i am good at lying.
look at my face.
see my teeth, lips
pulled from gums,
see my bracelets
sparkle when my eyes
don't look at my wrists
do not worry-
i am smiling
wide, just for you.
the best way to remember somethingi cry
every time you write me a letter-
in all my damaged glory,
still loved across miles of river and fields.
you are unyielding and unforgetting,
finding the words we never had
there are many moonlit stories
to recount and to expound upon in
i've got a burn on the toe of my shoe
from getting too near the fire with you-
the bruises on your skin
lasted for days;
the headband your sister gave me
and the way i cried
when it broke;
climbing up stairs, skewed like piano keys
in the winter air,
and entering your house, where you told me
to tug on my sleeve
because my battle wounds were exposed;
your dog curling up on your bed
to keep me company,
the way i was welcomed in your house,
getting drunk on vodka on new year's,
the first time you made me cum,
finding ourselves at a party
on the porch where we met-
i am amazed, astounded, awed.
you can love me even though my ear piercings are crooked,
a broken smile on my teeth
for every time you ran away, afraid;
for those who want to be in loveyou want to fall in love
hard enough to break your bones and
lighten your feet
lighten your heart
so softly that the butterflies you feel
pattering with their gossamer wings
beneath the cage of your ribs
and the breath,
blue in the summer,
can kiss you and the monarchs
as sweetly as your love
and her lips.
you dream of them at night.
silken like clean bedsheets,
familiar as your favourite chair
when you curl up with
a mug of herbal tea.
you feel at home
with her body curled in yours,
only able to sleep
with her skin under your fingers
scenting the blankets
with something no perfume
could ever mirror.
you write love letters
you dream emptily
unless she is there.
you want to fall in love
the way the gods drink ambrosia,
you want to treat her
better than their nectar,
sweeter than honeybees
and their summer-sticky feet.
you want a love beyond poetry,
from winter flurries
to springtime rosebuds
to summer sweet lemonade
to autumnal red leaves u
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,
christmas is not only in decemberyou sleep through so much sun
that it is the moon
who rises for you.
born in the russian springtime
with cyrillic letters on your tongue,
you are endless.
you are a ring,
curved to infinity
your hands belong in mine,
or else on my hips.
curve me into the shape
of an s,
narrow me in the centre
to give room to your arms-
they belong around me.
you are a gift;
when i fall asleep
on the opposite edge of the bed from you
and wake curled to your chest,
it is christmas every time.
to be sadto be sad
would to be
feeling fresh air
in withered lungs.
instead i sit,
in stagnant misery,
and weeping wounds
and opened wounds
and clotted blood.
to hear the walls
chatter with criticisms
is an ache in my heart,
to know that i am of
empty worth in the eyes
my efforts are passed by
under the single blue eye
overseeing the universe.
i am unknown,
to be sad with my tears wiped away
would be the kindest motion
the fates could bestow.
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.
mascarai don't know why i wear mascara when it always ends up on my cheeks by night.
the moon is full but i am not. i'm hungry but it's mostly my eyes. i want to eat the city and the lights, swallow stars and coins in the fountains.
instead i'm alone in my apartment, with no glass but small windows facing the brick walls of my neighbours. i am empty except for the bricks which weigh heavily and hollowly at once. i swallow nothing but city air and exhaust, fumigating my lungs in hopes of eradicating the lacke thereof.
i am full of tears that were locked up since i was sixteen, pressurised in the marrow of my bones to the point of begrudging congestion. bitterness is what makes eyelashes grow-- there should be no surprise that i can't see.
the scars on your shouldersthe scars on your shoulders
are braille to me, so that i
can read your skin, so that i
can know you better.
i like to listen to your heartbeat
and how it resounds differently
from mine, just so beautifully
like two songs played in tandem
to harmonise in rounds;
i like to hold your hands
and rub your back
so that maybe my love
can find its way through your pores
and seep into your blood
(never can i find the right words
to tell you just the way you feel to me)
and to think that and how i nearly missed you
makes me miss you more
every minute and mile we spend
i can't sleep with another body
in my bed,
but sleeping without you
leaves the space next to me
much emptier than i'd like.
my only company is
the sadness that comes from
being alone, and having no strong arms
to reassure me that i am beautiful
and no dream can hurt me-
i can only hope that
you are not the exception.
this is the pen finally knowing
this is how we hold onto the bones
we support in our bodies.
i swear-i am sad from wanting
but not from wanting you.
the winters worn away
and with the snow melted the brokenness
we were and i am not sorry for it.
i've stopped cussing beneath my breath,
been wearing more black
and if you so much as
cross the threshold
of my house
this isn't about you.
this is about the way you still manage
to pull at my heartstrings strung
across countries and continents,
the length of the world,
my soul tangled
how your hand still manages
to wrap around mine and i hear your voice,
thick with culture,
the stereotype supreme of irish catholic,
murmuring in my ear that it's all
right while you move my fingers
into my throat-
this is about how-
no matter how far you move (away)-
you will keep your grasp tight on me
and crush me if you can
just so you don't
no one listensthis is the part where you start listening.
