but i still have a feverish serum in my veins
& a voice not yet conquered by broken bones.
your plague of malevolence
shall never govern me again.
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
curiouser and curiouserseventeen years &curiouser and curiouser in Free Verse More Like This
still chasing white rabbits,
it's no wonder i've never
been in love.
we're all mad here;
no one can find the road to
(i don't know
where to go)
let's fall down a hole.
(i'm just a chrysalis
with no butterfly wings)
off with my head when it
can only imagine nonsense
& clockwork hearts.
give me a cheshire's smile-
i want to know
what it feels like
to be in wonderland.
For every boy I ever kissedi.For every boy I ever kissed in Free Verse More Like This
you took my hand 'neath the magnolia
at a christmas dinner party I held.
your mouth was cold. so were my affections.
you were the first man to listen to me.
i let you listen to my heartbeat; but
when the day fell away, you bruised me deep.
you were my safe harbour, and i your storm
turning your misery to naught but air
but i squirmed away from your tongue, repulsed.
you were my cradle, when i couldn't sleep
you would hold me close and pray for something,
anything, to keep me safe. (it was you).
eleven months spent sleeping with my phone,
i still couldn't believe when you kissed me
even after midnight struck us again.
i don't miss those guitar-player fingers
you wrapped me 'round. i loved enough for you
until i realised you didn't love me.
we fell into our love by accident
and like one, there were some fatalities
when you said you loved me using her name.
opposites attract. i fell hard for you.
you kissed me in starlit castle ruins.
United, We WriteHear me read itUnited, We Write in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
0hgravity, if by some divine fortune you should decide that today is the day you will fail me, then let me soar through the ChemicalSkyline. Grant me a-lovely-anxiety that raises a storm InTheStarryNightSky for me to riseandbe above all else. Let me soar.
How I long to be the frail rider-on-the-storm and not a victim of the RoamingShadow, Rogue-Of-The-Night, that BlackVelvetNightmare of my nights and days. I long
Perfect on PaperWe cut heartsPerfect on Paper in Free Verse More Like This
into paper to make streams
That was my impression of it.
That you ripped
the pieces you didn't want
until you got something that was
It's no wonder
that I can't believe that someone
would think I was paper-perfect,
40810If only you were soulless.40810 in Free Verse More Like This
If you were mindless, blind,
you and I could make a beautiful disaster.
The press would write of our brief affair;
they'd paint me (the woman in red) as pathetic.
They will not consider how I need your love
or how it pains me so deeply to throw myself at you.
I will not be remembered as a poet warrior.
I'll be the eternal survivor no more.
All who think of me will shake their bowed heads
and tearfully remark;
If only you were soulless.
If you were mindless, blind,
You wouldn't have been such a bloody disaster.
KonjukuYou think you are a pebble.Konjuku in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
That's not the most romantic thing to say to someone, so you'll have to forgive my clumsiness. You think you are a pebble. That you have been worn down and eroded to the point where all corners have been smoothed out. That you have allowed the awkward elbows and ankle bones, the stutter and the scars, to be rubbed out. That you've let them wear you down until you are no longer abrasive when you come into direct contact with what they expect you to be.
You are not a pebble.
You are not small or part of a greater pattern. You are not disposable, at the mercy of Poisedon's temperate shifts. You are not the sum of the parts around you. You are not a pebble.
You are soil; and some may say that that's not the most kind thing to say to someone. People will walk all over you. By that, I mean that you will rise to new heights and be the beginning of something beyond what we have now. Like a sharp cliff you will become the platform that others have to build from
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.
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 Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning?Sunnyside up.How Do You Like Your Eggs In The Morning? in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The pan was still warm when I dropped it into the sink. We had eggs. You had them sunnyside up, but I couldn't bear runny egg whites and so I had scrambled. Just in case. You found your right shoe and left. I sat at the kitchen table drumming my fingers against the buttercup plastic cloth and thought about Life with a capital L. What was it all about?
