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Nov 6 · 15
Phoebe Nov 6
Can you codify a feeling?

Is the question bouncing around
the study group meeting a few tables away
from where I write my government paper

I think maybe you can't
I think maybe that's what poetry is supposed to be for:
to codify feelings
to make a container for a color

the color words taste in my mouth
when they make my bones ache

the color that leaves when you leave
that leaves when I leave
that spoils when we both leave-

Can you codify a feeling?
No. I don't think so.
And I don't think you can codify two people either
so maybe
we should just be.

We should just be
You and I, uncodified.
Nov 6 · 341
23 subs and 3 salads
Phoebe Nov 6
Sometimes, it is not about
rising to the challenge
because falling from grace

Just hurts.
It just hurts.

Teeth stained red-
This is not a smile
And this is not a success story,
it is just a story

about life

and it hurts.
Nov 1 · 16
Phoebe Nov 1
There's a hollow below your neck
and a scar on the back of your head

easy. Trick or treat.

I know you, the way you move-
you wear masks all the time, one  made of rubber won't make a difference
I still know how to find your eyes

And that heart of yours that you wear on your sleeve
is not as disguised as you think

And besides, you're the only person I know who smiles
like that;

Phoebe Nov 1
"Maybe you should write a poem about grace"

Well, She was anything but graceful
crooked smile and sharp eyes
more akin to justice
or liberty, even
except sometimes
in the afternoon on rainy days
Grace came to me and held out a hand-
angels with chipped nail polish
and girls with reckless souls.

"Maybe you should write a poem about grace"

Grace comes suddenly
but she lands softly
on rainy days
in the afternoon
"Maybe you should write a poem about grace"- Faint Music by Robert Hass
Nov 1 · 141
Cereal Box Angels
Phoebe Nov 1
Lucky charms with all the marshmallows picked out-
picture this:
rainbows and leprechauns
smiles full of gold teeth
angles on the ground with chipped nail polish
on call but for the discounted prayers
the poor neighborhoods
the not entirely righteous
demons of gasoline
guardians of the latchkey kids

I meet angels all the time
they put their wings on my lungs,
fly my breath away

There aren't any marshmallows left
guess I'll have to make my own luck.
Phoebe Oct 7
and why?
because I've got to
get this thing
out of my chest

It's doing its best to suffocate me
or maybe just put me to sleep
but either way It's scaring me

because I know this feeling
and I know what the thing looks like
or at least
what it tastes like
and I know

I've got to get it out
I just
don't know how
Oct 7 · 29
Phoebe Oct 7
We ate the sunrise for breakfast
water black like motor oil
before the sun had a chance
to wake up and ignite it
and a girl that looked like coming home  

The hands of a best friend
holding a sparrow-delicate flower-
could have been my heart with
how little it looked
in her palms

Fleeting, fleeting
and gone

I watched, standing alone on my island
as she looked back
loved me
and left.

Back tomorrow, always
for breakfast
to eat the sunrise
and put the sun himself
to shame

The stuff she's made of
it's not any material found on earth

She was supposed to be me,
I think,
before we were both made
I miss her like I miss my breath
when it gets knocked out of my chest.
Sep 20 · 33
Put it back
Phoebe Sep 20
Please put your help back in the heart it came from,
mine isn't very good at holding help
isn't very good at holding anything at all-

People come and go
they go, they go, they go

And the second you hand over your help, I'll get back on my feet

I will walk away

You must know this.

Are you afraid yet?
Put it back, please.
Better I'm flat on my back with no air
than walking away lonely.

Put it back quickly, I'm ready to stand.
Sep 19 · 56
Drink Up
Phoebe Sep 19
Tough pills to swallow,
all these little moments
sweet under street lamps
smiles between white sheets
white teeth
bared against
words too big to chew

Drink up sunlight
soak up moonlight
wring out lamplight
from the corners of the room
to make space for shadows

Hard to see in the day
what I feel in the dark

Drink me, Alice
See what happens when the bottle spills out
moments that add up too well

Hard to swallow down.
Sep 17 · 168
Phoebe Sep 17
Heart cold
hands clean
words gold
tongue mean

You're a liar
You're on fire

So why's your heart cold?

