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Ashley Jun 2018
Your skin is kindling
and I am on fire. Burning,
hands outstretched in the white-hot
heat of the flames, palms up.
Beseeching, like my mother when she says
whatever but means I do not understand you.
Palms up. It is not a request but an admittance,
a compromise. She will never really know
me, a confused daughter standing still
in a bi-pass, straight passing bi. Cars passing
in sets of paired tires. I count them, take note
of matching treads and wonder where my other
half rides, if my mother would mind a tire
from the same brand, with all the same parts.

Your skin is a wildfire. I let it rage,
thinking that if this is a death sentence
and your hands exposed wire, electric
on my skin, I’d gladly take the chair. Sit
down; let me touch you, suffocate
in the carbon dioxide you expel. Let this not
be a dream. I have been asphyxiated for so long
in dreams my mother had. I was to be wed
to a nice man, to have the children she lost.
Create new souls to take root in the lifeless
plots of her prime. I think that this moment –
me, throwing myself on you, pyred
like a Salem Witch, would disappoint her.

She would love you if you were a man,
or at least if you could ease me into complacency.
If you had put me in that box that she or society
or guilt has built me, that casket-like thing
moving down the river like a Moses myth,
she might love us both. She would love me,
I hope, if she knew I have wanted men
the way I want you; singed and parched.
Palms up: an appeal to my senses. I’ve come out
of them already, and I am holding your hand,
on fire. Palms up: my counter-appeal. I become
Joan of Arc. She knew herself; she, at least, didn’t beg
to be heard in her final moments. She became
silent ashes and trusted her God. He would love her
even as every back she’d ever loved turned away.
Ashley Oct 2016
i feel a weight in my lungs,
a pound on my chest;
i can't salvage my body
with only the band-aid on my head.
i stare with empty eyes at beating,
living hearts; in my mind's eye, i
contemplate my non-moving parts.
loneliness blossoms in the corners of my soul,
the stars hang lonely in a blacked out Seoul.
though my time is short,
my night seems long.
though my corporeal form
stands here, my mind has gone.
dreams are blank, no longer a refuge, and
unreality is a mirror, a rainstorm sending me askew.
each breath is a mystery,
each laugh a crater in my chest,
each moment i'm alive is one step
closer to death.
Ashley May 2016
"it's been this way from the start/i need some rest/i'll go to sleep at a decent time/when i find something worth waking up for"
- "sleep", flatsound

It seems like I only come here whenever my head is swimming - no, floating - in the ocean of thoughts flooding my brain. And yet, the page always seems so daunting. It's like every single time I know I should come to write my feelings on these lines, my boy rejects the effort before it begins. Some part of me, unsurprisingly, enjoys the suffering induced by denying myself the animal instinct that inevitably overpowers me, and I find myself here in the end even if I know it's only a temporary fix.

Even when I don't write, the words come, and I'm not sure why they scare me or why I suffocate them before they have a chance to live. I think endlessly, often drowning in thoughts, feeling the weight pressing down on my shoulders. When I try to write like this, the thoughts are stilted, stale, unoriginal, yet I continue; we continue, even though our very existence is as unoriginal as these words. We go on and on, repetition coded into our bones. All desiring the same things: love, money, power, ***, to be wanted, to be known. We all want to leave a mark, yet we as a whole tread paths worn so well that the bones of the Earth can be seen peering out from beneath our tired, aching feet.

Even worse, we all have something to say, all want to be heard and remembered. I'm astutely aware that my words, my thoughts, my entire being is a shout that sounds like a whisper. We scream our lungs out, thinking we are trees falling in a forest with no one around, when in truth our words and prayers and heartbeats are all minuscule layers of a complex beat. Rather than the bang, we are the whimper, going out without a second thought.

The year 2015 has ended; I swore I'd end it in another journal, but I'm fickle and flighty and I want to start over. I always forget that each "start over" is code for giving up, letting go, closing the door - on what, I'm never sure, but the past never remains gone or forgotten, and I truly wonder why I continue spinning in familiar circles at times like this. I slept through the celebrations and the change in year. Lately, my energy is lacking, and I have little hope that things will change. Any optimism this soul held has vanished again, it seems. I'm not sure I've hit the lows of my past, but this exhaustion is taking more to come back from. The longer I'm left alone with myself, the more I feel my presence fade to the ghost-like state it appears in - flashes of sincerity, importance, solidity, only to become nothing again as the times change.

