I’m undergoing open-heart surgery.” —Anne Sexton, from “Red Riding Hood” (via commovente)
entering the courtyard-
it looked like versailles six years before,
a paradise on earth.
the pulse of the earth climbing into the soles of our feet,
traveling up our spines and lodging itself in our hearts.
you should have
one shot of vodka, here have a beer.
running through an empty house with angels.
one shot of vodka, here have a beer.
i am in over my head, drowning. dear gravity, are you there?
no more balance. let yourself sit-
no no have some water, lighten up, wouldya?
here i’ll pour it. everything will be
okay, don’t you worry your empty little head.
it’ll be okay, okay? ok.
here, come with me maybe if you’d like like
don’t scream- but what if i make you? don’t look at me like that.
say those things.
don’t say anything.
don’t do it.
here i’ll stop talking. just don’t
move. i’ll be gentle if you’re kind of like a pile of rocks that can’t move.
here, let’s have an earthquake, shall we?
you can be
in your own head. blink
i dare you. blink one more time.
you’ll think you can close your eyes
and then you’ll be right back under a pile of rocks
as heavy as your me
forget, you say- but what if this weight is my anchor.
would you like to recount the events for us, miss?
would you like to take a tour of my dreams, sir?
we’ll enter through paradise and leave through
People are protesting silently, black cloth over their mouths. Others are watching the TV on mute to avoid thinking about their own suffocation. Today, I opened my mouth only to find that a piece of cloth had fallen down into my throat and I could not speak. There is a horror to walking down the street and seeing your executioner in the notches of someone’s spine, there is a horror to a friend who hugs you so tightly you forget how to tell yourself to breathe. There is cloth everywhere, and when I open my mouth to speak there is a mute button.
I told you that I was a roadway of potholes, not safe to cross. You said nothing, showed up in my driveway wearing roller-skates.
The first time I asked you on a date, after you hung up, I held the air between our phones against my ear and whispered, “You will fall in love with me. Then, just months later, you will fall out. I will pretend the entire time that I don’t know it’s coming.”
Once, I got naked and danced around your bedroom, awkward and safe. You did the same. We held each other without hesitation and flailed lovely. This was vulnerability foreplay.
The last eight times I told you I loved you, they sounded like apologies.
You recorded me a CD of you repeating, “You are beautiful.” I listened to it until I no longer thought in my own voice.
Into the half-empty phone line, I whispered, “We will wake up believing the worst in each other. We will spit shrapnel at each other’s hearts. The bruises will lodge somewhere we don’t know how to look for and I will still pretend I don’t know its coming.”
You photographed my eyebrow shapes and turned them into flashcards: mood on one side, correct response on the other. You studied them until you knew when to stay silent.
I bought you an entire bakery so that we could eat nothing but breakfast for a week. Breakfast, untainted by the day ahead, was when we still smiled at each other as if we meant it.
I whispered, “I will latch on like a deadbolt to a door and tell you it is only because I want to protect you. Really, I’m afraid that without you I mean nothing.”
I gave you a bouquet of plane tickets so I could practice the feeling of watching you leave.
I picked you up from the airport limping. In your absence, I’d forgotten how to walk. When I collapsed at your feet, you refused to look at me until I learned to stand up without your help.
Too scared to move, I stared while you set fire to your apartment – its walls decaying beyond repair, roaches invading the corpse of your bedroom. You tossed all the faulty appliances through the smoke out your window, screaming that you couldn’t handle choking on one more thing that wouldn’t just fix himself.
I whispered, “We will each weed through the last year and try to spot the moment we began breaking. We will repel sprint away from each other. Your voice will take months to drain out from my ears. You will throw away your notebook of tally marks from each time you wondered if I was worth the work. The invisible bruises will finally surface and I will still pretend that I didn’t know it was coming.”
The entire time, I was only pretending that I knew it was coming.” —Miles Walser, “A Sonnet of Invented Memories” (via pigmenting)
The doctor sits me on a table and asks me to stick out my tongue.
I ask him if he sees the paintings I carry in the back of my throat.
He laughs as if I’m telling a joke,
I’ve got Basquiat, Schiele, Van Gogh, and Da Vinci
so when I laugh, I taste brushstrokes.
I ask him if he can stick out his tongue
so I can see what he has trapped inside of him.
He hesitates a little then he does and I see a man who
struggles for acceptance and chokes on the word
Do not try to catch the light
Do not try to catch the light
When you close your fist in front of your face to try and clasp the rays
They will disappear into your palm
When you touch his face, do not expect it to become radiant in your eyes
Remember to look at him with your heart
You will see the good in his appear at the corner of his eyes
And when you want to punch the light out of the world,
Remember to put your fist through the wall
And allow your rage to refract off his benevolent face.
When she stops kissing you
with her mouth open,
find the screw driver.
Buy a newly cut shank of beef.
Leave so much blood in the kitchen
she has to ask what happened.
When she no longer calls you baby,
hide all the silverware
between the couch cushions.
Send her there to sleep.
If she does not complain,
let the sinks in the bathroom overflow.
Bake the wedding photos
in the dryer. Stand in
the middle of your flood.
Call her name backwards, forwards.
Wave your arms like your chest is a runway.
She is the plane you are crashing.
When she does not reach
for you, pretend
it is the first time
you’ve met.” —“At First Sight,” Sierra DeMulder (via unfinishedsentence)
How to Take a Bus in the Middle of the Night from New York to Boston
Walk on, your hair soaked through by the rain
Sit down, a row to yourself because the bus is empty
Pull out a book that you know you will not read for the first half hour
When the girl in the seat in front of you pulls out a bottle of rattling pills, wonder
If she’s plugging a hole in her heart with cotton, if she knows that it won’t work
If she’s going home, if she knows what the future holds.
Realize you are asking yourself these questions.
Realize you do not know the answer to them, and so turn to the illusory fiction you hold in the palm of your hand.
Feel cold once you realize that the heat is not on.
Observe the people around you sleeping
Write a love letter
”I think I saw your face in the reflection of a stranger’s windshield”
Realize that he will never read your letter. Don’t sign it.
Feel yourself drifting off to sleep.
Wake up in Connecticut. Think about calling your grandparents.
Decide against it because that would require opening up old wounds.
Contemplate ripping out what you have written so far in your notebook and abandoning it in a dimly lit corner of the gas station.
Think about telling the stranger three rows back that you could fall in love with them.
Call ahead—to home?
Is home in his arms, or in the hands of the man who robbed you of your innocence?
Is it in a fig tree, or in a snowstorm?
Neglect to answer because the bus arrives at its destination and there isn’t enough cotton in the world to plug the holes in your pericardium.