Why're your hands

Sep 17 · 1.4k
Phoebe Sep 17
Paper faces and silicone smiles-
Where’d you get that mask, little girl?
Looks an awful lot like

Mar 29 · 85
Phoebe Mar 29
Listen to me
Sometimes we cannot change who we are
What we are
What we crave
And what we don't
How we feel
And how we breath

Listen to me
There are going to be those people
Who leave holes in your heart
Bright sparks
Left over from ephemeral intensity
That's just how it is
That's life

And if you think that I am not one of those people
Then perhaps you do not know me
At all.

Listen to me

I'm sorry

For the unanswered texts
The dropped calls
The silence

Listen to me

I'm sorry

About the anxiety
I've got to have room to breath
I will never not need that; to be left alone
I have already made a life for myself
I cannot change that trajectory

Listen to me
I am not Cinderella
I am not Sleeping Beauty
I am not a princess
I have no desire to be one
I am a sovereign ruler of my own domain-

Listen to me.
I do not need anyone to complete me
I am whole on my own two feet
And if I have holes in me
Maybe I like them there

Maybe I don't mind being so light

Don't think I lack the capacity to care
I care. I love. I do.
But I am not made to make a home

Listen to me
I love that you are
That you like being close to home
Close to family
Sensitive, caring

But you must understand
That I am not.

I am not.

Listen to me
I care
But I cannot be looking for forever.
Mar 29 · 36
Count them up
Phoebe Mar 29
I can see your ribs
Jacob's ladder holding your organs in tight
Count them up
Un deux trois
Cats on your socks
And the world on your shoulders

Are you a god that you can stand the weight of seven billion souls?

How many times have you seen night turn to day and back again?

You've got history stenciled into your skin
Your father's complexion and your mother's fingers
In a combination so significant that only the youth can relate
Hard to be, hard to grow
When your ancestors have already grown so tall behind you

Set down the planet for a while
Give it a good kick
Watch it roll
Time spun the wrong way
A million sunrises in a moment

Is this not better?
Teeth flashing in backtracked frowns
All the laughs before they happen

Jonah swallows the whale in this one

Maybe you should eat something too.
Mar 29 · 77
My Dear
Phoebe Mar 29
Happy Birthday

We cry all the time, you and I
Blond hair and sunshine smiles and anxiety and shiny grades

And love.
Love, love, love
Love; Family

You share, I share
I give, you take, we take, we take.

We take meanness and swallow it down, insecurities from other people and make them ours

You go to private school and I do not but you and I, we smile in solidarity
Sit at the family dining table in solidarity
I have a spot at that table and an extra mattress in your room

In solidarity.

A sister, a friend, a mirror.
Let me always be your mirror, for I love you more than you may ever love yourself
It's the least we could do for each other

Tonight we cry by laughing, spill sunshine across the table because what a wonderful thing it is to have something that will never scrub out of your soul

My dear, Happy Birthday.
Mar 29 · 132
Life in Motion
Phoebe Mar 29
You're an absolute menace
Who taught you to break hearts like that?

Who put a young man from the backstreets of a city in the 1940s into your body?

Not a care in the world, it's brash confidence, you love hard hit hard
All or nothing
It's who you are.

Young woman.

Braids and a baseball cap
Complexes piling up behind your eyes

You wear fake smiles like they're going out of style
Smile real ones at the people you'll grow up to hurt the most

Who taught you how to use your womanhood as a weapon?

Maybe nobody,
Maybe nobody.

