Broken Hearts Still BeatingThe lightning-spliced sky illuminates my bedroom
and I'm crouched in the corner, embraced by the dark,
thinking of how there could have been a chance
for me to wake up next to you, your emerald eyes
webbed with emotion, your body limp
from jerking in your sleep. I imagine ruffled sheets,
broken lamps, and permeating heat.
I think of how we could have jogged together
along roadsides and doubled over with thorns
in our ribs at your feeble attempts to whistle Dixie.
I'm collapsing inward, reminiscing on the truths
I should have told you and how every boy I pass
has your face, your dark brown hair, your lips.
And I cry. Oh, do I cry.
I saw you hunched over one day, exhausted
from nightmares, sipping Gatorade and reciting
poetry about there being beauty in decay,
and I couldn't help but think that you
were living proof of that phenomenon.
I wanted to cry for you and tell you about that time
a lady ran into me at Barnes & Noble and I'd had
no earthly idea that I was alive until she turned ar
BurialThe mud caked my fingernails.
My hair slipped from inside my hood,
blowing across my face.
The wind shifted the leaves on the ground
a collage of yellow, red, and brown
and the earth crawled around me.
The rain fell hard
and the wet grass grabbed at my ankles.
The hole I dug with my own two hands
was between two trees where you and I
used to sit and talk about superheroes,
videogames and high school bullies.
I thought the location fit.
I pulled from my coat pocket
the heart necklace you gave me
the year before you said goodbye
and drove off, leaving skid marks
on the vacant street.
I dropped my heart into the hole
and buried it.
As I walked away,
the rain still pouring,
I picked the mud from inside my fingernails.
when somebody says your name for the last timeone
one of the first things she learns is that ghosts cannot cry.
this does not stop her from trying.
there's a house.
not a home. barely a building. just beyond the part of town parents don't let their kids near after dark.
it's empty. it's been empty for as long as anyone can remember.
in the upstairs bedroom, there's a queen-sized bed and a chest of drawers and a chandelier. they are covered in dust and cobwebs. they are rotting. they are bug-infested and falling to pieces.
in the upstairs bedroom, there's a girl.
she wears a long, white dress, and a shroud of grief, and a bullet wound in her chest.
she is rotting. she is sorrow-infested and falling to pieces.
in the right light, you can see straight through her.
one of the first things she learns is that even if she could cry, it wouldn't make much difference.
no one can hear her.
no one can see her.
no one even knows that she's there.
he runs away, and she isn't quick enough to follow him. she doesn't know if she can haunt
knock knock.there is a sound like something has died.
you make this sound, like someone has died.
when you see me, you make this sound, like someone has died,
and i have to look down at myself and check i'm not dead,
that it wasn't me who died, and you aren't making that noise
because you came here expecting a warm welcome,
and instead you got a corpse.
but no, i'm breathing, i can see my chest moving
up and down with the rhythm of it.
i'm sure if i stopped, it would burn.
but you still made that sound, and i'm not dead,
so it must be someone else. i'm sorry for your loss.
who was it that you lost? should i be making a similar noise?
should i be comforting you? oh god,
i've never known how to comfort you...
and you're still looking at me like that,
like i died, and no one told me.
but i'm not dead. we just established that.
is there something on my face?
is there somewhere i should be, something i should be doing?
why won't you say something?
you came in here, made that noise,
dear deathdear death,
i went to visit my wife today, in the building where i have to breathe through my mouth because it smells like a slaughter house. i don't buy her flowers anymore, because they are almost as dead as she is and giving them to her is like putting flowers on a grave. i don't buy her chocolates, because she'd just vomit them up in a shit-brown wave and she never had much of a sweet tooth anyway. no, i just go by myself and hope that it's enough.
today i realised how much her eyes scare me. they used to be green. mossy green, not emerald green like they say in books, because in real life nothing could possibly be that perfect. but in the sunlight they used to sparkle and that never failed to steal the breath from my body. she always said that her eyes were her best feature. she never could see how beautiful the rest of her was.
her new eyes look like giant cigarette burns. whenever i'm sitting at her bedside in the pink chair with the stuffing leaking out like blobs of decomposin
Drinking in The AfterlifeFor someone who had killed herself, she was awfully cheerful. She was sitting at a small, one-person table in the corner of the pub, twiddling her hair and giggling. There was a bottle of beer on the tabletop. If I hadn't known that it was untouched, I would have thought she was drunk.
"Something amusing?" I asked, having walked up to her.
She jumped and looked towards me, her eyes finding mine. She smiled somewhat sheepishly. She was such a pretty girl. Why she'd killed herself, I couldn't imagine.
"I just can't believe this," she said. "Who'd have thought there'd be pubs in the afterlife?"
I nodded in understanding. "Indeed."
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, then reached out and touched her beer. She picked it up, then set it back down. "I was worried there for a while," she mused. "Suicide being a mortal sin and all. Thought I'd end up in a lake of fire or something."
