It's not hatred, it's incredulity.when i was ten years old my
teacher asked the class,
"if you were god, what would
and i remember
biting my lip so hard
that it bled. carefully,
i wrote about
how i would teach
kids from an early age on how to
love yourself and no one
else and that there is no such thing as
an almighty power that will pity
you and answer your desperate prayers
at three a.m. because you're the only one
who has that kind of control.
when i handed it in she just looked
at me like i was the
her child's bed. the next day i
was sitting in her office wondering
why it was so wrong to
talk about what's in your heart at a catholic
school when that's what the priest tells
you to do at every sunday mass and
the teacher asked me
another question, "do you
hate god?" and i
wanted to scream "yes, yes!" because
how can a god let the world
slip through their fingers like this one has?
but instead i answered,
"no. i just don't think there is one."
and sat in the chair,
staring at the cross on t
I can't write poetry for dead girls.there are tooI can't write poetry for dead girls. in Free Verse More Like This
many pills in this
world and too
much misery in
the human heart
but that didn't mean
that you could just
up and leave when
we both know it
could have gotten better
and i miss you like
a wolf misses her pack
or a goddamn dragon misses
her fire and i'm sorry
that i can't give you
a bouquet of jasmines
(they were your
favorite, after all,
because that was
the only princess
with a pet tiger)
because poppies are
too cliche and i'm
sorry i wasn't there
when all you needed
was a hug and for someone
to whisper "it's okay,
you're perfect enough
for me, don't listen
to that junkie bitch
who just happened to
give birth to you" and did
you know that i'm still waiting
for a reply to that one
email about the world's
best puns because fuck,
there's a stubborn part
of me that still refuses to
believe that you're gone.
A lesson in realism:you areA lesson in realism: in Free Verse More Like This
There is no such
thing as stardust
floating in your veins or
gloomy poetry stitched
right into your heart.
Your blood is made of
iron - unbreakable,
unbending and unmatched
by any other stronghold,
for you are a fortress
that they will never invade.
wipe those tears away
and know that
you are the only one
who can reinforce these walls.
Evanescentonly the mostEvanescent in Free Verse More Like This
beautiful of creatures
live the shortest.
red roses and quivering
butterflies and other
useless things, like the
way she wishes on every star
she sees for a different
soul because she can't stand
the way it's rotting inside.
and it's only when
the thorns beneath her skin
start to bleed that her
monsters whisper, "have
you ever trembled, my dear?"
because they know
for every whimper that hides
faintly in the dark,
there is a pair of lips stretched
into a smile pretending
that all that is beautiful
is timeless and unbroken.
a poem on the inner workings of my chaotic mindit isn't like i'ma poem on the inner workings of my chaotic mind in Free Verse More Like This
lazy or anything it's just that
the thought of getting lost
in a crowd of ten or more people
makes me want to puke.
this is not just some
stupid little hang-up that you can
joke about when i'm
digging my fingernails into my palm so
hard that blood is drawn as we walk through
school hallways so packed that it feels
like we're suffocating from too much
oxygen but i just grit my teeth and
laugh "yeah, i know, i just don't like
being around people sometimes."
but you know,
there's just something about the way
my mother says "go out and have a life
and stop looking like the world
betrays you every day"
that makes my stomach drop
or when my dad looks at me and just
sighs, like they've finally realized
i was never good enough to be
and to everyone who believes that
i just need to relax,
to just calm down and think:
fuck you. fuck you for trying to pretend
like you know how it feels when my
bones grind together like broken
gears as i walk by people who may
No rest for a weary heart.Yesterday my mother asked me what INo rest for a weary heart. in Free Verse More Like This
would name my children and I told her that
I did not want any. She scoffed at me
and shook her head, insisting
that once I found the
all of that would change.
And I thought back
to all the times when my palms
sweated and my throat ran dry
and my cheeks heated up just because
a girl walked by whose lips
were so pretty and pink that all I wanted
to do was taste them.
I replied, swallowing the acid
that was threatening to crawl out of
"it will take a lot more than that
to convince me."
Because despite the fact that
the mere thought of a man
with arms that could carry the weight of the
world holding me tight could
make my legs crumble beneath me,
I just don't know if it
would be the right choice.
I remember once
when I let it slip that I supported
those who loved all genders
my parents stared at me as if I
had admitted to murder. "It's wrong,"
my father had exclaimed and to me,
his words were a toxin more deadly
How to pretend that you are a writer.Act like you're notHow to pretend that you are a writer. in Free Verse More Like This
okay when you are and
that you are when you're
not. Run barefoot in
the snow. Stand out
in the rain for an hour
and think about anything
and everything you can.
Fall in love with
riddles and things that
aren't real and the
way some stars
shine. Cry when
you realize that life is
just one big sham and write
one hundred cliché poems
about it, and then write one
that you actually mean.
Use profanity. Be the
one fucking introvert
in a room full of
extroverts and scream
shit just for the fun of
it. Swallow every goddamn
metaphor you ever dreamed
of and write them down
with your own blood.
Eulogize your own
misery. Put a crown on
it and let it rule your
heart for six years before
you throw a coup d'etat
but just end up with
your head in a basket.
Ask yourself why
you feel so
empty and when
you forgot how to
laugh and where you
last left your smile and
who you even really are
anymore. Mean every word.
Don't cry at funerals. Cry
yourself to sleep every
other night for
red red rosesi am not a goddessred red roses in Free Verse More Like This
nor do i
believe i wish to
i'd rather be a half-forgotten
or a girl with opium
eyes and a
who doesn't believe in
kisses demons with lips
that whisper poetry as artificial
as the mannequins in a
i want wings:
appendages stitched from
and the feathers you
can find on
the ground - dirty,
ripped, but still
and i would soar
higher and higher
and buy up
all the stars.
if i am being
i fall in love with
and wolf boys
much like the way a candle
melts; fast, hot, and dripping
wax down the side.
i just want to fit
between these ugly bones
and the too-tight skin
that stretches across them.
wild thingsthere are days iwild things in Free Verse More Like This
want to run with wolves.
to howl at the stars because
the moon has never done
anything for me, and swallow roses
like their thorns never
but this cage -
it seems there's no way
and i fear it's
for anyone to hear me.
life is just a zoo full of
all our monsters, and
[it's our fault] we
CapriciousWords have becomeCapricious in Free Verse More Like This
tasteless to me,
like rotten apples
fit for the worms.
it feels as
though I am
pirouetting my way through
a ballroom full of
tongues made for poetry.
wicked witch when
you need one?
All I seem to do is
dream while I'm awake and,
if we're being honest,
I was never much of an alluring tale
in the first place.
sati(ate)dit's ironic,sati(ate)d in Free Verse More Like This
isn't it? the way
they say "hunger gnaws"
like the way our teeth
scrape against bones.
for all the
calories that are counted,
you still feel
empty. you aren't
you are digesting
nothing but air
and maybe your own guilt.
that's just the way
living is these
glass shards to
slice up your insides so
you can ignore
the other kind of pain your
stomach is feeling.
but when people ask
if you're doing okay you just
smile and nod even though
you can't help but
think "if honesty was
tangible, i'd eat it right
an acquired taste and
some days you'd
like to rip your
.you're afraid. in Free Verse More Like This
to let anyone
stoke the fire
in your chest
you will burn
.some people are dead. in Free Verse More Like This
long before they die -
there's just no burial
for the spirit
.chloe says. in Personal More Like This
i need an angel
with big white wings and skin
that shines like gold,
do you believe in angels, charlotte?
the plants are all dead in here,
how can a plant
know something i don't?
and i'm not religious but the only time
i ever felt peaceful
was when i sat in church
luke comes in, and chloe says
luke, you believe in angels?
he says what, like them feathery dickheads
with halos and stuff? nah i don't -
then we sit and watch a fly bash it's brains in
on the window
that it can't see what's killing it
neither can we
(the plants are dead, but we are still waiting)
.some thoughts get so loud that. in Free Verse More Like This
you cry out for them to leave;
they scatter like birds startled
out of their trees, before landing
again where they were
and after a while,
you just have to
let them sing
.death has a way. in Free Verse More Like This
of assuring you
that he is your
he's the only
one that will
stay with you
reach the end
.she says. in Personal More Like This
you weren't made
for anything else
(cutting this cord day by day)
.i offered salt to the. in Free Verse More Like This
sea, heat to the sun, and
love to the moon; they
told me, this isn't enough
i offered my soul to
the devil; he said yes,
this will be just fine
.sometimes. in Free Verse More Like This
in my head
curl up in
the beat of
.the world's a stage. in Personal More Like This
but he says
don't make a scene
(it's growing boring)
And There Was Lighti.And There Was Light in Free Verse More Like This
He was seventeen when he died.
