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Bailey B Sep 2012
it's a lot harder than you think.

you have to be from the South, like me
or the North, like I want to be
or somewhere entirely more interesting than Dallas
and you have to have the ginger gene
(because there's no way I'm having
blonde children)
and you have to like aquariums
specifically the seahorses

don't wear too much cologne or
pastels and don't ever smell like
frat parties, barbecue, or beer
and DON'T ever say that ballet is stupid.

you have to ask before we choose
the restaurant because I don't eat Italian
or Thai or Greek or Subway
and you have to hold the door open for me
even if we're in my own room.

listen to my monologues for class
and rattled-off to-do lists
as you lazily push the basket
and I grab it from you because you're going too slow
and mockingly call you a princess

know that I am busy, VERY busy
in fact so busy that I may not see you
because I am an independent woman
and there are stories to be built, dragons to be slayed,
and there are things my hands must finish
before I can start on holding yours

make fun of my Crocs
and the way I hiccup out of nowhere
and the days that I don't have time to eat breakfast
so I bring a Fuzzy's cup to class
full of off-brand Cap'n Crunch
shoving handfuls into my mouth between
snide remarks about Morrison
while you laugh inside your eyes
about what a cynic I pretend to be

hate me when I tell you
that I don't need a hug
and that I'd rather be dating Hemingway
or that I have rehearsal
painting cities, building histories

ignore my comments about you needing to shave
or on how I think I'd rather I'd never get married
and live the rest of my days writing stories
with organic vegetables and rainy days and
walks in the Carolinas

call me a ***** when I'm being one
(because I know I am about 97% of the time)
and tell me you would help me
if I would ever let you
whether it be Christmas lights or
physics lab or the gnawing pain
of lonely lonely lonely

let me read my books, propped up on
my pillows and nestled into a glaze
and let me have my expectations
of Rochesters and Darcys
even though I say I don't
and when I have to sew a blanket for class
and I say the stitching looks awful
tell me no, it doesn't
because I desperately want you
to know that my favorite color is lavender
and I love watermelon and stationery and
online shopping at 2 am
and I desperately want to know
your elementary school, your favorite song,
your middle name
even though I pretend I don't

and sometimes when I say I'm right
and you know that I know I'm wrong
just pick up your spirals and turn to leave,
then stop and say
"my favorite book is Gatsby, too."

and smile and call me crazy.

it's a lot easier than you think.
Oct 2011 · 786
boy #1
Bailey B Oct 2011
you always seem to be around when I do
the stupidest of things
like that one time
at three in the morning
I asked Katherine to roll on the ground with me
down the hallway of our dorm
and you happened to come up the stairs
and I made eye contact with your California smile

and that one time I told Sarah I was going to diet
until I reached my birth weight
of six pounds, seven ounces
and you overheard the conversation
and awkwardly walked by

and that one time
that I had a craptastic day
and you happened to sit next to me in at dinner
and a rock got caught in my Croc
(why I was wearing these I don't know)
and I accidentally fell while trying to get it out
and you just took another sip of Diet Coke and left

and that one time
that I for some cruel reason of fate
decided to count the exit signs in the cafeteria
like that was a brilliant idea
and you happened to be on the other side of the door
so I basically ran away
only you followed me

look, I know you think that I
was doing these things on purpose,
even though your face is always blank and expressionless;
I know on the inside you  think I am
the biggest idiot on the face of the planet.
It has been exactly six days
in a row
of me doing the STUPIDEST ****
and you always happen to be there,
waiting for me to spill something,
sing something,
trip and tumble down the stairs
for your own amusement?
maybe so.
or maybe I'm just clumsy.

and I also know that you probably think
I have a massive crush on you,
that I stalk you and wait for these opportunities
to make myself look like a genuine freak
just so you
with your sun coast hair
and your summertime lips
will notice me.

but I don't.


I was just too bad to be a good girl
and too good to be bad
and you were just beautiful.
Oct 2010 · 3.5k
La Llorona
Bailey B Oct 2010
i wonder




if someone else called you

to tell them a story

because the nightmares wouldn't cut their ropes,

would you kick your heels

upon your desk and spin

a tale as long as the night itself

until they fell asleep?