i'm not one to pour my words,
cheap wine no glass just red solo cup,
into an empty room.
i'm not one to talk when everyone
only pretends they're listening when really,
they're just hearing.
the part you start listening
comes at the part where i show you my skin.
i could show you my heart all i want
but you won't hear me.
i could tell you about every moment
i've spent basking, drowning
in whatever endless emotion
and you would nod sympathetically.
but you still wouldn't listen.
not til i show you my skin
screenprinted and scattered in scars,
hatchmarking of blended bends
and tall and stretched.
or if i told you how i've left my body
in shambles, and left it, broken
and rained on like cardboard boxes on city streets
five years after my destruction proved inadequate
until someone else
with fracturing fingers
ruined me worse.
my bones splintered under the thin
stretch of skin
covering them until i grew thick limbs,
a trunk like a tree.
the death of selfi can't find words to
i can't articulate
and blood doesn't stick-
i am stuck with my self
and the monsters
who have inched in,
night by night
until their figures
loom over me,
i am mourning.
the loss of you,
no matter how temporary;
to destroy my body
beyond its crumbling pillars;
the sadness in every cell
that contains the ocean,
wave after wave of thorough dejection,
apathy and agony
that nothing seems to solve.
i do not move.
i exist because it is what i know to do.
i breathe only because it takes effort to stop.
the hole in which i am buried
is filled with heavy, sodden soil
and my blood offerings
and constantly emptying myself
receives no mercy from a deity,
i am mourning
the death of my self.
vasha ptichkai want you to read me stories,
the very same ones
as i wrap you into,
catch you in their bindings
and smell you,
clean and summer,
inside the pages.
standing in your shower,
i wear the bodywash
that is a signature of yours,
foreign on my skin.
sometimes you are there with me,
and we are children again
as we splash water
on one another's naked bodies.
i am turning you into
a bigger reader,
a braver hero,
a stronger soul;
you tell me that
you put your phone down
and buckle your seatbelt
when you get behind the wheel
because you imagine my face
if you told me you didn't.
i want to be something new for you.
a better lover,
a happier smile,
the warmest arms you could ever need.
i never want to waver
even as tides crash my knees,
and i want you to always hear it,
close to your ear or across the state,
when i tell you
you mean the world to me.
cumbersomei cannot say what i need to say,
there are many, many things we cannot talk about:
the military, its ploys,
its gunmetal toys;
the way a gap in the teeth
draws a crinkle like cellophane
to a face once filled
with green eyes and irish love;
the r's thrown deep into
the dirty water in which
boys with lesser sense
might find themselves;
the greenery and celtic landscape;
you in full-
i cannot talk about you
because i miss you so much my heartache has a heartache
like acid reflux burning my body
and it is just so unbearably sad
that none of this can be fixed
because in less than a week you will leave me for years
and i will be left to grow roots
in some unwanted, rubbish-filled lot in the city
that i am now afraid to enter.
sugar freetoday my stomach told me i got a letter from you.
it clenched and cursed,
seeing my name on an envelope with no stamp,
cursive writing and no return address.
i didn't know.
once i did though, my stomach swung
its angry fists and crowed,
I TOLD YOU SO.
it was right.
my hands were like stoplights
in a hurricane,
malfunctioning and saying stop
when i turn green,
shaking with each gust.
i don't want to read how you are
or if you still love me.
i don't want to feel anything
or see you in my mind's film reel,
now shorn and with glasses,
it makes me swoon on my feet
and not in that lustful, romantic, 1950s way
but the kind that makes me fade
and fall if i'd been standing.
i didn't acknowledge your letter
sitting bold as brass, alone on the paint-stained
coffee table from when you helped me
i didn't look at it- i looked everywhere but
your tidily-scrawled envelope bearing my name.
it made me feel you were dead-
your uniform made me feel you were dead.
wasting usi want you, ok
i want you to be on your knees
all scraped and red and raw
like you're a child again
because that's all you ever
i want you to be aching
the way i've been aching
since the last rays of summer
said goodbye to us,
goodbye to us
and i want you to never forget
that just because
you don't remember my birthday,
that doesn't mean
forget the feel of my skin
for the first time
and that someday
this memory will stop hurting.
it never will,
and i promise you this:
every time it crosses your mind-
while you wait at the bus stop,
during a chemistry exam,
the next time a girl touches you
with her heart and not just her fingers-
every time it crosses your mind,
you're going to remember me
in extraordinary detail
and see me
like the extraordinary person
that i am,
you arei want a city ruined
every time you love me.
i want to show how loudly i shake,
enough to break
faults and how it will never be yours,
and bring down skylines
when you aren't here.
there are seven weeks until my blood runs blank,
but it is so full tonight
it could drown a man.