I never went to the funeral
but I walked past it the day of
the service. His mother
was in the backseat of a blue Dodge,
door open, head in her hands.
"My baby," she kept repeating.
"My baby." It would go from sobbing, to
screaming, to a soft whisper that
I could only hear being carried
on the wind.
It was a Wednesday afternoon that they found
his old red pickup truck parked
out front of Slim's, two beer bottles in
the back and the windows cracked to let the stale
I heard that his dad told the police he was
gonna take that old truck and fix it up, because
he had promised his son before—
because it's always in the before—
And in the after, his mother never had dry eyes
and I'm pretty sure my mom told me
that she saw his dad at the bar every night,
drinking his sorrows down because some people can't
handle the stress.
Some people can't figure out why their son would
"Some men just want to w
six steps to fixing youstep onesix steps to fixing you in Free Verse More Like This
cry. scream. bang your fists against the walls
that keep you locked inside.
kick your feet in the air. tell your sister she's stupid
and wrong and that you've never loved her.
cry. scream. apologize via him to you.
let your tears catch on your lashes
until you can no longer see anything but your own
demise. taste the bitterness left in
your mouth from your own bitching and rot in it.
break a mug. break two. kick
the pieces around the kitchen floor and cry some more.
break a plate. break a cup. break a bowl.
break a finger because nothing can take away this
sort of pain. you are empty and yet
you are filled with so much anger.
break a razor and paint pictures across your skin.
you are okay, you tell them.
you break three days later and you lie
in bed, unable to move.
start picking up the pieces. clean up the mess
you've made and he's left.
use windex to polish off the dirt and
6 ways on learning how to swim1. toes first6 ways on learning how to swim in Free Verse More Like This
when i was younger i thought i was
beautiful. not like the other girls, of course, but i thought that
the sun followed me around because it thought i was pretty.
and i am a shop-a-holic. money burns a hole in
the back pocket of my jeans because i love to spend it.
but i do not like to go shopping. i love the idea and hate the activity.
there are few days that trying on clothes brings me
happiness because there are even fewer days that i love my
body enough to look in a mirror.
but i am trying.
("i love this dress! i can't believe that it fit!
i dropped another size!"
"what, mom? why are you looking at me like that?"
"...oh, please. one size?")
there are days when i don't leave my house and there are days
that i spend the time to put on makeup and
nice clothes to open the door and feel the fresh air and
to admire all the lovely, smiling, silently judging people who
i think are looking at me, but they probably aren't
i am alpha and omegaShe stands up, dizzy and drunk. Wonders when her heels came unstrapped, and grips the glass she's got in her hand tighter than she holds her rosary on sleepless nights. Her vision hazy, she trips over her own twisted ankles trying to stand up and pulls the bottom hem of her dress down because her mother taught her two things: One, a lady never shows her ass in public. Two, a lady only drinks the strongest of whiskeys. That was before she had skipped town to pal around with her new boyfriend that had pockets deeper than Lake Baikal, if you know what I'm saying.i am alpha and omega in Short Stories More Like This
The silence is heavy as she slowly makes her way out of whatever hallway she had found herself in, stepping over someone else's body that's marinated in liquor for only god knows how long. It takes an effort not to tumble down the stairs in her shit-faced state, and she barely makes it out alive. There's a door. Opens it. There's a city outside cast in the glow of a purple sunrise,
i keep my hair like i keep my blue jeans: shortthe beginningi keep my hair like i keep my blue jeans: short in Free Verse More Like This
she was all curls falling over shoulders and small hands and slender ankles, but she was also all crooked toes and cheek moles and half-baked smiles. she wore skinny jeans too long and too big on her and she always wore a jacket because she was always cold. and he thought that she was pretty beautiful the first time he saw her in a parade, sitting on top of a dodge truck and waving with both hands so that no one was left out. she was the kind of pretty beautiful that only came around when he said something stupid and she shook her head at him, trying to hide her teeth but failing miserably.
she wore glasses but only when she was doing work or when she had a headache because she thought that her eyes looked too wide in them and all she ever wanted in life was to be people magazine's definition of pretty—which she wasn't (but don't tell her that.) she drank tea on sleepless nights, sitting on her porch and stargazing; she thought that ma
in flesh and bloodHe finds her unassumingly. She's just standing there, cheeks ruddy, bundled in a forest green jacket lined with fake—he thinks—fur. He finds her, hands in pockets, feet atop the grass. The light that floods the panes of her face casts dark shadows beneath her eyes and along her jaw and he thinks for a moment that she might be kind of beautiful.in flesh and blood in Short Stories More Like This
"Why are you standing before the Eiffel Tower and looking so sad?"
Her head snaps. He counts, one, two, three, seconds, and then she turns her face upward toward the monument in front of the two. They are alone. She doesn't say anything and then she's saying something and he has to turn his attention from the angles of her face to her brown, brown, brown eyes.
"Do you think it's lonely?" Of course not, he thinks. Of course not.
But all he can utter is no as he stares up at it. When she asks him why he sputters and turns to face her again, and sh
you are what you eatdomine, adiuva meyou are what you eat in Free Verse More Like This
i never wanted this
to happen the way it
it was supposed to be so
i was supposed to be gone before
screaming and shouting
and vomit and
where are my fingers?
my vision is so blurry,
ice cold water rising up,
touching my chin.
i do not remember
how i got here.
i do not remember
i do not remember
i do not remember when i
vomited upon my body,
nor when i was lain
there was an open
bottle of pain meds when she
walked through the door.
three little white pills
the rest missing from their
where are the pills, she asked.
where are the rest?
she found her baby in the bedroom,
lying face down
in her own vomit.
she found the pills.
i was not sorry until
i woke up the next day,
vomiting up blood
and my own guts, and my
sister called me
i was not sorry until
she sobbed, "i was so worried
slowly, and then all at onceand for once, he slips on his wedding ring, to cure the monotony. it slides over his knuckle, a perfect fit, and in the morning release of sunlight the silver gleams at him. it glares, calling him a liar: she is not a whorehouse and you are too broke to own her, you harlot, you. he buttons up, tucks in his shirt tail, and buckles his belt. the clinking of metal parts is the only sound in the room besides the dusting of her breathing beside him. and when he's gone, the only thing he leaves behind are the bruises on her collarbone.slowly, and then all at once in Free Verse More Like This
you find him because you're lonely, (well, it's actually the opposite.) he finds you because his wardrobe is black and his shoes are scuffed and he asks you where your castle is. you're the only princess he sees 'round here. the rain soaks into his shirt and he curses it, grinning. and damn girl, you follow him, because you think you see some kinda warmth in his ice blue eyes.
it takes you days t
first-class liars go to hellyou played juliet in yourfirst-class liars go to hell in Free Verse More Like This
school play and fell in love with her
he played your fairy tales
just like he played his old fender
guitar, taking you along
for the ride.
and he used to tell you that your hair
reminded him of fireplaces
and christmas and
the "better times"
but i don't think he ever did tell
you what the "better times"
he was a smoker and
you were a ballerina.
in your act III,
instead of killing a tybalt and
threatening to kill
himself if he was separated from
you, he took a gun
and put it to your head, asking
if you ever did
and when you told him that
you would leave if that
made him happy,
he kicked you out, placing the
gun in your hand,
and you think that might've
been the denouement
to your love story.
you went home and decided
poison was too pretty
a way to die,
and you placed the barrel
in your mouth.
