thinking about calling out
of work tomorrow if this continues.
you haven't texted back,
i guess they're keeping you
i am lying in bed, where we have
loved and made love -
where we have cried and play-fought.
there are so many intangible pieces
of you tangled in my sheets and
staining my mattress, millions of
atoms and dust mites and cells,
so many so that for once i wish
they would all come together
and form a tangible you.
(but only so i could whisper
into your neck and hold you
in the dark universe of my room.)
for now, i have your shirt.
the one i've had for months.
it doesn't smell like your skin anymore,
but it smells like your deodorant and
belonging. it smells like comfort
and coming down from the heights
of orgasm, like love and hurt and
years to be.
i miss you -
- please spend the night with me.
.I tattooed your name
across my heart but
I told the artist
don't go too deep,
these things don't
last forever, you know.
WhispersI am smeared...
...across your lips and mouth.
Slandered by a snake with scales like flesh.
Your eyes blister...
...they ignite and extinguish my fire.
Cursed by a cat with a tongue-like tail.
My blood burns...
...as you thread your talons through it.
Kissed by a corpse with fangs named Fear.
AsthmaHis apartment is an aquarium
but he needs a birdcage;
his lungs are shivering,
breath stuck like cold molasses
in his lungs. Sheets ragged as his
breathing tangle around the bed,
white waves surging, cresting,
His inhaler is in a shoebox
with the other mementos of 1976;
a bicentennial quarter, a flatcap
from his paperboy days, and a letter
from Sally Keepers, whose kiss
left him so breathless
he mistook it for an attack.
He’s in that Chevrolet
again, knees knocking the backseat,
fighting to breathe, inhaler lost
somewhere on the floorboard
and she’s kissing him, drowning
him, and he can’t get enough air
but he can’t get enough of her either,
blonde locks lashing with electric
current like a defibrillator
trying to get his heartbeat back to normal.
He rummages around the shoebox
until he finds the inhaler
and presses the trigger,
sighing to himself. It never
could have worked; she tasted like
All of Youacrylic paint crusts over
on the frostbitten razors
of your Armageddon days.
a storm is born every few
seconds in my saltwater lungs
and my mind is caught in
a torrent of just you and
our atoms collide, but
you slip through the
patchworks of my veins
and you're glad that we didn't immerse,
glad that you have the delirious surface world to your disposal.
congratulations, i guess.
you pick a crescent tide
from the mourning aqua
and then tell me i'm out
of my mind.
i think i might be out of
my mind, but this braking
music refuses to let me
slip from its dripping trebles.
i sink under the waves
but find that i can breathe
better than i could in air.
i draw you in with me too.
what use is the ocean if i can't drown?
cease to belight creases the skin of
memories left on my floor
passing hours on oil-slicked cat feet
and at best i have destroyed
the turn of the century, watching
as it moves about face and
saunters down the drive, layered
in inches of dust and snow
i bring families together
the way death does, and push
mine apart with mental illness that
has left lesions on my brain
deeper than the rivers of my childhood,
deeper than my new-found stretch marks
and in the years i spent, perfecting
my addiction to sorrow and melancholia,
i tucked pieces of my sadness into
the envelopes of letters i never sent -
the lipstick and nightly memories
branded into my mind
an inventory of beingI go by Sheridan
And a variety of other things.
Sixteen going on twenty-three,
Or at least that’s what my mother says.
I’m shorter than most,
But that’s alright.
I like being close to the earth,
Makes me feel grounded.
The mop on my head is blonde,
And brown and purple
I like change, when I can control it.
People call me beautiful, say
I have the eyes of green moss,
And the spirit of sunshine,
But I don’t believe them.
(Chronic self-consciousness is to blame.)
I feel like I’m the worst,
So I project a false confidence,
And act like I’m the best.
I am stuck somewhere between
Who I was, who I am,
And who I
am meantwant to be.
I love the pitter-patter of raindrops,
Especially on the leaves of trees.
I always take my tea with honey,
But never milk.
Spring and fall are my favorite seasons,
They remind me of myself.
Incapable of deciding between cold,
Indecisive is my middle name.