I started to think of breakfast as a metaphor for us. You had it all together. Sunnyside up. I was scrambled. A convoluted tick of a person. I started to consider my life as being thoroughly forked. I watched the birds outside the kitchen window for a while and did not relate them to what I had just eaten. After a long slither of time had passed I got up and washed the pan until the eggs were gone. You never came back. I learnt not to mind.
Mother EarthMy body is the earth;Mother Earth in Free Verse More Like This
See how under this bruise
A seed of malcontent sleeps.
See what grows out of each pore
As the pain pours over again.
There is rust in my fingerbeds
That poisons the roots
Of all good that hopes to grow here.
I am the convulsing, revolution
of the convoluted Earth...
I am the tectonic blades that clash
and shout when I curl up and hide.
You will feel me when I tremble,
and fear me when I explode
for under the magmanimous skin
There burns a core of hate
That can't be marred by human hand.
with a whisperthis is how we rule the world,with a whisper in Free Verse More Like This
the forgotten, lobotom-ised,
of a long lost dystopast.
not with a SHOUT,
we do not argue.
we do not even unsheath
we whisper in your children's ears
the memories of what should have been.
the life we all crave.
the death we all crave.
WE do not discriminate
our opinions onto others
pressing the side of the blade
down onto the flesh
all are bitten
with the fever of our belief.
this is how we rule the world,
we tell stories,
we incite a generation
with their own scar/r/ed lungs
with a whisper.
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
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
radiantI amradiant in Free Verse More Like This
unrealistic ideologies of an
are toxic; breathing
is a chore. there is
a careful warmth in the
combined effort of
we are the forgotten.
we are the tangled limbs
and childhood stories for
a more sensitive future; we
are the longing, we are
we are measured
in the people we touch;
and I will love you
in the UV light of
hide and seek paranoia.
I love you in the red shimmer
of harbored dreams, I love you
in the industrial gl
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
tiny vesselsgod cried for us that afternoontiny vessels in Free Verse More Like This
on the rocks, if I could be so
selfish; you had your hands
grasping at my empty vapors before
I’d had the chance to whisper
to you. I see you
shaking. I know you’re
hungry and I know
the temperature of your
eyes when you lie. you
said you were lonely.
half-truths are the essence
of symbiotic relationships, your
fingers trailing along my hips,
glacier blue eyes holding me
still. the rapids churned. god
cried for me that afternoon.
he was selfish, too.
unfilterediunfiltered in Free Verse More Like This
i’d tell you I hated you
if you had a voice or a face,
or any sense of tangibility aside
from the spider fingers you use
to crawl through my brain
you are not beautiful, like
all the other poets protest. you
are the red in my eye, like
a pen bled; the ragged to
my fingernails, the hitch of my breath
when it catches in my throat.
before i go, i’ll write a million letters (a million
pennies for my thoughts, bitter, embedded
under my tongue) and send them to people
i’ve never met, telling them how my eyes were blue
when i was little but now are the same gray
i’m choking on, how i am maddie and how that’s short
for a name i was never graceful enough for, how
i tell myself stories of lives i’ll never live so i
can go to sleep
because when i’m really gone, that’s all that’ll be left
(it’s funny what people
try to justify with words)
you never loved me,
you selfish thing, i wonder why
i wasted so many nights relivin
CountedI am a number.Counted in Free Verse More Like This
twenty times I broke, fourteen times I lied, six pieces of my heart lent
goodbye, two times I didn't want to make it, one failure
and countless broken things;
infinite words abandoned trembling and lonely and cold.
