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Mar 2018 · 649
Redshift Mar 2018
i'd like to say that i've always been into clean living
but there's nothing really clean
about *** on your brother's living room floor
making you ache in movie theaters
with just a glance
handjobs and ruining your pants
somehow have this strange power over men
wanna look into my eyes
when i **** them
like i was prepackaged
batteries included
a little machine
with thick thighs and big lips
the prettiest eyes you've ever seen
below your belt
hang on my words like they're something
you've never felt

have a pretty smile
taste like something you've wanted
but never had
with crinkles in my cheeks and the dimples on my back
could make a grown man crack
and i
do -
the middle aged men at my job
love me
wait outside after closing tryna touch me
and i get scared
walking home
fingers shake
in the cold
one mile till i can let go
of the breath
that i hold
and i

try my hand at clean living.
eat salads,
stay home on the weekends
cut off boys
that make me
joe at work
tells me to wear less makeup
maybe then
men won't follow me home
maybe then
mike will leave me alone
stop calling the store phone
looking for the prettiest smile
he says he's ever seen
i stand behind the counter
ready to dial
on my screen

clean living doesn't feel very clean
when everyone you touch
has dirt on them
i mean
i don't want to make a scene
at work
i just want to make money
go home
not get hurt
keep my head down
but red is too easy to spot
much easier than i thought
Feb 2018 · 436
growing up
Redshift Feb 2018
saw your name today on a playlist i made for us,
it didn't sting
didn't even register
as something abnormal
or interesting
for the first time
since august.

i love
my malleable
more than i ever loved
Feb 2018 · 362
one breath
Redshift Feb 2018
that burning moment of anger
before exhaustion sinks me into the pillow
my breathing measured, gentle, slow
is worth it
for the feeling of you slipping into that empty space
behind me
the slight regained consciousness
the animal knowledge
the impression: vague, sleepy, far away as it is
of your body, your bones
your muscles
falling into rest
beside me
is so base
so normal, run of the mill, instinctual
that something in my chest purrs
half awake
as you bury your face
into my hair, kissing along my neck,
my shoulder
wrap your arms around me
like you have been lusting
for the moment you could indulge
in the curvature of my hip, the smell of my sleeping
like there is nothing in the world
you'd rather taste
than my skin beneath your tongue
Feb 2018 · 298
jumping the page
Redshift Feb 2018
i have black makeup smeared around my eyelids
adding a nice value contrast
to the already present bags
and i know i look insane
and my sweatshirt sleeves are covered in teardrops
and my head ******* hurts

and coffee doesn't replace bloodcells
like i wish it would
coursing through my veins
perpetually awake
hiding from the nightmares
that have set up shop
behind my eyelids

and the moments leading up to success is pure torture
it's a lot of waiting
and quiet, violent, personal burning
effigies that i didn't even know existed
being sacrificed
coming to the slow realization
that i cannot exist as a cartoon character forever -

i must jump the page.
Feb 2018 · 844
Redshift Feb 2018
our phones draw these strange lines late at night
connecting adjacent moons
stringing us together
across cities, towns, lakes, hills
and we tie the bows with our lips
weave the ends in our tongues
taste every city
we can remember

you feel so kindred
so close to me
that when i hang up
i half look for you
in the room
before i catch myself

my feelings are fledgling.
(or i like to say they are)
the truth is, they are very much there
but i'm unsure of their exact nature
concerned that i am unable to experience love anymore
it's like a flavor
i've run out of
and some sort of bad tasting, weak trickle
pours from my lips
to yours
to these strange lines

i hope
it is not
Jan 2018 · 743
drunk prayer
Redshift Jan 2018
please spare me
from every man
follow me
in the bright walkways
the crowded cafes
through every snapchat
i am afraid
of losing so much
protect me
i have nothing else
to plead to
Jan 2018 · 319
sacrificial lamb
Redshift Jan 2018
it feels like i lose blood each time
like the pastor's daughter once told me
(a wide-eyed ******)
that each man we give our hearts to
keeps a piece in their pocket
and that if we give too much
we'll have nothing left.
and maybe that was just christian *******
trying to make me fear the loss of my virginity
more than death
so that when i was *****
when i was 20
i was silent
and ashamed
and the blood i lost
came from between my legs,
not my chest.

