Seaming

My CNF piece for a literary mag (Philadelphia Stories) is being republished for their 15th anniversary! if you’re in the philly or NJ area, you can get the mag for free! TW for mental health, abuse, suicide mention. take care of yourselves, lovelies 🥰

The piece is called Seaming, and is in equal parts a reflection of my complicated relationship with mental illness and my complicated relationship with my mother.

You can read it here. Please comment below if you have any thoughts on the piece! I’d love to know what you think.

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and in the dark we whisper things we’d never say in daylight, we sit on the porch and talk about the worst parts of ourselves and it feels so fluid and freeing.

im still here, i think. im still here and seeking that Great Big Romance ive wanted since i was a child. faced with it, i shied away, i broke my own heart before i could give you the chance.

see— this is what i do. this is how i am. a spitfire, an emotional sponge, scaring off future lovers and clinging to future abusers.

you are not the first, you will not be the last. this is a cycle doomed to repeat, over and over again. i am aching for something to heal me, but you can’t go around making doctors out of people who want nothing to do with sewing sutures upon wounds you created yourself.

the message is this: the message is received. i tie together the pieces ive lost in the explosion, sneak into your house to take back my heart, and i move on.

on to the next loss ill orchestrate.

#METHREE

my relationship with my body is complicated and constantly fluctuating. consider this my first step toward autonomy and reclamation. here is a poem about it (tw for sexual assault):

#METHREE

1.

you’re standing in the middle of a corn field and a man tells you to scream before it’s over. you’re running out of time, sweat piles on top of your body, and you want to scream, want to      please him,

do anything           to      please him,

but you can’t.

2.

your mother beats at you, your father joins in. they are molding you into a quieter shape, a better shape. one they can show to their friends, say look at our good and well behaved child.

look how well         she welcomes         abuse.

3.

you blink twice when you swear, the words
are foreign   in         your mouth,
it makes you      uncomfortable           to think about.
raised to be prim, proper and polite with a capital P.
raised
to be quiet.

4.

afraid of your own body, you sold it to the first man
who looked at you with lust. it was taken from you
at an early age, nonetheless,
what’s a stranger’s piece inside of you            (drunken and crying)
compared to you, a preteen
(drunken and crying)?
after he finishes, he tells you that you smell like his ex girlfriend, asks if he could call you Christine,
and hold you      as if       You           were her?

5.

you’re bleeding from your lip, you’ve been biting it to keep your lessons from your childhood.

6.

you gave yourself different names in bed,
moaned when they touched You,
even when it felt like               nothing.

7.

you don’t have a word for what he does to You, but he fucks you like he means it, really         means it,
and reminds you you’re his whore.
it feels right with his hands around your neck,
because they’ve always
held their hands
around your neck.

8.

la petite mort, not as you would understand the expression
“the brief loss
or weakening
of consciousness
specifically to
the sensation
of orgasm”

but a little death nonetheless.

9.

your grandmother gives you two pieces of advice:
one— a man should know you neck up, but never neck        Down. fact.
two— a man should always believe he was your second Ever. fact.
you become an actor, a porn star,
script says:         fuck me like              you mean      it,
script says:          fuck my brains out,
script says:          fuck me til      i can’t      walk   straight.
script says:        (with rising feeling)
hurt me, hurt me, hurt me!
you cave in, bury the truth under fucking and fucking           and fucking and fucking—
left your body just as they entered it.

10.

there’s different types of crazy—five.
the emotionally unstable are better in bed.
you don’t admit to being all five types.
men don’t want to hear this when you’re naked,
they want to hear you moan, to lick the sweat
off of your breasts and that they’re the second
to ever                  fill you.
fact.

11.

you don’t have a word for what he does to you, but he’s given you a word for yourself: monster. you deserve it, and you’ve always deserved it.

12.

gas lights the fireplace and you’re burning, twenty one and burning, always burning. this hell you’ve created by dating the architect who lives in his car.

13.

you’re nineteen, can’t walk straight.
a man with ice blue eyes leads you
into a bathroom
as you dig your heels
into the grooved hardwood floor, sticky with spilled alcohol.
nervous laughter spills from you
as he forces you to your knees
and puts himself inside of you,
so that you don’t really say no,
but n-umpf.
you tell your sister and she says
men are disgusting,
but you never speak of it again.

14.

you’re twenty one,
in a relationship with another, you say no,
but your pants are off
and this time,
he’s the one laughing.
your partner
stops speaking to you
for 24 hours
for allowing this to happen.

15.

you’re twenty two,
in a new relationship.
his eyes are green, you call him broccoli. he stops when you leave.
he kisses only after asking.
still, you stop almost always.
say im ruined almost always.
he holds you, almost always
for the       hundredth time.

