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things i don't know about you that bother me thati wonder what it's like
to fall asleep beside you
in a post coital haze,
and to wake in the morning
to run to class.
do you wake me,
do you kiss my forehead,
do we make love again-
i don't know,
and do you wet your toothbrush
before applying toothpaste,
tell me you don't leave the sink running,
it must get awfully tired.
and what do you dream of
when i lie next to you,
blissfully more than just a body;
what will you dream of
a year from now?
please tell me i can fit into
your big picture
as easily as i can fit into
adulthoodwhen you interact with other grown-ups,
there are things you need to remember.
i am learning the fine art of Adult Small Talk-
banter for banter's sake and smiles and short, impersonal anecdotes
because you can't risk letting anyone in,
god forbid someone actually gets close.
you keep your friends in your stomach and swallow them at night to keep them close
and put your cheery face on for medical professionals even when your throat is too swollen
to drink down those friends.
those friends, you know they'll never let you down.
you see your human companions on lunch breaks and weekend days.
at night, young adults have sex and fall asleep together;
at night, older adults complain of headaches and sleep on opposite sides of the bed.
your human friends don't make you feel as good
as your other friends make you feel.
they ask about your life and how you're doing,
ask if you're still in therapy and if you're eating,
and god forbid you let them in.
they're your human friends but they don't get
my first drunk poemwriters write whilst drunk
because every word
fumbled and smisspelled
comes out beautifully
because of the truth it holds
my ear bleeds from constant burns
and my stomach burns from constant bleeds
because beauty is never enough untouched, it seems,
the way anything i put in me is always too much.
i bled and evoked sympathy tonight.
i drank until i needed a body to stand me straight.
my organs writhed like heathens in moonlight ritual
and i let it shake.
i shook to be honest
but i was never honest enough
to admit from where the vibration came.
i shook with fear
and never, ever being adequate
or even happy
but i smiled and let everyone know
that i felt like myself,
and no one ever needed to know
that the only reason i felt so honest
was because i never feel like i can
stand on my own two feet unaided
or stop from trembling
or hold in outbursts of emotion
because if i do,
i know i'll break.
listen honey, here comes your mani hear your gaslight anthem
playing in my head
for the first time in months.
my stomach is knitting itself
a raw sweater,
pink and greying flesh
from the sickness of worry.
i made the mistake
of playing it back to you.
you tell me you miss me,
you love me,
these songs in your vernacular
writing your thoughts,
but the thoughts are not yours.
it was well intentioned
but too far gone,
the thought has trailed
its way along lines
of train tracks-
i cannot think of you
unless you come back
lovedrunkshe looks at me, all big doe eyes and cupid-bow lips, tells me, now i'm not trying to say i'm about to kill myself, but i'm about to kill myself.
the traffic light is glass. not that it's reflective, not that it's bright, but that it's so slow, a liquid, moving like a year. it's also what my blood has become with these words.
we're in my car but i'm scared. i know i'm the one behind the wheel, but i don't know what she's got in her purse. i don't know her name but i do know she's drunk. so am i. i know we shouldn't be driving but i couldn't leave such sad eyes at a bar. i guess, if i'm being entirely honest, i also couldn't leave such a beautiful body at a bar, either. especially if some guy with worse intentions than i couldn't pass her up.
talk to me, i say. i don't glance up from the road because i'm scared of what i'll see, and what i won't.
you're not my fucking therapist, she tells me. i know she's wearing red lipstick and i imagine it turns to venom with those words.
presumptionsi know i'm a very common-,
i look like i floss my teeth
at least once a week
and have never worn
like i devour books like candy
and never talked during class.
it's funny when people are nothing like how they look.
so let me tell you something,
let me set you straight:
i'd have you believe
i'm not some heavily medicated girl
with snakes up and down her body
in bright red rows, all raw and scabbed and
constant, ceaseless, neverending reminders of fucked-up and failure...
but it never took much for you to talk me into bed.