"a beautiful red-haired princess

lived in a land

far far away

but she was so amazing

that the prince would scale

the highest of the mountainsides

to see her"



you were always writing me

into fairytales

and sometimes they helped

fight the darkness



did I ever tell you about those nightmares?

how I heard an old Chicano folktale

about La Llorona

and how she came to me in a dream

weeping and screeching

and clawing at her eyes

and shrieking "Ayudame!"

through the tangle of the black woods in front of me

twisting riddles through my slumber.



do you know that

sometimes during barre stretch,

when we shoot our legs skyward,

or when i'm filing college interviews

your smile-laugh ripples

through my ears

and I grit my teeth

through peppermint pain

and try to drown it out?



did I ever tell you

when I got the phrases

"La Llorona"y "la rana"

scrambled up in my brain?

La maestra told us we would be

leyendo un cuento

sobre la rana

en the pond

and I thought she meant a story of

La Llorona

the wailing woman

maestro of a symphony of screams

and my heart stopped working

and I told her, "No puedo, I can't."

and she said, "Silly girl, la rana es 'the frog'."

and laughed.



do you remember when

they took me to a grave

and you told me about cancer

and how you thought that you'd die young?

you said it

so calmly

as if the dead around you

were offering up their Easter lilies

as a bridal bouquet

to be tossed to a lucky relative

and i just looked at you

with sea-glass eyes

and you kissed me

as the tears spilled over

into silent rivers

down my cheeks



i wonder

if sometimes

when you listen closely

you can hear the bottle-sculptures'

mouths lisping with the wind

or la rana

croaking in the pond

and smile-laughing right along with you

at me.



if the story has a different beginning now

or a middle

or an end



or if you've written me out entirely

or maybe just changed my fate



"a beautiful red-haired princess

was punished for her vanity

and doomed to wander and wail

for all of eternity

for she had done wrong."



and am I La Llarona,

the weeping woman?

because that's all I ever

seemed to do

The dreams are gone now

or, rather, the nightmares

but there are some things

more haunting in reality.



i wonder if she hears

the coded tick-tock

of the static

or the shrill cries

of tortured souls

forever searching

forever lost



i wonder

if you love her

more than me.
Sep 2010 · 1.0k
begrudgingly.
Bailey B Sep 2010
I tiptoe hence from
crack to crack in the
asphalt of our parking lot
trying not to hit the yardlines like
we did in marching band
practice, carefully, steadily
with six steps to a stripe
six-to-five six-to-five
left right left

and I'm trying not to notice
that the trees, their leaves are
turning now to the colors of
the hairs upon my head

copper
and ash
blonde brownish
honey
and the sweetest of
auburn
on my left
right left

and I'm not doing a very good job
of not noticing these things
like how I pretend not to notice how
you smile when I'm not looking but
you are, you're smiling, you're
looking at me and perhaps catching
glimpse of the rainbow of follicles
emerging from my scalp

which is great and all, but still it
makes me nervous makes me jittery
pocketwatch in my ribcage
tickticktick

I scuff my foot across the yellow
paint of parking spaces and joke that
we would have pretty children
because that's always been a topic
that's one of those half-joking, half-not
topics that all
boy and girl friends have even if
they aren't boyfriends or girlfriends they're
just friends, it's still a tender subject
and today I'm feeling
brave except for when I
trip over a word and widen my
eyeballs in embarrassment
until they can see the very
tips of my eyelashes and I
feel very odd indeed
because I realize no one thinks of that
except of course for
six-to-five six-to-five

and I've mapped out my life in bottle caps
and those pepperminty things you
can only find at wedding receptions

and I ****** them in a jar until I stir
them into prophecy and they tell me
if you were another boy if you had a signet
for a seal and possibly a stallion or at
very least a cloak
or a practicality for inventions more useful
than those of divinities
but you aren't no you aren't

and in another life were you a
nine-to-five nine-to-five
and in another time you could've passed
and we could laugh our days away by
the fires and read Whitman to our
Siamese and drape ourselves with kaleidoscope
quilts in lavish armchairs and just
breathed

honey, honey for your toast

breathe, don't cry
crying is for
the weak

and in another life I could've smiled
without abandon I could've
let your fingers brush my jawline let
you read over my shoulder and occasionally
turn the pages for me and I
could've seen our future and let you tell
me I was beautiful and possibly loved you
...but I can't love you.
This is not another life.
this is mine I tiptoe fragilely
from crack to crack and breath to
breath to keep myself from falling off
the edge and so I murmur quietly in my brain

ash blonde brown auburn burgundy and
six-to-five
yes, six-to-five
and let me close my eyes to blink

you tell me
you're not foolish enough to tell me
what you really think
and you laugh and I tell you I'm stopping this
train
of thought before it derails itself and causes those
catastrophes where thousands die
of head-on collisions and
butterfly feelings
and stricken-through unfinished

like I'm in a game of hide
and seek but you're pretending
not to know where I am hiding
so I can be the last one
left
right left

so I halt myself at six-to-five
and let you kiss me anyway

you don't know that in those
few choice words
you've given myself away
Sep 2010 · 790
The Children of Eden.
Bailey B Sep 2010
I thirst.

