to the people who bought my childhood home,
there are raspberries growing under the living room window,
and a hamster buried in the garden,
and the third stair from the top used to have a stain that looked kind of like a dog,
before we replaced the carpet.
all this is to say,
this place is more mine than it will ever be yours,
and I still walk the rooms in my head before I fall asleep at night,
the scars on my body a road map to every sharp corner.
I crave domesticity with you,
a cupboard full of mismatched mugs,
fighting words that are still gentle (I love you),
morning breath, bumping around each other in a too-small kitchen,
tap-tap (I love you) on the backs of your hands, your butt, your chest.
crummy jokes that you laugh at anyway,
silent conversations, all breath and heartbeat (I love you),
time a metronome in the back corner,
underscore and audience,
swaying to this sloppy symphony
we're afraid to call love.
poetry slam practice
The man at the microphone is telling us about his mystery girl, he calls it a love poem but it reads like a grocery list,
-if they don't have a brunette at the store a blonde will do,
he knows she's not his forever, but at least she still fucks all the broken pieces of him back together,
and he thinks that's good enough,
and I think that's the saddest thing I've ever heard,
to the time when nick from elementary school told me love was just one of those made-up things,
But I've seen a giraffe so maybe he just meant it's hard to find,
maybe he meant it doesn't live here, in a place like this.
Maybe he meant that when you are so focused on finding something perfect you forget to find something real, and you can't fuck away your fucked-up feelings, and a girl is not a sex toy,
but one time nick from elementary school lit a cookie on fire in the school microwave, so maybe he didn't mean that at all,
maybe I am putting words in his mouth,
the way the man at the microphone is speaking for his girl,
telling us the noise she makes when he touches her,
and I think he means it to feel vulnerable,
and it's working,
because I have never felt so alone,
but I hope his girl knows that she does have long legs. And nice tits.
And deserves someone who can write a halfway-decent love poem.
April showers bring May flowers,
so in the desert we make do,
mascara rain and broken things,
planting tears like prose across the back of each hand
where they ripple between shaking breaths.
She is ugly when she cries,
like the clouds this time of year,
but nothing grows from nothing,
and to water dreams with grief
is better than watering them with nothing at all.
easy as breathing
in the belly of the beast breathing doesn't come easy,
there is air, here, but not enough,
and the knowledge that one day it will run out
makes a part of you wish it was never there in the first place,
because at least asphyxiation is an ugly word,
the kind that makes your tongue cut itself on each syllable,
not slur into silence
like these shallow silent gasps.
But as long as there is air here
it will be yours,
paper lungs rasping rhapsodies into an empty room,
Twenty years from now I will write about this month in a battered notebook
in an empty room somewhere foreign.
I will title the chapter 'the Cold War,' and it will be funny,
because time has a way of doing that.
The words will come easily, the way they do in history textbooks,
lifeless things lined up neatly on the page.
And they will not hurt.
Their author will have forgotten the time when they were ammunition,
where family photos hung on the walls of the battlefield like some sort of poorly-written irony.
She will have forgotten the fear of words pounding like shrapnel against too-thin doors,
and the deeper fear when it all was quiet.
She will leave out the part about how her lungs ached from holding her breath,
waiting for the bomb to drop, and knowing there is nothing in this world she could do about it,
a part of her wishing they would go ahead and press that red button,
because when your world is reduced to dust,
at least there is nothing left to wait for.
graphite trails silver down blue wrists,
the winter's sky a steel-grey slate.
this is eternity, identical computer tabs,
sunken eyes and uniform steps.
The tears snap against the linoleum,
clicking like so many mechanical pencils,
sputtering chains of letters and numbers and self-worth
across the sterile floor.
when the scars are sweet
I am looking at the scars on the back of my hands,
the little ones,
a crescent across one knuckle,
nicked playing warrior with wooden swords.
The one at my fingertip,
from learning how to cut onions,
pulling swim goggles over watering eyes,
laughing around the tears.
When I tell her I know her like the back of my hand,
I am referring to this place,
all splinters and sweetness,
and a thousand other moments that have faded with time.
When I tell her I know her
like the back of my hand,
I wonder if she realizes
I don't know her at all.
Tomorrow I will wake and find that the tabloid magazines in the grocery store checkout aisle have lied.
"New year, new you..."
But the eyes looking back at mine in the mirror are the same.
Maybe it's not about this night, though, but the three-hundred-and-sixty-five others.
One of those "it's about the journey, not the destination," kinda things.
Congratulations, space rock. You've made your way around our star yet again.
I'd like to think that the girl at this checkpoint in space last year was different.
That she's since learned the difference between being alone and being lonely,
how to take up space, and hold her own, and cry a little.
That she's not afraid to say yes to the things that scare her in a good way,
and no to the people who aren't worth it.
I think she's still a little lost, but maybe she's made her peace with that.
Maybe it's enough to live for the little things,
and love a little recklessly,
and grin for no reason at all
as this rock sets out on another trip around our star.