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today i woke up
crying. i dreamed of you–
a goddess, religion, merchant of fate
an altar & i consecrate
kneeling like a sinful curse
until my knees bled from the golden debris
chiseled out of shattered dreams
& i couldn't breathe, my trachea overflowed
sacred stars. sacrifice before your smile
i no longer recognized myself
last night i fell asleep
bleeding. i thought of you–
the shadowed side of the moon
in a lighthouse attic, barefoot
dancing amongst the gospel of waves
and silhouettes of candlelight.
beneath the tower: i tumbled in waves
with the body of a sunken pirate ship
and the face of a lost bandit child
i slit my throat in denial that i'm drowning
tonight i am sober. but unbearably empty
the scars on my neck crawl like poison ivy
all over my defiled skin. throat split open
and it feels cold, it feels like coming home.
i sit next to the edge of life, numb
& watched as the river of stars
you had once kissed into my throat
return to the heavens–
where my longing for you belongs
silent, immaculate, and forever intense
1. when you smile, your lips curl into the shape of a scythe. from the first day i knew they would break me to ruins.
2. in my dreams you smile against my lips and my tongue swells with steaming blood. i never knew hurting could be this soft, like cotton candy dipped in water. you bite off my tongue and i am left as a disemboweled corpse.
3. your beauty cuts my throat open and my blood seeps into your veins. i give all of me to you because i cannot stand myself, because i like you more than i hate myself.
4. my lips are bruised. yours are red from thirsting for blood. my body has always been weaved from cotton candy. you could've torn me open with bare hands and nothing else yet you insisted on blades because you didn't want to touch me even in my last fading moments.
5. if the scythe had been painted with fingerprints of any other, i would've at least tried to escape.
northern italy, 1980s. i unhinged my torso
between afternoon's sun and the grass field
i used to think would bury me
with white roses & your last name on the tomb
in my head our summers are next to right now:
you placed a strawberry between your lips
soft, sour fruit slumped down my bare throat
the one now scorched with acrylic scars
northern italy, 1980s. i no longer recall
how many summers i had been drunk on you
we were hellfires with oxygen-filled lungs
and your touch always felt like the first
our initials on that apple tree, withered.
i dig into my mind until my fingers bleed
for traces of a forgone lifetime, heaven
in your perfume, sins tasting like lipstick
northern italy, 1980s. some years later
i'd wake up in an empty bed, you next to him
polaroids locked, you no longer remember
august night, beneath your body. onwards-
i taste blood instead of strawberries
our apple tree torn down for the better. but
i don't regret the summers wasted next to you
& never the years of melancholy that followed
drowned to life
september night, hours frozen
i drown my reflection in a lake
without rippling the black surface
for i have run out of escapes.
my reflection floats into a curse
with no human heart weighing it down.
the face of a mannequin
disappears as soon as i blink.
my skin peels off in liquid dreams.
step into the void, and i knew
i had drowned the wrong reflection
but i have run out of escapees.
i fold into the lake, the underside
of my conscience is scraped.
shredded lungs, spilling cold ink
but i am breathing for the first time.
the waters were knocked-over pallets
stolen paints from northern skies.
open my throat, dishevel in silence
i run out of escapes and into life.
my body casts no shadow in the water
for the lake held hostage, tightly
the color of your colorless eyes
and i am drowning without metaphor.
wake up with dead skin under nails
and glass breaking between teeth
the room is painted velvet and cold
like the filthy insides of a used casket
crushed plaster cemented throats
skin caress by muddled fingerprints
there is something familiar in the air
the smell of feathers burnt by rain
enveloped by thickly layered darkness
like troubled letters ripped in pieces
weighed down by a glass tapestry
closed windows end with broken locks
quietly, in the lock-piece on an office door
bare metal scratched with dried scarlet
chipped nails pale, pieces of broken skull
rest in the crevices like a thirsty battlefield.
the rusted key she had once given me
snaps into halves on the passcode lock
her birthday, her number, their anniversary
the lifetimes i've run dry, my last heart
hidden in the bloodstains on her palm.
if my fingertips are the errors, delete me
from codes in the scripting of this world
and i hope my door to her is forever locked
i wake up. there is a thick layer of glass on my skin. like a hollow seashell. like a bubble in the shape of riverbeds. like a leather jacket.
the end of dark tunnels lead to places i recognize. this one leads to the school hallway. i remember my locker passcode but the lock turns into a chain.
i remember the passcode because it is your birthday.
i know this hallway. it’s the one you walk through every friday at 1:15 in the afternoon. the same high heels echo the hallway. when i think about your heels my thigh burns. i wonder if i am merely an echo too.
for a moment i’m convinced that the numbers 115 mean something. but they only tell time. they don’t tell me anything.
i enter the classroom with a broken clock. time only exists as blue currents your eyes.
glass tightens around me.
the air vibrates into a bell. they sound like waves crashing shore.
i look down at my wristwatch. like i always do. because i don’t believe in bells. i always think that someday sooner or later they’ll be wrong. i find that i am not wearing a watch. so i look at my wrist instead.
there are scratches. they are linear like how time is supposed to be. they are the color of your lipstick stains. i am trying to remember the serial number on your maroon tube of lipstick.
the scratches don’t disappear. i remember a blade running through me and your fingertips tracing down my spine.
