His face is sandpaper, his hands a safe-house. he passes by and I fight the urge to put pen to paper then and there. Even if I did, his face shifts this way or the other, avoiding me, my gaze, unable to be captured by something so worldly as a ballpoint. He is a poem, his hands the second stanza- not the kind you’d hold so much as the kind you want on your shoulder, holding you back from harm and pushing you toward opportunity. He is a poem.
Another day passes outside the window of a plane
I cross dusk with 170 strangers who hold each other’s hands or thighs when the clouds quiver.
And I can’t stop thinking about your fingers running through my hair
or the way your eyes knocked into me that July.
You made me feel like feeling itself was cracking from my chest
and hurtling across the universe,
becoming every iron, nitrogen, oxygen, n’ sulfur soul that lost the sunset to the sunrise
in thoughts of “I want you”
Because your lips burn cosmic explosions into my skin:
a creation story.
Now, heads drape over the mountains
like the twinkle lights you hung out on the patio for Christmas–
You tried to play Claire de Lune on your harmonica
and remember that you loved me.
But you left 8 months later
on a Tuesday.
The pool lights stained your words teal
and smeared my eyeliner into a glimmering sort of heavy.
You said “late summer’s nostalgic,”
noticed the fireflies had all gone,
and I could hear crickets whimper to the sun,
And I never wanted another falling moon or set of sandpaper hands to hang onto.
You said I felt frail
like a dandelion you were keeping
from the wind.
And then you just let go.
That night, I woke up laughing,
as 1,000 tiny suns sprouted from my lips,
already dreaming of drifting.
Crossing through purple skies
like telephone wires
rushing to the seaside.
Paris stole my lipstick.
smeared it across cheeks
and hostel sheets and wine glasses, Merlot,
turned my teeth violet and my heart
a violent sort
of love you,
maddened by the beauty of it all.
Like I could chase train tracks
into the self I wanted
into Budapest, or Berlin.
A decrepit sort of art,
like you could tear
my heart into dusty fallen parts
and I’d just become more,
and faces and feet would flood through me, paint
bucket lists on my thighs and think of freedom.
I was never meant to be kept from the wind.
We spend a lot of time in our short lives thinking about the long term. What’s going to happen to me in ten years? Fifteen? Thirty, even? In severe cases, we let this presumptuous worries diversely affect our everyday actions and choices. This principle has a number of glaring flaws, but the main one to focus on is that the future hasn’t happened yet. You are writing your own novel; you are the only one with a pen. In other words, it is fully within your capabilities to control most of what happens in your life. However, we fail to understand that not all of it can be controlled. People get in car accidents. People get deathly ill. People are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Why, then, should you let these worries take hold of how you express yourself if we don’t have absolute control? Sometimes, doing something wrong allows a person to grow, to become stronger, possibly even teach others the right way. The right way, which everyone hungrily seeks, cannot be found without failure. Take a left when you think you’re supposed to take a right, eat raw cookie dough, or even, if you’re feeling really adventurous, stay out an hour later! Fight the norm with all you’ve got, because succumbing to the proper choice makes for a dull, uninspired life. Need I remind you, you only get one of those. I think it’s in your best interest to make it count.
She didn’t move mountains–
Over and over again I gasped.
Maybe he was in my lungs
And that’s why I had such a hard time breathing,
But he wasn’t there-
I know because I’ve always had bad lungs.
Perhaps that’s the reason I haven’t caught him,
My lungs gave out
When he took his leave.
Which I’m okay with-
You can’t run very far without a spine.
When the cold slips in,
I can feel my heart start ticking,
like a time bomb waiting to fracture.
And I wish the sound didn’t hurt you,
but by the looks of things, it already has.
And I wish my soul would scald a dove’s wing
because I am more empty than pure;
more fed up with forevermore.
Yet sleep is somehow comforting.
I revel in its sores
—still bruising, since yesterday’s summer.
Black bodies seep through our T.V. screens and into the living room.We don’t notice at first.
We’re outside, watching the heat from the Barbeque quiver.
But the gunfire from the screen drifts to the patio,
over the Azalea’s—a fleshy pink like my sister’s cheeks after too much Sangria—
and lingers by my mother.
“Turn that crap off.”
But the clink of Pellegrino and polite laughter.
“How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?”
We don’t think about it.
But there is a man who does.
He’s a father,
the kind who feels like rusty button downs and lose jowls—maybe a couple smile lines—
But he leaves his son,
and he leaves his wife,
and he leaves his Barbeque
to aid the forgotten ones
to save bodies nobody cares about –
disposable and black, like the clip on earrings Grandma wore to Grandpa’s funeral twelve years ago.
And he wraps a string around his heart
and seeps it in their pain
drinks atrocity like tea
and fills up on rage.
“WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY CARE
HOW COULD YOU LOOK AWAY”
He’s seen crimson swallow streets
and war swallow bodies
and machetes take ladies for lovers.
He’s a doctor,
the kind who reeks of impartial and feigned condolences—maybe a stern handshake—
But when he saw designs carved into her body and cum slathered on her face
He felt something,
Perhaps despair, but not so deep he could crumble.
He never once lowered his chin,
but had to repeat, let the phrase squirm under his skin:
“I’m a human.
I’m a human.
I’m a human”
So he convinces himself he can turn rage into productivity
so he rages into the next mission and speaks out on the T.V. screen
the camera zooms close to his face,
But we don’t see him,
despite his ivory skin,
and we’re not listening.
There’s nothing but the clink of Pellegrino and polite laughter.
If we did slip away from the patio to turn on our eyes,
our lips would quiver like the heat from the Barbeque
“What could drive a mad man to reality?”
What could drive a madman to reality?