 

You rip through here

a hurricane

biting through civilians and officials alike

until their bloodshed stains the streets

and the streams tick off the tally of your victims

your only aim to crush and maim

regardless of the death toll

or the reason

or the phasing of the moon

And then come crashing down again

 

while we are left, shaking our heads,

to sweep your secrets

into crematoria and coffins

Then dust off our hands

to wipe away your tears

 

and scrub away the fever

That leaves a ring of soapy sickness

in your bathwater

And then hold you,

bitter infant,

until the tide falls away

 

The constants, the healers,

What some call the mothers

though you are not our blood children

 

We are the ones that soothe your cuts and burns

Listen to your side of the story

And settle the fights of dollar bills

and ancestors

that you scorn without abandon

Hear you simper for a lullaby

As we rock you back to sleep

 

But the sighs don’t escape

until after we’ve checked under the bed for monsters

for the hundredth

or the thousandth

or the millionth time this week;

we can’t let you catch on

that the only real beasts lie within ourselves.

 

We would give you the moon

Had you not tamed it

And the deserts for your sandbox

But no matter what we give

You want it all you want it all

And we want nothing

NOTHING

in return

Just a single peaceful night,

vengeful child,

tea stirred with vanilla and sleep

but your screamings pierce our dreams

and nightmares

 

We are the worrywarts

The unsure

The cautious and the skeptics

Who don’t believe in jumping on the bed

Or in other such adventures

 

We are wrinkled brows and unpressed collars

The “it’s for your own good”s and the seamstresses

That stitch your heart back together

Before it’s broken one time too many

 

And you end up like us.

 

We are the aftermath, the backstory,

the prayers and dictionaries

that make it out of life alive

The Barmecidal harmony, the snatches of hymns

 

We are the scraps of coffee-tainted paper

that you slap against the telephone poles

As if the taste of scathing news-ink

is a bandage for the hurting

And we fold debris into our kerchiefs

saving them as souvenirs

 

And you call us close-minded

You call us cowards

As you snap your jaws and roar

down a vast and lonesome prairie

like the wind

 

Fast to laugh

and quick to run away

 

As we wander the streets lonely,

the gaslamps shattered on the cobblestones,

and stoop to collect the pieces

of the life you left behind.

 

Forgive them, Father,

for they know not what they do.
(C) Bailey Betik 2010
Aug 2010 · 1.0k
To my ex's friends
Bailey B Aug 2010
To my ex's friends
who all friended me on Facebook
even though I'd never met you
once in my life

I graciously accepted
your cyber-creepy gestures
and you all wrote on my wall
and told me I looked nice

three months later
I broke up with him
and now you keep your distance
and don't even like my statuses?

guess I'm not so nice anymore.
Aug 2010 · 1.6k
copper pennies
Bailey B Aug 2010
My grandfather's not dead
but you act like he is

the way you tiptoe around the closed oak door
way you whisper in a scratchy voice
when you talk about the future

way you pop in your
set of pearly whites
and bare your teeth too easily
when he asks you for a glass of water
and your brassy trumpet tells him

of course, dear, are you feeling okay?

You think that I've caught on
and know better than to trade him secrets
beneath the cracked door to your bedroom
like copper pennies for freedom

and that I don't remember him
throwing diving sticks at the bottom of the pool
then snatching them up and waving them above his head
far from my six-year-old reach

or when sitting upon his knee as a child
I would pick at the edges of the sepia photos
as he traced the veins of our family
back to seventy-second great-aunts
and royalty

I help you count the red pills
as I recall my favorite hiding place
(your fireplace)
and you shake your head and scold me

that was an awful place to hide
what if there had been cinders?