I like sketchbooks
And moleskin noteboo
surface tensionyou are something, something, something
wandering the mind as if it’s a hotel made of finches:
the architecture of mazes built to watch the world
crack, crackle and burn
(welcome home, darling,
you’re the first guest that this labyrinth
has seen in quite a while. you’ll need
one stellar ball of yarn, kitten,
to get yourself out of this mess)
I'd march you down these weathered steps
into the sea, if I thought you could swim,
and I'd watch as the ocean took you away
from the walls of rusting appliances
papered with half burned pages
I'd pull you from this madman's palace
into the closest thing to the solace of space
if only you could swim
(but then again, that's precisely
what makes it so tempting
to do it anyways)
let me sing you to sleep,
lull you into a slumber beneath the waves,
for you came here to start a war,
but your horses are dead,
your ship’s burning and
your sputtering salt water-
that’s no war path, my lovely,
it seems that Chiron is d
The final hours of unfinished novelssometimes
it's scary to think about the way
time once wrote my name on its cover
and closed the unfinished novel
at the tip of a train wreck suicide
i wonder why i thought to sit down
and wait for it to return
to write words with a clarity to banish
the shadows following the past's clumsy stumbles
because it was destined to go wrong -
walking across a red string
like a circus freak
that would only collapse when someone tore it
its scary to think how we're
surrounded by people who can't bare to live
and settle for merely surviving
like the specks of dust that are brushed away
with dismissive glances and criticism
so i've followed the ink that rolled off pens onto paper
like words rolls off my tongue into thin air
i'm stood atop isolated clifftops
at the edge of a suicide -
carving butterflies into novels
that brand flecks of blood on my skin
because sometimes its scary
and sometimes its crazy
to find myself in pieces
that were swept aside like those flecks of dust
-i wanted love
and i didn't find it in the way your hand brushed up and down my spine
or in the forceful manner of your kiss
desecrating the sanctity of my innocence
and leaving bruises on my skin
no, i am not your canvas
you cannot paint me in your lust
or your weighty afflictions
brewing a storm in your mind
i deserved to be loved
An Unfair TradeLoving you was like stepping
into another world, young and
filled with the fragile hope
of new life, blooming with the
intensity of light, that is only
born from never knowing darkness.
It must have been a shock for
you to slip into my world, my
home, and find innocence stripped
down to the bare, rough wood
naivete abandoned by the curb and
the dark hues of cynicism
immaculately brushed onto every wall.
Terrible ThingsI met her in annoyance, in my youth, and in fright.
I'd never asked for love to find me, although I hoped it might…
"Hey, Hank." I felt something warm and terribly small touch my back. "Can I tell you something terrible?"
"First off, my name's not Hank." I said somberly, not turning. "And no, you can't. Or can you?"
I could practically see her frowning; the thought made me want to smile. "Sheesh. You sound like Mr. Walkins. May I?" she asked, her voice flat. "And besides, what is your name anyway?"
"It's Harry," I said slowly, "And you're going to lose a finger if you keep poking me.”
your act of loveyou encouraged me to speak instead of swallowing my words in silence.
you gave your dreams to the starstell me again, daddy, how you gave your dreams
to the stars for safekeeping many years ago.
but you forgot that the stars couldn't
keep your dreams forever.
the stars got tired of holding something
that they weren't meant to keep
and your dreams crashed, burned
and fell to the earth.
I found them the day
I knew you were disappearing.
I cradled the broken shards of
what once was
in my hands
and cried myself to sleep that night
because I knew
that some things that are lost
can never be found again.
HowlI beat the street out of my lungs. Burned
Those pages of salvation until the ink boiled red.
When they finally caught me I cursed every soul still on
Their knees and damned the midnight lamps that
bled through two-faced windows. When they told me
“Son, you have nothing to howl about.”, My voice
Became a whisper. In the prison they put us in
There are no bars, guards, or machine gun towers.
People come and go like moths to hellfire.
Like mass extinction and funeral pyres.
Not once did I think about escaping. Until,
The girl in the cell next to mine started screaming. Until
She clawed so deep her arms started breathing. Until
She swallowed that bullet and called it leaving. Until
I finally learned what it really meant to stop bleeding.
I started seeing through the blank pages and white walls.
Underneath it all, different prophets sing the same song.
The greatest minds of my generation weren’t driven to madness.
They were born to it. Their first breaths
Bricks and MortarI’m fully aware that I’m alive.
And in this life, I find it hard to believe
that I could allow so many nights to
pass unnoticed and unaccompanied.
And in this world where seven billion
souls crawl over one another,
being alone is something of a miracle.
Vie NoirYou were the promise of regret,
destiny wrapped in an egg shell,
something that temperance would not allow.
And you looked at me with cloudy eyes,
sipping your excuses while choking on tomorrow.
