Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
 Jul 2017 ASB
Leonard Cohen
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
 Aug 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
As the world defends itself from the anxiety of death,
a wind-caressed woman waits by the water,
and signals for silence, unceremoniously.
Waiting for the blood-banks to breed ideals --
which will, inevitably, be exported --
that will turn Natives into faceless, finger-painted  
neo-orphans of the broken nuclear home;
old souls, convinced to be the youth in revolt,
and to be the scrambled egg individuals of a melting ***, that disguises uniform for diversity.

Her lavender dress dribbles the spiraling air, as the copper dust swims by her ankles, knees, and thighs.
I do not remember when she told me that everything we do and say is a defense-mechanism,
distracting us from the fact that one day we will die and be as imaginative as the roles we give ourselves,
as the people we think blend into us,
and as the gods we use as an alternative to a morphine drip.

I stood by the bad river, knowing that all of my attempts at being more than what I was,
was my grasp at an out-of-reach eternity,
and a dream of a humanity that could be affected by one person.

I do not remember when she told me,
"All of our attempts at progressing,
is our way with dealing that we will someday die
and may not have been successful at living forever."
 Aug 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
 Aug 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
The sky looks like cigarette ashes in a puddle of milk,
and I, almost 22, am unsatisfied that I have not won a Pulitzer.

And I, on the borderline of delusion and confidence, am unsatisfied I am not crazy or cocky enough to submit to The New Yorker.

I hear the voices of the pastors,
telling me that God heals all.

They say 'He' is the only absolute.

The people raise their hands towards the water-stained ceiling,
as if He'll push his arms through the copper-colored scabs and save them.

Grabbing their wrists and cooing,
I am the remedy to the anxiety of death.

I am six foot one and French, Irish, Cherokee,
some sort of Anglo-Saxon,
and a lost **** in a drowning garden.

I think about all those who had to ****,
in order to make my cheekbones,
eyebrows, lips, and ****.

I think about how I'm good at *** and bad when it comes to forgiving too easily.

I wonder how I can sweat on another body,
but only feel naked when I have to be myself.

I watch the elderly chant words:
******, ******, ****, and Half-Breed.
I study if their dry lips reflect the hate in their eyes.

Not all are like this,
but I am surrounded by tables of them,
as I pretend to be Christian,
just to get ahead.

I don't speak,
just sit like an unfilled bubble,
waiting to be marked out by graphite.
I feel like a *******,
I wish I had a Pulitzer.

The sky looks like a stretched grape,
covered in kisses of ******.
And I, white American conformist,
am unsatisfied
that I have succumbed to the American Dream.

I wish I had a Pulitzer,
I wish I had my mom and dad.
Ashland, Wisconsin
 Aug 2015 ASB
Danielle Shorr
today I did not think about him
It is the first time in an entire year that I haven't
I don't realize this until tomorrow
but it is an accomplishment nonetheless

today I went to lunch, did laundry, drove to the gym
I didn't see his shadow in my rear view mirror
It is the first time during a commute where I don't feel the overwhelming urge to pull over
often the speed of the traffic mixed with the acceleration of my thoughts guides me to the side of the road
anxiety blowing loudly through the vents into my open mouth until I am too tired to focus-
today is the first time that didn't happen

last week I googled "therapists near me"
I settled on a woman with a nice smile and a specialty for trauma
This is the first time I find myself familiar with that word
almost comfortable like a distant family member I am just now recognizing
trauma is something with one definition but too many faces
for the past eight months I have been wearing his

on monday I spend an hour in the office of a stranger
she asks me why I'm here and I respond with I don't know but
my answer is as dishonest as my avoidance is expanding
she asks me how I am and I almost forget that I didn't come all this way to say fine
for a moment I almost forget that I am not.

