Thin Air.

My mother said I look lifeless…

My mother said I look lifeless,

And I am inclined to agree.

I’ve taken an undead pallor;

You have made a ghost out of me.

The blame’s not entirely yours,

Though you certainly had a hand.

I have done this thing to myself,

Though it wasn’t the least bit planned.

I wanted to make myself scarce,

And disappear into thin air.

Any place is purgatory

As long as you are not found there.

All of Your Sorrows

Take all of your sorrows

And fling them on my back.

My heart will rip in pieces;

My spinal cord will crack.

But I will hold them for you,

So you won’t feel the pain.

All of my hair will fall out,

And all my blood shall drain.

But, darling, it is worth it

To hear you laugh once more.

Let me bear it for you;

I know I shall endure.

Daisies

She licks red lollipops,

And she smokes cigarettes,

And doesn’t cross her legs

Whenever she wears skirts.

T

    O

         U

              G

                    H

                 S

            H

        I

T

She’s young and beautiful

And even if you see

Her favorite panties

With the small white daisies

Dancing around the crotch,

That gives you no right to judge

And it gives you no right

To reach out and touch her.

She does not dress for you.

She is this way because

The daisies remind her

Of her great-grandmother.

She does all that smoking

Because her father smokes.

And those red lollipops

Were her brother’s favorite

Until the day he died.

The Gravestones

“This place of mourning knows no rest;

It has not breathed, it has not slept.

It waited whilst the people wept;

To comfort them it did its best.

The ground there is quite soft with tears,

The grass is wet with dew and pain.

And though it’s shelter from the rain,

It’s not enough to quench their fears.

The weeping people came in herds

To say goodbye to those they miss.

To end love with a final kiss

And try to kill the pain with words.

But words can never fill the need

To bring to light the way one feels.

They came there in the hopes to heal;

They came for love and hope and greed.

The tombstones there have tired ears,

But they will listen just as well.

They hear your crying—can’t you tell?—

But can’t respond to what they hear.

They guard the living and the dead,

Though their kind deeds may go unknown.

You can’t root up the seeds they’ve sewn,

Even when your heart feels thick as lead.

That place, it breathes like you and I.

It guides us when we’re feeling lost.

Though being there will have great cost,

The Stones will keep our chins held high.

When you wear your funeral dress,

There is naught for you to fear,

For I will hold your hand, my dear.

(Though I too fear, I must confess.)

Don’t let the tears stain your plump cheeks

For we have so much left to do.

Let’s do as mother taught us to:

Let us be strong though we are weak.”

That’s what I to my sister said:

When demons crowded in her head.

When she was crying in her bed.

When our mother had been three days dead.

Fog and Saints

I say I’m made of marble

Though I’m made of glass.

I shatter at a whisper;

I whimper as you pass.

You take me to the river,

And drown me ever well.

You’re watching as I shiver;

It’s best that you don’t dwell.

You say that you’re a scholar,

You claim that you’re a saint.

You grab me by the collar,

The scents of liquor faint.

You beat me till I’m nothing,

You love me till I’m sore.

But darling, which is real love?

I can’t tell anymore.

Lay me down in the ocean,

The water cold and deep;

And let me drift, my darling.

O please just let me sleep.

Tomorrow I won’t waken,

My lungs will have no breath.

I’ll think of you in living,

Remember you in death.

I’m not so fond of gravestones,

So you can leave mine bare.

Someday you will come join me,

And I will meet you there.

The place of wake and dreaming,

The place of fog and saints.

Our eyes are ever gleaming,

Our love nothing can taint.

So lay me in the ocean,

The water cold and deep;

And let me drift, my darling.

O won’t you let me sleep?

Little Wounds

God, I love him so much. Our hands are tangled in each others’ hair, limbs wound around other limbs, and I am left breathless by his love. Everything that happens then is precious to me, even though I know it shouldn’t be. Even though I know he doesn’t really love me.

When it’s over, he holds me, and his arms are so gentle around me that I close my eyes and pretend, just for a moment, that this is real. True. Good.

“Do you ever feel like you’re going crazy?” He asks me.

I don’t answer for a while. I think, yes, thank god, I thought I was the only one, but I don’t say it. I am coy when I’m with him; I am brave. I bristle at his words, though, and I know he feels it. “Maybe. I just think so much of what goes on in this world makes no sense. I try not to think about going crazy on top of that.”

