I scrub and claw,
and the water runs clear
but the blood on my hands
is red as ever,
it beats and pulses
like the blood in my veins.
Turning my back,
I'm giving up.
I'm returning to my haven,
not so safe,
not so sound,
where I scream.
The Chill of MeltingThe loving hands which shaped these feathers
bade me fight the fire and forsake the water,
find the space between.
Then those hands released me from our cage,
and from my mind all was gone.
The empty openness of the sky
was the same as that of my mind.
Curiosity flew to me on her silver wings
and, landing on my back,
bade me soar.
She flew into my throat and sat in my heart
warming her iced hands at the fire of my freedom.
She bade the flames burn brighter,
for her hair was tangled with frost,
her eyes had become crystals of ice,
and snow now flowed through her veins.
She sang to me a song of winter,
and in the spring sun
I sprung from the cold shadows.
Her breaths of mist filled my wings
and chilled my blistering skin.
Her icy tears streamed from my ember eyes.
She gathered the cinders in her icicle fingers
and cooled my burning fear.
But as she sang her song,
the fire bade me fall.
Curiosity’s laughter screamed in my ears.
As the ashes swirled like snow,
I floated past the soft
LabyrinthDarkness will, in this maze,
scream in the ears of wanderers.
Darkness will, in this labyrinth,
crawl into the hearts of men.
Darkness will, in this endless hall,
silence escaping words and drag the rain from eyes of children.
Darkness will, in this prison,
ColorlessFeel openness around you,
lending its strength to the worn wood
bending beneath you
and holding you up.
The trees clutch you close to their chests,
comforting your unseeing eyes.
In the quiet around you
blooms the silent flower,
your own breathing the only thing to sound
alongside the avian lullabies
singing the sun to cool slumber.
Swallow the birds’ calls,
keeping the chill of the night from your skin.
Hear the trees’ heartbeat,
beating a rhythm for your own.
Breathe in the silence
pooling about you.
Because when you’re alone
your empty eyes can see.
Red LeatherMy eyes kissed the tough wagon,
“I’m afraid I’ve surprised you” said the wheel,
as red leather rocks took the shock and flew.
They flew twice as high as the wall,
flew past the stars and grew into the moon,
as the clouds sang, loud proud and true.
The frog sat inside the mailbox,
as someone pushed a pile of post,
the wide face swung forward and bit.
Paper bruised and cut its poor throat,
so our little frog melted to soft mud
and snow fell on the hot tarmac.
Wavering heat feasts on bones,
bones disowned by the scrap dogs.
Children mutter proverbs in silence,
their eyes lamps of sugar and spice
and as the gasping earth drinks its tea,
lambs die and no one hears their cries.
Away From HomeChantel walked along the boring, grey hallway like she did everyday on the way to group therapy. Walking down those halls really reminded her how much she hated the color grey. The walls were grey, the ceiling was grey, the furniture was grey, the sky outside was often grey; the color grey seemed to be a pandemic and, the first point of infection was the building she now lived in. She was an inpatient at a sanitorium surrounded by bucolic fields, trees and, as Chantel had figured when she arrived, nothing else. Thinking about the surrounding countryside reminded her of how she had been dropped at Mountainview Sanitorium by her untenably furious parents just a week ago. However, it seemed like years since she was sitting in the leather back seat of the family Volkswagen, duffel bag at her feet. The door to group therapy and the face of her friend Claire woke her from her reverie.
“Dude, lets go! Doc is gonna kill us if we’re late again,” Claire smiled as she remembered
LessonsIn forty-seven minutes I will be twenty-one years old and my throat is tight with this notion
that every passing moment is a boat taking me further from the boy on the side of the road.
I am terrified of the swelling tide of time, the ripples I will create,
the creases that will be etched into my face
without the laughter lines I know he would have left and
one day someone will ask me how many siblings I have and I will hesitate
because he will be so distant and I can feel it coming.
I never intended to swim without him, but
I am drowning under the weight of pocket-stone-people,
the ones I love who he has never met and won't ever meet
and its forty-four minutes until I turn twenty-one when I realize the relentlessness of this;
how I will age away from him and I am disgusted with myself, with his ashes on the bookshelf,
with this world that keeps making mistakes that can't be fixed.
Twenty one years old and I am a semi-colon, a shuddering pause on the floor,
remembering the time I broke
beautiful.i hate my stretchmarks
the vertical the horizontal the ones running miles down my arms
stripes on a circus tent
my body is a freak show
75 cents a ticket
they are the bars on a cage
trapping me inside this prison cell of flesh
(not letting me run away
from all i once was)
reminding me that i am
still that little girl who
was told that she had too
much weight in her stomach
and in her thighs
to be called beautiful
my stretchmarks are the debris from when i tried to collapse upon myself
tried taking up less space
because beautiful is small beautiful is skinny
diets upon diets
because i've been told that
i am only worth the sharpness of my collarbone
why i never wrote you a poem.last summer i tried
to use the words that you fell asleep to
to write you a love song but
every time i tried
my fingers froze up.