I tell you

we live in Texas

and tuck my wishes back into my pocket
and mention that Granddad thought it was
a fantastic place to visit
and that I would sit there for hours
and pretend I was a phoenix
from the old mythology books
in the musty back of your closet

You laugh as you slip him his pills

you can't possibly remember that

But I remember and
I insist on discussing college while he's in the room
his wrinkly eyes smile when I plot out my dreams
and he knows that I know
but I keep our secret anyway

you simper at my mother

oh, isn't she precious
hopeful and hoping a cure will be found

but you don't realize I've already discovered it:

Pretend like nothing has happened
Don't let them see the ticking hours on the mantelpiece
As long as we know that we're not older
beneath these transcripts and chemotherapies
the real world doesn't matter
not really, not at all

My grandfather's alive
even if you think he isn't
but he is
and he's sitting in your drawing room
so why don't you pop by for a visit?

we're only pretending, anyway.
Jul 2010 · 532
Photo Album Findings
Bailey B Jul 2010
I saw a baby picture of myself the other day
Not much has changed
I was smaller back then
less hair, quite a deal
shorter
But most things seem the same
Same piercing green eyes
even as a baby
they never were blue
like normal babies have
Same long pale fingers
itching for keys to press
A defined widow's peak
with tufts of ginger curling around it
And a glowing mysterious smile
that my parents' friends swooned over
even without teeth
The constants vary though
My eyes are pillowed by exhaustion
my fingers are chipped at the ends
I am too busy to push back
my long red hair and expose
my widow's peak once more

Something about that picture puzzled me
something different
when I looked into the mirror
at night while brushing my teeth
examining my pores
scrubbing away my eyeliner
and crawled into bed

and staring up at the cracks in the ceiling
it hit me.

Smiling.
I don't do too much of that anymore.

In other words, I was
an extraordinary child
that grew up to be
quite ordinary.
Jun 2010 · 2.1k
Construction.
Bailey B Jun 2010
a stripe of asphalt on the blanket of green

I stare wordlessly out into other people's lives
peeking past the violet-tinted windows of the freeway
as your chat-chatter spills from your coffee cup
filled to the brim with handshakes and impatience

You clutch your earpiece tighter, scowling
as I trace the horizon across the glass
smudgy fingertips that sigh boredom

and the Mexican workers in orange vests
peer back at me curious and wave
turn to their left and shout something in Spanish
tongues dancing, slick with dust

I smile as they crumple their lunch sacks and
pitch them down into the rubble then hoist
brick by brick, stone by stone
no natural-made boundary
into the chalky air and perch for a while
to mop the sweat from their brown
creased faces and sing rowdily to their neighbors
and the immobile in the SUVs

You lock the doors fast
and pat your hair into place
I've got no time for this construction
you say, can't they build this highway somewhere else?
as you drum your fingers along to the siren song
of CEOs and business connections

You're just the same as the rest of them.
Man forever building bridges
that will only topple down.
Jun 2010 · 610
The Edge of Reality
Bailey B Jun 2010
The waves slither over the rocks and wink
    cutting into the soles of our flesh
    whispering sweet nothings to the porcelain of skin
Our feet are not used to treading without shoes
    and we’ll walk the waters
    stalk the waters like panthers to their prey
carefully calculating where to strike next
so our toes can skim the surface without dousing ourselves in doubt

The velvet starlessly undulates like serpents overhead
    nipping playfully at our ankles
    hissing fog over the cross-stitching below
Our toes giggle and ease on our slippers of cold
    and we’ll shift the waters,
    sift the waters of their impurities and artifice
leaving the ingredients of ginger, sand, and freckles
so we can remember the recipe for when we grow older

A melody fits between the stones
    caterwauling over the wail of the winds
    humming through the salt and silt
Our laughter clicks like puzzle pieces
    and we’ll see the waters,
    be the water’s song resounding in low octaves
echoing inside the memories framed
so our tongues will never forget what to sing to get out of trouble

A beacon slices the shore with dancing lights
    twirling between the universe and words
    supping on the whip of the sea against rock
Our eyes well with the tears of de Leon
    and we’ll feel the waters,
    steal the waters back to our hearths in tiny blue bottles
watching them swirl around inside the glass
so our fists can hold resolute to the green light unattainable
May 2010 · 1.4k
untitled thoughts.
Bailey B May 2010
You say I don’t need a poem
to capture the day in a frame and tuck it
beneath my pillow
But I’d like to have it there in case I forget
the way the armadillo on the side of the road
lay belly up, beer bottle in paw
a redneck's respects for the deceased

or the feeling of three in the morning
pounding in my skull, soaking in memories
trivia pursued and articles of obfuscation: the elucidation of the world
seen through bottle-green binoculars and heard
through the neighbor's windchimes ringing out diminished sevenths
and questions I don't want to answer
or even ask out loud