“Agreed. But still…I just don’t know what to think sometimes, you know?” He says with a sigh, rubbing his hands over his face. And I nod, because I get it. I get him. He’s one of those beautiful things that I get to have, but can never keep. We made an agreement: no strings attached. Just conversation. Just two young people exploring their options. At first, of course, that’s all it was. He was just a pretty boy, and I was just an unexperienced girl head-over-heels with the fact that he was interested in someone like me. I know exactly how long I’ve allowed myself to love him, truly, deeply, wholly, with every inch of my soul and being—I can count the days on both my hands. He doesn’t know; he’ll never know. I keep secrets like that tucked away where no one will ever find them. Temporarily in love, I like to call it. It’s all we’ll ever be, because for some reason he doesn’t think forever exists. Neither do I. But I guess…I guess I was just hoping we would change each other’s minds.

I hardly noticed the bottles of pills on his desk. He rarely kept a light on during our midnight rendezvous, so how could I? I guess I should have known that night, when he found me first, when he pulled me down on the bed before I could even mutter out a weak “hello”. I should have known it wasn’t me he really wanted, but some disillusioned version of me he kept locked in his head for when he felt like shit. I guess he felt like shit then. His parents were always fighting, fighting. They must have had a rough night. I knew it was hard on him, so hard, to watch his mother be pushed around. Not to snap his step-father’s neck in two and damn the consequences. But he kept his mouth shut, and his fists clenched, and did his best to protect her from the shadows. Sometimes, though, the shadows take hold of you and won’t let go. Sometimes, even, they manage to win. I guess the shadows led him to that little bottle of pills—they were his mother’s. They weren’t meant for him. They were never meant for him. But anyway, he got a few of those lovely pills in him, and then he got into that bottle of wine his brother kept hidden in his room, and he lost all sense of time and responsibility, like he always did when he was around me.

Maybe if his mother had known about the gun in the foyer closet, she would’ve ended her marriage long ago. Maybe Jason would’ve ended both their marriage and his stepfather’s life. There were so many possibilities, and as I sit here now, I can’t help but contemplate them. If he had known how things would turn out, how miserable everyone would be, would he have changed his mind?

I can still see the blood dripping slowly, slowly from the little cuts on his wrists. I put my fingers over them, again and again, to try and stop the bleeding. It never works. I sit with his head in my lap and sob into the telephone, the woman on the other end of the line helpless to decipher my words through such violent tears. And when the sirens come, and with them this divine “help” that everyone is always talking about, there was nothing for me to do but watch and cry and scream his name.

Alex.

Alex.

ALEX.

I screamed it until my voice was scraped raw, till his mother came and dragged me across the hallway and down the stairs, who forced me to look her in the eyes and take a deep breath. But I didn’t want to keep breathing, not when he couldn’t anymore. I didn’t ever want to do something he wouldn’t do.

He would never get married.

He would never have a child.

He would never even get to graduate high school.

And so as I sit here in this black robes, not of mourning, but of supposed celebration, the graduation cap on my head grows heavy. The people around me can’t see that I am bleeding; the bruises are hidden behind smiles that I force. Inside, there’s a fever like no other. He will never graduate. So I don’t feel like doing it either.

I cross the stage with weary footsteps. I look on at the crowd of watchers, their smiles so wide, and so putrid, and I let the gunshot ring out high and clear inside the stadium.

My body falls.

And I see his face again.

Tell My Love

Will you tell my love that I love him,

If he makes it back to town?

If his hair is slicked, his eyes are bright,

Will you tell him to sit down?

Will he tell you that he has missed me,

And can’t believe that I’ve gone.

Will he ask you what’s become of me,

And if I am all alone?

And if you tell him that I miss him,

Will his eyes fill up with tears?

Will he think of me, in all my joy,

And mourn the missing years?

I must wonder if he’s thought of me,

Since the day he moved away.

And in New York, was he as happy,

As he’d be if he had stayed?

I will not promise I don’t miss him,

That our love was naught but fake.

Because even with all this distance,

That’s a vow I cannot make.

There are some bonds that can’t be broken,

There are some loves that will go on.

So will you tell my love I love him,

And will love him when he’s gone?

If he asks those trivial questions–

“Did she suffer?” “Was it long?”

Simply lie and say I was at peace,

Even if it may be wrong.

Do not tell him how I cried for him,

Screamed his name till I was hoarse.

There are some things that he should not know,

For sometimes the truth is worse.

But that’s over now, the pain is gone,

And I’m all dressed up in white.

And in his fancy Italian suit,

I’m sure he’ll be quite the sight.

So just tell my love that I love him,

Even though it’s from afar.

And do not ever let him doubt it,

Even when his heart’s at war.

I will be a good little dead-girl,

I will let them carry me

In the black casket on their shoulders

To the grave where I shall be.

I will not say that I am sorry

That I’m going, that I’m gone,

But he should at least know this one thing:

He was the only one.

And as I scream that I still love him,

To the sky and to the sea,

I must wonder if he can hear me.

I must wonder if he sees.