Sunday, March 30, 2014

they leave me for dead.

There is a boy who has taken everything from me, 
laid me bare, shown me to the world for who i am, allowed me to rebuild myself, 
and then torn me back down again. 
he doesn’t even know he’s doing it. 
i do everything for him and i love him i love him 
i love him 
so much and 
i don’t even know why. 
here he is 
in my life for the years, years years
and i can’t let go. i can never let go. 
i try so hard and i tell myself, 
you can do better 
that feeling in your stomach is telling you no. 
my heart throbs uncontrollably and pulls me forward, ties a noose round my neck 
and forces me to him every time. 
i am not in control. 
i love him so, and yet i will never fully have him–his eyes are laid elsewhere–and he can’t see what’s in front of him.
There is my home, 
that is not my home. things left unspoken, ties breaking, tensions simmering below the surface. 
things we feel but cannot say. we 
at each other 
and a million messages float 
but never reach the other side. a single fire let loose, and it cannot be contained 
it burns slowly 
gradually, almost that we cannot see it until it’s too late. 
she will not listen. 
and their tears flow 
unrestrained and i stand, 
caught in the middle, 
unable to comprehend. it’s too early to deal with things like these. one side tries to reach across, but 
it's thwarted. 
reality just cuts through everything you ever thought you had. 
you’re broken. 
it’s not yours. 
you’re not in control of what happens. 
it just does. 
There is the place i thought i was 
but no more. 
he’s gone. 
the one i went to, the one i spoke to, the one with whom i could close my eyes and feel his presence and not be afraid. 
i struggle to look at the place now. 
i can’t be in the room and not 
feel the memories. 
i can’t be in the vicinity and not remember 
what could have been. 
i can’t stand there 
up on that stage 
and look down at our dwindling numbers, fading fading 
and not see how we crumble. 
what are we? 
i cannot bear it and i am here for a while longer, but 
my companions? 
true, there are few, but 
what of them? 
they will be here for the 
of their lives, 
dealing with the same problems 
again and again, 
facing opposition 
over and over again, 
unable to reach a compromise, hearing venomous words in a place that’s proclaimed clean.
what are we? 
we are nothing. 
we are helpless. 
and i’m a single speck among so many others, smaller than some, larger than some, but suffering all the same. and in the end, we are nothing, because nobody will stop to help.
they leave me for dead.

Friday, March 21, 2014

paper cranes

so he thought he could do anything.

He folded a paper crane once.
Fold over, tuck under, fold, fold fold
in foiled paper that fractured bits of sunlight and pierced sight in just the right way
or patterned scraps of sinewy cherry blossom trees, delicate droplet petals
or just crinkled bits picked from the corners of a folder or desk or backpack.

And each time he folded one
creased with the side of his chewed-down thumbnail
measured the edges with one eye squinting shut 
he felt a blooming heat in the center of his chest
a burgeoning pride in the pit of his stomach, like

He can do something right. 

He can do something well.

But there are thousands more
who can do that in their sleep
whose fingers dance like spindly water cranes 
whose movements rapid rush so
no sound is made.

They could grind him with the tip of a tapered index finger into finely milled sand–

He thought he could do anything.

He thought he could do anything
he could do anything

Thursday, March 13, 2014

She Calls it Therapy

*Violence is usually not the answer.