I'm so cold and it's spring and the ground is alive to make up
for the mistakes I bury; the cherry blossoms are wilting
black, drooping so low to the ground that it is a blanket
as far as the eye can see:
fallen flowers die like starsick soldiers, begging please, oh,
please take me home so
I can leave on my own threshold and kiss the walls of
my own making and see my wife for a final time, please,
take me home where there are lullabies and nightlights
and bedside wishes; where the air isn't thick with the
scent of sinning men, oh god I'm sorry
that life is inevitability and the failure before me is as set
zeroi sworezero in Free Verse More Like This
i would never number the poems
i wrote about myself because that
would be like ticking off the days
until my breakdown;
i was a moth, unapologetically throwing myself
at any gleam of hope; wasting my wings
on industrial promises
colors always felt much more
appropriate for the purple boiling
beneath my heart and the pallid
purposelessness of my head,
but i was born into a colorless world--
no one sees me behind the metallic scars
of my skin and iron grating of my voice against
the grain; no one sees me as more than
gray regret or monochrome mistakes,
no one sees me but
all i ever wanted was for a
fallen god with feathered heels
to believe in me: to pray upon
the monuments i built for
broken dreams and to baptize me
in his tainted tears,
i just want him to be real. more
than anything, i want to be real, i want
to be more than an imaginary friend
to various mental limitations; i want
to trade my liquid skin [evaporating]
for a chance to be
i am a moth and you are the lighthouse
Growing Upit seems that by now I’ve been diagnosedGrowing Up in Free Verse More Like This
with a mild case of weightlessness, mindless
drifting past empty homes and the emptier people
that purchased them. I remember conversations
with you about existentialism
and the almost intricate fabric of my mind and
everything in between, and you-- the way you
paused before making a point as
the words defined themselves in your head:
I remember the day I told you I was God.
Creator of all things unimportant, trapped
in the body of a girl with nothing left to give, you
it must be a beautiful place
inside your head, with a world
that revolves around hope and expectations
the way it was supposed to; all
storybook-perfect like the
wars promise we’ll one day
[I’d like to think that every great leader
once cried themselves to sleep wondering
if they’d ever mean anything and
did things to stand out like smoking
or drinking or pretending to be someone
they’re not and every morning they’d tilt
I am the wayward childI wish I had something more to offerI am the wayward child in Free Verse More Like This
when your joints ached and your bones creaked
and you wept dust; (the cobwebs around
your tongue were a comfort once)
but I am three times screwed
over backwards and turned right around,
breathing in gravel and praying on
the only consistencies I know like
on Sun-day we are in the house of God
and it won’t rain and dad won’t speak
and mom will sit with pursed lips counting
all the times we didn’t kiss her goodbye
and everyone will call it normal,
everyone will look at the way I write words
on cracked pavement and get glassy-eyed
when they speak softly and forget the sound
of my own voice when I’m afraid; all those times I
tripped over my own feet and walked away
with wounded knees, and they will call me normal.
I’m at it again, building barricades
from ashes and calling them friends
(this here is fear, he visits me nightly;
and that stale stain in the corner
is actually anxiety, recuperating
from the moment it caught a
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
Tired, Exhausted, DrainedTired, Exhausted, Drained:Tired, Exhausted, Drained in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
I am bloody exhausted! Drained to the core of my soul.
I wake up every morning with bags; burning ever deeper into my eyes.
Sunken masses of flesh, reminding me that the dreamscape -
One in which I sought refuge; is now buried where it lies.
Yet still I force myself to trudge through this wilderness.
Forever caught in a moon drenched, delusory twilight.
An endless cycle of failure and renewed hope;
Giving rise to the very stubbornness that defines me.
-Chen Yuan Wen, 5th February 2013
These Words Aren't PrettyThese Words Aren't Pretty:These Words Aren't Pretty in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
My verses are ugly and I admit to the fact
I can't use pretty language when I'm working with rap
Because the things that I write, are just the things that I feel
I ain't an Edgar Allan Poe or a Danielle Steel
And I'll be honest with you, I've got an envy inside
Because some poets got a flow that's as smooth as the tide
I read some stuff that they write, it's just so dope I ignite
Burning shame and my anger at the beautiful sight
And like birds of a feather, they're flocking together
These poets are the Gods and I'm nailed by the weather
But as the rain pours down, lightning resound;
I try to write pretty words but my lips remain bound
So deeply silenced by fear - the darkness I hear,
Afraid to be unloved by the ones I hold dear
I've hit the limit of time; my lyrical crime
These words that I've lived are just turning to grime.