letting you think i'm some perfect porcelain figurine
without cracks all up my spine is about as ok as forging your mom's signature;
meaning it's alright as long as it's nothing serious.
and maybe that's the problem.
playing hopscotch cross-continent all summer and
making a patchwork quilt out of our travels when the cold sets in
is a pretty serious stab at giving us another go.
i can deal with touch, i just might shudder
one hundred waysthere are one hundred ways
i have to fill myself
that still keep me empty,
and for all the love for you
i hold in my heart,
i treat you like you're nothing.
you have built structures
and outlines of cities to press
against a dark inked sky,
you are the blood of a broken pen
coursing like a river
through my veins.
i look the other way.
i look for holes
in the sweatshirt you gave me
because there are holes in you,
and i wonder if they match up
i leave it tucked just
inside of my closet
so that i don't see it
unless i look for it,
but when i do
i pull it in piles
up to my face
to be sure
it still smells like you-
four months later,
breathe deepbreathe deep.
breathe it shallowly if you need to,
if filling your lungs to bursting
is too much,
but breathe the depth-
of tree roots
and ethnic roots
and the roots planted by love.
and the orgiastic fullness
it gives the empty shell
you try so hard to stuff
but nothing sticks;
because deep is star-soaked
desperate with creeping beauty
like attar and trellis
and the june moon.
this is how you keep her.
this is how you say,
this is our permanent address.
this is how you say i love you
with something more than words.
it's hard to love a trainwreckNote to self: Do not fall.
apart. Do not fall in love
with a Scientologist. Do
not let a coin make life-
changing decisions. Do
not listen to the leaves,
or to Honest Abe; he
says Heads, but I say
Tails. Do not listen to
the Devil on your left
shoulder; shrug your
right one, but do not
listen to the angel,
either. Do not listen
to your libido; listen
to your heart, even
when you're going
deaf. Do not listen
to The All-American
you're depressed. Do not
listen to this. Do not take
my advice. Do not take a
chance. Do not take two
pills. Do not take Physics;
do not take out the trash.
Do not take out all of this
on your boyfriend. Do not
take the easy way out; it
is not worth the pain. Do
not take that which does
not belong to you; do not
take candy from babies. I
am a baby&you're candy.
Do not take off the week;
do not take off your shirt;
do not take off.
It's still you, I swear.When I light
and when I sing
but when I roll
over in the night to
find a breathing boy
instead of your
it's not you.
It's you in
my morning coffee
and it's you in
my favourite jeans,
and it's you in the
blisters that form
on my fingers.
Only I have taken
you out of me and turned
you into things I love
and do and read because
I wanted to love him
ScarringAt some point in my life I stopped posting pictures that included my left forearm. It wasn't one of those gradual things where eventually I noticed this to be the case and had to search my soul to figure out why.
I didn't need to figure it out. I knew. My left forearm is covered in scars, and scars are not acceptable anymore. I've grown up and left behind the things that made me sad -- or at least I've told myself that I have.
It could just be that I learned that sadness lasts forever when it's cut into your skin.
That's the thing about scars, though. If you're sad enough or angry enough or empty enough, you don't care about forever, until one day you're grown up and someone is looking at your wrist with a question in their eyes.
People keep saying that scars are beautiful in their own way, that they tell a story. Maybe that's true for others, but not for me. You can't tell a story from the lines of white tissue on my arm. Or maybe you can, and the story is as follows:
"Once upon a tim
travelling thoughtsi'm sitting on the train, grinning to
myself & nobody, to everyone i can
sneakily stare at's feet & i've got on repeat
in my head, you never know how long
someone's been a dancer in that club near
central for tips & how long someone
else's day has been & how many
customers treated them like another
dog shit in the grass they have to navigate
& how many shifts their legs carried them
through & how many more stops they have
to wait before they can disembark.
i'm sitting on the train hoping when your
life is a meditation on living, &
especially on your own
small life, you are on some
kind of path to enlightenment.
