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It makes me ill3rd grade, 4th grade:
A sickening drop in my stomach,
My head is in the lowest gear.
I know that they live such different lives,
And yet we are connected by blood.
I can hear my pulse stop from the beat of their music,
I can feel my abdomen shrink into my spine as they yell at their mother,
I can see my hands shake even though we have the same blue eyes and same round cheeks.
I am terrified of their reality.
8th grade, 9th grade:
Strangers produce this physiological change in me:
Those with dark eyes, dark hair-
Those who are obviously different from me.
I am scared of realities I know aren't mine.
12th grade, 13th grade:
The reality I came to love is what frightens me the most.
The 4th grader within me is trembling in my palms,
She is crying in my ears,
Trying to cover up the sounds of your hiccups,
Trying to cover up the feeling of your tremors in my arms.
I trust you with my life,
But I don't trust you with your own.
I am frightened of a reality that I cannot protect.
14th grade, 15
'you can tell me anything, you know that'what i have to say is
"i'm feeling pretty sad right now"
but it can be illegal to let
negativity sprout in the crevices
of support structures and tear ducts.
what i want to tell you is
"i miss what i left behind with him"
but it is not well looked upon
to tell of misfortunes with old loves
to those who could be new.
what i wish i could say is
"the healthier i get, the more i want
to go back in time"
but those words would fall upon
full hearts, heightened expectations,
and lost connections.
i set ablaze every bridge
i came across, and there is no way
to travel back now,
and there would be not a single soul
waiting there for me.
what i do say is
"my shoulders are burning today,
my back feels broken this evening,
my eyes are dull tonight"
because physical ailments
are tangible and have permission
to exist, but, indeed,
they are the easiest pains
to cause myself.
flaws in composure are flaws in armorrepetitive two- or three- word phrases
are the outer limit of my vocabulary
when all i can hear is
my pulse in my throat and
my hands and legs rattling
against the floorboards.
my back is spiraling into itself,
searching for my stomach, for my lungs,
searching for a reason for this
suffocating pain and imminent death.
my eyes can't settle on any single object,
because everything is fragile
and i'm afraid to watch anything break-
maybe it's because i watched you break,
i watched my words break your trust,
i watched my actions wreck your beliefs.
a few minutes later, when the attack passes
and i'm alone on my bedroom floor,
i detach my arms from around my knees,
shove myself up with whatever strength i can muster,
and scrub yesterday's makeup
from the bags under my eyes.
someday i'll look back on this
and i'll see that i was a warrior.
a warrior with holes in my armor.
a paladin without a proper breastplate,
lacking the internal systems
that offer refuge during something as simple
as a p
looking for danger at 3 amcracking you open,
right there on the street,
would give me the satisfaction
that i've never asked for.
you offered me your wrist for me
for weeks, for months, for years,
wishing i'd hurt you just so your tears
could be "justified".
don't you know?
you didn't get the memo?
none of us have the justification
that we feel gives us permission
to destroy or be destroyed.
we're all wandering the alleys at night
that someone will stab us in the gut,
just because we wouldn't flinch
and wouldn't give up our wallet.
kidalmost every damn day
i halt words that are about to spill from my throat,
i hiccup over sentences that i can't bear to speak.
three letter words can serve as a trigger
that launches a full fledged attack on my nerves,
which in turn launches me out into the street.
and every time my heel hits the pavement
all i can hear is "get out. get out. get out."
all i know is that i need to get out.
and i need to get out fast.
but almost every damn day
i spit out terms of endearment
for all of those who
i hold so dangerously high.
i almost collapse under their weight
when that short, seemingly insignificant word
almost sneaks past my lips.
the soles of my sneakers
can barely hold me aloft
when i run with such panicked purpose,
hearing nothing but
"how could i almost- how could i almost-
how could i almost say-"
and knowing that
indeed, i almost said it.
