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alexis Jun 1
the rustling of the leaves in the trees
the audible tremble
of a collective chill
sounds just like the beach

my front porch
a shining metropolitan shore
the sun seems to soften into welcoming;
a different sun
that doesn’t scowl hotly over apartment complexes
and make liquid of asphalt and people

a benevolent warmth
you can only get
out of the city

the air rubs itself in coarse salt
and Coppertone

this glass of water
in my hand
may well be the ocean
the shift in my lap
the waves
a floating leaf
a boat
adrift on cerulean seas

the children laughing and playing here
are the same children
laughing and playing there, too

i am reminded that everything
can be given a new life
if you tell a wild heart
of an ordinary thing

if i just
close my eyes
a beach
is never far away
alexis Nov 2022
my bedroom carries the headiness of stale captivity. the teeth of a years old trap are gathering debris where they’ve gnashed on my leg. my loved ones come to relieve me of my suffering.

the gentle winds bring me dead leaves in layers of red, yellow, brown and the occasional purple. “look at how they’ve changed,” the winds say. “things can change for you, too.” i brush them away. indignant, the winds whip dust and pebbles that become bullets at the right speed, threatening tornadoes that will never come. i wait until their lungs tire.

the cleansing rains rinse the matted blood from my wound and refresh my hot, mangled skin. “doesn’t that feel great?” the rains say. “you can feel like this all the time if you put in a little effort.” i dry myself down. angered, the rains disease the trap with rust and drench me until my bones attempt to float away, threatening tsunamis that will never come. i wait until the water recedes.

the giving earth sprouts a flower in the corner of my bedroom. “life is still growing, waiting for you,” the earth says. “you just have to come to meet it.” it’s a beautiful reprieve for my senses, i almost go to pluck it. as i come to realize my motions, my heart drops to an unknown place away from my chest. i hesitate. furious, the earth wilts the flower until it blends in with the rest of my bedroom. it shakes the ground violently, deepening the pain of the metal in my flesh. it delivered on earthquakes but threatened no aftershocks.

the lively sun dries me of the failures of the wind and rain and earth. the sun says nothing. i make no effort to repay its warmth. it reciprocates that lack of effort.

i have exhausted the affections of the elements, and in their abandonment now rests a deep stillness that urges me to look around.

over time, i have accumulated the barest of pleasures — some unread books, some unplayed records, some small tokens of loves long gone — that mimic a home, but bring you no closer to what that is supposed to feel like.

the odor in here is disgusting. unsophisticated in my aching, i wish for a sweet-scented breeze, or a balmy rain, or a fragrant flower.

or maybe i will just order a scented candle.
alexis Oct 2022
oil and water will always blame the other for being too extreme. there is a natural separation and naturally, a lot of blame.

how easy it is to feel self righteous in your rigidity, even in the presence of the one point in a glass where they meet. there, it is a softer rejection, a gossamer thin border, as if it resigns, “here, we exist as two separate we’s, stacked on top of one another, and that is as much as i will relent.”

what a shame it is to accept the shape of a container, but not the shape of one another. what a stab it is to my heart that you repel me, and i you, no matter how much i wish and struggle and vigorously shake us both hoping that this time, it will be different. what a pity it is that i’m me and you’re you and we’re not anyone else and it will remain unchanged, like you and i.

i could feel better if i knew you didn’t want it to be this way. that this life is just impossibly cruel and it’s nobody’s fault but the universe and the gods and whoever else made it my nature to resist you.

i plead silently for one more good stir, one more fair shot. it might work this time.

our shoulders brush slightly again. and i cry thinking that if you were to wipe my tears, they’d bead up and roll off of your hands.
alexis Jul 2022
i was too tender and well-meaning in my youth to understand why each petal plucked from a flower felt so powerful. the way it tugged, the resistance. like a stop sign colored in a light rose pink. it was softly forbidden, you weren’t supposed to do it — but it wasn’t impossible. i didn’t understand power, but i felt it that day.

the flower was my first conquest. i made confetti of anything i could get my hands on — leaves, fruit, toys — i couldn’t stand to see anything whole. to the untrained eye, i was just messy and curious. i was, and i am.