i do not know where i am. so i fall to darkness.
i wake up again from glass tightening around my skin. i think this is a punishment. because i had wanted you. because it shouldn’t hurt this much if this wasn’t to punish me.
i follow the dark tunnel. it is longer than i remembered. my memory is off. i push down the door handle and the door opens for me. i learned this the last time i was here.
the handle is rusted. but it does not stain my hands through the layer of glass.
i do not remember why i am here, nor how to leave. maybe i don’t want to leave.
i am in the classroom. there are 5 rows and 6 columns of tables. i know this because i have been here for three years. i know where i sit. it is in the corner, the one furthest to you.
in my head there are seashells made of porcelain.
i remember things.
the bell rings again in the same vibrations as last time. like a wave rippling through a calm surface.
i am beginning to think that it would end the same way. i hope it doesn’t. i hope it never ends.
the door opens.
for a moment i think it is you.
a mannequin enters the room. i am not afraid of the dead face. i am only scared that i have lost you forever.
i stand up in the seat. the ground gives away underneath me and it feels like stepping into the ocean.
i am still alive, floating in air.
i wish i had known how to float. i could’ve been alive. but the past is dead.
someone shows me the way out of the classroom. beach pebbles scatter the hallway floor. i am still floating.
once the door closes behind me i fall back to the ground. there is still glass underneath my feet but i cannot feel it. someone shows me a new hallway i have never seen and i think it is strange. i have been here for three years.
they lead me to a white room. there are no clocks here. the walls are lined with cabinets. one of them is empty. there is something covered in white sheets on a white table.
i recognize the outline but i pretend i don’t. i lift the sheets and it is not you. your skin is sewn on a dead body. i wish that was me. your face is pale blue. it is your favorite color. the color of clear waves and foamy tides. i do not question why i know that.
they tell me you are gone. i don’t believe them. you’re still here. in wisps of perfume stinging my lips. in the ghostly fingertips that trail across my cheek.
i am not afraid.
my fingertips slit through your skin. it is liquid. it holds shape in the starlight of my dreams. i think about drowning in your cold beauty.
there is a dagger on the table. a rose is tangled on the handle.
i think about doing it but i am afraid. there is something familiar in the air. it is thick with salt, as if i was in front of an ocean. i am afraid.
so i swallow the blade instead, handle and all.
i wake up in darkness again. i cannot bear it. i am losing you. i am losing me. but i know neither of these people. the water’s edge lifts up high. it is going to crash down any time.
i am running in dark tunnels. i am feeling. i am remembering.
i run into the lockers. but i do it on purpose. a crack forms in the glass. i smile. but i am not happy. i do not know why i am smiling. i throw myself against the lockers. again and again. like rumble fish.
the glass shatters. i fall to the ground. there are numbers that i recognize on the metal lockpiece. the classroom clock starts ticking. but it is too late.
it takes me a moment to process what is happening.
i am lying on the floor and you are on me, more beautiful that i remembered. your knees are bruising my hip. i recognize your perfume. it is suffocating me like your painted nails that i have once mistaken as rose thorns. your hands digging into my stomach. you are wearing a leather jacket. splatters come off really easily on that surface. i remember now. you and your metal chains.
your breath is rushed and uneven. you are sitting on my thigh. your heels press into my skin, kissing scars on to me. rose vines lift up the hem of my school uniform. my skin has been replaced by bruises of every color. i have been here one too many times. i like the scent of your perfume because it reminds me of heaven. you lean forward and i think of nothing. i think of nothing because my everything is next to me.
the tips of your hair are red. i do not understand. your favorite color is pale blue.
there is a dagger in your right hand and a chained locket in your left. you crush the metal with the fingertips that once held me hostage. i am starting to remember. but i am afraid of the past.
i have died in the past.
there is blood on the dagger. from the tip all the way to where the handle began. it is all red. i am confused. your favorite color is pale blue.
there is a cut on my chest. it is as deep as the dagger’s blade is long.
i think i understand, and i am very, very afraid.
it was never an ocean. i remember the white porcelain and the seashells embedded in bathroom tiles and how i dyed them red. i remember the tipped-over bottle and pills on the floor like pebbles. i remember drowning myself in the bathtub, lungs expanded and burst and soapy water spilling into veins on the night you sent me to exile. i remember wanting to be painted your favorite color.
i like sunsets because they look like the bruises in my neck. i remember leather jackets from when the gold-lined zipper cut through me and your nails blooming roses on my skin wherever you touched. i remember the kisses of you stilettos heels tearing me open and how the heart-shaped locket necklace tightening around my neck was nothing but metal chains.
i never fixed the classroom clock because i had wish it would never enter the time when i had to break myself in front of you to know who i am.
but it is too late.
i am not myself anymore. you cannot hurt me.
the dagger rips another petal-shaped scar on my chest. and another and another.
i am from darkness. you made me stay because you need the color you now draw from my body to paint your narrative.
you knew that i was alive. you and your acrylic nails, your high heels, your cold chains, and your leather jacket. i remember.
i remember the nights i begged you to be careful cutting yourself on my broken shards with a mouth full of blood. i remember how i’d rip open my own skin for it to be soft enough not to hurt your blades. i remember the stars in your eyes when you scratched your name into every chamber of my heart.
patterns of red splatters across the sleeve of your jacket.
and we do it all over again.