Maybe you taught yourself. Dumb lucky teenager, scrappy as hell and ****** to boot

Sins on your shoulders, a good heart.
You're a menace, a freak

It's unbelievable, truly,
It's obscene, really

They worship the ground you walk on and you go home and cry in the closet.
Dec 2018 · 34
Phoebe Dec 2018
You are sunshine

Just like she was

Born in July, you've got honey gold hair and blue eyes

Goofy personality

Darling, remind the sun to keep some of her warmth for herself instead of giving it all to you,

I can still feel the warmth of your hands on mine, admiring my ring, from this morning

You like shiny things

I've got shiny lies

You like me

I don't know why

But you don't make me anxious

And somehow you already knew about the last boy and you don’t care that I swing whatever way the wind is blowing

And I'm alright with that.
Dec 2018 · 30
You love
Phoebe Dec 2018
Midnight boys with sunshine smiles
Sunshine girls with stars in their hair

Who you are is who you love

You love funny kind reckless both

You love smiles dark laughing

You love

You love
Jun 2018 · 128
Blood flow
Phoebe Jun 2018
People bleed, that’s just how it is

They say head wounds bleed the most; do not be alarmed

So what about the invisible gashes in the head and the heart?

How much do they bleed?

When do they stop?
May 2018 · 121
Sweet Tea and Silence
Phoebe May 2018
Counting cars on the front stoop in summer

One, two, three punch buggy no punch back

Lemonade for me and sweet tea for you

This is The South, after all

Only it’s hockey instead of football that’s on the television in my house but

We don’t talk about that since

I say you guys instead of y’all but

We don’t talk about that since

Your daddy has a confederate flag on his porch but

We don’t talk about that since

I grow up and you grow up and we don’t agree on the racial nor gender politics of time but

We don’t talk about that since

I don’t use the term culture of amnesia or white paternalism around you since

We count cars on the front stoop in summer

One, two, three punch puggy no punch back

A tall glass of political awareness for me and a shot of traditionalism for you

and silence between us but

We don’t talk about that since

This is The South, after all
May 2018 · 107
Never at all
Phoebe May 2018
We’re forgetting the most important part, I think

It’s that the hurt is worth it.

It’s worth it.

If nothing else, it is worth it

To love with the risk of pain

Than to never love at all.
May 2018 · 515
Phoebe May 2018
Our space doesn’t exist, friend

It doesn’t exist anymore

Stopped being a thing once your Y chromosome didn’t match

My double X

And we realized boys and girls didn’t have sleep overs


Take your sticky fingers away from me, dear

Don’t kiss me sloppily on the cheek in thanks for penny candy, dear

Please stop trying to wear my shorts, dear

They are women’s cut, dear, and the five inch inseam... oh dear

You have a girl friend, dear

And you will have another one next month

And the month after that, another one

Our space only exists in-between,

Where platonicy reigns supreme

But that doesn’t exist anymore, because all girls and all boys end up together, right?

Only I’m right here and you’re right here, so we’re togther

It’s just that you’re my little brother from another mother

And I’m your personal driver

Our space doesn’t exist anymore
May 2018 · 239
Happy Go
Phoebe May 2018
Tell me, God, tell me

For real, this time

A good question, if you’ll listen

Where do the gnats go after they get zapped in the bug light?

Tell, me God, tell me

Okay, this one is a good question for sure

Very important stuff

How many times does one need to curse to loose their spot in heaven? Asking for a friend

Tell me, God, tell me

This is a kicker

It’s been keeping me up at night

Why did you decide to make sand? I mean, it’s pretty and all, but it gets everywhere

Tell me, God, Tell me

So, now here’s my biggest question

When am I going to make up my mind? Is that ever in my future or are we just planning on an indecisive personality forever?

Just let me know when you decide, because we both know I won’t

And hey-

Big guy in the sky, this one really is for you, if you’re there

I’m just wondering, you see

Could you tell me one thing:

Where does all the happiness go?
May 2018 · 92
Do you know?
Phoebe May 2018
Therapy never worked for me in the speaking variety

I found my way to process through writing

That’s how it all began, a therapy project of rhetorical devices

You’re asking me rhetorical questions

About the soul

And where brothers go after they die, no really, do you know?
May 2018 · 85
Phoebe May 2018
Grief is far from straight

It’s a crooked, winding line down half of my heart, half of my lungs

Permanent scars that make it hard to breath sometimes.

