Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Alyssa Yu Mar 2018
this is the american dream:
someone walks into the store to ask about buying a gun,
and the response is
this is the american dream:
a bullet is fired through another human being in the name of patriotism,
and it is called an honorable discharge.
this is the american dream:
they ignore empty shells of bullets and bodies and
musk it
with baseball and the scent of apple pie.
to be honest, i'm really
******. toll
the bells for another memorial service
because once again, in the face of brutality,
the country continues to recoil instead of kick back,
and now more families are huddling together to watch
another bury all
the warm bodies of their children,
trying to find an explanation
but drawing a blank.
meanwhile, the rest of the population wakes in mourning,
drinks bitter news and coffee hot off the presses,
rifles through magazines loaded with shots
of more people needlessly killed,
and watches politicians chat about dead bodies like the latest fashion trend,
ads for casual tees
televised just in time for the spring season.
but begging the government to discuss change is starting to feel like
scraping the bottom of the barrel of a gun, and there is only empty ringing in their chambers,
echoes of thoughts and prayers and gunshots
while they mourn loudly about how these times have been trying
to cover up the fact that they aren’t;
that their complicity,
so vile, lent
itself to triggering the current mess.
and their solution is more surveillance, stronger security-
or in other words, more people with guns and also authority.
they still plead the 2nd, but that’s
bull; it’s in a weapon
that originally sanctioned slavery
so instead, ask them why the ones killed are always exercising their right to bare arms.

no, guns don’t **** people.
but people with guns
**** people.
and it’s not like guns are being used by anything else.
Alyssa Yu Oct 2017
my body is a crime scene with your fingerprints on everything

bruised knuckles
from punching the wall too many times
that your gentle lips kissed and then said the ugly tiling deserved it

****** nails
from scratching carefully hidden places
that you bandaged with cartoon characters and a lollipop because i was brave for surviving so much pain

blistered feet
from years of running away from self-hatred
that finally healed when you gathered me in your arms and swore to carry me

torn vocal chords
from swallowing words no one was ever interested in
that you trained to whisper and sing and yell, laughing when i lost all sense of volume control

a cracked heart
fragilely held together with caution tape
that you unraveled and stitched up

the violence i have survived is a messy house to clean
but the truth is i was both victim and culprit
while you were just the rescue team
Alyssa Yu Sep 2017
from birth, he is instilled with a fear of weakness.
his mother does everything she can to make him stronger, but never teaches him that he is worth more than the weight of his muscles and the force behind his fist.

he remembers drowning, pain and terror rushing through every nerve in his body, wishing she would let go of his foot so he could just dissolve instead...
then there is light, or as much light as reaches the underworld, and the face of one who did not believe in him enough to let him build his own strength.
you are immortal now, she breathes with an air of the miraculous in her voice,
you cannot die by any type of injury.
well, except one, right here on your heel.

but then, he turns to look at her, doesn’t that mean i am not immortal at all?

he still touches the spot sometimes, at night, feeling an emptiness there that both reassures and terrifies him.
the rest of the time, he wears thick socks and like everyone else, ignores the thought of his mortality.

on his ninth birthday, he is disguised and sent away to spends his days among another’s daughters.
he grows up in love,
and surrounded by compassion, it is there that he learns how to be a real warrior, simultaneously gentle and fierce.
but they come for him in the night, throwing words in his face about prophecies and oracles that go over his head.
it is his destiny to win, they tell him, and he must fulfill it.
duty takes away his choice.

so he fights their battles but shoots the sea to make tidal waves that hide the fact he keeps deliberately missing, lacking the hatred needed to ****.
the first time he hurts someone, he cannot sleep for days, only feeling better when the man comes back and allows him to repair the injury.