blood danced across the
cigarette hanging from his lips,
he sets fire
to everything he has
my hair is growing longthank god for x-acto knives andmy hair is growing long in Free Verse More Like This
marking pins and heroine
addicts and you.
thank god for good music.
and thanksgiving meals and
grandmas and spanish teachers that
actually care about you.
thank god for
quizbowl teams and gay sponsors and
that give you strength even while
thank god for sandwiches and mothers and
thank god for blue gatorade and
little girls’ dreams and
leather ballet shoes.
thank god for hair bows and tutus and
a stage made up of glass.
thank god for hamstrings and
thank god for dazy
and little lion manes.
thank god for big paws and
wasp stings and
thank god for sally.
thank god for self-destruction.
and thank god for signs.
thank god for twin sisters and
best friends and
conjoined hips and most of all:
thank god for support.
thank god for love and
care and tragedy
and train tracks lit up in the dark
we're legal murderers.how to love a writer:we're legal murderers. in Free Verse More Like This
will turn your passion
into works of extended metaphors
for death and decay,
slipping you scars
served sunny-side-up because,
hey, we all want to be
writers want someone, anyone
(usually the wrong one,
because pain sells more than
to try and pour cement
into the dents inside them
until they realize that they're really just
located in the wrong side of town
that cannot be repaired.
that is what we do.
we break people
for a living.
here is my heart, and here is my home.i am done writing abouthere is my heart, and here is my home. in Free Verse More Like This
you can find me
in the "new beginnings"
isle, splashed with scar tissue and
dear child, open your
there are stars, a galaxy, and
there is breath in your lungs.
the past is never
you have lived through it,
swam through it and
maybe died a little
through it, but you
came out on top.
when this winter ends, it
will end harshly;
but spring comes every year,
and i hope that you
i hope you open your eyes
to rain and i hope
that you fall in love with
it, and i hope
that you let life move
like i had to.
ellie.she was always aellie. in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
galaxy, and i am not
allowed to touch stars.
/ we smile at the universe with ashes on our lips. there are boats inside of our veins. the blood is a metaphor and, hell, i can't even begin to write about her./ in Short Stories More Like This
i could tell any story. if i wanted, i could write a novel about my mother and how beautiful she was a sixteen or i could make a lighthouse a person, but i cannot tell you the color or her eyes. it's that that i don't know it; i just can't tell you. it's not a color, it's a place.
her eyes are like Chicago. there's life and lights and lakes, but there's a sadness, too. even so, it's a happy kind of sad. the kind that gives you hope.
sometimes when i'm high i think that i'm dead, because i get numb. not physically senseless, but just mentally dazed. i forget where i am. i like that. it seems sometimes like i am a place, i am all the street signs and the cracks in the road and badly painted house down the way. see the really faint dot on the map? that's me. scribb
neshamah.apollo's misstep.neshamah. in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
look at your clock. it's tomorrow. all the seconds and minutes of yesterday are gone, disintegrated with the window dust. 12:00 a.m.; re birth.
i've always had this theory that in between 11:59 p.m. and 12:00 a.m., there's this vast ticking of nothingness that hovers between the minutes. just for a second, you are nowhere. the day is both finished and regenerating, and that's sort of magical. i always think that apollo falters, just for a second, as he puts the moon away, tucked neatly in his teeth.
born in a typewriter.
i can never think of how to start anything. the point, of course, is to grab the reader's attention before they become bored with your work and leave, and i don't know if i can do that. i am afraid i cannot ever begin to tell you all of my story.
if i were to be chronological, i would start with telling you when i began to write. but, 1: i am never
how to be a poet: the basics.kiss all the peoplehow to be a poet: the basics. in Free Verse More Like This
you know you shouldn't,
solely for the reason
that they look good
look at your scars
like mothers peer into
cradles. then make
more; make yourself into
a symbol for infinity,
or at least try,
because it never works.
patch yourself up.
say, "darling, you're okay,"
while staring at yourself in the
mirror with your hair
damp and your lips
chapped (refer to stanza
one). change. grow.
it's what we like to read,
miss the people in your life
until they leave,
and then miss yourself
as well. screw everything up,
and then write about it
like it had to happen.
try to believe it, ignore
the voice in your head that hisses
and groans in your sleep,
behind your eyelids.
"baby, you're a fuck up,
you know it know it know it".
try to carve the humming
out of your body
by exit way of your veins.
be hospitalized. give in, give up,
play along, stop writing.
but then you start writi
red.these cigarettes will killred. in Free Verse More Like This
me, but only if
i don't do it first.
(inhale, breathe, hold, exhale. then concentrate on the scenery. feel the smoke on your tongue and think about how you're killing yourself, when in reality, you're already dying.)
we're all going to
die, so what's one
day less? it seems like an
honest bargain to me,
but then again, you should never
listen to a word i
say, because i am
a class A fuck up
(or so they say).
see, i'm either too fat
or too skinny,
much too heart wild
for any man too marry.
("who would want to marry a girl like you? you're too stubborn," my father says. i am fifteen with purple hair and fire on my cheeks and my heart coiling away from my sleeve.
"fuck anyone who wants to take anything about you away," my mother tells me when i'm nearly 16, with sad eyes and a worn out expectation.)
but i think i realize now
that i don't
for me i am good enough,
good in general,
,the thing they forgot to mention, in Free Verse More Like This
about being a writer
is that we all live the longest
and die the fastest.
we feast on metaphors
with numb fingers and hearts
until we crawl under a half moon to sleep
and just don't wake up,
because everything we are
is arranged in our work
and we start to become
everything we've written about,
slowly but surely.
and now i'm not so sure
if i want to be a poet.
i just know
that i want to be a writer.
jesse owens, the boy who never died.my best friend's name isjesse owens, the boy who never died. in Free Verse More Like This
after the fastest man in
i think his name has
a sort of ring
"Jesse Owens, the boy
who can race the
and my Jesse Owens,
my lightning boy, he
has eyes like the sidewalk
if you don't know what that
looks like, or what that
feels like, then i
don't know what to tell you.
we used to race home from
buzzing bees behind our
fly away hair, the soles
of his shoes hit the
sidewalk like little
bombs: taptap taptap
if i listen hard
enough, i can always hear
Jesse Owens pounding through the
town. i hear him
in the quiet right before the
sun rises, frayed
shoelaces nipping at
but now he goes shooting straight
past my house, and we
don't run home from
school. see, my
Jesse Owens ran himself right
into a bullet,
which he swallowed better than
the pills his doctor gave
underdog.if home is where theunderdog. in Free Verse More Like This
heart is, then
that's probably why
my bones feel like they cannot yet
settle: i have been homeless
i find myself caught between
the fibers of thread and
the curls of a lover's
hair- and i came to realize that
it hurts to be this
vacant. the light behind my eyes is
the wind tastes of
lonely nights and
makes me wonder if anyone else
knows what it's
like to have your soul reside
between the pages of a
book that nobody cares to
to have dust caked on your lips
from kissing highways and
the places you've never been wrapping around your
neck like a
late at night or
very early in the
morning, i think to myself that
if home is where the
heart is, then we're all just
in which I become beautifulI drown my conscience inin which I become beautiful in Free Verse More Like This
the holy water of my wrists,
I carve hearts from empty
paper for my galaxyboy
with stars written in his skin,
and I swallow moths to
muffle the emptiness and
help me fly away.
gossamer loveyou will love a womangossamer love in Free Verse More Like This
who uses the word
too often. she will
diagnose dead artists' descents
into madness and laugh
too loudly at jokes
no one understands.
she will braid crowns of
flowers, she will write poems
in constellations, she will
try to walk like a dancer so
no one can hear her
leave. she will be
an ice sculpture, and when
she cries, you'll convince yourself
she's melting, she loves you, you've
changed her, you've
changed; she will wear you
like a comma, like
an incomplete thought,
in her story, and
she will leave you wondering
to the girl with hungry footstepsI'm sending all my words backto the girl with hungry footsteps in Free Verse More Like This
to the people who need them--
people who wear scars like
war trophies, like jewelry, like
an identification for those suffering
from the same acceptance of
self-hate. this is to the people
who sleep with one eye open, who
cry when footsteps enter their room
at night; this is to the girls
who love by cutting their hearts
into snowflakes and watching
them melt. I left you behind and
I can't be sorry for that.