I want to tuck it in my wallet
for times that I can't remember your faces
or the scent of your shampoo, or the order of keychains
on your keyring, or the times we drove to East Jesus Nowhere
and you ripped the leaves from my calendar, ticking
and turning my seasons by the mile markers in the cement

I do this to engrave it in my cerebrum
the nights we ran outside in our pajamas in the rain
and danced for a while, then danced some more,
turning and leaping and spinning and reaching
and falling down to weep for no reason
mourning the morning
among the sharpened blades of grass

You laughed at me once
remember that? how you scoffed and snatched
my paper from my spiral and stuffed it in the trash can
telling me not to write fiction in history class
but it's just as much history as every other Jefferson
another amendment you'll never read

But I forgive you. you're not the first
to tell me to get my feet out of the clouds
because my head's already gone too far for saving
or to attempt to stifle my addiction to
the scratch of pen on paper
the scent of ink on tree
the pulse of blood in my brain

I cling to syntax like religion
keeping the words pinched in my fists like pixie dust
hoping if I say the right abracadabra
the pen will turn to a wand
and I can paint you the details
one day at a time
Apr 2010 · 675
Today
Bailey B Apr 2010
Driving down the freeway with my Gaga glasses on,
radio cranked all the way.Too tired to headbang,
so I compensate by belting (entirely too loudly) the lyrics to Nickelback
at a stoplight. It's curious how, though we are maybe four feet apart,
I can hear me, and the blonde 20-something beside me can't.
Through the rolled-up windows, maybe she just thinks I'm talking to myself
because I'm lonely. I crack the window just a bit
and scream until the light turns green.
Apr 2010 · 502
History of Hands
Bailey B Apr 2010
These hands are weak.
They bend and flex, they slip from grip,
they pinch the tip of their Sonic straw.
They sing sonatas in the wrong key.
They rip the stories I cannot write.
They break things.
They make typos, they grab for seconds,
and cannot reach that last black key,
no matter what I coax them with to do so.
Sometimes they get so angry they leave bite marks on my palms.
They burn my toast.
They test my bathwater in the winter.
They sweep the dust off of photo albums.
They turn the lock to secret compartments.
They paint things, they mend things,
they dance on top of my classroom desk.
They know all the right spellings,
and just the right way to turn photos into pixie dust.
Sometimes they transform into swans before my very eyes.
They sing the stories I cannot tell.
They can start a revolution.
These hands are strong.
And they are yours to hold.
Apr 2010 · 2.1k
Self-portrait
Bailey B Apr 2010
Compiled of all the parts
No one wishes to have
Fiery ropes that refuse to rest
Spidery fingers that worry too much
Freckles etching countless constellations undiscovered
Eyelashes that a cactus wouldn't be proud of
Emerald eyes, woeful, or so I've been told,
that reflect all the unsung symphonies of the past
and of the yet to come
Long, awkward torso that curves in all the wrong places
Skin paler and mire transparent than the surface of a pond
Dancer's thighs with an octogenarian's knees
The smile of a Chinese ten-year-old
paired with the beak of a toucan.
That, at least, is good for something:
Sniffing out your lies and following them
through the thick blue veins that map
straight to my heart.
Apr 2010 · 2.3k
The Death of Literature
Bailey B Apr 2010
The scientist-psychiatrist
the psychologic sociologist
has proved with his statistics
and his data-riddled literates
that nothing will be crippled
if they sweep the city clean
if they slay not only Tybalt
but the whole Verona scene
so they ****** it from our hands
from our brains and those to come
as the Ravens sear across the lands
and bindings come undone
They watch the pages flitter by
and cackle with delight
as the populace of fiction
by their hands is ripped alight
The licking of the laces
by the hungry tongues of flame
will ravage on the characters
you've come to know by name
Montag barrels forth and finds
the Fahrenheit has risen
Hester screams and claws her mind
out of this hellish prison
and Dorian will clamber up
to sit atop the pile
and weep for Pictures yet to sup
upon his looks and guile
And you'll watch as they obliterate
the city from within
de-storying our Paradise
so it won't be Lost again.
But I, Calpurnia? I warned you
that the fiery clouds would rain
I told you all, fictitious youth,
but you called me insane.
Apr 2010 · 2.9k
Love is.
Bailey B Apr 2010
THIS is what love is.