So I wish I had their talent; just a sliver of that
If their skill was a mountain then I've broken my back
It's like t
Misery's GardenMisery's Garden:Misery's Garden in Free Verse More Like This
Through the cold ice we trekked, the Reaper and I.
His face an ever-shifting grin, oscillating between joy and malice...
With quick, light-footed steps, he lead me to a warm green meadow.
A small hut in the distance, a little garden beside.
Where a hunchbacked man, covered in boils and open wounds;
Bearing a crooked jaw and gnarled hands, tilled the earth.
"Egh yew ooh wha gu wan!"
I was so startled by the hunchback's sudden outburst,
That I jumped and gripped the Reaper's cloak in fright,
Yet as soon as he had seen me, the hunchback's eyes glazed over;
He appeared to forget about our presence...
I had to admit, I was very curious
And I wished to move in close so I could inspect him.
Reaching out with my hand to clasp his own;
I was assailed by horrid visions.
In one instance I was a collector of night soil,
Abuse hurled at me like stones and I the accepting target.
For to speak was to open this torn mouth of mine
And that would merely draw a mocki
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
DeceptiveDeceptive in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
Tempting with beautiful wings;
-Chen Yuan Wen, 4th January 2013
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
Little Soldier BoyHe does not fight for the General barking orders,Little Soldier Boy in Free Verse More Like This
Nor for the man in a suit, who sent him across borders...
In his pocket he keeps a single picture, a sole reminder
Like ancient scripture. A home he misses so endlessly,
Tirelessly calling out in his dreams at night. It is the last
That remains on his lips, with his finger pressed upon the trigger.
A single heartbeat, as he sights his enemy; A quiet prayer
To rest in peace. Yet soon it fades, as hope is fleeting;
For the little soldier boy, once marching home.
"Bottoms up buddy, I miss you..."
-Chen Yuan Wen, 18th 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
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
wanderlust, and what i knowi know things.wanderlust, and what i know in Free Verse More Like This
i'd like to pretend to the listening frost on car windscreens
that i know these things from the song of birds down my ears.
'a little birdy told me' they say, but what they're forgetting
is that birds, if they could talk, wouldn't waste time telling
humans other peoples's secrets when they could be teaching
me how to grow featherdown and fly. yet here i am, a bird
telling scraps of paper what i do and don't know.
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
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,
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
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,
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
Supernova (someday, I will marry an astronomer)You are firing words into space at stars that will never understand.Supernova (someday, I will marry an astronomer) in Free Verse More Like This
Let them guess. Have you ever tried explaining to them that you'd like to
pluck them from where they stand to glue them to your ceiling?
They don't know you like I do, they don't know you're scared of the dark.
Comets and asteroids are tricky things. They'll burn a hole through your roof
so I hope you like the troposphere singeing your nostrils.
'What do you suppose stars do after they become supernovae?'
'They become neutron stars. Or black holes, I guess.'
You went quiet after that.
Maybe I should have said that they stay beautiful forever like Hollywood
would have you believe. I could have said that they blaze on and on
for as long as the universe wants to keep us held in the clutches of spiral
galaxies. That they linger on and become what makes up a newborn child
and the last breath of people who have seen eight decades and more. That
they filter down into the shells of your ears and become the fabric and s
What If We Were Poets?Do you ever wonder what it's like to come face-to-faceWhat If We Were Poets? in Free Verse More Like This
with the planets? To curl your fingers in the air without
meeting thousands of plaster ceilings? What if I showed you
how to cross Saturn's rings, inhale the atmosphere of Venus?
You would enter the Earth (and it's a strange place to call home,
really) with ice crystals at the corners of your mouth and ash
clouds stuck to the insides of your fingernails. Let me tell you,
it's a beginner's worry that you'll burn up in the atmosphere,
but I've had helium and hydrogen daubed on the base of my tongue.