but my heart is different after this last one,
so maybe she was right after all
and after him
every time someone kinder
is intimate with me
i feel like my hands are covered in gore
and when he takes them
they slip
muddy his shirt
his hands.
and that's something i'd never want
to inflict -  

i grew up being told
my sins
were covered
in blood
as i grow older
i am convinced
it's true.
i was the sacrificial lamb, more concerned with my heart because i didn't understand *** at all
Jan 2018 · 221
under moon
Redshift Jan 2018
the back of his neck reminds me of you
coffee shops with tables
by big windows
project your face onto my irises
elbows on your knees, smiling at me
closed lips
and i no longer wonder how much was false
but which parts:
i've come to realize that it's not a question of quantity,
it's just when
in that cafe?
on your living room floor?
in the dark theater
your hand on my thigh
staring at me
like you couldn't see
the 50 foot screen
just the furrow between my brows,
the kisses that lay in drifts
on my bottom lip

and that stark contrast
in our last theater together
your eyes forward, determined
looking anywhere
but at my face

strange little reminders
much less frequent
much less romanticized
your words sound
like the sappy tumblr post
i once accused them of being
i see the backs of them
and they truly are
like i was so afraid
they were
under moon: of the things ruled by humans
Jan 2018 · 237
adjacent things
Redshift Jan 2018
he says
we are like those pieces of grass
that come up through cracks in the sidewalk:
just glad to have the sun shining on us.

we come from the same place
he says.

he told me tonight that he wrote about me
that it's time-stamped
that he didn't just write
because i told him i did
and i tremble
a little
a different sort of fear
(is it?)

and maybe it only feels like we're up so high
from the clouds of marijuana
in your shower
and maybe we know so much about the moon
because we are the moon
and you ask me
what's on my mind
like you'd like nothing more
than to understand
the chemicals in my brain
see if you could taste
the similarity -

adjacent things
are so beautiful
when you are the one
describing them
Jan 2018 · 218
Redshift Jan 2018
brown skin
i sit in a dark car
making a list in my mind
of things i will no longer endure:

intense jealously.
passive aggression.
crocodile tears.
simpering compliments.
cheating (although
i have told myself these things
many times
and out loud).

i will only give time to:
self care.
love for others.
and somehow
those brown eyes
and that white smile.

i've been celibate since august.
or at least since the first couple weeks
when he begged me to **** him
saying it wouldn't hurt

and since then
i have never felt more barren.
but like abraham
and sarah
i suddenly teem with life

(could he make me fall in a day?)
i want to sit in your lap
arms around your neck
watch movies
hit blunts
in bathrooms
(though i know better)
and this website
keeps deleting
the simple love poems
i write about you
almost as if
to warn me
or maybe just
a cosmic accident

but here i am
rewriting for the third time.
because there is something that you understand about me
that even Gabriel The Angel
did not
and perhaps
that is worth writing about

under the moon,
above the moon,
adjacent to it.
adjacent moon: of the things that understand each other
Jan 2018 · 283
Redshift Jan 2018
i focus so much on the fact that i almost died in this house
no matter how i strain against those memories
no matter how i shake
completely out of control
the trauma
making my muscles
and i scream in my little,
snow encrusted cottage
by the stream
that i am so thankful for
trying to put a positive spin
on the fact that i lost the battle between a fresh start
and deadly memories
in this innocent house
that is undeserving
of the anguish
i brought with me
in boxes
that i never fully unpacked

and though my mind is diseased with the thought
when i am alone in the afternoons
that i almost died here
in this little shoebox room,
that some of the most horrific memories of my life
are here

i also
in this little cottage
by the stream
that i am so thankful for.

and every place i almost left
i somehow found the resolve to stay in.
and though through each house
may still slink reminders
that make me shake,
i must focus
and remember
my determination
to spread kindness
like this little house
with the warm floors
the quiet windows,
the gentle stream.
Dec 2017 · 404
Redshift Dec 2017
angel's mouths
drip blood
as they look up from my wrists
their kindness
frightens me
the most
Dec 2017 · 257
Redshift Dec 2017
i've been chasing laughter in **** rips
and pipe hits
for a week now
addicted to that loose,
wild, inexplicable euphoria
a level of artificial joy
that i can't seem to reach any longer
on my own
and i'm fine with it fake
like i'm fine with fake christmas trees now
(though my 8 year old self
would quake
at the thought)
i understand that it's cheaper
less mess,
less maintenance
and though i'll always miss the authenticity
the smell, the feel
i see the charm
in the illusion
Redshift Nov 2017
motivation in its final form:
coffee dregs at the bottom of my mug.