you are the type of beautiful
that kindly asks the world
to fuck off. the days we buried
have decomposed, headstones are
snapshots; sanitized breakdowns,
rusty tongues, sighs laced
with fear, I love you, I love
you. saturdays were the best
because we could sleep through
the nightmare. you painted me a
picture of the world with your words
and they made us wash it away
for being transparent.
we were afraid of nothing
but the monsters in our eyelids.
back then, we counted days
like shooting stars; it took 67
to wish myself away. this
is for you, skygazer;
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
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,
honesty isn't a weaknessI have a headache and not enough timehonesty isn't a weakness in Free Verse More Like This
to explain the irony of how I want to be
every pretentious poet making art out of
themselves, cutting open their side and writing
in blood and pixie dust; or how difficult
it is to make a good allegory out of carsickness
and household complacency. this
is every secret I ever hid. when I was 9
someone dissected the world in front of me,
showed me it was a living, wanting thing
and that I was just a lonely cell, functioning
through my dysfunction; when I was 11
the boy I liked told me he’d be interested
if I were prettier and I learned starvation
was more a state of mind than a presence
of being. when I was 13 I researched the lethality
of cleaning products, because god, I felt so dirty,
and nothing can clean you more than a couple cupfuls
of bleach. when I was 15 I was old and decrepit
and mostly dead, returning from war with flowers
for graves that weren’t filled and a heart of
tragedy, vulnerable and draped in every shade
of mourning f
Confessionsthere’s a lot I never told youConfessions in Free Verse More Like This
1. I have a habit of lying, about
the simple things (like, yes I
forgot to remember and I swear by
soul mates and I’m in love
with your susurrus voice
and no, I’m really doing fine).
It was not an act of infidelity because
I believed it, too.
2. I’m infatuated with the concept
that I am more or less fictional, the
delusive beauty a million men will
dedicate novels to: I am fragile,
a dust angel sent to save the world
from commonalities and
3. Since I’m not allowed
to remember your name
I will commemorate you
in acts of escapism,
killing off the pieces
of the person you left behind.
4. I believe in a past life
I was a bird with a tendency
towards tall buildings; the sorry kind
of bird with heavy bones and crumpled wings
who never quite learned
to fly away.
5. I miss you. I used to think
you were a person, but now I know
you’re the happiness I will never
6. I'm sorry.
what we're not supposed to talk aboutI could make a story out ofwhat we're not supposed to talk about in Free Verse More Like This
this. The blackout epiphanies
blinding me like a total eclipse
of any sense of rationality I ever
stole out from my parents' blind spots
when they turned the other way. The
boy I fell half in love with and
my therapist's unassuming questions
about why he was different, the way I
was never beautiful to him but he
still looked me in my bokeh eyes,
betraying and quiet, so that was enough.
My vain addiction to anything
permanently damaging and
more or less glamorous. The dreams
I can’t swallow no matter what shade
of delusion they come in, about
the imminent death of stars named
after deader lovers, and places
where the air is intoxicated with
the promise of Ecstasy, or whatever
name heaven goes by after you begin to doubt
the reality of putting one foot in front
of the other will get you anywhere at all.
I could write novels about my path
to self-martyrification and the moments
I cried for no reason except that
I had no reason tor cry. I could write
reasons why we should be in loveif I couldreasons why we should be in love in Free Verse More Like This
I’d love you like
those couples who grow
into each other and make
poetry out of body language
and wear one another’s
weaknesses when they get
too heavy and talk about
the weather without ever really
meaning the weather at all;
and you’d keep me from
falling asleep in the ocean
and I’d lie about little
things, always confusing
Sunday for Tuesday and
you for somebody with
the same face who
was always afraid of
me. you’d chuckle and
hold me and I’d cave in to
you like the hungry tide
and you’d say I looked
beautiful when I cried
and I wouldn’t believe you
but I’d cry more anyways.
if people were alive,
you’d be the brightest
one. I don’t have much
to offer but I could write you
a million dedications
in the sand, and give you
pocket change when you
needed a wish; I could
take you to New Zealand
to paint water lilies or England
to go skydiving or Italy
to fall in love and mean it
and I would promise you
the moon an
Amnesiacsmaybe you forgot how toAmnesiacs in Free Verse More Like This
wake up without screaming.
she smiles like a broken dawn
and the meek will inherit the
earth, if they don't drown,
first. she's barely breathing;
trying to grow gills because
it's only in the state of dying
that we adapt.
and you won't see the colors
pouring out of her chest, you
won't hear the ebbing swansong
she hums so quietly.
you didn't come to be reminded.
you inject a little further, a little
closer to the heart. numb.
(she died the day she
was given a name)
she made you promise never
to be a number, or a majority;
she made your heart beat in a way
that made you think you were alive,
but you can't believe in anything
that lasts longer than a minute.
you shut down. fingers
close around an empty bottle,
a flaccid tongue writhes
and it tastes bitter.
she's too close, you can hear
her thoughts unwind, you can
taste her mistakes. it's too real.
you were never human, you
tell yourself so you can be
convinced it was never valid.
she's too close and
HumanityHumans are cruel.Humanity in Free Verse More Like This
Humans are killers.
Before guns it was knives
Before that it was stones
Invasions, burning homes,
Stealing lives and loves
Releasing crows and
Humans are good.
Humans are kind.
They live, love and laugh
They have the gift of hope
Helping them all to cope
Through evil human things
Sowing seeds and
Sewing angel wings.
Humans are strange.
Humans are incomplete.
Punches to kisses to games
Anger to love to insanity
Tragedy to crystal clarity
Whirlwinds of empty whims
Empty prayers and
Humans are living.
Humans are dying.
Ashes to ashes, soul to Hell
Or perhaps to Heaven
No human can really tell
If even either is real.
Summertime (For the Quiet Kids)People think I’m lonely,Summertime (For the Quiet Kids) in Free Verse More Like This
People think I’m sad.
I’ve been called lowly,
I’ve been called mad.
There are worse things
I could be than quiet,
There are more harmful
Things I could do,
Just because I’m different,
Doesn’t mean I’m not right too.
Books are my buddies,
My four walls are my friends.
Green Day are my preachers,
AC/DC are my teachers,
Dancing out of my speakers.
I talk with my pen
And I sing from the soul,
Sometimes it’s diamond bright,
Others, it’s black as coal.
Summer is here,
I can feel it
Sweating into my pores,
And whilst some might go for beaches,
I go for so-called bores.
So when you see someone,
Nose in a book,
With a faraway look,
Don’t pity them;
For they are in their own kind of sunshine.
For Every GirlFor every girl who was a ‘bitch’ ‘cause she said no to a boyFor Every Girl in Free Verse More Like This
For every girl who was a ‘slut’ ‘cause she said yes
For every girl who was an object ‘cause she had tits
For every girl who couldn’t wear that ‘cause boys can’t control themselves
For every girl who was ‘asking for it’ ‘cause she wore a short skirt
For every girl who was a ‘prude’ ‘cause she wore a long one
For every girl who was a ‘challenge’ ‘cause she liked other girls
For every girl who was ‘easy’ ‘cause she liked both
For every girl who nobody heard ‘cause she didn’t have a dick (or maybe because she did)
For every girl who everyone ignored ‘cause she was ‘on her period’
For every girl who was ‘fat’ ‘cause she had dessert
For every girl who was ‘anorexic’ ‘cause she didn’t
For every girl who was ‘insecure’
Such a ContradictionI'm just that fat kidSuch a Contradiction in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Starved of hope.
I'm just that cutter
Reaching for rope.
I'm just that dumb blonde
Reading all night.
I'm just that coward
Bleeding for a fright.
I'm just that child
I'm just that girl
With messy hair.
I'm just that burner
Wanting to be cool.
I'm just that geek
Scared of school.
I'm just that emo
Smiling with glee.
You're just another drone
But you'll never be me.
JourneyElevenJourney in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
I’m part of a local kids’ theatre group
I get all the lead roles;
I am confident.
I’m on registers for being
‘Gifted and Talented’;
My future is bright.
