Punk kids with street style they stole or sold for, hanging outside the mall smoking whatever makes them look cool; it’s all clear. They’ve got snapbacks, three iPods, lighters but no guns. They’re not the fighters, but the lost ones.
It’s all skateparks and second base. She’s a pretty acid trip in the staircase behind the movie theater; she imagines that the endings turn out all right. They’re not alleys and broken windows, but trimmed lawns and milk delivery boxes and unlocked doors and those sitting rooms in the fronts of houses that no one is allowed to sit in. No peace in her protest, she’s a burning portrait over the coffee table, not so easily seen as the burning cross on the lawn but she longs. She longs.
It is a tragedy, in the dramatic sense. There’s no happy ending sold with the white picket fence; there’s no security in the million dollars of insurance; he’d give a million heartbeats back to benefit once from reassurance.
It’s all bandaids and bottles of pills, the floor in the bathroom, psychiatrist bills. The shingles are new, the garage door’s been replaced; if only we could get out all the rot behind her face, maybe all our demons might finally leave this place. You thought they left, but demons don’t leave, they displace. This home is not a home, is not a home, is not a home, is not a home.
Every shy tooth he shows is to deface the way it feels to be unknown. He doesn’t smile from the lungs but from the gut, eyebrows pinned back and sewn, you’d never know, you’d never know, you’d never know he’s so alone.
Punk kids with skate shoes broken in already ‘cause they never got to wear them new. Mom’s that only buy dress shoes. It’s all for show, it’s all for show, it’s all just a fucking show - show me purpose in your fingers pointed arbitrary, show me the boy behind the man behind the fear.
Killing is quiet when it needs to be.
Money is pretty
A pretty, pretty distraction. It’s all aimless, ambling, misguided mazes, it’s all just flattery.
September 3rd, 2014
I’ve got a monkey on my back called expectation
I’ve got a string tied to my toes called, “meet me half way”
I’ve got a voice in my left ear. It whispers.
Tells me, “honey, you haven’t got half the guts or half the wit to pull it all off.”
I’ve found a lot of people subscribe to fear
Even on Sundays, I am unholy
Even in the face of scrutiny, I transgress
Even in cases of consequence, I’m unapologetically genuine and I’m sorry that’s not what you thought you would hear
Every day I wake up and I bare my soul
I come clean, I am forthcoming and sure
I’m no saint just for saying my piece, it’s a puzzle
you’re no captain just for calling me incomplete
On my good days I am the mouth and the message
On my good days I am a beacon, and a giver, and a change of perspective
On my good days I am a clothesline
That sweet girl comes to hang all her sins out to dry and I don’t judge her, I don’t hold her to her word, I just protect her, and ruin anything that’s ever made her hurt
On my bad days I linger; I don’t know how to make ideas
I see myself and let it slip, “what really have you done?”
On my bad days I tell her,
Go take your laundry elsewhere
I’m too busy, too dirty, too empty to help you feel clean
On my good days, I listen
On my bad days I lose sleep
On my good days I write poetry
On my bad days I count sheep
On my good days I don’t even notice you
On my good days I don’t feel incomplete
On my bad days I do hear you, and I almost think it matters
On my bad days I work hard not to drag my feet
But on my bad days I still know about respect
On my bad days, I’ve still got you beat
July 19th, 2014
To every wildfire sitting still:
To every hurricane in a cage:
To every beam of light, rattling chains:
To every bird
that held those clippers cold, pressed them terrified to quivering wing, and thought,
“I’m not right. I need to learn.
This will be the best thing.”
with hands folded politely, legs crossed so inoffensive
You’re not crazy
and you’re not
We gather in hoards at every socially acceptable rebellion, travel, shake, breathe rebellious. We can spot that glint in your eye across the latest adrenaline high, and every risk you ever took was just a warning sign. You’re not made to stay the same.
I know the type; no consistency—eight hairstyles in four years. All new piercings, new tattoos, all new goals, new careers. You naturally feel the freedom most people are too afraid to even believe in, but you don’t know how to slow down; you’re a liability in your leaving.
And it’s not like we don’t love, we do.
We love deep and true and full—
But our relationships are like jeans
Eventually they rip at the knees
and through that crack
Sneaks in our dreams.