thick eyelids, oily skin
heavy head.

motivation in its final form
marijuana filled cars
incoherent laughter.

my mind never stops running
and you cross it like red dye:
my eyes won't close anymore
like some sort of nightmare
and honestly i'd prefer a nightmare
because at least i'd be able to ******* sleep

i do this for you,
everything i do,
every paper,
every project,
every sleepless night

i promise
you'll have a house with a farm,
a truck.
no more weird houses
sliding gently into the ocean,
i'll tie them down.
Redshift Nov 2017
in this life we're allowed some gnashing of the teeth
but i'll be the first to admit
that these three months there's been far too much
and that the red stains in the shower
are just streaks of lipstick
running down my palms
as much as i wish
they were something more perverse

as much as i pull at my hair,
let hot water
scald my *******
measure out each strand
only to cut it
making sure
anything you touched
is crucified

as much as i try to claw
my own skin off
in the shower
let it dissipate
down the drain
as much as i gasp,
let the hot water
cry for me
as i have nothing left
to rip,

as much as i wish
i'll be the first to admit
that i lust for the butcher,

that this water
is not hot enough
that my own hands
are not rough enough
that no cigarette lighter
stings enough
no knife
bleeds enough
and i lust
for the butcher
sounds romantic, doesn't it
Nov 2017 · 215
Redshift Nov 2017
they say my art has abusive undertones,
lit up on the projector in class.
my mouth tied
like a bow
wishing it would stop bleeding
through my images.

i called you an angel,
my angel.

i really believed
that if there was a god
he was instrumental in your sudden
that if anything was ever going to go right for me
it was you
that december
that christmas

and now i sweat you out
like the demon that you are
labor in the night,
waiting for my rebirth,

i called you an angel,
i told them
you were
Nov 2017 · 233
the butcher
Redshift Nov 2017
i still sometimes hold my wrist over a candle flame
a second or two too long.
i flick lighters playfully while i'm on the phone
or sitting at my desk -
let the flame burn the metal guard until it's scalding,
gingerly finger the hot metal once it cools
a little.

i hand the jack knife who's sole purpose
for these past six years
has been that of a butcher
to friends who sit kindly on my bed,
trying to open boxes from home.

and i still long for that butcher's comfort.

i still miss the bite of hot metal,
the searing pain of lit matches.

and if they didn't leave scars,
i know i would indulge:
like a sweet candy
that i've been told isn't good for me.
Nov 2017 · 321
lust for depression
Redshift Nov 2017
black coffee and asprin for breakfast
and i'm still shooting blanks
pouring it over my face, scalding
dripping down my *******
black coach bags
staring back at you
your hungry mouth
reaching for mine
Redshift Nov 2017
i know how dangerous self-hatred is.
i'm not ******* stupid.
but how many more mistakes
how many more men
before i cut myself away

what do i do
when i keep whittling down
trying to find the bone, the truth
trying to find something that's ******* constant, reliable
trying to ******* understand
the intricacies
trying to find something
******* simple
for once

i know how dangerous this is
i know how blood seeps
i know how that emptiness
i know
i ******* know.

but i can't help but hate
every inch of me
you touched
and this hatred
this disgust
is so tangible
you could cut it
with a knife
Nov 2017 · 233
Redshift Nov 2017
we do look after each other.
regardless of any competition:
your body, hair, clothes
the angles you get in your selfies.
the comments you get on your instagram.
regardless of anything.
regardless of whatever persona you adopt on facebook,
however seductive you choose to be,
however much attention you seek.
we do look after one another.

so many women tried to tell me about him.
women he convinced me not to respect
women i convinced myself not to respect
merely because he chose to look at them
so intensely
my jealousy
turned to hatred
when really
the fishnets, the makeup, the cleavage
they are my sisters.
they are my protectors.
and i hated them.

it was never her fault.
she was never the *****, she was never the ****.
i don't give a **** what pictures she posted.
she was not to blame.