I’m not popular or pretty
But I’m too innocent;
I don’t see why it should matter.
I start high school.
My friend’s mum picks me up.
I get home.
She’s in the hospital.
They lie to me;
She has a
I believe them.
‘Ellie, I have cancer.’
I never trust anyone again.
I quit the theatre club.
Mum isn’t worse,
So I assume she’s
We go to Italy,
Me and her.
We have fun.
Yeah, she’s definitely getting better.
My mum can’t die;
In and out of hospital.
Living off of
Everyone acts like I know.
I don’t know anyth
It Isn't BeautifulI used to cut myself.It Isn't Beautiful in Free Verse More Like This
Some of the marks faded,
But some stayed
And now I’m forever jaded.
People have kissed my scars,
Others have turned away
But here is what I have to say;
It isn’t beautiful.
When it hurts to walk
Because your thighs are bleeding,
When you can’t talk
About the help you’re needing;
It isn’t beautiful.
When it’s boiling outside
But you have to wear sleeves
Because of your bloody little
It isn’t beautiful.
When your friends
Are scared of you,
Of the things you do;
It isn’t beautiful.
When you feel so worthless,
So down and out,
Used up and empty,
And all you do is shout
But nobody hears,
Because you silence it
It isn’t beautiful.
When they find out
And you see how much,
How deeply they care
And they hate themselves
For not being aware;
It isn’t beautiful.
When they take it away,
And monitor you
And you’re itching all over,
Desperate for it,
For one last hit
I am a MouseI am a mouse.I am a Mouse in Free Verse More Like This
I am quiet, I am nothing.
I am a book that nobody has read.
I am an eclipsed sun and a cloaked moon.
I am irrelevant and unwanted, a broken toy in an attic.
I am the dust in your rear-view mirror that you leave behind.
I am the air that you breathe in and spit out as something different.
I am the palest white. I am the darkest black. I am the dullest, emptiest grey.
I am the old man with forgotten memories and the baby who has yet to make them.
I am a forgotten word, dangling on the tip of your tongue, hanging on the noose of your lips.
I am a dried up stream. I am a felled forest. I am an abandoned cornucopia of resolute nothingness.
And there is Hell burning in my eyes.
I Need FeminismI need feminism becauseI Need Feminism in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
It’s acceptable to call me a slut.
I need feminism because
It’s okay for a guy to slap my butt.
I need feminism because
It’s my own fault if a man rapes me.
I need feminism because
I should look good for men to see.
I need feminism because
People think it means ‘anti-man’.
I need feminism because
I can’t do things that men can.
I need feminism because
Girls think it’s cool to shame each other.
I need feminism because
The world has higher hopes for my brother.
I need feminism because
My femininity makes me ‘weak’.
I need feminism because
If I act masculine I’m a ‘freak’.
I need feminism because
My boobs are my ‘best quality’.
I need feminism because
I believe in equality.
HauntedI see her there withHaunted in Free Verse More Like This
Coal dust carved
Into the icy skin
Under her eyes,
And on her lips
Dance a chorus
Of bitter lies.
A skeletal hand of smoke
Claws at my neck
Until I bleed;
She tells me that the pain
Is just what I need.
And her blood
Zooms in her veins
Like speeding cars.
She looks at me
At what I am.
She’s a snake,
In the guise
Of a lamb.
‘What happened to us?’
Of what I used to be.
‘I may be you,
But you are not me.’
The sun comes up:
Yesterday is gone
But see it this way;
The past is part of the future
But the future isn’t the past.
You choose which bits go,
You choose which bits last.
Dear TeacherIn Year Seven:Dear Teacher in Free Verse More Like This
You were my geography teacher.
I really hated you.
Loathed you too.
You gave me bad marks
And shouted at my larks.
You were the enemy.
In Year Eight:
You became my form tutor.
You were our fifth.
We were determined to
Break you like the others
And get onto the sixth.
In Year Nine:
You saw the angry red vents
Carved into my skin.
And I let you in.
In Year Ten:
I lost it all.
You were there,
Fighting for me.
You made me care
About my future.
In Year Eleven:
We made each other laugh.
And in the end
You weren’t just a teacher;
You were my friend.
notes on a matchbook love.if I were the typenotes on a matchbook love. in Free Verse More Like This
to say how I really felt,
I'd tell you that
I hope you choke on your apologies
like they're arsenic
and your nails are already
with the poison.
I'd let you know
that I'll never be a body
for you to touch
just because I know that's all you want.
I'll never be a fairy in a bottle
at your waist.
this is no storybook, and
I am no myth.
hear my silence,
feel the cold absence
respond to your weak "I'm sorry"s.
I beg you,
stop digging the hole,
stop, just stop.
Hush and watch the flames
engulf the image you sold me.
you can tell me
I'm beautiful as much
as you want,
but I know that it's not enough,
that you'll always want more,
that you've been a wolf
between my legs all this time
and my fingers are bruised
from holding the leash.
now every time you whisper
"please be okay",
I will always tell you that
I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine.
I will forever pretend
that I've grown up from you,
that I've become a mystery
painyou're disgusting.pain in Free Verse More Like This
i hope you know that every time you show your face,
i cringe, collapse into rage.
you flay my body with cutting board scissors
and laugh at the sight of my blood.
it's everywhere, staining everything.
my clothes are ruined,
splotched with your dirty curse.
i can't ignore you
when you're so persistent,
grinding me like coffee beans
to grit beneath your boots.
i'm a shipwreck. you're the bottom of the ocean,
i collapse into bathroom stalls
like a rag doll,
falling on my knees and begging for mercy.
you're the reason i have medication.
i swallow pill after pill,
but they don't let me forget you.
i feel you within me,
twisting, pulling at my guts.
there's some idea out there
that women are like snow-capped strawberries,
but you are the part of me
that releases the bitter, razor-edged leaves.
my mom tells me i'm being melodramatic.
it's just a period, after all.
hometown bluesthey say home is where the heart is,hometown blues in Free Verse More Like This
but they never claimed it had to be beating.
if this town is all there is to living,
then I'm dead,
and these dusty dirt roads
are my sad little gravestones.
there's a harsh winter wind.
but it's the same air I've inhaled
since I first opened my
surgical steel eye to the world.
remember the pale pink dress
I wore to our senior prom?
you held me
under the fuzzy yellow confetti light.
I loved you because you were so gentle,
and when I fell apart,
you were the only person who knew
I could fix myself on my own.
you twirled me like I mattered,
because you knew that one day I would die.
you forgot that you would, too.
you are wrought iron starlight,
my crooked grey dove.
you live in the sidewalk cracks,
moaning my name as I
cautiously step over the gorges.
my mother calls, from time to time.
I've learned to let the phone ring
because her voice is not the one I want to hear.
she's too tepid, unsure.
she's the link strangling me,
pinning me t
not fade awayTwisted up in a trap of I.V.s,not fade away in Free Verse More Like This
she withered and withered away.
Disease stole her lively light
from the sickbed where she lay.
A month before she perished,
I think she might have said,
"I know that I am dying, sure,
but dying's not the same as dead."
you've been dead for a year, my deari met you on december 21st,you've been dead for a year, my dear in Free Verse More Like This
the longest night of the year.
you had solstice eyes: cold, dark, alluring.
i knew you were not meant to last,
powerful as a gale but fragile as
the tulip stems you snapped,
a sickening cycle of you,
an overwhelming tidal wave.
they say two wrongs will never make a right,
but i made so many bad choices that
i wound up back where I began.
it was too easy to love you,
but getting you to love me back was impossible.
i clawed at your chest until I struck blood,
until my nails split into shards.
you were born a phantom,
and i, your corpse.
holding onto you felt like drowning in quicksand;
i fought but always sank into your arms.
i breathed in dirt, breathed in dust, and
found my organs choked with you,
smothered by your existence.
you sucked out my breath
every time i kissed you.
i died every day with your hand
knotted in my hair.