I tell her about him without trying
I don't say his name
or the details I remember with more clarity each day that goes by
she says memories are really only what we remember each time we remember them
I think it's funny how I remember more every time I do
how sometimes laying in bed becomes catalyst to chest pain
I can still feel him kneeling on top of mine
pressing body into cracked ribs into spit on my neck
I can hear his humming of a song they play too often on the radio
there is no trigger warning for the reminders life has to offer
I find them everywhere without trying

she understands as much as I want her to
she says it's really about power
I say I know
she asks if I feel like I lost some kind of control
I say yes
I don't tell her that I have spent countless hours trying to find it
in bodies that aren't my own
digging nails into muscle and mattress trying to pull out some semblance of who I used to be
For too long I have covered up with a bandage
I am just now ripping it off for the first time
this pain is a sort of cleansing
I took three showers after he left but it is only today that I feel his remnants washed off my skin
I can't help but wonder if this is what Pinocchio felt the first time he was honest with his demons

today I did not think about him
yesterday I did not think about him
the day before I only thought about myself and pizza and myself again
there is very real possibility that my mind could figure out a way to bring back the unwanted
that tomorrow could be another way to remember
but today I didn't
I went to lunch, did laundry, drove to the gym
I made it home without incident
not perfect,
but it is an accomplishment
 Aug 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
Old men fascinated by teen *****
and the hues harnessed by high school hips,
I ask you to look at something corrupted:
yourself, this town, this world.

The town's lumber supplier has died
and daughters fight over dollars.

Greasy haired women, wearing denim,
smoking menthols and bruised with cheap make-up,
stand on fractured sidewalks.

I walk, wearing a Native American-ized fleece,
the Chippewa crush their cigarettes
and blink like lizards at me
because I wear bastardization,
but wash it.

Half the town smokes,
and if you ask the pastor,
the whole town smokes
because everyone's going to hell.

All the girls read John Green
and flip the pages because it's a cheaper escape than a bus ticket.

Plato said that everything changes
and nothing stands still;
these people will suffer,
their bodies will break down,
and they will die --
but what never changes is their hope
in eventual death.

What cannot change is my hope
in something more.
Ashland, Wisconsin
 Aug 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
Tortured people tell themselves the past never happened.
They sit and reminisce about memories that they created.

Their hands are brown and worn down,
looking like a sibling of the ground that will eventually be a tomb for their bodies.

The teeth are fake and so are the smiles.
Hair falls off like rusty leaves brushed by a breeze, warning of the death of winter.
Limbs turn into string, ******* hang, and guts grow; like pregnant, stray cats.

Whenever they die, their houses will be eaten by their children, and not even a piece of gristle or a picture frame will be left.

The house will be nothing but a sun-dried ribcage:
a discarded postcard with the address marked out.

The children will sit and talk of their parents, repressing the abuse and the inability to meet expectations.

The children will work in sterile cubicles, thankful that their hands will not be stamped by calluses, yet knowing their fathers would not approve.

The children will open up the dust-blanketed boxes and stare at old family pictures, not able to recognize the people who smile and have perfect posture.

The children will lay in bed with their spouses and say, to no one in particular,
'Why was it never enough?
What did I do?

Was it me?'

The children will be tortured by these words,
by lives that weren't in technicolor,
by the paranoia of being tolerated instead of liked,
by the anxiety that a paid-off house
and nice car couldn't alleviate,
by themselves.

The children will retire and will have realized that they worked their entire lives just to enjoy ten years.
Their hair follicles will let go of strands and locks,
like a dandelion being stripped by the wind.

The enamel on their teeth will corrode and, before long, they will be thankful for the sensitivity of their teeth because the coldness of senior-citizen-discounted ice cream will be one of the few things they will be able to feel, let alone put a genuine smile on their face.

They will sit on their recliners, stare at their keyboard-kissed fingers and tell themselves the past never happened.

Because that's what tortured people do.
Ashland, Wisconsin
 Jan 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
She likes fashion and interviews. I like getting lost.
Sometimes she grabs my bulge,
as she drinks from an aluminum flask.
She told me to rhyme something with 'flask'.
I said, "Fine. In your life, you've been wearing a mask.
But I can see. And you can see. They can't see.
That you are a detached, blond doll
and your back is against the wall,
as I kiss your neck until you're dead."
She said to rhyme something with 'dead'.
I said, "Fine. You ******* in my head.
And it's quarrelsome
that they don't see that you're numb.
I'd pull on your lip, with my teeth.
Dig my hand between your legs.
Just to make you feel. Just to make you feel.
And I study your hairbrush
to see that there are too much
strands of memories from melodies
that lay dormant in ballrooms
and scented kisses
that drip of the misses
in your life and mine."
She said **** me with your words.
I refused because I'd rather watch her bloom
in my dreams than the seams of
a fiber noose that rings loose
the bell in your neck
that sounds until birds fly
and we die-
You look at me,
 Jan 2015 ASB
Joshua Haines
Dear reader,