and i see now.
i see that what you did with me
what you said to me,
all lines fed through a machine
all carefully constructed
(not to each girl, just for each situation)
you got out of it all.
the ultimate yes-man
fine-tuned to say anything,
everything any woman wants to hear.

i see it so blatantly now.
and yes, i still shake a little.
my fingers go cold and my arms get numb
and i feel that dull ache in my chest
but **** any tear that tries to find a way out
i don't have any more for you.

i know how you loved them
how you gorged on my love-sick tears
but you will get nothing
from me

not anymore.
Nov 2017 · 272
second coming
Redshift Nov 2017
albatross shot,
hung around my neck:
you placed it

palms toward heaven, nailed down
your lips kiss like the metal bites.

crown of thorns -
falsely placed
driven into my flesh
where a laurel
once bloomed

i carry you with me
in the scars along my forearms
and the thighs you once worshiped
i bring you to every hill
feel your weight at every incline,
the albatross
you brought me:
dead weight
beating against my chest.

my second coming is half-through,
and i'm beginning to emerge
i stay up late,
sew my ***** back together.
let the nightmares pry my eyelids open
i soak in the fear
i draw wisdom from the grief -
while my laurel
Redshift Nov 2017
i struggle to stay awake late into the night,
fingers coated in jewel tones.

you're awake too, somewhere.
home from work.
breathing, sitting, eating, staring.
maybe holding her.

and i think of all this,
******* the holes in my sides, my palms
(even though they're healed over:
my second coming
tore through the both of us)
and i wonder
if she fills your arms the same.

if she makes your blood rush like i did -
if you kneel between her legs and beg
like you did for me
i wonder if every expression makes you exclaim, kiss her eyelids, pull her closer.
i wonder if you stare into her eyes when you
**** her
if it's as intense

Oct 2017 · 233
P & R
Redshift Oct 2017
i want to be weak.
i want to tell you i ******* miss you
not even the romance
just the friendship
i want to show you what i make now
the commissioned projects
the poetry
the non-fiction
the photographs.
i want to tell you what my professors say about me
want to send you music
tell you funny things i think of during the day
watch movies with you and rip them apart.

i want to lose this rigid, crystalline shell
that we made together.

i ******* hate the way people do this -
the way people tear away at each other
until they see bone
looking for the source
of the tick, the heartbeat
then get disgusted
once they find it

i hate the way people ruin each other
i hate the feeling of trying to yell
mouth open
eyes wide,
waterlogged words sinking between us
you're so
out of reach -
for being
disgusted with me
Oct 2017 · 370
end of october
Redshift Oct 2017
phonecalls on facebook ******* trigger me
transports me back to last semester
like some sort of sick boat ride
to the magic kingdom
perverts dressed as mickey mouse
asking if i want a selfie

and i get angry.
angry that i can't use those little plastic eraser guards
we used to make patterns on paper with
as children
to erase your fingerprints from my flesh.

i rub at them regardless,
smudging away at my own contour lines
losing contrast,
my repeating shapes are starting to look a lot
like a pattern my mother wore
reflecting off her red cheeks
as she laid on the couch late at night
her arm over her face.

and i'm terrified,
i'm terrified of the damage i've yet to assess
once i make it outside myself
i'm on my way out
this month
and there's only a few days
of october

my mother spent the month of june watching fruit rot on the countertop
before she put it all in garbage bags and left
and that is how i feel
late at night
when peace evades me.
Oct 2017 · 318
Redshift Oct 2017
i slip back into my own skin after you leave
pull my scalp over my eyes
look for secrets i once held.

want to pull apart my scarred forearms but i let them be
let them continue to go white
and puckered:
little secrets in themselves.

should i have let you watch?
should i have let you observe my rebirth?
is it coming, after all,
now that i've blinded you?

these secrets i wrap and bind
and create myself.
Jun 2017 · 386
i said this to a mirror
Redshift Jun 2017
don't cry, pretty girl.
those tears'll soak into anything
an' count for nothing.

don't leave dusty trails down your powdered cheeks -
rosy freckled bones that you held yourself
when mother left
those tears'll soak into anything
an' look like nothing
in a minute.