Oh, and do you ever brush past the windows on train carriages
and wonder what cornfields are like when they're your sky
and your Earth's crust? What if I took you to the white cliffs
of somewhere or other and taught you how to spread your wings
and not hit the ground? What if I showed you mazes, and became
the red threads around your thumbs? If you'll just trust me, I'll let you
see that getting lost should only worry you in jungles of co
mythi ammyth in Free Verse More Like This
somewhere beyond hurricanes made
only of butterflies
and carpets pushing moss
between your toes
and trees that rut green
against stained glass
and dandelion clocks that blow
june around the snow-capped peaks
of your shoulders and the mountain
valleys of your collarbones
"we are all just stories"
and i have mine to tell
if we're all myths
strung up on strings of dragonfly wings
let me walk on fire i stole from
mount olympus, let me open pandora's box
of phoenix flames flashing purple and blue
and let me be a girl wearing a queen's skin
or cloaks of thistledown and lost baby
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
for holden caulfieldwhen i was sixteen years oldfor holden caulfield in Free Verse More Like This
holden's words were echoed to me, ironically
in a voice not his own. phoney, he'd call it,
but as my literature teacher would say 'reading aloud'
but too softly
too kindly for the room, nineteen of us
all with bored, hooded eyes -
and wouldn't he just hate us?
the boy awkwardly ruffling his hair and turning to
his reflection in shiny glass, smoothing more strands
and the girl whispering and the one next to
her pretending to listen, smacking gum
and me, tracing words with my pupils
doodling stars and clouds on scrap paper
'what do you think of holden?'
'he's weird', 'he's right, i guess?'
but i pity caulfield.
and if i could travel back in time and
scoop up all of holden's baby teeth and
tie them in a little necklace and wrap them around
his neck, i would, and if i could tell
holden caulfield that childhood and cigarettes
are the same: both end.
but it is up to you what you do afterwards
and if you choose to grind it in the ground, do so,
and if you choose t
[tremble]mother always told her the things that she never wanted to face. like when she learned there are parts of her body that she should hide and not let others see. the marks that scale her thighs from her skin warping from the numbers ticking and her valleys and mountains appearing and disappearing. or the scars she gave herself in grade nine when her small frame couldn't handle all the feelings that were building up inside her and the weight sagged and broke something and she tore herself apart looking for the reason.[tremble] in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
it was winter when she turned twenty-one, and she told mother that she felt strange, like all the little things she'd built up in herself, collected over the years had washed over, or been left behind. mother told her that her skin is like the leaves and it will change in colour and it will eventually shed itself in the span of 7 years. she'd already changed twice, but she was feeling it more than ever because by the time your twenty-one, you've already lost so ma
nervous ticki. i curse you some nights, kicking the soil around your grave and daring younervous tick in Free Verse More Like This
double fucking daring you to be alive somehow
ii. i heard you at my grave. my god your face has lengthened, your jaw was so slack and wide and i nearly lost it
lost it like you clearly already have.
i want to tell you i do. i'm alive, in most ways at least
iii. your mail still rattles my door of a morning hiding in with mine like it can sneak past me
past my dulled senses and weakened barrier.
everything is numb.
vi. a shadow. thats all that i am now, friend.
i have tried dialing numbers or scrawling words but they don't come.
imagine that, me, out of words.
i am not myself anymore
v. solitude will be the death of me.
i'd swear to god, but you've ruined that too
you logical bastard.
calamity.the poor boy got a lecture from deaths secretarycalamity. in Free Verse More Like This
"deaths busy enough as it is without walk ins"
"but it was urgent," he stutters.
"it couldn't wait, it was now or never"
he was simply told
"take a number, and wait over there with the rest
who 'couldn't wait' "
unlovenot all self harm comesunlove in Free Verse More Like This
in the obvious form of lines up arms or down thighs
of throwing up insides and self worth
into toilet bowls with the sounds
that make you wonder how you're not dead.
she picked at her lips constantly
cracking and splitting
peeling and bleeding
more than expected
and it bled
more than ever anticipated
even after she's been doing it all day
she drank her tea that was still steaming
still made her hands flinch from the
far too hot porceline
but she parted lips
and felt it force it way down
burning and splitting
her lips and throat
like molten in her
ash filled stomach
pulling on skin
making underneath it
her blood like water colour
exploding and spreading
and mixing over
thighs and stomachs
no-one thinks to notice
by association.don't shoot the messengerby association. in Free Verse More Like This
she told herself
but her aim was unsteady
and the wind blew her off target
they were all rotten anyway.
