ceasing to self-immolate (12/6/20)
“do you like it when i’m away? / if i went and hurt my body, baby, /
would you love me the same?
i can feel all my bones coming back /
and i’m craving motion
mama never really learns how to live by herself.” -- rick montgomery’s line without a hook.
these days, i can only get your attention when i’m tripping over cliffs + parachutes:
am i the most broken thing you ever had? i think i’d like the comfort in knowing that
i’m at least your “best” in this! i’m your special girl, at least in this regard, at least
i have your eyes on me when i’m making myself new scars, and you’re
worried about me for five minutes or so. and then every other hour of every other
single freaking day, i have to set us on fire to make sure we’re not cold. i will not
be the one who waits on you. not anymore. if you want to hear from me, then beg
for it! self-immolate and call us golden flowers, who even cares anymore? but
it’s what i did, my friend. douse myself in lighter fluid and be surprised you came to me first. it’s not like you did any other time. my ignition was the only time i saw myself
light up your eyes. so drink what you will. pretend like things are okay. because i know i won’t, and these days, i won’t wait for your attention, anymore: turns out, i know exactly
what i want us to be. a line without a hook, two boats drifting on an open sea.
taking us and breaking us was easy (12/7/20)
“she told me that she loved me by the water fountain / she told me that she loved me and she didn’t love him / and that was really lovely ’cause it was innocent /
but now she’s got a cup with something else in it.” --- alec benjamin’s water fountain.
“Hey,” she greets. It doesn’t sound right. And it could be because it’s 8:12 p.m. at night and she’s standing on my front porch, but things from her haven’t sounded right lately, anyways. And I know what this is. She continues, “We good?”
I have this unfinished love letter, abandoned on my desk. Guess I’ll never give it to her now. Suppose it’s both of our faults, but I know what this is. I have a rose that’s been wilting for quite some time in my fist. And what this is, this--this moment. It’s my choice now.
“I’m good,” I answer, but it isn’t an answer. And in my hand, I crush the rose into fragments. She wanted to have something greater, I guess. And I wasn’t a part of that. “It’s getting late. Hope you stay safe.”
And I know she knows what this is, too. It’s a string being cut. It shows on her face. “Yeah. You, too.”
I shut the door in her face.
dynamite & bad decisions (12/8/20)
″oh baby, i hang on everything you say / i wanna write down every word,
but do me a favor when you come through:
when i look around, / don’t wanna see you.” -- the strokes’ bad decisions.
5) and it starts like this: we drove your dad’s sedan off the highway, then danced on the roof. it sank to the swamp, so we took off our shoes. it’s way past our curfew: you flipped off the moon. i think you’re a disaster. i think i want you.
4) your sister broke my nose, but you say you like ’em crooked. we’re good for nothing, aren’t we? i might as well look it. drink this, lovely! then follow me here--this dump is full of smog. and your eyes are so clear.
3) i’m queen of the asphalt. you’re monarch of the mud. i like the warmth of your hands. i like the taste of your blood. and we love, and we love, and we love, and we love. with you and for you, i’ve done things i’d never done.
2) my mother chased me out of the house. it’s okay. no, it’s okay! i’m done playing cat and mouse. i have you, don’t i? i have you. i have you. it’s always worth the trouble. always, if it’s you.
1) and it continues like this: i make bad decisions, and you press them to my lips. i’m a catastrophe, and you seal me with a kiss. if i told you to walk the other way, you’d never want to be free. you’re a bad decision, baby. but you were made for me.
of mottled indigo nights (12/9/20)
“stars on her slippers and her ceiling /
lost in a lavender feeling /
striped wallpaper at twilight /
a solitary sun starts to bloom.” -- asenath rose’s lavender feeling.
and if purple swathes the room, then maybe i’ll dare to ask:
who is she--no, what could i be? and what are we? who could we be?
tracing constellations on windowpanes only gets us so far,
and the night is indigo, and these are the blues;
i think of her, and then of nothing at all, and of nothing but stars, and
this is peter realizing he loves wendy. this is where i decide she’s
worth it to me. worth believing in the scribbled stars on cuffed jeans
and picnic blankets and unripe nectarines. this is my ceiling fan telling me
that this is worth chasing the dream, because--
because i believe. i believe! and what is love, if not to believe? this is
me. this is lavender, and how it feels to be free. so i’ll leave at twilight,
and i’ll run for what we could be. it’s purple, tonight. and this is me.