and almost every damn day
i lash out at the memories
that i've cut into jigsaw pieces,
trying to throttle the
panic-prone girl i've grown from
it's true - i'm leaving youconvincing a child that someone is now
from their life is a matter of
saying goodbye, wiping up tears,
and never seeing a trace of them
as an eighteen year old,
i would have appreciated the child's version
of this ritual of persuasion.
instead, i got two-month intervals of
delay and lingering,
times of remaining identical
to the stale soul i had become.
i could count the intervals
exactly to the day -
two months was the longest
anyone could go before shattering
into insignificant shards.
as a twenty year old,
i have become skeptical
of the idea that someone could
leave at all.
i might not speak to them,
i might not see them,
i might not notice things around me
that used to define my vision of them,
but the absence of habits
gives absolutely no validity
to the claim that they are
forever gone from my world.
i have spent four point zero two percent
of my life with dulled senses.
for ten months
my vision was blurry,
my hearing was garbled,
my sense of smell was pract
you wonder how you ended up herewhat am i doing to myself?
that surge of panic
a heart-stuttering, mouth-opening, clenching-of-the-jaw
the realization that my hands are to blame
for the strength of my bones
for the confidence in my eyes
for the smile that comes so naturally now-
how do i take this back?
how could i be such a stranger to myself
how could i let my dreams fall away
how could i pack it all into a single shoe box
how could i leave her behind,
after all she's done for me?
this line is much too thin to walk
and my bathophobia is making me stumble
one side of the fence houses
fruit, sweat, strength, genuine laughter, newness of life
and enough self-worth to inspire
the other contains
blood, tears, collapse and destruction, a lack of sleep
and enough regret to drown everyone i've ever loved
and yet, in my eyes, it is comfort
how do i choose between health and safety?
why am i making myself destroy one life to start an
you will never feel quite cleanempty bottle resembles empty heart
and empty head,
and empty bed
every song is a punch to the gut
reminding her that she must
be better, be stronger, be confident
and yet relapse is on the road
to the imaginary land of recovery
she develops an intense relationship
with her lonesome bed
blanets reach out to keep her pinned
-with tear-stained cheeks, chewed up nails,
swollen shoulder blades
her mattress is desperate for the kisses and sighs
she gives it night after night
somewhere that i despisei.
every meal is an unavoidable family feast
meat, bread, cheese, dessert
regret is building inside of me-
inside my stomach, my thighs, my cheeks.
clouds, freezing wind, pouring rain
a sad excuse for summer
it leaves me just as down
as i was a year ago today.
pressured to look busy, to be busy
to go places without transportation
to see people who are states away
to go outside in the lifeless sun.
privacy is sunday mornings and showers
watch what you say, what you show
be prepared to defend a tear or fist
don't you break down. not here.
breakdowns aren't accepted at home.
homeI pray to go home.
on bended knee,
I lift my heart
to a nameless god,
I bless his heart,
or maybe hers,
and ask for deliverance
to a land
I feel a map,
carved into my shoulders.
three mirrors are arranged
directing my attention
to my back, a range of mountains,
but my eyes don't see.
is water through a sieve.
puddles flow beneath me,
no barrier to hold me
a cheshire smile
and reversible signs
lie to me
and no amount of tears,
salty oceans on my cheeks,
will bring me home.
I dream of a room,
soft and fuzzy to the sight,
where I feel at rest;
I know that I am still
SplitI didn’t know what to do for her. Or to her. Or with her. She cried, a lot. She thought I didn’t know, didn’t notice, or maybe just didn’t care.
I saw her dancing in the rain one Saturday afternoon, nude. Not a stitch on her, and dancing by the creek, red welts rising on her skin from the biting mosquitoes. She never danced. I watched, and marveled that she could dance and still look sad.
When the rain let up, she stopped and stared at the creek flowing and bubbling over big flat mossy rocks. I called her name without using my voice, and she turned, but then looked away again. I wondered where she was in her head, that she could stand there and ignore the itchy bites and not worry that she was naked.