You left on june 21st,
the longest day of the year.
i bit down sorrow and deconstructed
the labyrinth within me,
the one you hadn't th
never become a writeri.never become a writer.never become a writer in Free Verse More Like This
you will become a perfectionist,
picking life apart
with a magpie's eye,
hunting for the beautiful bits
until you can make yourself
a sparkling throne
in the center of a junkyard.
ii.you will write when you're sad.
you will write when you're happy.
whenever you feel something,
you will vomit the emotion out
into some sort of literature.
when you're finished,
you'll be empty
and surrounded by
pages and pages of
everything you once were.
iii.you will try to make
pain sound delicious,
painting over the ragged wounds
with pink paint
and candy-coat lies.
you will learn
how to decorate graveyards.
everyone will play in them,
but you alone will see the headstones.
iv.if you fall in love,
you will turn your love into a poem,
and you will always like your own words
more than you like the real person.
you'll become so selfish
you'll disgust yourself,
but you will not be ab
five second suicideand as i pour myself out on these canvasesfive second suicide in Free Verse More Like This
i drip over the edges, spilling dots of
absence on the hungry earth.
they call me jane doe,
and i am not art.
every evening, i close the door,
close my eyes, disassemble.
slowly, i've become fleeting.
i float, my feet don't touch the ground.
how can i crash?
i fade, i dissolve,
but i've lost the motive to explode.
there's no glory in my death;
i leave no trace of the dramatic.
a man on the train last tuesday
nudged me, apologized, and carried on his way.
he's the last person who's
spoken to me since then.
we hit a notch in the tracks,
the car wobbled.
i stared at him silently,
counting the infinite futures
that suffocated behind my teeth.
i'm dying in my own penitentiary
with the cell door key in my pocket.
lost my voice.I wrote "I love you"lost my voice. in Free Verse More Like This
in the sand at the beach.
The tide swallowed the words
and drowned them
before I could speak.
I know you, I love youWe fall in love with the microscopic, rough-edged details of people. We crave the knowledge of our lovers, crave to know them the way nobody else can. In a way, these idiosyncrasies become our own personal gift, a sliver of our favorite person preserved within ourselves.I know you, I love you in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
You love the way he licks his lips twice before saying something important, exactly twice, like he’s counting out two seconds to reclaim his composure.
You love how her fingertips smell like turpentine and lavender when she finishes a painting because she doesn’t stop until her brushes are clean, and then she spends too much time trying to scrub her hands fresh.
You love how he sometimes mouths the lyrics to songs under his breath, just loud enough to be audible over the radio, and you love the way he smiles and blushes and stutters when you notice him doing so.
You love her expression when she reads, shifting and flowing like a hundred butterflies in response to the words on the page; you love the frantic
bipolar.after they diagnosed my father,bipolar. in Free Verse More Like This
my mother told me,
if she had known,
she would have never had children.
it scares me to think that,
one day i could hear a small voice saying,
“mommy, i don’t feel right.”
“you don’t look sick,”
they say, noticing that i’m not dragging around
an i.v. stand.
noticing that my sweatshirt is black
and not a white hospital gown
swinging around marbled, knocking knees.
“but i’m still unwell,” i say
in a voice that doesn’t shake
and they just look disappointed,
like i don’t fit.
like i’m the skewed painting
on the fucked-up-person wall.
“but,” they say, “don’t bipolar people
usually kill themselves?”
“but i tried,” i say
with my wrists unmarked
and they just shake their heads
almost as if to say
not hard enough.
“poor girl,” they say, looking right at me,
sitting next to my dad as he laughs too loud.
titans.they don’t tell you thattitans. in Free Verse More Like This
sisyphus just let the rock roll down
and collect his body
they don’t tell you that you can still walk
with holes in your legs
and you can still love
when your heart has already been ripped open.
they don’t tell you that
you are 75% of an ocean
that is six miles deep
and eats ships alive,
75% of the water that shapes canyons,
75% of the rain that drowned the earth
for forty days and nights.
they don’t tell you that
your body is made of the same carbon
they don’t tell you that
there is a fire burning inside of you
or that your bones are stronger than steel
or that the things that fuel you
fuel tigers, too.
the greeks and romans wrote stories about
how strong you were
and you are icarus,
and you died laughing
because they didn’t tell you
how beautiful the world really was
even as it was swallowed
by the waves.
why i never wrote you a poem.last summer i triedwhy i never wrote you a poem. in Free Verse More Like This
to use the words that you fell asleep to
to write you a love song but
every time i tried
my fingers froze up.
i failed the test of describing you
in a paragraph
in a sentence
in a word
there is nothing in my head adequate enough
to describe how you look
on the train station platform
when you smile at me.
i can tell you that
my heart climbs into my throat and
my body prickles with heat and
everything disappears, for just a moment, but
the thing i cannot describe
your mouth caresses my name
like it’s the most beautiful sound
it’ll ever know,
like it understands me perfectly,
you are not made of verses.
you have no meter.
you are not written in stanzas
that i understand
and i find myself captivated
at how beautifully complex
your language is.
you say i’m the mesmerizing one, but, baby,
you've stumped me.
you have left a girl,
a person who wants to build their life
suicide can come in bottles.dad was an alcoholicsuicide can come in bottles. in Free Verse More Like This
by the time he was twenty-two.
he was thirty-three
when i was born.
i am eight years old.
dad is drunk on the couch.
he wakes up and tells me to buy him food
and i tell him i’m his daughter.
he gets up to yell at me
then, as if realizing, starts laughing.
i am scared.
i am nine years old.
there’s a picture i don’t understand
printed out on the table.
i look at the web address and type it in
and there’s a site full of them.
the men look like they’re hurting the women.
they call them mean names
and tie them up.
in the one my dad printed
there are no faces. just genitals
and i am nine
and i understand.
i don’t tell my mother.
i am nine years old.
every night i get up when dad leaves
to close the browsers open on his computer.
there are seventeen open
and i close them
one at a time.
some of the pictures are scary.
one woman is screaming.
another is one who looks young,
like a high school girl.
you are single.you’re not single because you didn’t forward that chain letter,you are single. in Free Verse More Like This
because your replies were too quick
because you missed one of his
because you said the wrong thing.
you’re not single because
your tits are too small or
her ass looks better in those pants or
you have a stomach or
“men want women with curves.”
you’re not single because you’re messy
you’re not single because you’re not ladylike enough
because you don’t fit in
because you’re too ugly
because you’re too this, you’re not enough of that.
you’re not single because who would date somebody like you?
you’re not single because you fall in love too easily,
or because you don’t open up enough.
you are not single because your heart is too big
or too small.
relationships are not gained through meticulousness,
at how precisely your words land
and how perfect your face is when you laugh.
you are not single because it’s what you deserve
tocophobia.the world of pregnancy and childbirthtocophobia. in Free Verse More Like This
has been boiled down to the white,
neurologically healthy babies
in pink and blue knit caps.
“that one,” says the tearful father.
“she’s beautiful,” says the nurse
while the mother rests.
but why is it
that the default image of motherhood
is a white middle-class couple with a picket fence
and a golden retriever?
let’s postpone that cruise to the caribbean
and make a baby.”
what about the prostitutes
who get pregnant?
what about the girls in africa
who carry their rapist’s babies?
what about the babies left on the firehouse steps?
what about the welfare mothers
because they can’t pay the hospital fees?
who have heroin tracks on their arms
(like stitches that can’t hold them together)
where the patient bracelet is snapped on?
what about the 500,000 american children
waiting to get adopted?
what about miscarriages and women
who can never have kids?
we preach for the
and i have tried to make it right.i.and i have tried to make it right. in Free Verse More Like This
let me tell you a story
using six words.
their names become parts of statistics.
let me tell you a story
using six words.
“suicide is the easy way out.”
let me tell you a story
using six words
that will never be told.
pain is not a fucking
do you still pray,
knowing there will be no answer?
see, i cannot speak for those
who have no voice to give
but, sincerely, these are the six words
i respond with:
i wish i could save you.
we live our lives being told that
there is always a safety net -
that there are people designed to protect us.
i’m going to use six words because,
the saddest stories
take the fewest words to tell.
for them, there was never anyone.
blades can cut wrists but
here are six words:
blades can cut stories short, too.
i have approximately 250,000 words
to choose from
to try and describe to you what suicide is
but i don’t
listen:1.listen: in Free Verse More Like This
People will let you down.