hungry stomachs burn fevers in our temples
and shaky hands try to bring anything green closer
and empty, sticky refrigerators taunt and sneer
but summertime ends
and those tears'll
soak into anything
an' count for nothing
in a
Jun 2017 · 435
in june i gasp for air
Redshift Jun 2017
in january he was gentle.
rested a soft hand on my neck -
it felt strange
but he said it was natural
and so i believed him.

and now in june it's a chokehold
a strange escalation that took months to notice
my body slowly being deprived of oxygen
turning blue
and lifeless
his strong fingers
leaving bruises on my pale skin
veins stand out
as i
scream on the couch
my back arched
like electrodes placed on my temples
shocking me back to life
i feel that strange,
open pain
course through me
for the first time in a year
Jun 2017 · 362
Redshift Jun 2017
these aren't things
he understands
all he feels
is how cold my lips have become
uttering words
i've swallowed
for years

and he'll reassure me until i want to scream,
vocal chords shredding
temples pounding
i don't care if you'll always be there for me
i don't care if you'll never leave me
i don't care
about what you have to say anymore
your words chafe my mouth
like sawdust
dry, tasteless, choking
i can't breathe
your hand on my neck
because you love me
getting tighter
the more i pull away
i wish you knew
what all of this
Jun 2017 · 284
Redshift Jun 2017
back to blank eyes
slouched shoulders
ringing in my ears
numbness in my limbs
my frankenstinian moment of animation over
pushed down once more
dead on that cold slab of table
sedated, uncaring
dull ache in my womb
Jun 2017 · 338
nightmare scream
Redshift Jun 2017
i know why the caged bird sings
back arched
clenched teeth
clawed hands in hair,
inhumane moans
and howls
ripping from her throat

wires like fists
too close
to breathe

i know why she sings
i know why she cries
i see that trembling horror, too

blank eyes
strange convulsions
tear through me
quiet screams on my breath
i can't control them
i've controlled it for so long
i stopped even noticing

why is it open now
why do i see the too familiar spots on my eyelids
taste the fear my mother drank at night
on the couch in my childhood home
so tangible
the fruit flies fell from the cloying summer air?

it wasn't that bad i tell myself
holding the back of my neck, the sides of my head
it wasn't that bad
= why does my fist
clench so? =
it's okay it's okay
it was so long ago now
years, even
and it wasn't even as bad
as i must make it sound
why does my body
scream so
and without
my permission
so suddenly
do i finally
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams  
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
Redshift Jan 2017
the thing is i don't need you
that's the problem
you need me so, so much
you don't know what you'd do or be without me anymore
even just after a week

but me?
i know what i'd do without you
i'd be fine without you
i'd do what i've always done
your absence does not frighten me at all.
the fact that mine does...
must be unfair
but i do not know how to tell you

does it mean i don't love you?
or does it simply mean
i understand how to survive
Redshift Jan 2017
i say i don't much like running
always been a bit fat for it to be honest
but threaten me with something beautiful
and i will run faster than i ever thought possible
in the opposite direction.

the worst part about good things is that there must be bad things to create a contrast
or there would be no good to dream about
and it is the good that i am most frightened of
i do not know how to conduct myself
after these last few years.

i know i can handle the bad.
i'll cut my arms and smash my head against walls
and cry at ceilings with the lights off, quietly
but i will survive in the end
not for me, but for the people who it would hurt too much to endure.

the good -
the inexplicable, weightless happiness
is something i cannot understand
something i cannot fathom
the unknown, the unknowable -
the most frightening thing i can think of
and it is what i run away from
treating a funny, beautiful boy who only wants me to be happy
with silence
and fear
and suspicion
becoming what i hate
despite anything i attempt otherwise

i am so fearful,
that i make myself ugly.
Dec 2016 · 313
an apology to my phone
Redshift Dec 2016
the way he says "i love you" makes me weak
his gravelly, city-boy accent trickling through a phone i've dropped more times than i can count.

it survived two heartbreaks and lived just long enough to have the most beautiful words
the most beautiful voice
pour out of it
whiting out the ugly sentences that i allowed it to harbor
for years.

chipped and scratched and kind of slow but now full of some of the most wonderful memories i will ever experience
despite it being given by a boy who ***** so much more than my body
in this boy it is redeemed - i am redeemed.

is something good going to happen now?