I envied her lack of self-consciousness. I pulled my heavy cardigan around my shoulders, even though it was hot and muggy out. I hid in its folds like a turtle hides inside its mobile home.
Sometimes I could feel her tugging at me, begging. I was stubbor
runaway irony (FFM 22)Twenty minutes after finishing the documentary on New Zealand, Nicole had a plan worked out. She wrote it all down in gel pen, an itemised list of all the things she needed; then she got to work.
It wasn’t easy to convince the man in Bunnings to sell her nails, but she put on her best innocent face, and told him it was for her father’s garden shed. It wasn’t easy to convince the neighbour to let her have the old fence palings, either; nor the logs that had been earmarked for a bonfire, but a few hearty fibs and her best “I just want to help my daddy” smile went a long way to convincing them.
Two weeks later, she had bruised hands, a lot of knowledge about how not to use a hammer, and what she hoped would pass for a half-decent raft. She packed herself a bag with some clothes and spare underwear, then packed another bag, this one larger and wheeled, with as much canned food as she could carry. Before she left, she remembered to grab the can op
Fall of ManI remember thinking: if this were a story, it would be alright. Even tragedies have meaning when someone else holds the pen. But this is not a story. Unless it is.
There was me cradling you in the wreckage of a building; and in the distance, the sounds of running and screaming and alarms of ambulances, everyone calling for help, and there, another building collapsing.
A snowflake fell on your forehead and for a moment it seemed more important than the blood, more important than bombs falling from the sky, the war that had begun. Blocks away perhaps a television was somehow still on, perhaps it screamed propaganda. All I knew was you had no reason to be punished.
People can’t run with broken legs, and you also had a broken arm, and when I heard another woman scream for her beloved to come back to life, I knew you would die.
I should have remembered what you whispered to me, but the planes above were too loud. If I had heard your last word
Ageing Superhero (FFM 24)Nathan always imagined he’d go out in a gunfight, cape fluttering; a hero’s death in the pursuit of peace. Turns out, he was only right about the “gun” part.
* * *
Mr Cuddles weaves around Nathan’s ankles. He’s purring loudly, and shedding fur all over Nathan’s slightly-too-tight bodysuit, but Nathan’s attention is fixed on the tinny voice coming from his mobile.
“Look, your international days are over. You’re getting older, and I know you’ve gained a few pounds. No, don’t try to lie to me. You wear spandex, Nathan. It’s pretty unforgiving, and you no longer have a six-pack. The world events, the foreign villains, you can leave them to the newbies.”
Paying no attention to the plaintive-sounding agent, Mr Cuddles hunts, unnoticed as he follows Nathan towards the safe on the landing.
Nathan’s carrying his guns one-handed; he’s only half-listening to his age
NebraskaHe called her Nebraska. The first time he did was in a Wal-Mart parking lot with August humidity pressing the air from their lungs. It also happened to be the first time she saw him. “Whoa there, Nebraska!” he’d said as the blue shopping cart got away from her and rolled right into him.
She apologized profusely. At least it was empty, and hadn’t got a chance to gather much speed. Besides, what the heck was he doing standing in the cart return?
“Why the heck are you standing in a cart return?” she asked him. He was tall. Lanky. He had a military haircut, and she should have known then. He was young; she likely had the long side of a decade on him. But when he smiled, everything just felt better.
He vaulted out of the pipe enclosure and held something up between his thumb and index finger. A nickle. He grinned again, and his green eyes crinkled, “I dropped it.”
“Well that explains it.”
“And now,” he said, “I ha
PhotogenicPeople have often said I'm photogenic. From what little I've seen, I haven't liked many photos of just myself. But there are a few sentimental, spontaneous portraits, taken by people who saw the beauty in me when I didn't, which are definite exceptions to the rule.