banana bubblegum and magnetic poetry
the crickets on my front porch at three in the morning
making origami cranes out of butcher paper
even when I forget whether it's mountain fold or
valley fold and my crane turns out looking like a
seamonkey in a blender
wildflowers!
striped button-down shirts and plastic dinosaurs
singing Juanes at the top of our lungs
(Gah, you know
I can't speak Spanish.)
laughing at the serious parts in movies
having the patience for when
the words don't come out
and I have to stop

and think

(for a very long time)
and half the time it doesn't make sense anyway.
impromptu dance sessions on the side of the road
doors flung open, radio up
chocolate chip pancakes
out-of-town adventures
mailboxes. LOTS.
balcony raves with lots of glowsticks
and let me borrow that top!

just letting me sleeeeeeep

the smell of new pointe shoes
of New Orleans
of bluebonnets
telling me when I look awful (please)
making me eat things that I don't like
SNUGGLEBUNNY TIME
drive-thru people who hate our guts
That's What She Said's.
praising Buddha naked
dysfunctional kites
paying in change at Chicken Express
late night phone conversations
when I sound drunk
(but I'm not,
I'm tired. I just would rather
talk to you
than sleep.)

silence.

cupcakes, uniform closets
not shaving our legs in the winter
shadow puppets, rap songs,
Slumdog Millionaire
making once-in-a-lifetime faces
looks that speak oceans
pecan pralines and symphony orchestras you'll
never play with again but for that night
you're family
and you'll never forget it.

matches (aren't always for candles)
thousands upon thousands of candids
and the not-so-candids
saving kisses in your pocket for later
Neverland, Disneyland, cats
yellow dresses and stage make-up
watermelon Jolly Ranchers
saying my name like it's wrapped in blankets
and knowing that
even though I don't say it
as much as I should:
I do.
Apr 2010 · 829
Duck Island
Bailey B Apr 2010
I stand on the gleaming rocks
and gaze out toward the pond.
I've been coming here for years now,
ever since I could throw
bread crusts to the mallards without
screaming and running away.

Across the lake are mansions
dripping with frosting and gumdrops,
but their pretention gets no heed.

I dream of inhabiting the island between us
that measures about six steps wide and just as far long.
There's a "no boating,
no fishing,
no swimming" sign to my left,
so I don't know how the dilapidated shack sits
between two steps and four, but I
want to sit there forever and
stare back at the people
who stand on the gleaming rocks
and stare out at me and
don't run away from the shrieking mallards
or the East Eggers on their gingerbread balconies
who rock back on their heels
and laugh at the show as birds
rip open their sandwiches
then turn to top off their schnappes.

I'd pay attention to that island, though.
I think it's made of breadcrumbs.

I don't own a boat,
fishing is useless,
and I'm too afraid to break the rules.
So I let the waves lap my feet
and convince myself that I'll come back
and do the deed at sundown,
even though I know I won't.
Apr 2010 · 1.2k
The Dissection of Vanity
Bailey B Apr 2010
The snip-snips
halo my shoulders
in curtains
Ever-changing colorations
striations
maculations
depending on your mood
either flat as a newly paved ramp
or as ***** as Friedman
You took a class on this
you tell me
adjusting your headband and baring your teeth
your version of a smile
I steel myself against the guillotine
It falls to the ground in leaves of auburn
going against the nature of winter
and longevity
(there go four inches
off my life)
You lean in
boing the spring beside my face
inhale and ask me
what is my conclusion?
as your panda colored drapes swish by my cheeks
Sometimes it smells like cinnamon
or the cactus flower oil you bought that one time
and sometimes I get nostalgic and remember what it was
before I let you touch it
(autumn, soap, and vanity)
but now mostly it smells like one thing:
smoke.
And phantom pain.
I thought you were an expert.
Apr 2010 · 1.1k
to stifle the voices
Bailey B Apr 2010
as a whole I have
{been listening to your godawful racket}
ruminated
for an entire rehearsal number
{though it felt like six}
and have a few things I would like to address
as a
{brutal bandslaughter}
kindly input
for your improvement
flutes
{come on now,
have we ever heard of a tuner}
great job, watch your pitch on the A, though
again
{scratch that, where's the shotgun}
...right.
clarinets
first parts play
{no, stupid, you are SECOND part
you got demoted last week
when you couldn't play the riff in
measure nine}
wonderful, now could we take it from letter B
just first clarinets, okay
{FIRST clarinets
FIRST FIRST FIRST
god where's my coffee}
right. let's just move right along, shall we
oboes

oboes, I--

right.