autonomy and a question of us (12/10/20)
″my weaknesses / you know each and every one (it frightens me) /
but i need to drink more than you seem to think /
before i’m anyone’s.” -- depeche mode’s a question of lust.
be gentle, be gentle, be gentle, my love. / i am my own before i am anything at all. / if distance makes the heart grow fond, then shall we be even stronger, still? / is it too much to ask for ferries instead of houses upon the hills?
however fond of you i am, i am even fonder of this: / solitude. / fancy that? / and now i’m giving you harsh words, but take my apologies in clovers, too. / my love, we are nothing but a question, and i doubt it’s just for you. / i adore you, i adore you, i adore you, i do. / but we can’t we hold our hearts together without tying the strings, too?
i would rather be home. / and months ago, i would say that was you. / but we’re human, dear God, aren’t we? / we can be our own lighthouses and not need a shore, / i can tell you i need you without it feeling like a chore. / i want this, i want us, / but i want there to be an i and a you. / i want to call us our own people and think that it’s true.
so i ask you to trust me. / to not see this space between us as a departure, but rather, as a testament / that every time i said i’d come back, those were the words i meant. / let me be gentle with us, my love, let me delicately pull us apart, / let me show you that i can exist on my own and still / trace the beat of your heart. / and--scratch that, this is less a question of trust, my love, / more so than it is, really, / a question of us.
hey prosers! thank you + q&a? (12/11/20)
"gotta get down on friday / everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend."
--Rebecca Black's Friday.
nope, no serious writing piece today! i just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been reading these! i know it's hard to follow along with a "chapter" a day, no matter how short they are, so really. all my gratitude to y'all! as always, i'm taking song requests, and i'll continue with the "radio" on Monday!
for now, thank you, Prosers! i hit 200 followers on here like, two weeks ago, maybe? i know i'm not very outgoing all the time since i'm a shy person who revolves around a circle, but thank you for your support nonetheless. rlove327 and sohi in particular, you've been so incredibly kind to me!
lastly, drop any type of question for me in the comments, please! anything about writing or just like, life or personal stuff in general lol. i'll answer them next Friday! thanks to anyone who read this!
(p.s. sorry for picking the worst meme song but :) https://youtu.be/kfVsfOSbJY0)
limitations of love (12/15/20)
"venus, planet of love, was destroyed by global warming.
did its people want too much, too?
did its people want too much?" -- mitski's nobody.
by the cobalt couch, on the floor,
i have your things laid out. they
are so many. i wish they were few.
by the cobalt couch, on the floor,
i think i laughed with you. i think i
pressed your hand to my chest and
was not afraid. i wish you'd at least
warned me that with you, being brave
was something like a compassionate mistake.
by the cobalt couch, on the floor,
i don't know what to say. i don't
think i can trust anymore. i loved fiercely
without restraint, and i see now
what that brings. it is a curse to remain tender-hearted.
by the cobalt couch, on the floor,
i know what it is to forgive.
but how does the heart rebound from this?
we don’t need a hero’s fate (12/17/20)
″i want something i can touch, / something i can feel,
i learnt that my pride is my achilles heel. /
and when my time is up, you know my love was real:
i learnt that my pride is my achilles heel. ” -- gareth fernandez’s achilles.
“Do you think we’re real?” You ask. We’re swaying, now, across the floor, and we’re doing a dang good job at not bumping into the other couples. A sappy but upbeat song surrounds us, bouncing off the curtain-laden walls.
I let out a huff, then tug your hand a bit to tell you to spin me. “Could be, if we wanted.”
“I’m serious,” you say.
“I think everything else in the world could be not-real,” I answer. It’s not a good answer. But you’ll know what I mean. You always do. “And we’d be dancing here. Tangible as ever.”
You snort. I try not to feel unbearably fond. “So we’ll have a real happy ending, then?” You continue, eyebrow raising quizically. “You promise?”
“I promise,” I say, and seal it with a kiss to lock it into fate. If nothing else, then grant us this. “We can be real.”
i know what home is now (12/18/20)
″time, mystical time, / cuttin’ me open, then healin’ me fine /
were there clues i didn’t see? /
and isn’t it just so pretty to think / all along there was some / invisible string /
tying you to me?” -- taylor swift’s invisible string.
