She painted Blue whales
and said Goodbye
once she fell in love
with Rina Palenkova
a lovely girl from Ussuriysk
who risked it all
to catch a train
out of the cold Primorsky Krai
no one heard her cry
or tried to reach
the lonely girl inside
before she beached
just like a blue,
─illustrations on the ceiling
i love the way
the sunlight ripples along his skin
with no complaints
"messiah" the shadow talks
"of course he is" i reply
and i resume to orchestrating my love
i wander aimlessly along his windows,
they are gates to afterlives unloved;
they are oceanic shrapnel
sky imprisoned infinities
a lapis point of view-
that i treasure
his heart is drenched
in my soul-
in a sweeter sickness-
in the liquid measure of my steps-
he mentions i'm contagious
i tell him he is my favorite way
"september prodigy" the shadow babbles
"why?" i rasp
"sun at long last
all the ghosts
the heart of the moon"
and i broke out into stars
i love the raw
music of our conversations,
and how his voice
and my monsters
in fabrics of the dark
i love how his laugh
makes all the other planets
how his smile
is the first step
to curing the blind
so the blind may know
what i know
"the symphony of seams"
i love how he is the shocking
of turning suicide notes
into paper cranes
of picking fights with death
so i may remain
i love the phoenix tucked in his soul
how it defines-
our existence he describes to me
"reincarnation?" the shadow asks
"every morning he wonders" i answer
and the fever invests it's time in me
"what is he to you?" the shadow murmurs
"besides broken flowers,
and ink blots shaped like rain
he is my favorite stairway to heaven."
I was born into this shadow of beauty we call the American dream, but I was raised in foreign silhouettes. The same exact silhouettes that raised my mother. My first memories were of her forest gods and alpine stories that have taught me how to write spiderwebs into the hearts of the miserable so my words could hold them together. My deadushka's magic could turn monsters into swans with a wink because his love was so contagious. My babushka's, on the other hand, showed me how to howl like darkness so even the wolves would know silence. I was born as spilled as it comes; as ink. I now understand what tragedies look like at first; ("Blessings")
As my mother picks her way across a war with me in her arms, the world catcalls that I am a half-blood puppet. The daughter with Russian strings and American footsteps. I arrive in America where I am reminded I belong here, but that was the first lie that my mother ever fed to me. To this day, it still tastes like expired love.
As my father spent all his kindness on me in the earliest years of my life I was given an English tongue and it bullied my Russian one into suicide. That is the only thing my father ever planted in me that he wanted to grow. Those seeds of words I would later bear fruit as ripe poetry. Those fruit of the novels I will someday write as fiction into flesh. However, what is written beneath our skin doesn't necessarily always fit in our mouths. My father's greatest mistake was beating me into a ghost, but giving me the power to write about his hauntings. His abuse moves into our house shortly after he realizes I am a tragedy, not a blessing.
As I write myself into the moon one day I will become, I meet a boy who's laughter makes all the planets look dull. We learn to not walk like apologies, but like young legends. He was my first real taste of sunlight since I was brought here, and he spoke heaven into my eyes until I saw it. We loved each other like Peter Pan and Wendy did; deeply, cluelessly, and forever. Our immortality was a toy in the eyes of those who envied us. Yet he summoned the fires we should have feared as kids, but instead we stared into them and smiled. We were happy, and we were never sorry for that.
April 3rd, 2007. He died. That was the day I was old enough to grow out of a blessing and into the clothes of a tragedy. That was the day the heaven spilled from my eyes like the great flood and went with him. My mother theorizes that is why my eyes aren't as blue as hers anymore. The sounds of bullets hitting bodies today, even ten years later, between then and long ago, has the power to create painful afterimages of him. The post traumatic stress unfastens my blood from my my body and the poetry reacts by shutting me down all at once. Death asks me to write a spiderweb into his own heart, but I refuse.
I adopted grief into my family and he got along with abuse pretty well. To survive, I've left the nostalgia of that boy to hibernate deep in my bones.
Today is April 3rd, 2017. I stand before a headstone that exists only sometimes in my head. I kneel before it and leave the skeleton of my love like a bouquet of roses. The shadows and silhouettes align, and I hold hands with both of them.