16.

you don’t swear. you don’t say no. you lay still and think of England.

17.

you’re standing in a cornfield and the man from before is still telling you to scream like you mean it. you scream, but no noise comes out this time. it may be due to his hands around your neck, or they’re yours, and they’ve always been yours.

18.

how can you write about fucking,
—yes fucking, not sex, not making love—
when you can’t even fuck your lover
like you        mean it?
when you can’t even fuck them
without crying?

an ode to my dead god

A PREFACE:
in hospitals, they don’t give you pens. 
                                                   just pencils. 
i hate the impermanence of writing
                                                   in pencil. 
                               as if everything 
could just be erased. forgotten. 
           i am used to scratching things out, 
angrily, 
                        until the paper 
rips. 

AN ODE TO MY DEAD GOD.

buoyed by
a catalogue
of existence, or, a litany
of Reasons To Exist,
my dead God and i
sit in conversation.

why?

i don’t need to say more,
God hears the rest before i speak it.
my dead God says nothing in return.
as if i should be grateful i was
caught red-handed, tears unshed
at my non-funeral.

i hate this pencil. it’s too small and
not nearly sharp enough.
there is no elegance in writing
with a pencil,
the words are thick and drunk,
blurring or slurring together.
i miss the days when they were
filled with lead, not graphite,
but thanks to the Herculean efforts
of one man i cannot hope
to poison myself.

why?

my dead God asked if i could stop
calling them my dead God.
i say i’ll stop when their people
stop using their name
to justify the death of my people.

when God stops being the reason
people can’t have rights.

when God steps in to stop
all this nonsense
happening today.

my dead God relents.

why?

my hand is hurting.
this poem is over.
i bet you wanted a happier ending.
ask my dead God.

the last ten days of august.

what could empty you?

          in the weight
of our divines
the un    thinking
deep within us
strokes of pure spirit
      our fleeting fall

labour — the early war;
                 original sin
in between the earth and sky
            is the shade
            of the galaxy
why limit sorrow?
why blank the source?
             conquered,
             we go on
and put life first

ignore the    remnant artifacts
                      merciless undoings
turned pools,
                      nudge    of time
ordinary notes of care
unleashed poisons
etched
into skin

history’s suitor to time,
         shards,
                      debris
remember   remember
           remember
the blank silence echoing

days go on,
        fewer,
               sleep escaping
crying out
                   it was a home.

cursed nights into mornings,
         who can make of this?
what once was theirs,
          whatever is left?

emptied, murdered, obliterated
             an annihilation
of the ego
              the anguish,
                     the anguish

eyes still seeing last touch
feeling
ancient alone abandoned
what is a year
              a month
               a decade
but a moment?

—lost and burned
            futile devices,
fervour’s writing

mailed to the void

and the sea?
        the sea?

the saltwater dead, my love,
the saltwater dead

the last great epitaph
of our love:
           i am nobody
           i am nobody
           and you
           are gone

oh, August, a season deceased,
tell me again
the hieroglyph
of your name

winter’s fog

What is winter if not a time of death and dying, if not a time of hollowing out and burrowing into yourself?

And what is so wrong with that?

Bear with me here.

Why do we fear winter, why do we fear this opportunity to close ourselves off and take care of our wounds and our hearts? Living is moments of inhaling and exhaling. Winter is just one long exhale, before spring rolls in and we are allowed to breathe in the new air again.

nostalgia

do i still hear your voice?
back of my head
sings songs of your words
sickly sweet
like honeydew drops
in a glass of milk

an old movie
playing on repeat
the bike wheel turns round
and round

life in a snow globe
shaken to my core
touching the ends
of my existence
seeking to reach
spring

i find myself asleep
in a green meadow field
under a starless sky

for the weary

we begin as small balls of clay,
with gentle hands
and a warm touch,
with our hearts planted
firmly on our sleeves
and a smile wider
than the widest canyon

we begin as soft sponges,
absorbing the world around us
filled to the brim
with the water of emotion
with minds capable
of dreaming up anything

we begin as constellations,
a blank page
ready to be mapped
ready to be made
into music

somewhere along the way
begins the first shattering
the first door slammed
the first back turned, unmoving
the first losses
the first mourning

somewhere along the way
some sooner than others
learn their heroes have turned to dust,
have left them behind,
have left them to live
on their own

somewhere along the way
the world teaches us to build
stone walls around our heart
that emotion is weakness
that it is wrong
to fall apart

somewhere along the way
children become adults
far too soon

starting over

i fell backwards into oblivion,
i let your hands take my soul,
my words were erased
by your touch
i cannot think,
cannot eat,
cannot do much of anything
but you run around
with your heart and body intact
and you know nothing
of my pain

bruised
bleeding
bereaved
i take all my broken parts,
and i begin again