but somewhere along the way, i was the one that was ripped to shreds. someone felt that power i did in my mom’s garden and graduated to people. so did i.

and i so wish i could say i cascaded softly to the ground with a whisper like a petal and not a resounding thud that echoed in the bottom of every bottle of alcohol i drank, in the cramped back of cars of strangers, at the edge of the pitch roof of my house. i wish i had that much grace.

i now understand how the flower petals, the pieces of fruit, the dolls without heads or arms must have felt — to be unwilling participants of a mosaic that didn’t even make a very pretty picture.

but at least i’m sharp if you dare to pick me up and put me on your wall.
alexis Mar 2022
there was a tenderness reserved for me in her. like an eager extra setting at a table, still empty, as she yearned for my presence with dinner time inching impossibly closer. it was like she was playing house and she was smushing our two dolls together. she’d smile at me to pass her the salt and add a wink, because she can. building our own little sinkhole world in the middle of her parents’ dining room. i couldn’t hear her mother ask me what i do for a living.

her family would be delightfully curious of the kind of person who could hold their precious girl’s love and attention. i’d tell them who i was in a nutshell, but she giggled at what was purposefully left unsaid.

they knew the her before me, and the her after me was beaming light to land planes. before, they said, maybe she could just power a small town. the spark in her eyes was threatening to jump the slight curb of her waterline and light everything aflame. she would laugh as we tried to put it out and she’d pull me away running like accidental arsonists.

afterwards, hand in hand, we’d sit on her back patio and laugh a belly laugh. nothing was really funny, just life was electric and it made a sound.
alexis Jan 2022
humanity is at constant odds with freedom.

it varies in definition – one man’s liberty is another’s snare. there is so much that is preconceived, that precedes and influences human thought, it makes freedom seem self-indulgent — a vehicle for ego-stroking and inflated sense of purpose.

freedom is simpler for others. it’s the one objective way to live — it’s the only way to live.

and maybe i’ve become too accustomed to the weight on my wrists that i refused you, vehemently opposed a chance to fly out from my cage into the new world. was i supposed to be thankful? i didn’t even know i had wings.

you released my usual tight ponytail from her tower upon my crown. black waves crashed upon the shore of my shoulders, i couldn't help but feel drowned in them.

you bared my skin from the safety of my clothes. you assured me that your touch was better armor for me. but there’s not enough free flesh of yours to cover what i wish to hide. a small ice age passed through the room every night, chilling me so deeply that not even your cloying warmth can stop the shiver of disdain traveling my spine.

you freed me from the comfort i used to have. you relinquished me from the safety of being me.

i tried to see everyday as a chance to grow comfortable, and everyday i had no choice but to be a stranger my own house because every chair was taken by your wants and every wall painted with your desires over mine that there was only standing room left for me.

i felt liberated in the way a captive animal roams its enclosure. i was king of a small domain, but a pawn to a larger kingdom. but i’d much rather liken your love to being an animal lead to slaughter with no wool over its eyes. it’s freeing, just not in the way you’d want.

when i finally gathered enough scraps of courage to tie my hair up again and sheathe myself in layers, i retreated back to my cage, not with my tail between my legs but the feathers on my chest ruffled with pride.

i believe more now than ever that freedom exists in the captivity of self. let me throw away the key and waste away in comfort.
alexis Dec 2021
who does heaven’s gate open for?
there is an ideal candidate, a type of person dripping with so much grace and benevolence it sickens the normal people passing by. even the kindest among us avoid the runoff.
are they even human?
i don’t part my lips for righteousness.
i don’t spare second glances at books on par with it, either.
let the sky open for the people i know. the real people.
the beggars and undesirables, the people who cut you like broken glass and lick your wound clean thereafter.
the people just getting by, doing anything to get right there and barely reaching beyond it.
the people who live in the margins, yearning to have their name written on a line someone will read.
let me see a sky as deep as time, as vast as androgyny.
open before us with warm arms and chest to sink our earth-weary souls into.
open unto us or we will make waste of the clouds and clip the wings of fleeing angels.
if it is not for me, i will pry the door open with my fingers.
i make my own welcome.
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