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i’m so cold like i’m making lemonade every day just toss some more ice my way i hope to leave real soon don’t you think you could just make a little room on your boat i promise i won’t be loud i’ll make anything but lemonade we could tie an island out of plastic bottles like that guy i heard about float our fields on an ocean far from here watch the sky every night unshadowed by city lights if the waves get too big at least we’ll know we tried their lemons tire my tongue i can’t stay here
Like the nightlight that led my brother down the hall when he was afraid of the dark like the sun doing push-ups off a flower petal at eleven in the morning like the flash behind the fridge when it goes on at night like a sterno like the feeling that wells when i’m flying high without drugs like a star like the ricochet between alley walls like the satisfying spark from a damn waterproof match when it finally lights like the crest of a wave in summer like a fairytale like a universe of explosions under your layer of cells.
Typing into a box: “Boxes. Fucking boxes divided into little passages, until I feel like a mouse scurrying around after some fictitious piece of cheese. I’m trying to discover the right corner to round before some fellow mouse steals my calories. When I step out of one box, I walk between towering boxes to get to the next box on my itinerary. I’m starting to feel like we’re all dressed in cardboard, proclaiming which box we were unpacked from and which box we’re trying to be sent to. I need tape for my mouth or a lighter for my cardboard.”
sun slaps against a back reaching up cliffsides crawling across plateuas tumbling back to valleys slipping its toes between fibers of yarn over shoulder blades spine and small under such vision I see something worthy in the sweater I’ve watched on four other backs today does whoever he is feel my eyes pulling words from his Abercrombie garment since I’m not allowed to look out the window in class and I can’t keep wondering what it means that fellow students scrawl “BEER” and “suck me” on many desks I sit in where will we go if this is our cry?
The cigarettes aren’t going to keep my screams quiet much longer. I’m going to run like hell out of here real fast. No more fidgeting. I’ll listen to my legs (but ignore my arms because I gave up their habit a year ago, minus that one incident this summer), catapult out of my chair, and fly past the door to run around the building. Across the street. Away from people. To the mountains. Then past them too. I’ll leave all my weight behind me and never look back. I’ll run so fast, I won’t even remember where I came from.
I dreamt of an island of sickness. Riding on a bus to care for the ill, children and adults with red marks on their skin. A child begging for my arms out my window. My family showed up in a station wagon, took me back across the bridge to the land of the living. Safe, I realized I had to go back. Crossed the bridge into darkness. Some slept. Some awake waiting. The child was crying. I picked her up knowing the tell-tale red bumps would blossom the next day. She stopped crying. My family came for me no more.
I was the keeper of secrets when young. Little girls whispered their first loves into the cup of my ear while we huddled with our asses on the asphalt and our backs against brick during recess in the winter. I was the one to tape their notes to boys up on the blackboard in the message box our teacher outlined in chalk. The boys sent me notes with questions about girls and a set of yes and nos so I could circle the answer. I didn’t have to write. Maybe the scrawl of my handwriting was too hard to decipher.
At four a professional hummer. At five a doctor. At seven a teacher. At eight a cake decorator. At ten an opera singer. At thirteen a writer. At seventeen a filmaker. At eighteen a photographer. At nineteen a journalist. At twenty a cook. At twenty I wish I could sing, wish I was smart enough to study astrophysics, wish people cared about art, wish to remember the story in my brain. Mostly I wish I’d never have to get a job and simply live life. I don’t understand capitalism, war, or humans. Maybe I signed up for the wrong species.
I find myself staring up at light fixtures like I could find some answer there, staring at the sun as if to burn a direct route to my soul through my retina. I fall rushing back, deep within myself, til my fingers no longer feel like they’re filling my fingertip gloves. Sometimes I rush outwards, energy pushing at my skin. Then it hurts, like I’m stuck within, enclosed in tight stretches of saran wrap. I want the lights to talk to me again, like when I was young. Maybe if I just gouge out my eyes I’ll see in sleep.
Overheard: “Is that it?” “That’s what the price tag said,” her voice rattled past tree branches in her throat. “yeah?” “Yeah.” It sank into the word, cloudlike in intonation. The hand shakes as she glides her name and address on an entry form. “$7.80.” He’s rung her up. I think of my handwriting. The crumpled words look deflated, lacking breath. Hers are sleek. The hands fold the form and pinch across to a smooth crease. She fumbles with her old lady purse, procuring the needed funds. Why not love Goodwill? The boy next in line seems happy with his toy.
critter fluster burst out bomb threat flutter turn ************************************** My house is burning down. The forest has caught fire too. Trees are bowing like violins. I think my flames will consume me. Or maybe the lack of oxygen will kill me first. Or maybe the billows of smoke will blind me so much that I won’t be able to find a way out. ********* overtired from studying. fluctuating between extremes. on the brink of sadness or so crazy awake that my smile is ready to spread like an oil slick across my face at any moment. tending towards the former right now.