(We were the privileged few that God chose to endure the hopeless)
And you cursed my name while confessing every lie.
My borders grew as you clawed for the limits of absolution.
(We were the privileged few whose skin was hard to pierce)
And you loaded that gun with false bravado and ill intent.
The world was watching as you aimed it at the future.
(We were the privileged few who never forget to empty the chamber)
And you stared into the nothing, hoping to find me there
To My Biology TextbookOn page 159 of my biology textbook, it reads,
“...cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells”
as though that could explain everything,
and I thought it did for a time.
But my textbook never warned me
that his skin would pale
to a point where I could see
the blue freight trains
carrying eighteen pills
throughout his frail body.
My textbook never warned me
that his watery irises would freeze over,
that he would hurl insults like knives,
and that he would clench his jaw
as tightly as his fist clenched his wine glass
because the only person to blame is himself,
and he can’t swallow that as easily
as he can the olives in his martinis.
And my textbook never warned me
that it would be this difficult to breathe
because of my acute awareness
that his breaths are limited,
and that there would be nothing I could do
but soldier on searching for that silver lining
clinging to these foreboding thunderheads.
For Two BoysI have imagined
how your hands would feel
playing my piano key spine
and my cello-curved hips,
and how your lips would feel
between the plateau of my shoulder
and the slope of my neck—
I hate myself for it.
I can mouth all of his stories,
read all of his expressions,
and tell you all of his favorites,
as if he is the language
I have spent years studying.
I don’t even know
your father’s name
or your favorite season,
and some girl could have
the lines in your hands,
freckles on your face,
and baritone of your voice
memorized and playing
on repeat in her mind.
Even though our class swears
that we’re madly in love,
I have not once wondered
what flavor his lips carry
or how his body would feel
pressed firmly against mine.
I don’t even deserve you
in my wildest fantasies
if she knows you like I know
and Plath’s poetry.
Sometimes I’m afraid
that when he catches my eye
from across the crowded class,
it’s because he wan
UnfathomableI have been told that my eyes
are like someone bottled you up
and poured your color into my irises.
Sure, it’s a lovely compliment,
but I am not you.
You are a child playing dress-up
with your sister’s coats and frocks
because you want to be something bigger;
and she’s sweltering with jealousy
that you can wear those grays and blues
better than she ever could.
You are an angst-ridden teen
who dyed and spiked her hair
to hear her mother scream,
and no matter how many times
she tells you that your boyfriend
is a washed up good-for-nothing,
you keep coming back to kiss the shoreline
because you think that his love feels right.
You are a middle-aged mother
glancing over her shoulder
to check for those nosy neighbors
while putting up your new windowpanes
of sapphire stained glass to cloak
those blistering waves that occupy
your pristine, picket fence house.
You are the woman that sailors
have sworn to for centuries
and the woman that will keep
scientists surprised for year
the leaderscudded past like a sparrow smudged with coal ash;
arrived at the vantage point, his smirk
never having given him away
what kind of lava was,
in that moment,
coursing through his brain?
(he turned up
his collar; it was getting
with our beer bellies & rash -
covered necks, perhaps,
have to wipe off the foam
(did it come from the mouth? or
from the rim of the glass? be honest...)
& face that,
even stripped of circumstances,
would be throbbing on
the dissection table,
.Your promises turn
me bitter like black coffee
I crave sweeter lies
GreenwareGod took a pottery class
and could have spun perfect
pots from the store-bought
clay the instructor found half
off with an expired coupon.
He could have thrown slender
vases on a rickety wheel
or molded leather-hard discards
into elegant tea cups.
The glaze on his biscuits
unblistered; His earthenware
free of crackle; no shivering
to be found on His mugs.
God took a pottery class
and made sure every piece was flawed,
and called them perfect.
equinamity eludes man
remind yourself that you have two speaking lungs
beautifully uttering orchestrated sharp and flat
shifting in your diaphragm
remind yourself that your body is a work of art;
even as you are standing still, you are painting through
the indigo of your veins and the vermilion of your arteries;
do not fret for the stains on your skin do not take anything
away and in fact stand as a testament, an apotheosis
of the bubble-fragile buoyancy of your finite flesh
remind yourself that you have one breathing tongue;
an animated work with every flick, click, and lick
with it you write your biography, your magnum opus
in the inner ears or your listeners-
pay no attention to naysayers
is the door
Overpopulation.When they take
do they count
that we no longer
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