You’ll love them, anyways.
Don’t let anyone romanticize
It won’t be beautiful
when somebody breaks your heart
the first time
or the second
or the eighteenth.
Pain is not beautiful.
Maybe on paper
but not inside of you
not in numbers.
A million people
but you’re still here,
and that's important.
You're doing something
My father told me
“Be selfish –
if you don’t take care of you
I liked to think
that this is the reason
he ignored me
I don’t have good advice
on this one.
Because the people who let you down,
are the ones promised to save you.
Are the ones promised to love you
and protect you
and I’ll tell you,
nothing quite hurts
like waking up in the morning
to the police in your doorway.
Nothing quite hurts
like being eleven
and hearing a cop say
“Poor girl had to live wi
colors.red is a power color.colors. in Free Verse More Like This
red is stoplights, anger. rage.
red is my nose when i cry about my parents.
“women are more attractive to men
when they wear red,” he says once
so you cut yourself
because red is blood
and when he ignores the bandages, you say,
“no. look what i did.
look what i did for you.”
but he doesn’t fall in love with you
red is the scream that
comes out of your mouth.
blue is the veins under your skin and
blue is depression that tells you to slice them
blue is the weeks you spend after him
and blue is the great, wide sky above you,
trying to remind you that the rest of the world
is still waiting.
your brother says he’s looking for the light
at the end of the tunnel
but the world is full of light.
(you would know. we can hardly see the stars
because of it.)
the world is not full of you
so you try.
black is what surrounds him
and black is burns
and you’ve been burned, scalded
so you blend in.
two-fifty an hour.let me save you the trouble:two-fifty an hour. in Free Verse More Like This
because what i'm trying to say is
i'm not a good person.
i don’t tell valerie about how i planned to rekindle
my friendship with charlie’s best friend last year
just so i could get to him and hurt him.
(i don’t tell her how, in the end, i ended up liking
his friend instead, and charlie dated another
fifteen year old
because shit happens and what was i doing,
expecting things to go my way?)
there are certain things she doesn’t need to know,
certain things i can’t say because
putting it into words what it was like waking up,
that sort of shame that came with it –
it was like – it was like looking into a window
and swearing there’s a monster behind it
before, slowly, i realized
it was a mirror.
what therapy promises me: love yourself, forgive but
never forget, tell us your past
then let it go.
what i learn in therapy: nobody has all the answers.
we certainly don’t.
welcome to the real world1. if someone invites you back to their placewelcome to the real world in Free Verse More Like This
for coffee, and you only drink tea,
you probably won’t actually be drinking coffee.
2. when the creepy guy from work asks you out
again and you think about accepting for the first
time because you’re sick of going home alone and
you have never learned how to say no, don’t. learn.
stand in front of the mirror until you love yourself
enough for your skin to fit snug on your body. read
about the hundreds of millions of planets out in the
hundreds of millions of galaxies and feel so crowded
that you’re about to burst all over again.
3. you’re gonna screw up.
Jesus Christ, you’re gonna screw up so bad
and i’m not talking about forgetting an appointment bad,
or spilling coffee on your boss bad
or getting into a small fender bender on the side of the interstate bad.
i’m talking about the kind of bad that ties you down
into your bed on Monday morning when you
need to go to work. th
i don't have a dog1. i get up at ten.i don't have a dog in Free Verse More Like This
this is an accomplishment.
by eleven, i’m awake enough to miss you.
to be honest, that part never goes away—
but eleven is when the typewriter grows fangs
and threatens to swallow everything i am
if i don’t put a name to the feeling. even the dog’s
tail does not wag. he keeps watching the door.
he will not even touch his food until the sun has
set as deep as possible. he is giving you every
chance to come back.
i try to tell him there’s no use,
that you will never come back.
but dogs don’t understand things like that,
don’t believe in the concept of ‘never come back’.
they believe in the sound of a key turning a lock
and the inevitable stomping of feet on the welcome mat
no matter how many times they’ve heard
the car engine start and the crunch of gravel as it pulls away.
2. this must be what missing you feels like.
i have lived lifetimes in the minutes i keep breathing.
i keep breathing. this is an accompl
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
8 Things I Learned Before I Turned Sixteen1. you are stronger than you think8 Things I Learned Before I Turned Sixteen in Free Verse More Like This
and when you tell other people this,
do not be offended when they start talking about muscle mass.
they will not understand until they wake up
one day and are disappointed to find themselves
2. reading books about thin people
doesn’t make you thin
just like writing poems about happiness
doesn’t make you happy.
3. make new year’s resolutions. even if you know
they won’t last longer than the shower
you make them in, do it anyways because
you’ll love the idea of the person you were
washing off of you with the dirt.
4. you’re going to fall head over heels
over ankles over fingers in love with a boy.
this does not mean that you have any right
to keep him.
5. someone won’t always be there to tell you,
“hey, good job on getting out of bed today.
good job on going to school and doing your homework.
good job on surviving today.”
but good job anyways.
6. change your hair color. change your s
a litany of things better left unknownI wonder if we had a time machine, how many peoplea litany of things better left unknown in Free Verse More Like This
would go back in time and how many people would go forward,
and if that would say anything about us or not. I know
some people are afraid of the butterfly effect: when I was
eight, a girl named Alexis stopped me from a catching
a monarch, told me I wouldn’t like the way I looked
if I had its colors dusting my skin.
I wonder if God ever stands in front of a mirror
and realizes how amazing it is that He can see Himself
when millions of people would kill to be able to.
I wonder if vampires ever get lonely when
they’re sleeping and if they ever get
self-conscious because they can’t see themselves
in a mirror. I wonder if vampires ever ask people if they’re
pretty. I wonder if God thinks He’s pretty
or if pretty’s just a human-made concept and Moses has never
had to look God in the face and say, “People love You—
that’s all that matters.”
I wonder if you can lie in heaven. I wonder
Stop Romanticizing Poets 2K14This is how I write my poems:Stop Romanticizing Poets 2K14 in Free Verse More Like This
You’re blonde and you have blue eyes.
You’re the perfect subject for my next great hit,
a long rambling epic or a two page sonnet
which would start by comparing your hair
to rays of the sun and your eyes to the ocean
at daybreak. Even if you’re more of a dishwater blonde
than sun-colored, and your eyes are less ocean and
more sky, I swear I write this poem and think
vaguely of you.
But here is a secret: I’m not writing a poem about you.
I’m writing a poem about the idea of you.
And I don’t know if it will be a love poem or
a break-up poem or a “please don’t go home and
commit suicide” poem or one of those
heartbreakingly honest poems that feels like
you put your pencil on paper and bled.
I don’t write poems like that often.
No poet does, not really,
we write poems about you and your blue eyes
because we don’t like how bleeding feels,
and it is much safer for us to pretend to fall in l
weighted down1. I am sixteen, suddenly.weighted down in Free Verse More Like This
I have grown up without anyone
telling me. My car keys rest heavily in
my palm. Each new college I hear about
rests heavily on my shoulders. I am
not sure how much longer I can take this,
all this extra weight of responsibilities, of choices,
of the future I’m not sure I want to have.
My skin feels stretched across my body
in places that don’t really make sense.
I still feel too big in every bad way—I’m
afraid I always will.
2. My first boyfriend tells me he
thinks I must have bits of the
universe inside of me. I try not
to get offended: I know he means to say
that kissing me is like kissing stars,
and that I hold the secrets of creation
inside my soul, but all I can think about
is how huge the universe is.
3. He breaks up with me at night.
For hours, I lean against my truck in
the driveway and look at the sky.