0012.- talk to cats or trees0012. in Free Verse More Like This
and empty your bucket
full of emotions
on the ground into the roots
and lets something become of it
that isn't a bruise, or a tear in your skin
or a lovers headache.
awake from my dream state.it was a leap of faithawake from my dream state. in Free Verse More Like This
but i wish someone had pushed me
so i had someone to blame
alas, i cannot swim.and you over thought things. you stared at the concrete, and the cars, and the way the light reflected off the passing green car. you imagined how it would feel if it hit you. they're just thoughts though, right? nothing more. you tell yourself, "everyone thinks these things sometimes."alas, i cannot swim. in Short Stories More Like This
you take an extra long sip from your coffee cup, seeing if you can wash your thoughts away.
you spill your coffee on your shirt. a chain reaction, a subtle change of scenery; you don't exactly know what to conclude from this event. you reach into your pocket to pull out your white handkerchief, only it's red now. your hand is bleeding. you don't remember this happening, but then again, you don't remember much of anything. you make your way towards the stretch of the city. you try to let its stomach swallow you whole. is this you? are you growing old? you can't tell if you're dotted with dandelions or soaked up in the city's sweat. you are no longer the man you thought you were, & this can only mea
003its easier to say003 in Free Verse More Like This
"i'm fine, just tired"
than explain the water rising
when really they just asked out of politeness
and don't -actually- care.
any other way.the calender pages started to thicken and winter was drawing closerany other way. in Free Verse More Like This
she piled her jumpers into her drawers and re-stocked the tea supply
ready for her internal oceans to freeze and you to set up camp
(she never didn't figure out how you were in two places at once)
Love letter to myself.Small handed girl,Love letter to myself. in Free Verse More Like This
you've written the truth
of your scars wherever there's
space to write it
and I love you.
They painted over
the rape you wrote about
on the front door of
your Uncle's house
and I love you.
They took the floorboards
of your bedroom out where you'd
carved the shape of your
father's fist into their
and I love you.
You shook the sand of
your fifteenth birthday out of
your hair and into a jar
you keep under the bed to
remember a girl with crooked
teeth and bony knees who
fled and flew
and I love you.
You've built yourself into a
fortress with nothing but your
fingernails and shredded skin
and you let him in when he
waited by the door instead of
forcing his way
and I love you.
As luck would have it.I have visited theAs luck would have it. in Free Verse More Like This
halls of the mental wards
three times in this
The first time
I was driven through.
with two left feet
and a thirst for
its own blood.
The second time
I was carried through.
Cradled and cold,
a child with wax wings.
I'd flown too close
to the sun.
The third time
was by my own hand.
I was tired.
I had had enough.
I was ready to be
Birthday celebrations.Twenty-three cigarettesBirthday celebrations. in Free Verse More Like This
at midnight in honour of
the years you might have
but chose not to.
Feet up on the dashboard.We're driving and I don't know where.Feet up on the dashboard. in Free Verse More Like This
I know that once upon a time
beauty and terror happened to me all at once
and since that night I haven't been able
to tell the two apart,
and I know that your left hand is
more beautiful than your right, but your
right knows how to touch me best.
"every mouth I've ever kissed
was practice for you,"
and I said,
"darling I don't care,
I've kissed them too."
And you know that what I mean is
I've kissed the ashes of their memory from
your lips and shovelled them from between
your teeth with my tongue,
that I'd pry
them from the back of your throat if
I thought you'd try to hide them
And we know so much
and so little between us, it's
enough to keep us driving
through the night.
Feet up on the dashboard,
headlights and streetlights and endlights
we just keep going,
no feeling has ever been
as final as this.