I hate that you’re fighting to catch your breath now, too
May 2018 · 101
The Worst Thing
Phoebe May 2018
Is love, but with no where to go

Is that text "I'm not doing so good"

Of course not, because he's dead

He's dead and your house is so silent it might as well be a coffin but with your name on it

The worst thing?

It's that I cannot bring him back for you

The worst thing?

It's that I cannot take away your pain

The worst thing?

It's that nobody listens

Except for me

And we all know I can't process grief

So the worst thing is that you are there

And I am here

And I cannot make it better
May 2018 · 101
Lilac Girl
Phoebe May 2018
Lilac girls sitting in the garden-
expressions once sweet and look how they harden.

Boy turned man and man turned mean, heart replaced by a grinding machine.

But rose bud boy, he aged young-
Lillies and honey dripping from his tongue.

And golden rod girl, she aged old-
they put her in an apron and she fit in the mold.

Lilac girls sitting in the garden.

Candy melts in the sun, but here it hardens
May 2018 · 92
Phoebe May 2018
Let me tell it to you this way-

I have never been brave

I have only been afraid

And when people are afraid, they are supposed to do extraordinary things

So I have never been brave

And I will never be brave

Let me tell it to you this way-

I am the worst type of coward

and I will never not be

Just ask my own flesh and blood

It runs in the family
May 2018 · 146
Night Creature
Phoebe May 2018
It isn't the night-creature's fault that you're afraid of it

perhaps it likes the dark

perhaps it feels safe in small spaces

like under your bed

or rattling around inside your skull.

it isn't the night-creature's fault that it's drawn to the whites of your eyes

maybe it's only ever known fear

and with a history like that, how can you expect the thing to know love?
Apr 2018 · 78
Phoebe Apr 2018
Well go ahead and box me up, I guess
The funeral will be nice and they will not say
"oh, but she is still living"
in the literal sense

They'll use it as a metaphor
instead of the rallying cry,
the encouragement

"but you are still living"

maybe I'll never die, at this rate.

So box me up in glass ceilings and
social norms

We'll call it the practice run

And let's go ahead and put "here lies a person"

So I can practice being equal when I'm dead.
Apr 2018 · 74
Fool’s Gold
Phoebe Apr 2018
Sooner or later
you're going to have to realize
that the color of your promises
doesn’t match the silver
of your tongue
Apr 2018 · 99
Phoebe Apr 2018
If you're going to bleed, bleed sunshine

Spill light from the cuts on your knees

Paint the grey thing in your chest cavity that looks nothing more than scarred tissue gold

Pretend you are the sun

Pretend you are the sun

Might as well scream some, too.

Only call it laughing.

And when you try to explain your sadness to them, let them not understand a word you're saying because you're supposed to

Be the sun

Even though you didn't ask for people to orbit you, they did so

Give them warmth, give them light

One day you'll burn out but

If you're going to bleed, you might as well bleed light.
Apr 2018 · 57
C(g)old Blooded
Phoebe Apr 2018
Yeah well here's what you are-

Cold blooded

Gold blooded

They cut you on the truth and I swear I've never seen such golden youth flow from anyone's veins

Like ice water over a burn

You laugh it off, your voice cracks, body turned grey

You polish yourself on lies

You little gold blooded freak

And if that's all you ever are

It's still something.
Apr 2018 · 60
Hotdog Hellions
Phoebe Apr 2018
The best part about these boys I grew up with

Full of clammy hands and half-eaten hotdogs offered out bitten end first

Is that they always made everything into an adventure.

It was always a grand expedition with these boys;

One did not simply go outside to play frisbee

Oh, no, you had to come up with new rules, new bases, a new game even

And nobody went to the kitchen for goldfish

No, you hunted down the best fish-shaped crunchy treats from older sister’s back pack with two standing guard just in case

The best part about these boys is that they made and outing out of anything, anything at all

And I miss that.