i hope it drowns you,
the way it carries the only beautiful thing about me
my heart, my love.
it's time you pull together
your telephone wires and breathe stars
back into my body-
it was so dark without you.
there was no moon,
just the kind of black
you know could be no emptier.
i am effulgent again
with the ways i've needed to feel,
i am bursting with fire
instead of hurting, i heal,
and i'm still bright enough
to be burning like god speaks.
i myself speak too loud.
it's what happens at night when i let you love me
and my body writhes with glee
over something it has never known.
i'm afraid to wake the neighbours, or the sisters i'm loving as my own.
when i'm embarrassed by myself,
i won't ask you to hold
spoiled little girli have turned my body
into a void
so that i can love
instead of my heart.
i feel nothing
so i feel nothing
but your skin has not
in a week
and it has me
loves completely vanilla,
though there once were poems
of red clay and sun;
kisses with no ridges
and i cannot seem to
find a way to stay captivated;
touches when i cannot remember,
so i run
when i see the silhouette of his face,
like nightlights or fireflies
of a dark room
i seem to have almost
i think you have spoiled me terribly
because i feel nothing
and kiss no one
and no one
has touched me
alpengloweverything hard-kept in the heart is falling onto paper. each word so well-fought to be kept within the chest becomes a snowflake from november skies, but the winds are unseasonably warm and a fire is kindled inside each bone in place of a bitter chill.
there are ten thousand things i can never tell you.
the way that wars are fought, i wage battles among my selves to keep the quiet. you will never hear my voice, too soft like the pillow beneath your head each time our bodies find each other, say how my breath becomes a porch swing when we touch and i sway.
i can never call you by any name, given at birth or given by heart. you will never see my cheeks flush fires when asked what you are called, or feel the tremulous tunnels i do as your mouth twists into the shapes of words like "beautiful," or "babe."
i cannot tell you of the poems i write to keep my lips locked tightly; not even a winter wind can howl through its denseness, not even the chimneys stoked to keep the c
A Gods DebtSutured together by artists,
hallowed out, & spit back up,
( you are afraid. )
Hooks longing for her ribcage embrace;
god-hands that can't seem to keep to themselves
grapple the gargoyle exterior of her deflowered frame.
( spread your legs. )
Red-inked and trembling,
prosetry masked as screams
knots into her anatomy.
Bipolari am done with patience
and its deadening face.
i want what spills
out of her eyes when the waves crash
against the shore;
and the shrieking
i want that too,
banging against my spine.
and maybe i'll ripen and burst
falling from the tree
ready to ride on the back of windy days
audacious and free.
virginity is like an envelopemy mother said her mother knew.
i wonder if she stumbled home like i did,
fifteen and beer-loose
tied to the door like a thunderstorm with black lips
and i wrote a story about disaster,
a quiet two sleds long.
a box full of beads, i swallowed
fifteen needles, mommy. don’t
tell me i’m not sorry.
don’t call me a whore you bag of bones
you lock-loose suitcase do you even
recognize me look at my face my toothache skin
i am not the one with the knife.
my mother never slept with a boy
who didn’t love her never let a boy
sleep on her while she lay awake beneath
the shroud of his skin breathing only
when her voice-box gathered too much dust.
you have to know i didn’t do
it on purpose. he slid beers down my throat
till i felt like a landfill.
i was not yet a crescendo. maybe i was a polka-
you couldn’t tell. i got home
with my legs full of nightmare.
the doctor said xanax.
i said i am a ruin like the ones
we saw in peru.
a balloon in a funeral poem.
interlopershow me god the way your mother
knew him, show me the mark on
your body where he stopped
you from suicide, where he changed
your winters to summers and
address me by my first name to show
me that your respect for me hasn't
died, letter by letter, buried between
the bow of your hips alongside our
once-strong playground love.
tell me the preacher was lying as he
spoke of our comely desire falling to
the destructive hand of a deity no one
has ever seen, but feels as they speak
in tongues that never matched the ones i
spoke in to finally tell you that
i felt for you.
don't leave me in some drunken tantrum
across state lines, slurring words as
you try to tell me your love for someone
else is vivid and living in you, even in the
parts that have died away, breathing out
alcohol as you use the word "never".
curl into me with intimacy, touching the sadness
out of me, because i always wanted to be
the one you love, not the one you loved.
stomachedyou blush and bruise
with sidewalks, stones,
the quiet doorways in your thighs
and the weight of your purple
tongue against mine
(a carnival of teeth)
if you swallowed the moon
with your agate jaws,
you could not be more nacreous
fidelic whore-- this is appropriation
my sweet synchronicity ,
i have downed your appetite
in a bed of front teeth
(it is morning in perth
midnight in dublin, and the noon
sun has been lost behind
a dress of mothy curtains)
do i taste of
of love making;
do i reek of
the weeds that
the posture of your spine?
you bend over
my lap a curve of guilt
and weep all night.
i collect each knob of your body
like a gift. press it to my mouth.