in combat, they give him fifty ships to command
but then take his love,
and when he cries in his tent and refuses to leave, they are ashamed of him.
it is only when his best friend is murdered that the fire they wanted from him ignites, consuming his vision in red.
if they seek violence, he yells, that is what they shall have .
once he emerges in full gear, everyone trembles, picturing his anger,
but cannot see that it is loyalty and loss which burn even stronger in him,
more destructively powerful than their petty reasons for starting this war.
years later, when they retell the story of his victory, everyone swears he was completely untouchable

she finds him in the garden when it is all over, watching the flaming chariot just barely climbing over the horizon.
covered in dried blood but no wounds, his body is tense and unmoving,
but when she reaches out to touch him, he flinches and pushes her away.
he doesn’t need her help, he says through grit teeth, he is strong enough to handle it alone,
and to his surprise, she laughs.
you are too young and small to consider yourself atlas, and even that titan had help from heroes. you have lost much, which will not be forgotten quickly or easily. but strength can only be found in facing our weakness and, sometimes, allowing others to carry our burden. if you will let me, i should like to bear yours.

in the silence that follows, she watches the reflection of sunrise in his eyes,
and as the tightness and shadows of his face fall away, she can begin to see through to the child he once was, soft and joyful and a little bit scared.
laying his head in her lap, she uses her hair to wipe the tears that form
and slowly, in the silence under white flags, achilles heals
I tried in incorporate themes of toxic masculinity, but my apologies if it came across badly
Alyssa Yu Sep 2017
one thing that used to disappoint me was that all of the superheroes and book characters i admired had eyes blue as the ocean, or emerald green, even grey like a thunderstorm, but never brown like mine or yours. brown was plain, common, nothing special.
well, that is someone else's loss if they refuse to see how truly beautiful you are, and i will selfishly stare into your eyes forever

for they are the color of espresso with a splash of milk, and you make my heart race like a double shot
i feel like making lists and conquering the world if it means i can keep waking up to the smell of you in the morning

they are the color of the mnms i set apart when i was younger because i thought they had more chocolate
and even if it wasn't true, the thought was sweet enough to make me happy

they are the color of kindling and i am burning to ashes then rising like a phoenix, ready to set myself on fire again and again just to feel your warmth

they are the color of baked bread and i've been starving for a love like yours to sustain me

they are the color of fresh soil and i want to bury myself so i can love you until i die and then turn my body into a garden of your favorite flowers

they are the color of a knot in the trunk of a sequoia tree, and i am imperfect but growing and even though my love for you does not come without mistakes, it is still the largest thing on this planet
Alyssa Yu Jul 2017
they tell me the raised marks on my skin are an overgrowth of scar tissue
and i wonder why both my mind and my body will try so aggressively to cover up a past wound that it just becomes another
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
i cannot say 'i miss you' because it's not true.
i miss school dances, excessively fancy dresses, vanilla coke.
i miss saturday morning cartoons and sugary cereal.
i miss playing pretend house and pretend office job, when adulthood seemed as mystical as santa claus.

no, i don't miss you;
i am incomplete without you.
there is something inside me that doesn't fit quite right:
a pit, a cavity, a depression,
that i've tried to fill with fantasy books and sad movies and too much brain space dedicated to song lyrics.
but you are the final piece, the hand that mine fits perfectly into
and when you're gone, i go from being whole to hole.

i don't miss you;
i am completely lost without you.
my mind drifts, wanders somewhere beyond my reach;
normally you are my compass,
my gps,
my worn out map in the glove box,
the back of my hand mapped against the stars.
no matter where or when we are,
you are the only thing that can guide me home.
but now i am sinking at sea with a cloudy sky and no steering wheel.

i don't miss you;
i am broken without you.
some of it is that you make me the full person i can be
instead of the shell i inhabit,
but the larger reason is that i don't see the point in trying to live without you here,
and i don't want to.
it's fitting that we describe it as being apart-
for you are a part of me,
and it's one that i can't survive very long without.

i cannot say 'i miss you' because without you,
there is no i to begin with.
next level poetry: using my name as a pun
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
i have heard people compare love to sand castles
beautifully temporary
eroding slowly then all at once into the unforgiving sea of reality

but you were a lightning strike
charging headfirst into me in hopes of finding balance
and a way to stay grounded
you kissed me and i burned-
the scattered fragments of me rushing back into each other
melting then cooling, a temper quicker than my own

now i am sea glass, smoothed down to crystal clarity
impure particulate grit with clenched jaw, teeth grit
fighting weather i can stand or whether i cannot

i tell you this to explain that i will not fade away or dissolve
my heart permanently branded with the imprint of your hand
my chin held high in testament to the truth that your fire can create

but if i am dropped, it will be impossible to pick up the pieces
Next page