I wrote a bit online a few days ago, and one line came out that didn't surprise me, per say, but made sense in a way I wasn't consciously aware of: "Still, I can't help but feel that I'm yearning for some place I can never quite reach..." Maybe this is the exhaustion in my being right now? Though I am more happy than any other emotion, this feeling still presses in on me with a fierceness I didn't expect. I'm neither here nor there, and perhaps it's always been like this. My skin has always itched to fin somewhere I belong, somewhere that is home. I am terrified that this may never happen, terrified at the prospect of never truly feeling satisfied in or with my life. The horror of adulthood and the future looks like a city skyline, dark and foreboding despite the deceiving glimmers of life lighting up the windows.

It all comes to this, I think; I cannot know how things will turn out, if I will be happy, if things can change. A million small fears stem to this one, and I can only hope for some meaning, some lasting reason to exist. There are billions of lives, so what makes mine significant? Though this thought runs the risk of making me sound like the rest of foolish humanity, it's impossible not to feel this way. Do I matter at all? I believe in things like fate, but it's difficult to imagine that I have any effect on the paths Earth and humanity both take.

Ashley May 2016
married to fate, chained to the future
my wounds won't heal, not even with sutures
the roulette ball rolls; who knows where it'll land?
will i know to take hold when you outstretch your hand?
each day my doubts plague me, gnaw at my soul
and sometimes i wonder if this is why i thrive in the cold
what prompts us to write, to shove words out in the open?
who can look into our eyes and know that we're broken?
the pen is a blade; my heart is a trigger
this place is a maze; my blood clumps thicker
three years ago, i thought i would be different,
thought i'd be bigger, or less worried about insignificance
i thought the world would turn on its' axis boldly,
and that i wouldn't crave days where i want someone to hold me
three years ago, i wonder if my sails had a stronger direction
and once upon a time - i swear - i had more connections
fear still finds me,
a panther stalking its' foolish prey,
and time still blinds me
with how quickly it ticks away
is success just a feeling? is it only a name?
is it even a level, a possibility in this game?
is passion a feeling, or just a thirst for fame?
is home a person, a place, or an imaginary plane?
my mind still haunts me, with its' rattling doors,
and sometimes my demons whisper that i'm doomed to bore
questions ignite my being, setting me ablaze
as i wonder if i will ever be ready for the adulting daze
Y'all, it's been a long, long time since I published anything... and a long time since I've properly written. I'm trying to do better - no one really reads these, but it's a testament to myself. I'm trying.
Ashley Nov 2015
if i had the energy,
maybe i'd cry over the fact that
i can't get the words to flow in this paper,
this assignment, this tiny grade
swimming in a lifetime of letters and numbers
all meant to determine my worth.
if i still had the energy, the perfectionist
buried inside of me would kick in and critique
the work; it'd tear apart the letters and mangle them
until they came out sounding somewhat intelligent,
until everyone glosses over the fact that this
paper clearly has no point, no direction
(like my life)
and no energy leaping out to greet the reader,
a.k.a. my professor and literally
not another soul.
if i had the energy, i might care
that this reminds me a little too much of three years ago.
i might try and figure out what the **** to do
in order to make myself care.
then again, if i cared,
i wouldn't be in this position in the first place.
if i had the energy, i'd stop here
and fling myself off the roof - at least,
i would, if i didn't think dying would hurt
like hell and death wouldn't be terrifying as ****.
if i had the energy, maybe this paper would already
be finished, and i could be sleeping, instagramming,
living. but the energy and my soul are dried up,
and the words won't come,
and i keep clacking on these tired keys,
a desperate prisoner trapped in dizzying
whirlwind college days.
I don't know anymore... some *******, I guess. I'm totally stuck on a paper, but at least my ****** poetry skills haven't deserted me yet!
Ashley Nov 2015
the darkness sings and the pages sting
our hearts collide; they're shattering
we're drifting towards a new dimension,
our tongues so heavy with mutual indecision.
being hand in hand makes no difference
when we're separated by eons of distance
our spirits yearn to work this out
out bodies ache to tune logic out
but our souls are broken, and
you're not sure they can mend;
my thoughts are a token,
and i do not want this to end.
our prayers read like devotions,
our words bleeding emotion,
and though you'd never admit it
you can't fight a tear
and though i'll never forget it,
the fact is that you aren't here
it isn't physical distance that truly sets us apart,
but rather the paths of our future
and the ache in your heart
i cannot stand here, blocking your way
and you cannot afford to let your dreams slip away
maybe someday you won't be a fantasy
and i won't pour over every line

all i ask now, is for you to be kind:
if it's the last time, don't do this
like you're about to say
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