     "I wonder how much high school counselors make." 
     And here we go. Five minutes into dinner… a record. No dinner with my family is complete without an irritatingly drawn-out 'discussion' about future careers and college. Not according to my dad, anyway. I wish I didn't have to call him that.
     I shrug noncommittally. 
     "Not as much as teachers," my mom quips. Dammit. Her too?!
     "Well, of course high school teachers have stable jobs. You know, you could come back here to the Silicon Valley, get a job as an teacher, and marry an engineer. A stable life," he says, annoyingly casually.
     In my head my hand grips a wooden-handled knife tightly. Holy fuck, I don't want to be a fucking high school teacher! Why the fuck would I ever want to go back to that purgatory?
     I plaster a toothy grin on my face. "Let's not get too ahead ourselves here," I laugh, and the sound is so fake I wonder how the idiots buy it every fucking day. "I need to get into college first. We can plan marriages later." If I'm lucky you won't be here by then. 
     Of course, they don't laugh like they're supposed to. But this isn't a perfect world. It's a world of shitheads and dunces. My dad frowns, and I wish I could cut away that mouth. A tomato knife, maybe. That split end of the knife could be fun. I imagine using it to pick away the ragged edges of skin. 
     "…how you expect to make a living on $40,000 a year in New York City," my dad is saying when I return from my thoughts. Holy motherfucking shit, he never shuts up! "You need to be more practical."
     "Sure," I deadpan. 
     "Don't give me that attitude," he snaps. I imagine whipping out a frozen food saw, watching the muted lamp light glint off the metal, and driving it into his chest, twisting it. The notches on the edge of the blade would dig a fantastic circle. Amused, I think of the bushido code of the Japanese samurais. What was their form of honorable suicide called? They would drive a sword into their stomachs and try to carve a complete circle… What was the name?
     I must have smiled absently while lost in my fantasy because my dad glares at me and says in what he thinks is a threatening voice (ha), "Don't you laugh at me, young lady! I've had enough of your antics!" 'Young lady'? Where the fuck does he get off? And 'antics'? Is this guy for real? 
     "How's your physics preparation going?" My mom smiles kindly as if she thinks she's rescuing me or something. Yeah, as if. This is just going to fan the flames. 
     "Yes, what is the point of taking that? You've already taken Literature, U.S. History, and math 2. You're just going to get a low score and then that will ruin your applications," goes the man's extremely grating voice. A simple slicer knife would probably sever four out of five fingers cleanly. That would be fun. Doing it on a cutting board and being able to sweep off the dismembered digits dramatically–even better. 
     "I already told you, they want to see a well-rounded student." I try to think calming thoughts so I don't lose my shit. Think of the fingers, think of the fingers...
     "Who?" my dad scoffs. 
     "The colleges," I barely refrain from raising my voice. Holy shit, what a fucking imbecile. 
     My dad does that annoying tsk thing, like he knows everything. Right. Okay then, you useless lump. "You already took math." 
     Duh, genius. "Yeah, but I don't have a science," I say slowly, because clearly speaking to him is like speaking to a severely backwards three-year old. 
     "Okay, fine. So what have you done so far?" 
     "I took a diagnostic already. I wrote that in the plan I e-mailed you, along with all the reasons I'm taking the test," I say, bored. 
     "Did you record a score?"
     "I wanted to see which subjects I forgot first. I'll take another one where I'll calculate an actual score." Jesus, someone gut me already! 
     "But what was the score?" Fuck, as if it wasn't clear enough! I imagine filleting the big dumb brute. Although, I would need a fucking giant fillet knife for that. Why can't I recall the samurai suicide method?!
     "I practically just said, I used the first diag for review." If looks could kill… agh, wishful thinking. 
     "You need to make a plan," my mom says severely. Are you serious?! As punishment for her 'contribution' to the 'discussion', I imagine using a tourné to shred the spider veins in her lower legs into lovely, skinny ribbons. What a fucking party this is turning out to be. 
     "No one take you seriously if you don't make a plan. Including us," my dad snipes. Yeah, do I look like I care? 
     It takes me a moment to see that they're staring at me in stupid disbelief, and I realize I just said that out loud. Fuck. 
     "You better start helping yourself, young lady," ugh, again?! "No one is going to help you if you can't help yourself."
     "You can do the physics subject test, but only if you can devote five to six hours a day to studying. You have basically six weeks to prepare," my mom dictates. Okay, let's dig a little deeper with that tourné… maybe swap it for a fucking meat cleaver.
     "You have the time, God knows what you do in your room," my dad grumbles. Wow, are you fucking serious? I imagine using a flimsy oyster knife to saw at his throat, repeatedly. One stroke wouldn't be enough. It would probably take about twelve, back and forth, to make a satisfying purchase. 
     "Well?!" They both glare at me. 
     I envision the bloodstained scene–my mom, bleeding out from her legs, all vital arteries there snipped away, and my dad, mutilated beyond recognition, mouth hacked off, chest carved open, fingers severed, bones removed from his body–and my heart rate goes down. Works like a fucking charm every fucking time. 
     I smile sweetly, so sugary I can feel the bile rising in my throat. "I'll have an updated plan by the end of the week, along with the second diagnostic test results." I excuse myself from the table. 

     Seppuku! That's what it's called! 

*inspired by The Dust of 100 Dogs

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


once upon a time, a boy plucked my heart from my chest
he stroked it and smiled at me, caved my breast

in around the empty cavity and wiped away
the anxiety with simple words in honeyed rays

he took my heart away with him, somewhere too far to find
until i could see it no more, left behind

i crumbled inward till no one recognized me
they took away the pieces and buried me

then one day he returned and thought of me, thought to put me back together
rubbed his hands and dug me out, tugged me to him with a tether

he solidified the ashes i had become, fashioned me into a single piece
i opened my eyes and let out a sigh, wondered at his caprice

i asked him for my heart, he told me it was safe
i shook my head, lifted shaking limbs, unsound and chafed

he brought it out to show me, and knives stuck deep into the flesh
the organ blackened, rotting, i could not see i could not hear my nostrils filled

he smiled at the railroad tracks cracking through my face–breaking into bits–
his teeth black and bloodied–
swallowed the heart whole
i screamed and screamed
till he silenced my lips
sucked me in

consumed me

*Scholastic Silver Key for Poetry

Monday, March 10, 2014

At World's End

letters fall from the sky, 
                                                                        unthreaded, stringy
words break apart in the middle, incomplete, incoherent, s p l i n t e r e d

a gaping


black, hellish, pitch
consumes, tears, desecrates
strikes a chord of fear

thrumming undetected, distinctive, muddled, ringing
roaring, hissing, building, sudden, deafening, inaudible
pounds one too many times

reaches inside, mashes spindly fingers through the brain
plunders, assaults, violates
spreads the two hemispheres apart and thrusts

Not enoughnever enough.
feeds on itself, multiplies, never-ending menacing ruin
oozes undetected, visible, unsuspected

Once you submit, you are a slave.

Once you succumb, you are over.

*Scholastic Poetry Silver Key