so simple, so delicate, so quiet a thought
it makes me cry, because i never thought it would.
Redshift Dec 2016
goofball since i could first strike a one-liner
destined to be the fat, funny kid from the age of ten.

and that's great
i can float wherever i want
popular kids laugh just as hard as the weird ones
but try and tell people the terrible
unspeakable things that happened to you
and they laugh all the same
fine-tuned to only hear jokes leaving your garish mouth.

i have to turn **** and divorce and abandonment and growing up too fast and taking care of everyone when all i want to do is come home and sit on a nice couch with christmas lights while my mother makes christmas cookies and gives me robes and socks and hugs and perfume for no ******* reason

i want that so ******* bad
but all i can do
is make a joke about it
because that's all you want to hear from me
the fat, funny kid
who lives to make everyone smile
so i can
for a little while
but there are ugly, sad things inside of me
that rip through my quiet moments
when i'm not making a joke about **** -
a real story masked with comedic error -
the ugly parts
sit on my chest
and breathe into me
while you like my posts on facebook
and laugh at my silly snapchats.
terribly written, but i don't really care. i was just feeling something and wanted to talk about it
Dec 2016 · 297
digital media student blues
Redshift Dec 2016
open a problem i can solve on my computer screen
bury myself in the pixels:
a comforting ignorance
comforting silence
in the dark, humming room;
mouses clicking quietly.

i'm not destroyed.
i'm a little sad to lose my pivotal focus
but glad that i was able to be distracted
from a two week old heartbreak
by a smiling, goofy boy.

i will be quiet,
and i will learn
and everyone
will get shut off
for a little while
while i sleep
between these textured layers

Dec 2016 · 1.2k
you look just like heaven
Redshift Dec 2016

heartsick because i want those brown eyes
only ever to look at me
that huge smile
only ever to be mine
i want your lips and your arms and your chest
with me
around me
laughing and holding and exclaiming.

you make me
in the most thrilling
tension-inducing manner

those other boys?


Dec 2016 · 454
he knows what he did.
Redshift Dec 2016
he said

there's something haunting about your scent

it clings to my clothes and my sheets and my neck
my hand
that rested gently on your hip...
it echoes the retreating ghost of you
and i catch a note of it
when i try to sleep at night
my eyes closed
remembering my face in your hair.

and now there's not a silence that fills enough of me to push you out
you stand in the middle and reverberate through it
no quiet moment able to dissipate your form.

you crash through the boxed up rooms in my head and rearrange
******* those sentient summer memories that i can't shake
pouring them into hourglasses that replay

find your hair on the seat of my car and
your mascara on my pillow and
your shoes under my dresser and
the love you imprinted resting under my collarbone,
seared into my flesh.

and i wanted to say
although i feel nothing
i know i should feel
Redshift Nov 2016
there are a lot of boys in the world.
and some of them wear your work shirts
and some of them wear his cologne
and some of them laugh like you
or peer through your eyes
at my drunk,
sliding lips.

there are a lot of boys in this world
who have your hands -
maybe gentler,
but same intention
running down my back
and under my jeans.

there are a lot of boys -
and some variety,
but all factory built
with the same core.
Oct 2016 · 346
highschool dream fulfilled
Redshift Oct 2016
drunken night with a stranger,
oddly tender.
soft touches
cupping my face
kissing me
for hours
entangled in a bed
with other drunk ghosts.
Oct 2016 · 1.3k
AV heat
Redshift Oct 2016
feel the heat off his cheeks like a love poem
brown eyes beating down
sinking into mine with a definitive

he smiles while he interrupts our game
and i stare up, hands arranging tiles
astounded by the sheer kindness
of every tiny, comedic, unabashed piece of him.

he looks at me so much
laughs so much
yells my name
as i walk by, hands full.

i want to sit down and read those cheeks
like a book
my lips scanning every crest
kissing eyelids that bless me with that
brown, soft look
across a table.

he is so perfect
so similar to me
i can hardly believe
i get to look at him
hardly believe
i get to smile at him
in those other-world moments
between just he and i
so quietly
while everything else
i wrote this a couple weeks ago. today i found out he has a girlfriend. lol life's a shitshow, isn't it
Sep 2016 · 1.3k
show business
Redshift Sep 2016
paranoia of the 3rd degree
in 8th grade
when the boy i liked IM'd my friend
and said the shirt i wore to church made me look fat.

