I. I am so angry it burns my lips to speak, lava drips from my tongue and chars my skin and fries my hair and melts my clothes. I am so angry it consumes me it hurts me and it burns me and i do not get to feel any of it.
II. I wish I was a tape recorder. I wish I could remember things better, I wish I could spin myself around the words and play them back in my head later and never forget them. The only thing I can't press pause, or rewind, or erase, is exactly how you sounded when you left.
III. Sometimes I miss you so much I feel like I am running a race dead last and I have anchor weights on my ankles, I never think I'm going to make it.
IV. I think this is for the best but oh god I’m sorry my heart feels like it’s going to fall out of my mouth and onto the pavement
V. Last night someone took advantage of me and today I woke up feeling like it was my fault, it is nostalgic in the most terrifying way. I don't know how I'm doing this without you anymore.
VI. If this is love I want nothing to do with it.
VII. I am forced to become exactly what I need. I have spent too much time nailed to the floorboards right where you left me. I am right where you left me.
VIII. I think about how you have touched me and I feel sick, I think about your hands on me and I want to take showers and scrub my skin and I can’t breathe. I wish no one would ever touch me or kiss me or put their hands on me ever again.
IX. I don’t want to feel anything anymore. I told you I was going to be close to you in two months and you waited until four AM to tell me that seeing me would make you remember what you have done to me. I was awake. I told you to never forget it.
X. Get out of my head, I will not let you turn me hard. I felt soft, I still fall asleep wondering if your hands are cold. I do not want to let you convince me that love is bad.
XI. Yesterday, you told me you missed me. Yesterday, I couldn't force myself to look at you. Yesterday, I said, "I miss you too, but there is empty space where you told me you did not love me. There is nothing here for you anymore." Yesterday, I lied but I will repeat that mantra into my head until I undo whatever damage you have done to me. I will not let you convince me that love is bad.
GIRLS LIKE ME
are made up of pieces,
shaky legs and furrowed
eyebrows constant questions and
cutting off sentences we are existing
in every direction we are never quite
exactly one thing we are
everything all at once and we buzz
like a hive of nervous tics and anxious stutters
this energy cannot be created or destroyed
it is transferred from soft songs
to reminding GIRLS LIKE ME that you still
love us when our mouths cannot form words when
we are not entirely existing in the same place as you when
we get scared and write poetry about how GIRLS LIKE ME
fall in love with boys like you and we never really
tell them we wrap our hands around our own throats we
were never taught to be cruel, we were never taught to
be kind we are exactly everything and always nothing and we
never know what to say so we fall in love with boys like you and
we wait and wait and wait and cannot be created or destroyed
he said i was all blurred lines and
soft edges he said baby
you are sweet like honey you
are soft like the quiet summer
and i couldn't open my mouth
i cough up blood i couldn't say
i am the snapping jaws of a wild animal i
have poison in my veins and i break
things on purpose i break hearts
on purpose i am angry hash marks
and biting words i am choking back
bile he said baby you
are innocent and lyrical and sunlight and i said
i am still cold in the
middle of july
so maybe i fell, and fell and
and yeah maybe i was never quite
enough and you were always
looking for pieces of someone else in
me and i tried to pretend i didn't notice when
you choked her name out into my palms
all sticky and red with blood and i used
the time your hands cramped from missing her
fingertips to glue myself together before you
started to pull me apart again
so maybe i was made entirely of she misses me, she misses me not
flowers with thorn-filled stems you could
pluck for your
own entertainment to distract
yourself with the blood blooming on your thumb
so maybe i was a temporary home while she
screened your calls and i wrote poetry about
sinking ships and how i felt every butterfly wing you picked like you were cracking the
bones in my ribcage like
you kept your hands on my thighs like a trademark
so maybe i knew you were just using me to make yourself
feel like you were not all alone and i was
quiet and simple and good and i let you ruin
the good things around you because
if the darkness and emptiness was all
encompassing and i was never quite enough then
at least you would not be
i have spent sentences like
decreasing their worth
in the currency-exchange where your lips meet.
it is not my fault you cannot afford
a single letter.
i have spent time like
hour-hands are suggestions,
as if pride made the minutes move faster
so i pushed it in the drawers of my chest
and threw away the key
pretending my love does not move mountains.
it is not my fault
you cannot stop counting seconds,
it is not my fault you are always waiting,
and i am always watching you get ready to leave.
i have wasted parts of myself,
thrown them entirely into your puzzle
all sad-faced and
taped up with glue and apologies
i have sacrificed my sunlight,
my hurricanes and shifting plates
in an attempt to make you whole.
i have always been ashamed of the destruction,
my love moves mountains,
it is not cruel.
that does not mean it is kind.
i cannot fix you
no matter how much i give,
time, words, sunlight, clouds,
i have given you my breath but
i cannot put air in your lungs.
it is not my fault that
in all of its destructive glory,
my love moves mountains and
you can't even climb
where do you go when you think of me?
do you go to lying on the wood floor with my head in your lap;
do you go to driving with the windows down and the cold air running past us;
do you go to the songs i wrote down and hummed for you through hour-long car rides;
tell me what you think when someone says my name.
tell me where you go when you miss me,
where do you go?
do you try to drown out evenings where we smoke too much and stumble around grocery-store parking lots
with all the streetlights shut off behind us;
do you try to erase the way my thumb moves over your hand, like reflex, like my hand in my hair, like unconditioned and honest;
do you bite your lip when you hear terrible radio songs and your passenger seat is empty;
where do you go when you hear my name?
where do you go when you think,
oh my god,
i lost her,
i lost her
we reach the same point in the middle of every night,
lights turned off,
i sit on the edge of the bed and wait for an approving word
like a trained animal,
waiting for your hand to extend to me as an act of peace
in the middle of the war.
in the morning, there are notes where you've messed up the sheets without me.
the shower is on while i'm sleeping, the words are scrawled on the mirror.
the cereal made for one is spilled in the sink, it is spelled out in the bowl.
every night we wait for a slight movement,
some reason to pull our hair out and punch walls
some violent excuse for violence that is aimed towards how
i am too stubborn and you are too hot-headed and
i pretend not to notice when you stay out late,
i crawl into bed without permission and the fan echos the sentences
so i don't have to open my mouth when you stumble in
with someone else's perfume closing the bedroom door.
there is a disconnect, the words i am too terrified to say are
painted on every picture you look at,
on the edge of another woman's fingertips,
in your hand of cards each night.
and i dream that i scream it,
i write it on the brick side of abandoned buildings,
the top of cardboard boxes,
dirty doors of train-cars,
every place you pass has my handwriting, marking my territory
making you look at what you've done to me.
it is everywhere,
the soles of your shoes,
the stoplights on the busy streets to work,
i follow you like a ghost,
the back of a notebook you bought me with pages torn out
and edges folded:
you used to love me, baby, dont you remember?
you used to love me.