My name is ____. I’m addicted to time… I first picked it up at four, trying to wrap my mind around “hour” before popsicles or something. Felt like eight or eternity. A few years later I counted seconds of “rest” hour. Just got worse- the alarm clock, the appointment book, everything… I’m trying to forget time. My watch battery finally died. Haven’t had time for two weeks, but I’m still borrowing it. I ask for a second from fellow street walkers. The clock four blocks away loans it for a listen. Still need it to make it to work too…
Dreamt of telekinesis, talking in sleep with my forehead near his. Awoke still talking to him but in sleep. He said something like, see we can do it and we started our adventures, each time waking and looking like someone else. It was a game to keep others from knowing we knew one another each lifetime beforehand. Too close a call or almost caught and we’d wake up in some new skin. We ran. We woke we ran we woke. Then I awoke next to him and I wasn’t sure if it was true. Except his warmth was more vivid.
The world’s about to unhinge. People scatter. Wind claws across the landscape, roughing up buildings, and rattling our fences. Maybe our walls will break. Our garbage clatters. Cans, buckets, styrofoam fly past my legs. Eyes closed, a guy is smiling across the street. I dare my calves to their spring against the steps in case they dream. Trees tell me their stories through my fingertips. Rocks call me to slumber in silence. Sitting outside staring at the sky with a howl hovering in my throat, I’m spilling out of my ears. I’m trying to shirk off the jacket of myself.
I once knew a girl obsessed with yanking out teeth. She lived down the street from me and was one of my few friends in an underpopulated "neighborhood." Every time a kid said they had a loose tooth, word would travel up to her through the benches on the bus. She’d balance her way down the aisle to get the papertowels from lisa, the bus driver. For some reason people trusted her. She was the one to take your tooth out before your dad pulled it out himself. Lisa never let her tie a string to the bus door though.
My lungs balloon with the borrowed breaths of children. Sustenance derived from unmasked hope, brevity of light. I borrow the breaths of children trying to bait loneliness from the seat it has claimed in the cavern of my skull. So I can remember how it was to toss laughter with ease and which strings in the web my hands must grasp if I wish to pull my form, my lips into a smile. So I can remember how to forgive, to remember how to forget the right moments. To remember who I was before I learned their words so well.
I glimpsed behind the curtain yesterday. Forget the memory of hands on my memory wrists. Let words leave my brain like water sliding from leaves. *** I flashbacked. Remembered him looking at us in the mirror. Told me visualizations are hard, but he liked me this way. His hair turned to horns when he took me to bed. His feet curled into cloven hooves. My body started to harden to bark and he told me to lay still then sealed his lips on my neck. Like I owed him something. My breath shallowed. Couldn’t move.*** Your faces shifted in kaleidoscope.
I remember forget turning the pages. The paper somehow fell into itself, like the illustrations of black holes likened to bowling balls dragging down sheets. Brush strokes flowed through the fibers. Paintings held dioramas, little universes within hovering frames. My fingers did not believe when they didn’t sink in. When the water didn’t ripple from the scratch of my nail. Then it amazed me that we don’t grow old looking at art books. Nor does our hair turn white while we stare out into the actual world with no borders but vision holding us in. We forget how to see.
First I peel off my lips and eyebrows and twirl them into pieces of aluminum foil that I pop in ice trays. My nose, conventionally, is sealed in tupperware in the fridge. I remove each of my eyelashes and hide them in my soymilk so they won’t be stolen. I’ll strain them out later. I fold my eyeballs into waxpaper squares like rice crispie treats, tuck them into a black ziploc bag, and place it in the produce drawer between the leaves of lettuce. I leave my skin because I’d look hideous without it. This is how I save face.
Shot of novocaine straight to the brain please. Just a quick fix on the playstation 2 please. Just a quick sitcom on the tv, and lace it with a couple commercials please. Maybe a glance at people magazine please. Toss my head full of fox news please. Or the post gazette please. Or a presidential address please. I’ll believe everything they tell me is true and there’s nothing else to know please. I’ll go to the mall so you can tell me how to dress please. And go to school so they can tell me exactly what is success please.
Dream. At a carnival with family. Three folding screens, one light on each to locate a star. Sun hanging in the night sky. Starts sparking like a struck pinata. Eight minutes. Everyone is remarkably calm. The streets aren’t so crowded. I think I’ve dreamt of this place before. Into a game booth with bullseyes of bin laden. Owner not there; her son is biking in circles. Left message on the machine (for her?). Two bottles of pink scotch, sorghum and sageterum. I consider those * the phone rings next to the bed. Why leave a message with no time left?