shaking nervousness in a 12 year old body
moving a fork from my plate to my mouth --
a true horror
listening to girls read calories
off a box of vanilla wafers

pinching my stomach fat
wanting to tear it off
an 8 year old who asked her older sister
to help her get thinner

decades i've wasted looking so close at every piece of me
i know how i look from every angle without a mirror
i've memorized every defect.
critical sections studied under a microscope:
i am not anything but scientific in my process.

i blow myself up to disproportionate sizes
and then wonder why sometimes i lay in bed and feel


and other times

so small.

after a while you'll begin to realize that the constant scrutiny and study of your temple is fruitless
that the hungry monster behind your ribcage
that eats dark lipstick and winged eyeliner and name brand clothes and highlighting powder and contouring brushes
that you sacrifice increments of time to every morning,
every prolonged glance in a mirror...
fuels itself off the notion that the images we see on a screen are the standard for cultural truth.

i turned 21 and decided to throw away the microscope.
to change what images i saw on my screens
to eliminate the photoshopped waists and fill them with pictures of normal, happy bodies
and i began to see the body that i exercised,
fed vegetables,
as not fat or ugly or unwanted
but as a perfect home for myself
and maybe someone else
if i wanted.

because the cultural truth lies in what you see in other humans
not dancing shadows on a screen in a cave
it lies in the gentle rolls of your stomach
and the crinkles around your lips and eyes
and the pimples on your forehead.
there is nothing garish
about reality.
Redshift Jul 2016
"we can't keep having these conversations."

as if it is i who lies in bed beside me and talks to those girls in your phone
Redshift Jun 2016
monsters sleep in my house.

there's a few in the kitchen,
three in my bedroom,
countless on the living room couch...
a very ugly, menacing one on the floor
where the coffee table should be
but was pushed aside.

they stand behind me when i wash my hands in the kitchen sink
pressed against my back.

while i withdraw water from the open fridge
they push my face against the freezer door.

one monster's favorite place:
in my chair, my father doing yardwork out my bedroom window.
the monster told me later how much he wanted to throw me against a wall
how he loved the tension of those moments.

i can't even begin to fathom the monsters in winton apartments.
so many that skulk and tempt me with matchsticks and lighters and sharp nail files
while the real monster lies behind his screens.

monsters sleep in my house.

at least three years old, yes.
but even now i am not used to their presence.
May 2016 · 435
sticks and stones
Redshift May 2016
all i hear when i look in the mirror is the frivolous, ignorant sentence you uttered in bed one morning
after making love to me (should i call it that?)
"i wish your **** was a little bigger."

it echos in my head when you hold me
when you kiss me, your hand down my pants
when you're on top of me, biting my neck
when you hug my abdomen from your chair.

it's like it's written in my skin now
in the pathways of my neuro-system
after everything i have done to be beautiful in one ******* morning
one ******* night
23 ******* years of standing on the curved backs of billions of other women
struggling to have better anything, better everything
so that you can have more fun while ******* them
after all that
you voice your dissatisfaction with the fact that i am not photoshopped
or surgically altered
as i lay naked in your bed
after you've
"made love to me."

is this a sickness that is nature made?
were you born to be dissatisfied with perfection?
never satiated?
i believed that at least my *** was perfect,
despite chubby arms and a fat stomach.
the one thing i believed desirable
you destroyed
with one sentence.

i hope it is not natural.
i hope the internet
video games
whatever the ******* look at that makes you treat me like a consumable, customizatable option
taught you this
because i pray that my future son
will never even think to do
what you have done.
Redshift May 2016
escaping from wherever i am currently is always in my best interest
i am looking for means and venues and opportunities to distract myself
whether it's
video games
running through abandoned girlscout camps in the middle of the night
drinking until my bed feels like an ocean, trying to expel me
i will do it
i will use it
i will bring myself to lows i said i'd never return to
just to make sure you're there
in the background
available to take me away

which sometimes means rough fingers i never asked for
or drunk nights dancing in cages with friends i'll never forget
or walking down winter sidewalks in the middle of the night
or sitting by canals that happy older couples powerwalk along
while my mind tries to run away from a school i never wanted
...trying to make you care if i live or not

every night my parents screamed
every moment god made me feel disgusting
every girl that watched food go from my fork to my mouth
the two men that put their own pleasure above my sanity...