I’ve heard it described an itch, an urge, an unexplainable need to scream, a hole inside that never fills, a relentless beckon from voices unknown, from places you’ve never seen.
It’s a hundred things to a hundred people, and I may not know your demon by name
But what I do know
Is you won’t sleep at night if you don’t, so when those dice are in your hand
You must roll
What I do know
Is stagnation is your hell, and in a world so unimaginably big
You must grow
What I do know
Is when it itches, when it gapes, when it calls
You must go
What I do know
Is even when it hurts,
July 11th, 2014
Whenever I have occasion to recall, I do. My memory is boundless but so dutifully unprovoked; except, of course, by the many millions of things we can’t understand or control, and by which we are almost constantly bombarded.
I mean to say that it was successful. I so painstakingly erased the pain and replaced it with something new that every conscious memory I have displays gaping holes of you. You exist as a phantom, a shadow, something just beyond my line of sight, just outside my view. Sometimes I’m standing, and I look to my right, and it’s a blurry half muddled mess of corrupted memory. I can’t stand to remember you.
The problem, I seldom desire to address, is there’s a whole world of mind I couldn’t begin to comprehend, and sometimes in those places, I find you sneaking in.
I did not know I knew, for example, the radio presets in your car. A few nights ago I sat in foreign seat and breathed in the scent of last summer all sundried, dusky new. It attached itself to a conversation some night, air freshener tanned skin hungry, and I glanced as you changed the station and saw, and knew that information had been stored within me all this time.
I did not know I knew that you told me the truth once. Not with your words, god forbid, but your vacancies. Sitting in the sunlight the angle of the rays caught me just right and took me to a morning covered and shiny with dew, and you looked at me and you lied, but there, just there, almost in the shadow of your face I saw the truth. On that day in the crusty eyed conversation I couldn’t see it there, but three hundred some days later when you appeared in my mind like the ghost of some exterminated pest, I watched it all closely again.
I did not know that I knew that you were the kind of person to do exactly what you did do to me. In other words, hind sight is 20/20, but it turns out I always had questions, and you made me feel bad for being unsure. You made me feel worthless for hinting at the unpretty, when ugly barely touches on you.
It is a terrible thing to tame a wild heart, it’s not a goal I should ever recommend… but I had thought it impossible, and impossibilities are proving unreliable. Not to say that I am broken, or bent, or misshapen, but I have been mishandled and misguided and abused, and when you train a person to stop believing those little questions, you train them to lose themselves too.
You told me to trust you, and I loved you, and I listened, and I opened my arms and I held you, and on the days when my questions were screams, you reassured me, and I calmly quieted them away. I was bold, and I was unafraid.
I’m a seamstress more than a worrier, an artist more than the blues. Every time you rise up I will squash you. I am bold. I am unafraid. I am slowly cutting away all the threads of you.
July 11th, 2014
Bleach the metaphors transparent
stormy sky, rain,
sing me softly
Scrape me up if I decay
black and blue
blue and black
red is longing
take me all the way back
Speak it up
Spit it out
You’re so purple-heart seasoned
What’s the matter?
Can’t you do it?
Failure’s a disaster
not so natural
You’re the reason
Write a poem
Write me a poem
Write ten lines that rhyme
No, not that
That’s not good enough
Write a better line
Make yourself take more time
Don’t leave any mistakes inside
Write me a poem
a beautiful lie
There’s a tightrope
I see man, he’s on a tightrope
Your face is a newspaper
Maybe she knows who you are
Who are you
Does she know?
Maybe you should ask her?
I knew that you wrote poems
I didn’t know that you wrote poems
It’s a tightrope
It’s a balancing act
That’s not a good line
Take that back
I’m not a painter
I’m not a stargazer,
not a believer,
not an enemy
not a friend
I’m just a pencil
I’m just a translator
I’m just an ever scribbling mess of fraying ends
Give me solace
Give me another twenty lines
Write me a poem
Write me a poem
Make your existence
April 14th, 2014
All these places I’ve been forgotten, I am
Buried, under the weight of all my deeds
Away from here I am light, I pretend, I am free
'Til I come home again, am
Reminded of who I’ve been
Over and under I weave
Singing, dragging on, singing deadly, singing to the
April 13th, 2014
Between the walls of most hearts there is affection: love and the need to be loved. Hers can be found between her vertebrae. Between her toes and behind her ears and between the skin on her palms and the weight they carry through the day. She is love, and though frequently tormented by it, longs to be loved. She doesn’t need much, but she needs a forever. Every movement is that of folded paper cranes and she is delicate and gentle and bold, and she is a stark contradiction to the storybook princess but looks for her happily ever after all the same. She is fighting and on fire and only when you juxtapose her flames with the ever soft calming of water can you imagine what it is to see rain.