let's have that F again
{you're flat you're sharp and
both of you
just plain ****}
okay, one at a time
{oh my LORD my ears are bleeding
who the hell invented this thing}
you're a little sharp
can you fix that
...your reed is old
{you bought it last week}
...you've got spit in it
{you just took an entire twenty measures
of the last movement to
pull out your swab}
...someone broke your horn.

right.

okay French horns
let's hear the G
Apr 2010 · 1.1k
Prince Charming
Bailey B Apr 2010
When I was five
the most magnificent pastime
was imagining what it would be like
when you swept me off my feet
wearing a long peach gown
(because that was my favorite color
at the time)
and you would set me on
your tall white stallion
and sing me a song
about some enchanted evening
the woodland creatures would sing
with you
wrap your cloak around my shoulders
and we would ride like Snow White
to Ever Ever, After.

When I was twelve
the most exhilirating fantasy
was dreaming what it would be like
when you rolled up
in your strech Hummer
pressing your palm on the
small of my olive green dress back
(because I know what goes with my hair
this time)
and folded your fingers around my wrist
the paparazzi's going mad
gasps and lightning strikes
to our retreating frames
as I turn and wink one last time
and we ride off into the distance
to Broadway and Main.

Now that I'm older
I realize that I'll probably meet you
in the most unexpected of places
a bookstore
a library
when I'm pretending
to read Hemingway
you'll off-handedly tell me
that you like his work
I'll confess that I really don't get it
you'll grin and I'll smile
sheepishly
you'll rest your hand on the
table in front of us
and I'll be wearing
my glasses and a jacket
(because I don't care
what goes with my hair
this time)
and I'll realize that you probably
don't own a white stallion
nor a stretch Hummer
and you probably aren't famous
nor will you sing me some sappy song
about enchanted evenings
and that it'd be really freaky
if the chipmunks sang with you
but I'll nod anyway
and we'll ride off into the distance
of Starbucks.
Apr 2010 · 609
Flying.
Bailey B Apr 2010
late nights, early mornings
make us feel invincible
untouchable
armor of sequins and mascara
swallowed by the sounds
the pounding lights, slapping warnings
but we ignore them just the same
flying away slipping
away from our history
please, let me go
sharp pains stab again
at the most poignant
stupid artery
and we scream over the music
over drag queens
and strangers
we drown ourselves in them
the lost.
Poem A Day prompt 20
A poem refusing to look back.
Apr 2010 · 697
Nature Paints
Bailey B Apr 2010
Reds and golds and
maple syrups dripping
from the leaves of the trees
Greens feathering the
walls of the valleys and tickling
our feet with their cool tongues
Blues that missed the sky
and hit the seas instead
forever keeping time
with a celestial conductor
Purples that kiss the forests
and leave their lip prints
on scattered petals
like tissues on the ground
The deepest chocolates mined
from the sweetest of soils
and baked by the brazen
Texas sun
This is what I paint my face with
in the morning
and then you left
your paints
your grays and charcoals
your cigarette butts
your footprint.
Poem a Day Challenge prompt 22
A nature poem.
Apr 2010 · 1.8k
morning elegance
Bailey B Apr 2010
Cacaw cacaw
sing the sparrows
to her tiny china toes
the shadows criss-cross
the cherry hardwood
like a board of tic-tac-toe
tick-tock! the phoenix
rises from her coffeepot
tickling her freckled nose

she scrunches her forehead
into a fan and pats her alarm
good morning!
ambles to the sparrows
sighs out the exhaust
and breathes it right back in

another day
another sheet in the reams of paper
of people
she purses her lips
into a folded envelope
seals it with a kiss
and slips it out the window

wonders if today
she'll be the one
lost in the mail
Robert Lee Brewer's Poem A Day Challenge prompt 25
Apr 2010 · 510
More Than Five Times
Bailey B Apr 2010
more than five times
have I sung
stupid love songs

more than five times
have I trimmed
my split ends

more than five times
have I spat out
the bitter

more than five times
have I danced
to forget

more than five times
have I walked
in your shoes

(even when they gave me blisters)
Robert Lee Brewer's Poem A Day Challenge prompt 26.
a "more than five times" poem.
Jan 2010 · 2.0k
Goldfish Shadormas
Bailey B Jan 2010
Smile, say cheese
Look to camera, teeth wide
hold it there
cheeks burning
But what if she dropped the mask?
Look away and frown.