Stars are cold and distant,
I realize. The universe is big
4. Someone in my philosophy class tries to tell me
the devil's in the detailsthere’s a beautiful boy sitting on the curbthe devil's in the details in Free Verse More Like This
of a street somewhere in that time right before
the sun sets and his head is in his hands
and he’s never looked more beautiful or more alone
and you want to tell him it’ll be fine,
that it’ll be okay, that soon he’ll outrun whatever’s
doggin’ his heels, that it may seem crowded now
but there’ll always be more earth
than people, or else we’d be driving
through ghosts and the whole
point of driving is to run away from them.
but he doesn’t have the right kind of eyes
to believe that. they’re red and bloodshot
like he’s been crying too long
to ever listen to you.
you don’t sit down next to him. he does
not expect you to. he may or may not
know you’re even there. if he did,
he’d make you leave because you don’t
belong with him, this angel of a boy,
you don’t want to put him together
you want to watch him finish falling apart
because broken things
take twosuicide survivors eat stale chipstake two in Free Verse More Like This
and sour milk.
this is a fact.
we all think we're past our expiration
muteit’s two in the morning somewheremute in Free Verse More Like This
where it’s quiet except for breathing
that’s loud enough to hear from here.
convince yourself you’re alive;
you’re the only one that can.
here is a game we played as children:
we pretended language was something only
to be seen on paper,
we make-believed the worst injury
we could get was those made by
trees and rocks while our bones weakened
under the attacks we tried to endure
of words like, “fat” (before
we even knew how much we weighed)
or “stupid” (before
we even realized that it
doesn’t matter what 9 times 8 is
as long as no one figures out you don’t know.)
sticks and stones may break our bones
don’t tell me words don’t do any damage.
don’t tell me you don’t think of yourself as a weapon
every time you open your mouth,
don’t tell me what exactly you think of me,
don’t tell me anything, i think you’ve said enough.
let’s just be silent,
Let the Fall Make You Stronger."Hey! Are you all right?"Let the Fall Make You Stronger. in Emotional More Like This
"Sure, why wouldn't I be?"
"Um...because you just fell from the roof of the hou-"
"See, that's where you're wrong. I didn't fall. The floor challenged me and I accepted."
"And how did that go for you?"
"The floor won. But only because it had the advantage."
"Of being non sentient and vast in size, along with the fact that there is a freaking storm out!!"
"Nope. I just attacked from the wrong position."
"I overestimated my skills."
"I'll say. You're bleeding!"
"Only a little. Ask me again."
"If I'm fine."
"Is it because you're bleeding?"
"You're supposed to ask 'Why'."
"God, you're so bloody difficult!"
"But cute. Just ask."
"Because this world we live in, it gives us these dreams, you see. These great big beautiful colourful galaxies in our heads of ideas, thoughts and empathetic conclusions to our fellow humans. Our brain tells us, go on, be curious, make those mistakes.
The Girl Who Was Afraid To BeShe speaks to me fondlyThe Girl Who Was Afraid To Be in Free Verse More Like This
of passions and talents,
of guitars and stars,
with such breathless intensity
then stops short and
for speaking at all.
All because somewhere in her life,
someone she loved broke her heart
her beautiful words
and telling her to
keep it down,
People aren’t born sad.
We make them that way.
SpinelessMy mother always told me I was born with four spines. They stay there, side by side, in my ramrod straight back, the reason for my very correct posture. So when my back began to arch, people noticed.Spineless in Free Verse More Like This
My parents were first. You look different, they would suppose as I would approach every morning for breakfast. Is something wrong? My mother would question. Are you ill? My father would ask.
I had a gift with the vague and I used it to my only advantage in this scenario. Because telling them the truth would be a lot more devastating. How would I tell them about the fact that my bones, my spine, the very part of me they admired most, was depreciating?
I suppose the trouble with most relationships is to trust someone, knowing that you would willingly lie to them, just to protect them from getting hurt. We all do it, and those of us who claim we don’t, only lie because their lies are smaller. I lied to protect them from what had happened to my bones. Not just my spi
Austenesque Therapy“Hello.”Austenesque Therapy in Free Verse More Like This
“Good afternoon. Why have you come to see me today?”
“Because I had to.”
“I see. So tell me... what’s bothering you.”
“I lose my breath because I can’t believe that this is all I am going to be.”
“What is wrong with what you are?”
“I’m not loved.”
“You have your friends, your family-”
“Come on, you know what I mean. The devil-may-care-what-the-world-thinks, passionate, can’t-breathe-without-each-other, catch-you-when-you-fall-kind-of-love.”
“I don’t even know how to begin to find it in this world.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I prefer living in my books. I like how that makes me feel. And then I’m just disappointed.”
“And how does that make you feel?”
“It makes me feel sometimes, like I am completely unreasonable to say, that in a time of smart phones
FragmentsI call them fragments, the parts of me that were too exhausted to stay. He calls them flecks because I am a flake. I wish I was a flake. It sounds prettier than being a fragment. Flakes are like snow. Soothing, falling from the sky on the tip of his tongue that melt and disappear. Fragments are archeological findings of a scarred past we really should not remember.Fragments in Free Verse More Like This
I want to remember my scars. So I am a fragment.
I draw on my legs. When my skin dries out, I use my index finger as a pencil and draw what the clouds are trying to tell me. Sometimes it’s a dog, and sometimes it’s a bear and sometimes it is his face looking at me disapprovingly.
That is when I stop drawing.
At night, when the rain falls, I sit at the bay window and pretend to write stories whilst he pretends to sleep. “What are you writing?” he will ask in his asleep voice. “A funny story.” It is not. It is a pale, scary story, and it looks like my skin. “Were you dreamin
Nothing Lives Foreveri.Nothing Lives Forever in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When you were a child, we would sit on the porch to talk about your day. And sometimes, we would find a dead bird, or a frog on there. And you would ask me about death and why it happens, looking at the poor creature in my hands, its life cut short and touch it tenderly. I would always say the same thing.
Nothing is meant to live forever, my dear.
The school called me in on your twelfth birthday and asked if I had known how clever you were, that your test scores were the best in the state. They asked me if I knew I had a genius child on my hands who grew bored easily in class and tended to distract others in his classroom, sometimes causing arguments, fistfights and could manipulate his classmates into doing anything.
We don't think this is the school for him. He needs to be challenged appropriately.
You fell in love at seventeen and she was lovely. Kind, caring and beautiful, I couldn't ask for a better girl for you. She was our neighbour
A Prayer for the Scar Mappedi hope you find someone who loves you for your scars.A Prayer for the Scar Mapped in Free Verse More Like This
your scars are the battles you fought
alone, scared, broken at midnight
navigating the map of your lost soul,
wearing nothing but threadbare dreams,
with demons who would not die,
and who could not rest.
and still strong, you fought on.
i pray you find someone who loves you for your scars
your scars will tell the stories your lips cannot.
your scars will reveal secrets your heart cannot.
your scars will create meaning to the little things you do.
so find someone who loves you for your scars.
this is all that I can pray for, for you
and for you,
and for you...
Wistful"I am the boy who wants to loveWistful in Free Verse More Like This
your misshapen words,
your broken hearted pieces,
your ink split fingers.
I am the boy who wants to kiss
those scar tattooed arms,
that tear stained face
mend what has been broken.
I am the boy who can
make your heart
sing poetry again."
If only he would say it
like he had
The Girl He LovesThe girl he loves is midnight, like the blue of the sea cradled by the moonlight.The Girl He Loves in Free Verse More Like This
The girl he loves is verdant, the very green of the hill kissed by the summer delight.
The girl he loves is coral, as pink as the roses that grow in his mother's garden.
The girl he loves is crimson, red like the autumn leaves that lay abandoned.
The girl he loves I can never be
Because he's allergic to violets,
And violets are too much like me.
Why I Hate Romantic Comedies1.Why I Hate Romantic Comedies in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Because they say that for every single boy who counts the stars, there is a little girl who is wishing upon one. (And they never mention what happens after the stars fade into morning and the other falls into oblivion)
Because they say that people fall in love when the time is right, they are true to each other and are ready to be together. (But no one ever mentions how she is so damaged she can barely think, and he is so cynical that he may never be ready.)
Because they insist that your soulmate is going to be a good, kind, caring human being who will love you from the bottom of their hearts. (This is due to the fact that even if there is someone for everyone, bad people are immune to the soulmate theory.)
Because they always have a happy ending (And real life begins after the sun has set and she has realized that he may not be everything she hoped for and he begins to have second thoughts about commitment.)
Because everything is assured in i