"If you don't mind my asking," I said, "why did you take your own life? If memory serves me right, you ha
dutifuli used to make boys light houses but your ocean eyes are what keep me on land.
i used to use boys as an excuse to not eat but our sex makes me ravenous.
you are the music that i sing in the shower, you are the ink that my fountain pen
salivates onto virgin parchment.
you are the kind of boy i thought of back when i had reasons to wish. every dried
up dandelion i exploited; when i closed my eyes i was blowing kisses to you.
the v your stomach makes when your hungry is enticing but i like running my
fingers over your distended abdomen after a meal we made together.
you are the reason why i do not need to carry a thesaurus around with the rest
of my 'baggage'. your pallid skin is a palette to me, bashfully vapid, and i take
advantage of the canvas. i leave finger trails and bite marks to remind you of me.
and then there are the days where i amstranded on my island of anxiety, i always know you are willing to listen to me cry.
and when there are days where i am
selfishit takes a b
reverse god complexi wait sometimes for
god to present himself
in the way
i would prefer him
but who am i to
call out god
when he has
alas, i am no god
you and i are just walking disastersif your skeleton is home
if your ribcage is the fireplace in the living room
of a house weathering out a storm
then you are haunted
your bones are haunted
there are ghosts howling down your chimney throat
there are ghosts rattling chains in the hall of your spine
the electricity running through your veins is flickering
if your skeleton is home
then you are a haunted house
you are dark and uninviting
even in broad daylight
the doors of your kneecaps slam shut
without the help of wind
your organ furniture goes flying
the ghost in the fireplace of your ribcage
howls into the chimney of your throat
and you are haunted
you are home to more ghosts than you have room for
if your skeleton is home
if your cracked and splintered bones are home
then it's dark and uninviting, even in broad daylight
and you are haunted, you are haunted, you are haunted
i'll huff and i'll puffyou are made entirely of harsh lines
elbows like knives and a jaw like a promise
that there's always worse to come
i pressed up against you
as your fingers tugged on my hair
and your voice shivered down my spine
and i'm sorry, so sorry
that i had to leave like that, but
you were making me want things
i shouldn't have
she got me warmvoice
vanilla cinnamon pine
cares for me in
snippets of audio
quiet conversation sounds
like the tap of keyboards at
stuttered scared to scarred minds
who was spotless, tangerine girl?
where's this eternal sunshine, rocking chair boy?
we're just squinting at all the
awkwardness; the graceful poets
don't know how to strut
their tongues so full of
sound and fury
but mouths so full of sincere sympathy
and I feel it; I feel a healing touch in your
vanilla cinnamon pine palette painting
embraces across my brokenness
and my gratitude is deeper than I can reach
to give you so far down your song has sunk
into my aching bones
apatothe ocean air is selling
moist and salty caresses
there is a metaphor to take
in each skimming wave
but I am tired so I
so I will
will let it rest
my turning mind
with the tides
with the gilled creatures
below the rhythmic surface
gulping gaping gas-gasping fish mouths
mine will open too and
open till wide enough
for the cry clenched in my
throat to caw-claw
its way out till I am
chorusing with the seagull
and if I fall
into the water now
it will envelop me
wrap its foam arms around
touch its crest to my head
kiss me dead
I will be complacent
in its sea indoctrination
this is how I will stay
above the darkness
infinite below me
rhythmic rain and words for dead treesthis funeral-black night begins with
piano notes soft as the rain soaking
leisurely into wood thirsty for the
warm essence of
evoke dead writers with
vintage typewriters, faded
ink stamping out new stories
from old wounds the way
the poets do, old poets with
sliding down a fogged window
leaving behind a clear trail--
the way to see out
into the natural world waiting. alive.
to the trees breathing
sweet wooden beings--
they rattle rain-streaked glass
with their oxygen-laced wind.
SylviaSylvia made it past her sixteenth birthday without ever touching a drop of alcohol. She had never been to a party. She had never done drugs. Your classic “good girl,” she desired perfection, saw her future as something she needed to work towards, and enjoyed the act of learning to a point that she was often teased. As she drove home from taking her ACTs, she knew that part of her identity was about to change. She didn’t, however, know how drastic this change would be.
Mary and Grace had been trying to drag her to a party since freshman year. But it was Elliot who finally convinced her.
“Come on, babe, it’ll be fun. It’s the beginning of spring break, you’re almost done with all your tests, and I’ll be off to college before you know it.”
She finally agreed to go to a spring break party hosted by one of Elliot’s friends, Lars. Sylvia had felt compelled to impress Elliot since day one. She was all for being yourself, but she was
I'm Sorry, Daddy...Hes walking home alone again today,
With the bruises on his face,
Hidden by his fair blond hair.
Striding up the path,
Preparing for another painful night.
He thought, If I were stronger, I wouldnt have to fight,
It shouldnt hurt to be a child.
To be so young.
He knows hes not the only one,
Even though he feels he has no one to talk to.
The kids they stare, but they dont ask.
Sometimes he wished they did.
And soon enough hell have to give in,
To the weight of his Fathers iron fist.
And no one will ever know the secrets that he hid.
A boy is never too old to cry,
A boy is never too old to fall.
On his way to bed one evening,
When his Father had been drinking...
He pushed and he shoved,
And yet he couldnt get up.
He cried. He screamed. He hoped and he prayed it would go away.
But so many bones had broken,
And yet he was glad he stood at the top of the stairs that day.
His Father demanded he stand,