There's that one that Jordan took of me, sitting under some trees at the Great Sand Dunes of Alamosa. I'd been crying over an unexpected altercation with a friend, though few can tell that by looking at the snapshot. "Can you smile and be pretty and love me?" he'd asked. In his mind, I'd done the latter two things; all I needed was to do the first. So I smiled, because I felt loved.
Then there's the picture that Thomas took of me, lying in the lower ring of what Texas A&M students call the Modern Art Sculpture. "People here do this all the time," he'd told me; I felt like I was blending in with a completely new culture--Thomas's culture--and it was exhilarating. It was my first time visiting campus, and I was in awe of a
[TGB] Leave The Light OnIt seemed only natural that she found him.
Her paws had been weary, her mind restless - home no longer felt like home and he .... he had always had a calming presence upon her soul. His smirking blue-green eyes soothed a fire in her soul and made everything shift when she hadn't been aware it was askew in the first place.
He held her steady, whether he knew it or not and right now Arya felt like a leaf in a thunderstorm.
"Fancy seeing you again - if I didn't know any better I'd say you missed my dashing looks."
Perhaps it was in the way Arya fumbled for an appropriate response, or perhaps it was how her grass eyes misted over with unshed tears - full to the brim with emotion Arya usually kept hidden from her companion.
"Arya?" His brow furrowed slightly and he took a hesitant step forward. His firefly was strong ... for her to be so shaken ...
She wasn't sure when the tears had started, hadn't noticed their slow descent down her cheeks until Idek's nose was touchin
My Knee Hurts and I Hate David BowieThey're at it again.
I've grabbed the broom and smacked the handle against the ceiling, but the neighbours upstairs take no notice. I think about calling the police, but I hate doing that without at least talking to them. Everybody deserves that chance, I think. Still, the prospect of standing outside their door and talking to them isn't one that sits comfortably. When I think I'm going to explode if I have to listen to another second, I give in.
I power up the stairs like nobody's business, and pound on their door. I'd knock like a normal person, but if they can't hear the broom hitting their floor, they won't hear a knock, either. Finally, after what feels like an eternity, the door opens and sound washes over me in a wave that's all but solid.
The figure in the doorway looks like a reject from an 80's concert. He's got a blinkin' mullet, and he sparkles... but he's got nothin' on the fella behind him. Bloody queer's wearing a dress, and more makeup than an entire row of beaut
all of itall i know is that my body is trembling from how angry i am, and i refuse to
cry. my body is bruising, and i love it. my fists are twitching with how
much i want to punch you in the face. i want blood. i want blood on my
all you do is lie to me. it doesn't matter if it's something important or
something insignificant, you lie regardless. you lie about yourself, you lie
about me, you lie about others. you're just a liar.
all people do is take advantage of me. you did, he did. everybody does. you
say you love me, you try to keep me from falling to pieces. all you're really
doing is fucking me and holding me in your tight grip so that i can't be loved
by anyone else. i'm sick of this.
all i've been thinking for the past year is that i need to take a break,
figure my life out. my life will never be figured out, and any time i think
i've got i
Volpi.You will find that the story you tell
is very rarely your own. In Lucca,
even the smallest pebbles
breathe in the warm sunlight.
Knotted stones and cobbled roads
beat out a paper-dry heartbeat heat
my city breathes in and out,
inhales sparrow air.
It's writing a story.
You are the pen.
You will find that in Lucca
the daisy chains forge fire
in side streets and back alleys.
Teenagers intertwine. Tell me,
odd flower, are you still closed?
Here we are colored wax;
the heat of the city melts us.
We run into each other, rhapsody
of pigments. Operas are our specialties.
Open up; feel the reds.
If not, try and see them. There is a place
of deep knife marks, a street
long as midnight
you may learn something there.
Valentina's voice glimmers like red wine.
You may enjoy intoxications. Still,
know alcohol has no story
and will swallow your own.
Find the sign with the wolf on it.
You'll know the place. Epiphanies ring true as church-bells.
Lucca still guides the wanderers
to well sp
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