i failed the test of describing you
in a paragraph
in a sentence
in a word
there is nothing in my head adequate enough
to describe how you look
on the train station platform
when you smile at me.
i can tell you that
my heart climbs into my throat and
my body prickles with heat and
everything disappears, for just a moment, but
the thing i cannot describe
your mouth caresses my name
like it’s the most beautiful sound
it’ll ever know,
like it understands me perfectly,
you are not made of verses.
you have no meter.
you are not written in stanzas
that i understand
and i find myself captivated
at how beautifully complex
your language is.
you say i’m the mesmerizing one, but, baby,
you've stumped me.
you have left a girl,
a person who wants to build their life
girls that photosynthesizeI.
i asked my mother to buy me sweetener,
and she said "no," and she said "no,
sugar is better for you it's more natural"
so i shrug and i clamp my teeth over
my tongue and sew my mouth closed
and i steal sweet n' low
from the pizza place
my friends watch me pick at my lettuce,
a rabbit-food-lunch that makes me sick
to my stomach, and when i run to the
bathroom during science class they
follow me and ask what i ate for breakfast.
i say "waffles" because they can't know
i won't let them stop me
my therapist asks me if i think i'm sick
and i'm not, i'm strong, but i can't be
not here not here, and the $$$$$$$$
are ticking away as i consider my answer
so i say "yes" and she asks me what
i will become and i say "better"
because that's all they want to hear
my dietitian sets up a rough meal plan
and she says i won't gain weight on it
somehow i trust this woman with art
on the walls of her office and i pick
through the day in corn-kernel bites,
Dear Homophobic ParentsDear homophobic parents,
How the fuck do you think it makes me feel
When you walk out of the room crying
Because you can’t stand the thought of something I can’t control.
I’ll tell you that it makes my insides burn.
The living room feels like a closet.
Suffocating, and yet I can breathe fine.
I am choking on the air,
Polluted by your homophobic slurs.
Making uneducated guesses about things you know nothing about.
Someone ought to teach you to look shit up
Before you go about, shouting your false claims to the world.
My very existence is an error.
Some messed up chemical defect that went wrong,
I don’t belong
I am the Titanic,
To you I am supposed to be perfect
I am supposed to be straight, and happy, and fine.
But I am so very far from fine,
When my lungs are filling up with water,
Your words are an ice berg,
And I am sinking fast.
Why I DanceI dance as if I am sick,
And the movement is medication.
As if getting up in the morning just to practice is the only motivation
To stay awake.
Because well- worn soft shoes
Feel like home.
The world is cold, and lonely.
But when I dance, there is a fire inside my heart, warm and lively.
I feel like a bird,
Like I am able to fly as high as I want.
Gravity, I taunt
As I laugh in its face.
Because the Earth was never a place
Because leaping across dance floors,
Allows me to soar
Higher than I could in my dreams.
Hard shoe dances make me feel powerful.
Like a raging storm at sea.
My stamps, and clicks are crashing waves.
But I am also the sea breeze.
Strong and graceful.
When I dance I feel like I am trading
Secrets with the universe.
My head is clear,
And my will power is strong.
I am a force to be feared.
On bad days,
The rhythms of hard shoes sound like a heart- beat.
A life line.
And I’ll dance until my feet bleed
Just to feel something.
Because dancing is the only thing
A Letter to the Girl who Hates her BodyA letter to the girl who hates her body.
A letter to that girl
Who scrolls through tumblr.
Admiring all of those models.
With thigh gaps that look cute with skirts.
And a waist that you can barely see.
A letter to the girl
Who looks at models,
For their curves.
The way their hips go outwards
And their size D cup breasts.
Please don't look in the mirror,
And hate the girl you see.
That girl is you
And she should be loved unconditionally.
Because you deserve love.
And how much love is not determined on your waist size,
Whether you're chubby or skinny
You're still so very pretty.
You're so perfect.
So for every time you look in that mirror.
And tell yourself you aren't worth it.
That you're arms are too big,
Your hips aren't big enough.
I am a woman.
I am strong.
I have a body like a castle.
A kingdom made just for me.
And I will not destroy that castle,
By trying to starve myself.
By taking brick by brick and dismantling it
There is a weight
You asked me to hold.
(Just for a while,
Just for a while.)
My tendons strain and snap,
I lack your Atlas strength.
The crushing force of gravity
Makes me weak, makes me sore.
Take it back, take it back,
But you’ve gone away.
I’m sinking down, I’m sinking down.
The water rises to my throat.
Pushing down, rising up
Drowning and drowning and drowning.
Take it back, please take it back,
Where have you gone?
I’m pinned beneath this weight,
With water to my nose.
My lungs fill up with salt,
Choking and screaming and breathing
Only freezing thickness of water.
Where is that mild friend oxygen?
Where has he gone?
My stinging eyes are blind here.
I cannot to escape, unwilling
To shed this leaden snare
Wherein I dwell confined.
I grip it tightly.
Surely I will die,
Sweet air has left my blood
I lay back and let black water take me,
Frozen fingers loosen on Your weight.
And all at once
it falls away
I watch i