i'm hoping i don't really swallow that
many spiders in my sleep each year
because i sleep with my mouth closed
except when i'm sick. i'm hoping
spiders aren't sneakier than i think.
i'm sitting on the train, smiling to the whole
damn car since i've forgotten again to bring
some music or the i ching or something, &
i'm hoping i'm going to be okay.
even a white middle class whore can be savedi wore a g-string to church today.
the pastor preached of suicide,
stories of loss pouring from parted lips,
the congregation wide eyed and fearful -
"what if that had been my child?"
i am just another statistic.
but there is nothing like a preacher's smile,
wide and beaming like a full, pregnant moon.
he knows nothing of what's under my dress -
the underwear, the cuts spelling out my abuser's name twice.
he smiles because i am not a statistic.
and as i stand among overfed jesus lovers
with fat fingers reaching for their god,
my lesions cry out to the masses,
whispering my abuser's name over and over.
i wore a g-string to church today,
not because i am unholy,
not because i don't believe,
but because i was out of clean underwear.
a brief history of us.the atlantic gave birth to you like a tsunami. late nights spent buying tiramisu for pretty girls with green eyes. playing with her fork like she was sewing the seams of clouds together.
we spent too long floating on hardwood floors with blankets wrapped tightly like a second skin, trying to protect things that might someday be broken. using fear as the only insurance against heartache and loneliness. pretending like we weren't already familiar to those things like we were to crumbs on kitchen counters, so we swept loneliness beneath the rugs and told it to stay. we were using words like forever without being able to count the distance between each letter.
the atlantic was gathering waves like pennies dropped on sunday streets, picking up the pieces of what you would be before even the notion of you was formed. you came from this: heavy breathing and maps of california, red nails and a place to stay that was never in reach. you came from too many empty bottles of vodka that were downed
on leaving it behindi still
this might appall you
or agonize you but i do.
i remember still evenings
with little to exchange besides
heartbeats and breathing patterns.
i remember soft afternoons
with my back raking against the carpet
leaving sporadic scars and stitches of memory.
i remember dark roads, and darker rains.
i remember a longer faith and a shorter pain.
the wounds are not as fresh, they do not sting,
but they ache and the few times i hear your voice
wedges your fingers in my brain and i can feel the cake
of neglected cum stains and i can hear the desperation in
the small whimper of my name and the way it was hard for your
breath to escape and my mind is running on thin rails, paper train,
and all i ever wanted from you was a home, not a place.
you would finger fuck me in the movie theater
and i would squirm and you would laugh because
i am not so good at keeping quiet. and all it would take
was a look from me or my hand up your knee or my lip under my
teeth and your eyes would
I have been too sad to tell you.I have been too sad
to tell you that I love you
when I am tearing my hair out
and smashing my bones on the floor
to make myself whole.
And I have been too sad
to tell you that I love you
when you are keeping my hands
from pulling at my skin,
when you are holding my body down to the
safety of the floor with your arms wrapped
around my chest as though maybe they can
keep my sadness still.
But lover, I am not too sad
to write this poem backwards on
your face with my lips.
I hope that one
day you look in the mirror
and it's there, loving you
as much as I do.
Nine TimesI saw him nine times.
The first time we were both sitting in the room together, getting ready to take the math test that would determine our placement. I was scatterbrained and throwing things around, trying to find the pencils that I had known I would need but had still just tossed in my purse. He was lounging backwards in his chair, looking for all the world as though he didn’t have a single care in the world, including the upcoming test. It annoyed me, that I was frantic and ready to scream, while someone else could be that relaxed.
I tested out of the class.
I don’t know if he did.
The second time I saw him, it was a few months after I arrived on campus. He was the one rushing and frantic this time, running across the square. He was probably late for class, though I had no way of knowing for sure. I was already lost in my own thoughts and ideas, deciding on my major and convincing people that yes, this is what I really want to do with my life. If they weren
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