I weep as the odes of "it's not your fault" fall onto my ears like they do every year. From friends, lovers, and family. They mean well. Who knows, maybe someday I will have what it takes to believe them.
But he never grew up, so guilt still flaps it's wings here.
---Sermons with a colorblind priest
And just like that, I was drifting again. I was slipping into the folds of static, describing the abyss as I drowned. I fell from altitudes of happy to suicidal in only a manner of insidious seconds, because that's how it goes. You think you have what it takes to be ice but in reality, you're only shattered water.
It comes when I think of them. The urge to succumb into my own ghost has never been so appealing until now. But there are visitors here, the twins grief and guilt have been uninvited guests in a home held together by dried flowers for ceilings and walls of teeth. I have learned to confuse my name with wreckage under their supervision.
The brothers tell me how to do it, how to kill myself without hurting anyone else that I love. But they only speak their diseases to me when all my fight has bled out onto the kitchen floor as the latest mosaic. Then they feast, and teach me the art of being empty through their hungry wolf bites. I remember how to breathe in a shallow way so my skeleton won't fall apart. I haven't had to do that in a very long time. Guilt reminds me the idea of shrinking is hereditary, while grief tells me it's time to practice that now.
When I want to hurt myself I want to do very strange things. I want to ask cigarettes to try to strangle my lungs with smoke as weak as a newborn. It reminds me of what is missing. The sweetest punishment is often the deadliest. When I want to hurt I pick fights with my grief or guilt just so I can lose again, just so I can keep the moon in the same spot in the sky. Just so the stars will pity the same people. I am sick, I am sick, I am sick. Welcome to the sickness, amen.
When I want to die, I rinse my soul out and leave it to dry. Like a flower that will become brittle and turn into a bookmark to mark the page where my life left off. I allow myself to deliberately stop holding the weight of the sun and I allow the sky to crush me softly.
I let the tsunamis out of their cages.
I cup his face,
he is beautiful and he is holding what remains;
I will let love hurt me in unspeakable ways,
until death too, dies.
---How to turn cancer into god
"Grieve while you can"
Don't speak in silhouettes
"Why him and not me?"
Vermouth signature in september
"I don't understand what that means."
Moon asleep while on fire
"That still doesn't make any sense."
Sometimes the beautiful things don't have to
"And what beautiful thing did he do to you?"
Kissed the silver right out of me
a little like all at once
all over the world
"Tell me how I fucked up"
"How could you?"
You mean how could my poetry
"How could you fucking hurt me this way?"
Art is a twisted, underestimated thing
Like a child's coin toss
"You can't compare love to that."
Love is a two faced child that feeds people to the war
"Dismantle me because you're chasing something you can't have"
"What's heads stand for?"
Carpe diem, Carpe noctem
Soli deo gloria
"I'm so confused..."
And now you understand
"Understand what, your confusing definition of love?"
Ask god how this could happen
"I watched you distance yourself from me."
Distance gives birth to gardens
"You've created a goddamn forest at this point"
Housing the tree of knowledge
"What are you saying?"
Snake in god's flower crown
Sin of fruit and temptation
"So this is about Adam and Eve?"
Eden grew between us
"Hate him so it makes it easier"
"He'll be the one that defiles you."
The shattering of soft water
"But you are the moon."
"Then who are you shattering?"
I will not eat fruit that is ripe of jealousy
"I wanted you."
And I wanted more
Your mind is labyrinthine
but a labyrinth could be filled
with flowerbeds of jasmines
hidden inside the darkness
among the shadows.
I believe this to be true
in your case.
I have loved, I am in love with,
and I will love you.
But you became necessity
somewhere along the way.
Love is meant to be pure.
We wanted to create
galaxies and fantasy realms
out of each other.
We wanted to dissect
pieces of each other
the way we do with any good book.
We always expected to be
on the same page.
We were so young.
But you believed in me
and suddenly that mattered
more than anything else.
There are really no words
that can reach out and give you a hug.
You're tired. But do not let someone else
be the reason for your tiredness.
You are not your parents' arguments.
You are not the screams of your siblings.
You are not a heartbreaker.
You are not sinful.
You are not a well of sadness.
You are simply existing.
You are learning.
You are someone who matters.
You are important.
They don't see you.
But I've always seen you.
how easy it is to love you.