Be gentle, love.Be gentle,Be gentle, love. in Free Verse More Like This
my body is too heavy
hollowed out and
filled back up
Be gentle, love.
Be gentle and
let me lay here,
still and silent,
until my emptiness
Table for two.The car-crash-crushTable for two. in Free Verse More Like This
of my heartcage fell out onto
bitter blood and
love between the
"I still love you,"
you said, rinsing out the tablecloth,
"car crash heart and all."
The problem with writing poetry.The problem with writing poetryThe problem with writing poetry. in Free Verse More Like This
is that real life doesn't write nice poems.
Your budget is not going to
inspire anything but stress, perhaps,
and the unwashed linen won't
make hearts soar.
To write nice poems,
you have to take real life and
twist vines into its hair,
set its bare feet down on the forest
floor and call it free.
Honestly dishonest.I'd kissed you seventeen times before they tore meHonestly dishonest. in Free Verse More Like This
away from the coffin.
This could be tragically romantic but I'm lying;
I wasn't allowed through the chapel doors.
Cyclothymia. See,Cyclothymia. in Free Verse More Like This
the truth is you’re
going to wake up empty
and people will ask,
(People always ask like it’s their goddamn business,
and you’re going to try
to pretend that nothing has changed,
you’re the same girl you were
yesterday, you promise,
and you’re trying
to smile, and they’re
trying to smile too,
but you’re not convincing
anyone of anything.
Depression.To be depressed isDepression. in Free Verse More Like This
to carry every unwashed thing
in your life in your
The dishes you
couldn't clean pile
up with your innards,
jostling for space
amongst the lungs you've
smoked black and the
heart you've loved
Your unwashed sheets
hang around your shoulders,
gathering dead skin cells and
catching hair you habitually
tear from your skull, a
nervous twitch you never
You wake up one morning
and find that your hands are
still stained with dirt
from that time you buried
your lover in the backyard,
wanting to let go
but discovering that letting
go feels a lot like
giving up and
you're not ready for
but you will be.
fast-forward through the goodbyesthis is the beginning of the endfast-forward through the goodbyes in Free Verse More Like This
“i know you,” he says.
and he looks defeated, he looks sad, he looks like
he's a boy who may one day realize how much
he cares for you, so you cut him off and say,
“minus all the secrets i don’t tell anyone.”
“well, yeah, minus those.”
“then you don’t know me at all.”
and then you tell him,
i love you. but you don’t use those words
because those are taboo. are jinxed.
are knock on wood three times fast.
instead you press him in a hug and say,
i’m sorry, knowing he won’t understand
that this is the first time you ever cared for something
enough to try and fix it after you hurt it.
you hope he doesn’t ever realize what you’re saying
and his response will always be ‘what for?’ because
if he figures out he loves you nothing changes.
he’s just going to be in love with a corpse, a memory,
a pair of trigger happy hands,
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
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
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
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:
not all humans go to heavencock itnot all humans go to heaven in Free Verse More Like This
april 23 2008
“bye mom. i love you so much, i swear
i’ll be home soon.”
“please, you’re only eighteen, you have your
whole life ahead of you, please
don’t throw it away.”
“i’m going, mom. i’m going overseas
but i swear i’ll be back before you
miss me. love you!”
most nights he shakes himself awake
with the vision of bombs and fire and bullets
still imprinted on his eyelids.
he doesn’t know what to call them.
the dreams, i mean.
what do you call bad dreams when
you’ve already lived the nightmare?
his therapist says his problem
is he thinks he’s not normal, that he doesn’t fit,
that he’s a special kind of monster.
she tells him that the key is figuring out the ways
that he’s the same.
so when he’s alone, or worried or stressed
or tired or hurt or wishing he were dead,
he traces over his collarbone and says
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 at—
ady's the artist, you're the writer, mili's the smartest.
what am i? what's my niche?
a town i don't want to call mineon the right of the turquoise green signa town i don't want to call mine in Free Verse More Like This
that welcomes you to columbia,
there are two gas stations and a church.
on the left side, there’s a morgue.
when i was five years old, my father pulled over
and stopped on the side of the road while black car
after black car passed us, going the other way.