April 12th, 2014
When things are the very best I walk slow
I walk slow
I hardly notice where I am and it takes me ten minutes to get from twelve noon to 8:00 am
I skipped an egg this morning
I made the egg
but I skipped the eating it part
because I was so eager
to just get out in the world
and start my day
and that’s the trouble:
I’m doing well.
I’m doing so, so well
and I find
that gives me a whole lot less
April 11th, 2014
I remember the day I first asked
"when did you marry my father?"
and I knew the answer
but not exactly..
and I held my breath
because somehow I knew
and I felt something inside of me crumble
"I was born in April"
"I know it takes nine months"
Mistakes are relative
by the general definition
and that part didn’t bother me so much
"Am I why? Am I the reason?"
"In a way, yes. You are one of the reasons."
I was not young.
Not times tables, lunchbox young
I was popularity, bullying
advanced placement, GPA
Not young enough to not
wonder how I could have ever
He was clean-cut, charming
and I was potential
begging for a nest
and you might’ve gotten out
but I was on the way
and you stayed
and I came
April 10th, 2014
She is bright-eyed and brilliant
She is a beacon
She’s witty and interesting
and breath taking
and all she wants
is to be pretty
She is bright-eyed and beautiful
All her wispy ends are running wild
She is talented
and she is so
so far away
Her body is a battlefield
the kind of struggle you haven’t dreamed
and the mirror never paints the same
what she says
is not what she means
She is lightning
Ominous promises of rain
and when she looks at you
she’s begging you
it’s the least of what she is but
she is pretty
but can’t you see how she doesn’t see it
how she longs for you to reassure
and the truth is you’re not the problem
but you encourage the problem in her
she’s so pretty
so far away
but you don’t see
the way it’s only if you say it
that she can pretend to believe
she is pretty
April 9th, 2014
I am a certified lifeguard.
I am certified to save lives.
I know that when there are no signs of life,
you begin with 30 chest compressions,
an inch and a half deep,
break the ribs beneath your hands,
force the heart to pump blood.
I know that you follow with two breaths,
rescue breaths they’re called,
you force the lungs to breathe.
I know that when an
Automatic External Defibrillator
is often treatable
most other things
and I know
in the moment
But it’s so rare;
It’s so rare that anyone would need me to.
I wish that instead of guarding lives,
I could be certified
Because they are so often in need of protection.
I wish I knew
how many compliments to pay
and about what;
which bones to break,
which barriers to break,
which breaks would make you whole.
I wish I knew
which types of pain
and when does the device arrive
that helps me find out?
The heart is
so much more dramatic in it’s downfall.
So visible are the signs,
they can be broken into steps
and performed with
And I’d guess that if you ever needed it,
you’d be glad that I am able to save your life
but the heart is just one organ
and there are so many
April 7th, 2014
Hit the backspace key;
that’s what it feels like for something to end.
Technology is so definite.
Once, my computer stopped working in the middle of my using it, and it didn’t start working again.
I took it to the place you take things like that
and they told me it was the hard drive
they told me,
"it will all be lost."
"I will be lost."
I left knowing that when I came back
I’d be less $100, and 100,000 memories
and I cried openly
the way my mother cried
when all those photo albums were thrown out into the rain
because hard drives and prints
pay equally in the eyes of the elements.
For three days I mourned
and when I came back for the shell,
for the rain stained album of my life,
they told me,
"it was not the hard drive,
only the cord,
it will cost you $5
and the loss
I cried openly
the way my mother cries
when she remembers all those
rain soaked albums
laying in the yard,
because some things
April 6th, 2014