Home is such a funny word, Xiu Ying thinks. A place to return to, and a place where someone wants you there. Weird. So weird.
She kicks off her shoes as she steps into the house, tossing her soccer bag onto the shelf. Ren Ju’s purse seems to frown at her disapprovingly from its own place.
Xiu Ying walks into their living room, quietly padding across the floorboards. She shivers. It’s…freezing. Had her girlfriend not bothered to turn on the heater?
As she carefully approaches Ren Ju’s form, sitting ramrod straight on the couch, her laptop in front of her, she frowns. Ren Ju usually worked in the office, grading papers and whatnot, but on particularly busy days, she settled onto their sofa in preparation for a long night.
“Boo,” Xiu Ying whispers, placing her hands onto Ren Ju’s shoulders as she stands behind the couch. The other woman hardly acknowledges her, continuing to type away at her keyboard.
Ah. Right. Grading for finals. Xiu Ying gently kneads her hands into her girlfriend’s shoulders, and based on how long it takes Ren Ju to relax them, she’s right. Ren Ju must be incredibly wound up.
“Hey,” Xiu Ying starts, voice gentle. “I just got back from practice, so I’ll be taking a shower. I’ll be right back, ’kay?”
Ren Ju gives a stiff nod in response. Xiu Ying hums, then gives her one last head pat before she’s heading to the kitchen.
Xiu Ying digs out a measuring cup, fills it with water, then sets it down to boil. She looks over her shoulder to peer at Ren Ju again. The other woman has the same frozen features as always—which makes sense, considering how easily she gets cold. Xiu Ying stands on her tiptoes to turn up the thermostat.
Leaning down to the cabinet, she fishes out a mug from Cheng Bowen and their tea pot. Ever so carefully after fishing out the container of tea leaves, she scoops them into the pot, trying to mimic Ren Ju.
Xiu Ying sighs, leaning against the counter with her arms crossed. She’s not very patient or …meticulous, which is literally what brewing tea requires, so she hopes she gets this right as she waits.
In the meantime, she turns to their Bluetooth speaker. Ren Ju likes dead white man—classical, she means, music, so. Xiu Ying fumbles with the dang thing a bit before a song comes on, serenely filling the room with the sound of Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1.
After pouring the hot water into the tea pot, she unceremoniously sprints off into the bathroom, tossing her clothes into the basket and pretending not to notice when they miss. Ren Ju can’t get frown-y with her while she’s busy, so she just steps into the shower, smacking the water handle on.
Soccer practice was…hard today, which is granted, if you play on any professional team. Xiu Ying roughly scrubs the grime off her skin, letting soap suds chase off the sticky feeling clinging to her. As hot water pours onto her scalp, softening the sweat-matted hair that clings to her crown, she stares at the two face washes on the stand in front of her. Ren Ju always pulls a slight frown when she uses the citrus one, which isn’t ideal when they hug, so Xiu Ying grabs the vanilla one to smack onto her face.
After she’s scrubbed herself thoroughly and stepped out, steam billows out to the rest of the bathroom. She pulls a towel around herself, mildly kicking the door open to hurry back to the kitchen. She’s very pleased to see that the song is still playing, the tea is still brewing, and the room is significantly warmer. The stiff atmosphere of the house she’d returned to, with Ren Ju no doubt creating with her mega high-strung vibes, has mellowed into something softer.
Gently, she pours the tea into the mug, careful not to let the droplets splash out like last time she’d tried.
That is one rad cup of tea, Xiu Ying thinks to herself, proudly splaying her hands onto her hips. She looks over her shoulder to where Ren Ju sits—well, she’s in the same position, but. Her shoulders are less rigid, her lip less pursed. The music and the warmth have done their job.
She scurries into the bedroom, (really, it’s a blessing Ren Ju is too busy to mention how she’s running like a panicked rat around the house,) dropping her towel to change into an oversized hoodie and grabbing one of those big, suffocatingly fluffy blankets.
Then, as she returns into the living room, she comes up to the couch from behind, gently taking the blanket and wrapping it around her girlfriend’s shoulders. Ren Ju looks back at her, and Xiu Ying tilts her head, giving her a wide smile and a thumbs up in question.