Because they don’t eat goldfish anymore.

The frisbee has long since been lost and forgotten along with the rules to the game

Along with the willingness to be recklessly happy

Along with sloppy smiles and real laughs

It’s all been lost. And I’m trying to find it again
Jan 2018 · 81
The Crash
Phoebe Jan 2018


Shards of glass littering the pavement,
cars crushed like coke cans in summer.

And the passenger sleeping-
neck bent at an odd angle ,
looking back at the car
with the legs still inside,
forgotten as easily as car keys

                            Or a seat belt
Dec 2017 · 73
A family of whispers
Phoebe Dec 2017
You're looking for him because he's family

Simple as that

Ain't no thing but that, dear

He's family

So look for him

Find him

And let him go

Because darling,

Just 'cause he's your family

Don't carry much weight

In the souls of the wandering
Phoebe Dec 2017
Call me when

All that matters is
Empty pop bottles lined up
like toy soldiers
beads of summer rain slipping down the glass

Call me when

All that matters is
The garden bed dusted with snow
imprinted with little ticks of sparrows' feet
small enough to fit on postage stamps

Call me when

All that matters is
The chair in the living room
next to the blue bookcase
that houses all of the books by foreign authors
from places we always wanted to go

Call me when

This is home to you again.
Dec 2017 · 83
Phoebe Dec 2017
Well here is the thing, my dear

Love is not for everybody.

They tell you if you work hard, then anything can happen

But they don't tell you that there are right and wrong kinds of work, right and wrong kinds of 'anything'

So put your shoulder to the wheel and chip away at her walls

Even though she wasn't asking you to.

It's the wrong kind of work, but do it anyway

And when you finally get to her core you will see that she is not something for you to protect because she's made of lava

She burnt out her heart a long time ago

Because love isn't meant for everyone

So get burned on her for all of your hard work-

Not the right kind of 'anything'.

Spit out bitterness on the pavement when it gathers in your mouth like bile

Work harder, try to fix her

Oh, but what they don't tell you is that she has already fixed herself the way she wants to be and you, you cannot change a thing

Try to make her your princess in the castle, try to make her yours

And it will never work.

It will never work, she is making a life for herself that doesn't have you in it

The worst possible thing you can do is try to force yourself into her future.

Don't you know it's the 21st century? Don't you know she's got to make it for herself and not for anyone else?

I'm sorry you're learning this now

That I'm the one to tell you

But sweetheart, love

It's not meant for everyone.
Dec 2017 · 105
For Elaina
Phoebe Dec 2017
You’re real.

You’re raw and you’re messy and you’re real

You’re real beautiful.

So let him go gracefully lord knows
boys like to take-
Don’t let him take any more of your time

And don’t let him make you bitter

I know he was a nice substitute for sweetness
Because he was sugar and spice and everything nice
once upon a time for me, too

I’m not made for love

But don’t let him take that away from you

Life’s gonna hurt
And he’s gonna hurt

But darling you are real.

You’re fascinating and smart and real

You’re real strong.
Dec 2017 · 102
In the image of God
Phoebe Dec 2017
Everybody wants to rule the world

But to become god it the loneliest achievement of them all.

So hold onto the memories
And I’ll hold onto you

And we’ll rule the world together:

Two lost souls clinging to fragmented pasts-

Better than loneliness,
better than loneliness.
Dec 2017 · 79
For Claire
Phoebe Dec 2017
Let me tell you something:

You are worth more than the roses

You are worth more than anything he gives you,

More than kind words and compliments

More than loss and heartache

Let me tell you something:

You are worth more than the roses they will throw at your feet when you win and they do not

Worth more than the fake love and the crocodile smiles

Let me tell you something:

I can’t tell you how much you are worth to yourself

And I can’t make you see that you are worth even more than that

But to me, I can promise you this-

You are worthy of the world.

And so I hope that you take nothing less
Nov 2017 · 88
Ghosts drifting by
Phoebe Nov 2017
Ghosts love stories
They say

So if we are both ghosts
Does that make this a love story?