I think my sister and sarah are crying out in the kitchen. I know they’re crying out in the kitchen. I hope the pounding on these keys isn’t interrupting too much. I heard a quick inhale and a sniffle. They’re crying for my stepgrandmother who isn’t with us for the first time I can remember in a long time for christmas. She’s haunted my days since I last saw her. She’s somewhere in this house all the time. She’s in my coffee everytime I use a stolen creamer from unimart. I don’t cry, all used up, but I miss her.
I’ve started biting my lips again. It’s gotten worse since I got here. When I go to wash my face there’s a black film like ash that nestles thicker in the crevices between the chunks of dry skin (trying to kick the chapstick habit). Maybe I am kneading them unconsciously as I make the family dinner or stand in some line ready to scream during the only thirty minutes I spent in a mall this season because my tongue is lying limp in the cave of my mouth desperate to climb each rung of your teeth. I have to wait.
She’s sewn up in black. Her armor is painted on her nails. The collar she wears is one she chose and nicotine’s her only leash. She smokes marlboro reds. She draws barbs near her eyes. The white paint on her black backpack thinks pink sux. She wouldn’t look at me.
I am sunlight in honduras. I am touched by the hands of a million farmers and machines. My eyes held terror moments before slaughter. I tried to inhale while being disemboweled. I have drank chemicals leached into the whole chain. I have nestled in the earth then been pulled up.
I’m out past the dock, contently floating on my back. I’m just far enough that my feet don’t reach the rocks underneath. Just far enough that the silt won’t flirt with my toes and the fish remember to stay under the shadow of my back.
It’s easy to forget the backs that labored for the clothes we wear or our posessions. So easy. These possessions distract us, weigh us down, so we don’t pay attention. The flash catches the eye in the cradle of want. it will forget wanting a voice or a choice, instead accepting shadows of those things.
We are writing under names of the names of ourselves. Pseudonyms through cyberspace as if they could ever close the hundreds of miles between us. It makes it hard to feel real. I wonder how straight a line from brain to fingers might seem with a keyboard’s intervention. Not nearly as straight as direct between the eyes or the breath or the warmth. Not nearly as straight as two in the same room. The more days that pass the more off kilter I feel. I realize you have become my definition of solid and everything else is shaking in hues.
The carpet started moving while we were waiting. I pulled back into my head while we were eating. Should I worry? I don’t feel real. I’m not sure if it matters. I’m not sure what consciousness is supposed to feel like. Maybe I’m fine and I’m just having trouble adjusting, settling in, like the difficulty in leaning fully against the cold porcelain of a bathtub after first climbing in. sometimes I wonder though. Apparently this change today was visible. I don’t notice others looking withdrawn as I felt. As I feel. At least I feel something, right? Is detached something?
snown enough that the grass is covered the clouds sank down can fly without leaving the earth can walk on water without sinking too deep snowflakes flutter to face like kisses just in from the cold in mind I lay back to stare at the tangle of light above as I did years before think of the quiet when five feet fell shudder for the lizard tongue that first laced with mine remember wishing to curl up in a snowdrift while walking sold the impermanence of crystals piling against the window while waiting for the light to change
Hi, my name is ___. I am addicted to time. I managed to quit for a couple weeks, but I gave in. My parents are supporting my habit. They agreed it was something I need. I did not protest when they told me to grab my watch and loaded me in the car so we could drive to the mall. They bought me a new battery. Now I can’t stop looking at the damn thing strapped there on my wrist. I eagerly hand out the shit free to anyone asking for it, even kids. I think I’m a bad person.
goddess of the ivory keys red passion sweep tears in through my headphones. she is settling in. i can feel her trying to use my arms but i just quiver all over. she’s reminding me. can feel it coming up again bubbling in my bones. baubles of glass are going to roll off my tongue, seep out from my pores. hollow beads holding tiny sparks of me. i will breathe plumes of light that dance like smoke in the air and float in rings, heavy on lazy, like country waters, if i shape my lips right. i’ll see you today.
You look like a fallen angel, somehow landed and casually stretched out on the carpet. Your dark halo is spreading like wild fire from the roots of your skull. Up close it reminds me of all the scribbles and crossed out words I would not grant myself permission for on pages, except my scratched outs seem more like accumulating laundry lint and less like something I want to burrow into. I am also fairly sure they do not smell as good. I am not sure what one is supposed to do when an angel falls so close. I’m glad though.
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