Ren Ju’s silver eyes look ever so soft, and she gives an appreciative nod before turning back to her laptop. Xiu Ying tries not to feel flustered--she’s bad at shows of affection still, okay? It takes a while to get used to the idea that someone wants her.
She turns into the kitchen before dwelling on that thought, grabbing the hot mug in her hand and padding over to the sofa. She takes a seat besides Ren Ju, raising the mug to her girlfriend’s lips. Ren Ju tilts her head down, lets out a few cooling blows, then takes a quiet sip. When she’s done, Xiu Ying sets the mug onto the coffee table in front of them.
She scoots over to the farther side of the couch, awkwardly playing with the drawstrings of her hoodie. She’s not sure if—you know, since Ren Ju is so busy and in a tight spot, maybe she shouldn’t be bothered. Xiu Ying twiddles her thumbs.
Then, a snowy hand reaches out, gently curving around the side of Xiu Ying’s head. Ren Ju firmly pushes her until Xiu Ying gets the signal, laying down on her side to splay her head onto Ren Ju’s lap as Ren Ju shifts the laptop to her other leg.
“Hey,” Xiu Ying says after a bit, peering up at Ren Ju. Ren Ju looks down at her, rubbing her thumb over her cheek slowly, like when they were kids. “Bad day?”
“Busy day,” Ren Ju affirms quietly.
“I’m sorry, Ren Ju. Is the tea alright?”
“It’s perfect,” she says. Then, softer, “It could’ve been a worse day. You…made it better.”
Xiu Ying feels herself get shy at that. “Good,” she answers, wetting her lips. “That’s—I hoped I could help you relax a bit. Can I—should I get a candle? Or do you need—”
Ren Ju leans down to slot their lips together, and Xiu Ying closes her eyes, letting herself melt into it. It’s gentle. Warm.
As Ren Ju pulls away, she murmurs a quiet “thank you.”
“We have holiday plans,” Xiu Ying answers, still not quite over her habit of babbling after they’ve kissed. “We can cancel them, though, if it’s…”
“No,” Ren Ju responds easily. “We can keep them. I will be done by tonight.”
“Okay,” she says. “That’s rad. I was looking forward to naming elves at the outdoor festival with you.”
Ren Ju lets out a small huff of a laugh. She links their fingers together, palm to palm. And as she continues to clack away on the keyboard, Xiu Ying closes her eyes, the smell of tea and the warmth of the room surrounding her.
This is home, she thinks.
things i know about roxanne: (12/20/20)
″roxanne, roxanne, / all she wanna do is party all night /
roxanne, roxanne, / never gonna love me but it’s alright.” -arizona zervas’ roxanne.
1) she can tie cherry stems into knots with her tongue. i see her do it at parties every other night.
2) she’s an L.A. girl, or something like that. made for some place where i know the sun shines.
3) last sunday, she tied a bandana around her neck. told me she’s a Malibu baby born and bred. she’s used to the heat, you know? the sun’s just another star.
4) she sneaks out her bedroom window half past 1 a.m. to catch a taxi to the firework festival at the river walk. and i wanted to ask if i could go with her, but
5) she’s never looked my way twice. unless i begged for it. see, the
6) first time i met her was a party that no one remembers but me. and she put a shot glass full of kool-aid in my hands and somehow dragged me to the beat.
7) and she had me drive her strawberry-red convertible with the top down, standing while pushing speed limits. my mom says she won’t make it past twenty three, but i
8) saw her at the outlet last friday with that same old clique, some stolen first kisses in her fingers. word on the street is that she keeps a jaguar well-fed in her closet. but i only
9) ever see her jogging around the block sweating her socks off in ridiculous sweatpants, and her poodle held in her arms.
10) what i know is that roxanne pops firecrackers like pills. she sits in the back of the class, and she doodles rainbows and stars and hearts in the margins.
11) what i know is that i was in a gas station, a nickel short of that chewing gum. and she saw me, pressed her lips to a buck, handed me her dollar.
12) and i kept it, brought it to the beach field trip. she wore a navy blue lace bralette and some jean shorts, laughed and posted on the ’gram when she caught me staring. she knows how to have a good time, and i think it’s all she knows how to do.
13) and i keep wondering what i’ll have to do to get her to look at me twice.