Or will we drift apart back to old graveyards
Where the endings are familiar

Says it right on the stones, don’t you know?

Look at this one: died of a broke heart

Is it mine or yours or both of ours?
I can’t tell.
Sep 2017 · 95
And Still She Rises
Phoebe Sep 2017
The thing about women
is that we are taught to be nothing
and yet
still, after all this time
We manage to be something
Sep 2017 · 96
Common Pawn Queen
Phoebe Sep 2017
It's the oldest story in the book:

I thought you were mine.

I thought you were mine but I didn't make my move

I sat on my hands and studied the chess board because I thought I was the queen

I didn't pay attention to the pawn working her way across the board

It's too late now.

I don't have any more pieces to stop her.

The worst part is, I think she deserves you more

That little common pawn Queen

I think she deserves you more than me.

Like I said, the oldest story in the book

Older than the knowledge that I wasn't necessarily born to rule.
Aug 2017 · 336
Grey area
Phoebe Aug 2017
How do you know when the
desire to sleep turns into something more than
simple sleep deprivation

How do you know when smiles don't add up the way
they used to

How do you know when emptiness in your
chest cavity starts to define

How do you know when you begin to give up things you like to do

How do you know when these aren't just characteristics of a

Well dressed

Stressed and



Trying to get by

Depression makes everything grey

For me,

Depression makes everything grey.

And it's hard to see the warning signs in full color when you get used to seeing in grey scale

How do you identify these warning signs for such a grey area disorder

How do you tell the real thing apart from life

I guess maybe

You don't. Because

It is a part of my life that comes and goes in waves

Gradually so that you don't notice the tide pooling around your ankles

The color bleeding out at the corners of your vision

Until your feet are stuck in the watery sand

Until it is all grey even though you know the leaves are green

Until it is too late

But how are you supposed to know?

I don't know: Grey Area
Aug 2017 · 90
Childhood in a time warp
Phoebe Aug 2017
Sometimes I get thrown a little off balance
When I look over expecting to see
Boys I grew up with
Messy and sticky and smiling

But now they have five o'clock shadows and broad shoulders and car keys
Dangling from their fingers
Instead of Captain America action figures

Slicked back hair like mini movie stars
Instead of wild cow licks

I get thrown off balance when I look over and see
Childhood in a time warp

Proportional bodies,
Thinner faces
With smiles still reckless

Except this time
It's not the innocent kind.
Aug 2017 · 95
Or Maybe
Phoebe Aug 2017
It’s just that you told me you wouldn't leave
Or maybe I was the one who made that promise
Or maybe I promised myself that you wouldn’t leave
That should have been the first warning sign
Sometimes I think the only person good enough for me is myself
Seeing as you left anyway
And I’m still here
With promises that maybe you made
Or maybe I made
Or maybe I made for you.
Aug 2017 · 105
Stars in the Gutter
Phoebe Aug 2017
In the space between the stars
the black cosmos stares back hungrily,
thirsty for adventure

Little boys now turned men
lying in gutters
looking up at the sky
Aug 2017 · 74
Tunnel Vision
Phoebe Aug 2017
See her smile
See the sun rise
See your world closing
until all you see is
Her, Her, Her
Tunnel vision like no other

You didn't fall, you flung yourself-
And Icarus, she didn't catch you.

Thing is, the sun, she rises
And you sank like a stone
Aug 2017 · 105
Loose Pages
Phoebe Aug 2017
Nickelback dreams
written like wishes-
Creased over pages and
donated to used bookstores.
Pick out something new-
Smells like money
Smells like success
Smells like
somebody else's words in my mouth,
Hard to chew on
Hard covers poking
into hands used to holding
paper backs.
They weren't too fancy
but at least they were mine
Aug 2017 · 71
Smiles to go
Phoebe Aug 2017
Gold's only got value
for people who want to buy things
And the only currency that I understand
are your smiles
So what good is gold to me,
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