Reno doesn't smoke and it's a relief because I'd rather my smile stop her heart than a Malboro. I told her that and she considered never talking to me again because of how corny I was being. If anything, I'm glad she doesn't smoke because her teeth are as white as the snow suffocating the landscape. She asked me if I ever smoked a cigarette and I said no, because my hands would start to tremble at the idea of picking up another of one my father's habits.

We walked in the snow and, three steps and two breaths in, she asked me to stop. Reno bleeds other's blood, and it showed when she dug her hands into the snow to reveal a dog's frozen carcass.

"I saw the tip of his tail sticking out of the snow." She studied the dog's body and brushed some snow off of it's side. There was a wound, the size of a child's fist. Frozen blood stained matted fur, as the front and back legs seemed miles part. "He must have been so cold."

"Someone shot him," I looked at her, as a strand of blond hair cut her face in half when she turned to me.

"He doesn't have a collar...  I know what it's like to not have a home, too," she whispered to him.

I watched her, with her knees in the snow, cry. The tears slid down her cheek when she asked me if I thought that the dog's owner killed him.

"I don't know, Reno. I hope not."

She took off her left glove and wiped her face with a pinkish hand.  She turned to me,"Do you think my dad would **** me, if he could?"

The tree branches hung over the blanketed path, as clumps would fall off and plop frostbitten kisses on the bright, eggshell ground. Eventually we reached the grave of Hilary.

Hilary Natasha Drake
Born October 12, 2001
Died December 8, 2007
May God grant you access into his kingdom
as easily as he granted you access into our hearts.

"She was beautiful," Reno smiled, before she looked away. "My mother would always say, 'Hilary, don't you know how pretty you'll be?' ...She had these lily green eyes that lit up a room-I could have swore that she stole them from the garden of Eden. She was sweet, too. Too sweet. Too kind-hearted."

I felt my hand tighten, as I looked down to see Reno's fingers wrapped around me. Her eyes were holding hostage a flood, as her lip quivered as much as her voice.

"In nine minutes, it will be the anniversary of when we lost her. It was just too much for her and I understand, Hilary. I do.

"It ate her body and wouldn't stop. Every day she seemed thinner and thinner. I remember when she lost her hair. Hilary didn't want to wear a bandana or a cap. I asked her why and she said, 'There's nothing wrong with not having hair, pappy does it all the time.'

"She was so strong, Josh. Stronger than me. Stronger than my dad. When she died, the hospital bills and funeral expenses were too much. We lost everything. My dad lost himself.

"Then, my mother left when his drinking got bad... It was the night before Valentine's day. I remember because I was given so many flowers. I didn't understand why because flowers die, too.

"My mother didn't even say goodbye. She left the photo albums. I never got to say goodbye to her or Hilary and it's not fair because I love them so much. I love them more than anything."

Reno couldn't erupt into tears like they could in the movies. This was the scene where she was supposed to cry uncontrollably or have an epiphany that could alleviate the loss, but neither occurred.

"There's one thing I want you to know, Josh: You can't save me. Don't try, okay? Please, do not try to fix the broken pieces because you'll only cut yourself.

"But there's also another thing I want you to know: You can be there, as I fix myself. I want you to be there."

I looked at her and told her I wanted to be there too.

I think I understand why Reno doesn't smoke, now. The idea of possibly giving herself cancer, when it already has taken away everyone she loves, would take something away from Hilary's fight and only add to Reno's loss.

"I can cry over a dog, but not my sister," she whispered. Reno wiped her nose, looked at me and said, "Am I too much yet?"

"Of course not."


Joshua Haines
 Sep 2014 ASB
like any
i'm obsessed
with being
some one
i do not want to tell stories, i want to live them
Next page