i escape you
through just as evil means
but it is the only way
i know how
Redshift May 2016
can't decide if the river ran me past something i've no control over anymore
i can't decide if this is what love is
my phone tells me that there are so many other boys with better traits
but i don't want to bother to get to know them.

i would rather spend a summer away from you?
afraid of what you do behind my back?
in your
what about what i do in mine?

cheating takes 10 seconds now
one snap and all evidence is gone
it doesn't even feel wrong
it took no effort
shouldn't evil
take effort
shouldn't we feel

too easy, too quick to catch
as soon as i pick up the hammer it tells me what to hit --

my phone? --
the same.
Redshift May 2016
as i pack up another cement walled dorm room
a year later
a different boyfriend in my wallet bringing me boxes
and saying he loves me
i am much happier, although not perfect.

and with this fact, i am alright.
i realize that it's not overnight
that i learn what real love or correct treatment is
i realize that although this one ***** me too
it was only once
and not for a year and a half

i realize that this dorm room brought me endless smiles
held me in its small, funky walls and beat up closet doors
held friends and memories and all my strange habits
lovingly in its embrace
for 9 months
and now it releases me to the fold of summer
where i will begin once more
only different.

in going home for the summer
much unlike last year
i hold my freckled cheeks high
shoulders back
stomach still uneasy
still pained,
but with the assurance that it will go away.

in going home for the summer,
i hold all the beautiful things
and the pain that greets me like a dog that awaited my arrival
in my chest
more maturely
than before.

one more step up the stairs
little red is closer to peace
not there yet, but closer.
Apr 2016 · 2.0k
polar differences
Redshift Apr 2016
childhood memories feel like rust
crumbling in my fingers and leaving their orange stains
as i skip over the horrific teenaged years
that my little sister
remembers as her childhood.

i resent her for having a bad childhood.
i say that our childhood was good, was great
with two loving parents
in a big house in the country
with long grass and animals to hold.
but her childhood was a falling down home
with seeping walls and crying mothers and a screaming father
stuck in a house that imprisoned all of us in seclusion
and an older redheaded sister
who maintained control in her life
run by parents who no longer saw reason or justice
by treating her little redheaded sister
like trash.

i forget that her childhood was not mine
i forget that the things she remembers were awful
that daddy did scream and shove
that mommy did cry and quake and throw and push and smash and shove and scream and rip
in the middle of the night
while she slept
and i wandered
the lonely caverns of my book-filled room
where i hid with my fantastical friends
who shielded me from the screams
in the middle of the night
that your deaf ears

i am sorry for undermining the truth of your childhood
i forget that we are different
i forget what changed
i forget the hidden, resentful monster that overtook our parents
and bled down into their children
but you,
you remember
it was the only thing you knew

i remember the good,
you remember
the screams
Mar 2016 · 462
Redshift Mar 2016
i read you religiously
every morning
every night
study your passages of speech
your context clues that lie in the corners of your pages
feeling the curve of your wrists,
your chest.

your shrine grows in my closet
hoodies and tshirts and basketball shorts
new additions hung up, worshiped.

i never wanted another god in my life
already have too many
one in the sky, one at home, one in the past
who frightens me more than any

but i am an addict
i have a taste for pain like no other
there is nothing like the rush of losing you violently
and then talking you back into love.

even if it takes hours of my time,
watching your face through a screen
writing long text messages that are as untrue as the curved eyeliner you fell in love with

the rush of being the one to win you back
the pride in my ability to manipulate you into coming home
into wanting to be with me again
despite the ugly words exchanged
returning to your family
after months
of not knowing where you were...

being able to convince you to come home
having the conversation end not with a dial tone
but with you relenting
giving up

that is what
i live for,
the trauma my mother left me with manifests itself in the oddest places.
Mar 2016 · 351
method acting
Redshift Mar 2016
master manipulator
eyes shining
my face set with a look only a monster could refuse
i know if you see me,
you'll give in.

i feel evil.
i feel like my mother.
abusing the emotions that you feel for every lie i speak with my body, my lips
but it doesn't matter
i get what i want and in the end
this is what i believe justifies me.
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