“did we know them?” i asked.
“no,” he said, putting the car in drive. “but someone did.”
at seven, mr. jimmy down at the ice cream shop
let me have free samples of all the new flavors he made
before he put them out to the public.
a favor, he called it, for his little henry.
(years later i would realize that my mother
brought henry into the world.
i would realize my mother brought most everyone
in that town under the age of twenty
into the world, and she never regretted it
even if some of them became gang members, murderers, victims, and
little henry’s leg was crippled in a four-wheeler accident)
i would stand in line during church communion
suicidal.it’s like she’s toeing the edge of a cliff andsuicidal. in Free Verse More Like This
she’s smiling and she’s deadly
and you’re standing too far back to save her
and it’s just too late because she’s about
if you want a list of reasons not to commit suicide,
here it is.
1. you have two dogs that will miss you.
they were wagging their tails and smiling
last night when they took you to the hospital
and i couldn’t find the words to tell them
that they should be quiet.
2. you have a car that you cried when you got
and you roll the windows down and blast music
whenever you pick me up from school
and i’m sorry i never sang along, but this is just to say
that you have things that still make you feel alive.
3. you have a sister that is nice about fifteen percent of the time
and loves you the rest of it. trust me, she does.
she does not remember the last time she hugged you
but she wrote about you when her teacher asked her
who her hero was.
4. mom should
SehnsuchtOctober again;Sehnsucht in Free Verse More Like This
and the curtains billow
with broken glass echoes and
Mendelssohn's bride waltzing
to better times
She becomes the rain,
and breaks her own heart as the sound
right through us.
Sky EyesDesert hands tell talesSky Eyes in Free Verse More Like This
of a hundred arid summers, but
you are no longer as cloudless as they
(there is a storm
creeping through blue, blue veins).
But tell the sky to keep her sorrow,
that grey cascade blurring against
eyelids and horizons;
and suppress her misbegotten
droplets, seeping into the sodden
for there is still sun in your sky eyes.
Prelude Nocturne;Prelude in Free Verse More Like This
I conjure the moon
as dusk crests,
a wave across the sky
I am lovely and lonely in
the night, shadow-
shackled to the mountainside
and the moths
unfurl their hamsa-wings as
mama calls me in.
SundropoSundrop in Concrete Poetry More Like This
rise and rage
with a new year
untamed and glorious,
pulling the years together
with a snap of your fingers.
but some days you are languid,
stretching like the summer dusting
of freckles along your forearms, the
slumberous strands of hair shuttering
your sky-eyes from the morning light.
on these days, I think the earth spins
slower and the birds sing a little
quieter. on these days, I look
at you and I think:
O FevraleWitching hour, welcomed with a sigh,O Fevrale in Free Verse More Like This
bare-breasted and ink-stained in the night.
Half in love in this half-life half-light;
pisat O Fevrale navsnryd, dreaming
of the gods. Wanderer, today I died and
died again, and whispered prayers
to clasped hands… until the nestled
droplets fell away like sunrays at dusk;
and when moonrise came, I sang again.
SeashineSacred skinSeashine in Free Verse More Like This
where heavens and ocean
an imprint on salted lungs
of aching, of
a moonlit yearning upon the
IcarusFledgling of theIcarus in Free Verse More Like This
(dawn is quiet
when the noose is
PeonyAlone, but forPeony in Free Verse More Like This
the red boots marching
cathedral heart: I
am beating echoes
in this city of the
stepping little girl's
dreams, I visit mama
in the night; but
flowers and wine won't
pay for her light.
ApsaraFind me sunken into theApsara in Free Verse More Like This
lotus field, bathing skin silvergreen,
waist-deep and pink
in sunset, and we will cry:
for three-faced elephants,
for the dancers threading grace
between their fingertips—
until I dress in the heaviness,
a sarong of heat.