Fix your hair.
Not big enough, girl.
Thin enough
Good enough
Not enough, don’t you try to
put a fish on land.

You have it.
When the world needs it
more than ever;
Look to the
mirror, can’t you see the great
potential you  hold?
Dec 2009 · 823
sick.
Bailey B Dec 2009
my legs
scrape together.
like the ears of an elephant
they slap against each other
against the cool vinyl seat
they have chained me into
with a medical observance.
i squirm for comfort
for completion
for complacency
but all i feel is the rustle of fabric.
the woman stares,
her eyes caring
but cold
unblinking
mirroring a skeleton back at me.
the doctor
(what number, i cannot remember;
there have been many
nameless faceless coats
trying to help)
the doctor looks deep
deep down
his eyes clocks
sundials
scoreboards
ticking away
the hours
the ninety-three pounds
i have left on this earth.
the air compresses.
a whale in a bottle,
i rip the chain into squares
and run
run
run down the street.
i am fine.
i am invincible.
a crack
trips me up.
the world seethes red.
a stranger's hand rights me.
His eyes are kind.
and for the umpteenth time,
someone asks me.
and for the umpteenth time,
i feel my mouth
shaping the word
so empty and sterile
habitually.
"not--"
but then
i stop.
and words come up
like my offering
after meals:
forced
necessary
raw
apologetic,
just
needing to
come out.
Dec 2009 · 971
help.
Bailey B Dec 2009
Fidget.
The longer I sit here
as a victim of the flowers,
their moony faces
peering at me through
stupored goggles,
the more I want to
decapitate them
petal by false petal,
watching them fall to the floor.
Fidget.
The longer I am chained
to the dry ***** pipes
droning through the November air
dry paperthin hymns,
the stronger the urge to
rip them to shreds
then dipping them
one by one
into a vat of emotion.
Fidget.
I am a prisoner of the podium
and of the pew;
of the carbon-copy prayers
devoid of actuality
of love
of meaning.
The words echo endlessly
through dried-up wells
that sobs no longer seek
for solace.
Empty and stale,
they roll off your tongue
without a second thought.
Does no one mean anything anymore?
The microphone passes
from prophet to false prophet
sighing sympathetically
before returning to the leader-
even he reads his love
from an index card.
My head throbs in my hands
bursting with a burning question
and my legs sink like lead weights
under my black tights.
The ***** resonates
but I stand.
Nothing-
not the boy to my right
nor the best friend to his
not the whispers
nor the final words that
FINALLY
overflow with truth and love
not the sickening plummet of shock
from a glimpse of the honored one's face
can stop me from running
down the aisles
out the double doors
leaving petals and music notes
strewn in my wake.
What will my funeral be like?
Dec 2009 · 861
Reflections on The Hopeful
Bailey B Dec 2009
The little girl slides into her slippers,
supple leather gloves for her tiny feet.
Her hair, though not the same copper shade,
still shows tints of auburn in the light.
I brush back a few stray hairs into place,
back to the nape of her neck, where mine stayed for so many years.
I gaze at my shoes in the corner,
the ribbons limp with depression, the elastic dog-eared and sad.
The satin is the dusty rose of evening.

I fluff her tutu and twirl her around;
Chaines come easily to her,
Just as they do to me.
And though even now I strike a picture-perfect arabesque,
no audience is there to watch.
I have passed the recital stage in life,
meaning I am a shut-down factory, left to rust;
no longer am I considered a ballerina.
No longer am I entitled a dancer,
but deep inside,
past the mismatched legs and crooked knees
and twisted pelvises,
I still am.

Her eyelashes blink up at me, and I grasp her hand
as the piano begins.
She sighs and ballet runs across the stage.
I wish the magic came without the reprimanding.
Her green eyes sparkle and her feet sing.
In my little sister, I see myself.
Bailey B Dec 2009
I.
I lift my eyelids.
plipliplip.
The rain invites me to play.
Her cold fingers curl around the doorframe,
"Come on, come sing again! Sing, just like you used to!"
She burbles gleefully.
"Come on, old friend.
We used to be ballerinas, whirling and laughing.
We used to be one
one and the same."
Her fingertips inch through my solid oak door.
I frown and shove the door closed
throw down the lock
yank my curtains closed
Closed to the scent of moss
to the wail of the wind
to the percussion of the weather.
(I prefer the smell of coffee
the sound of silence
of security.)
"I used to be a lot of things," I call.
"But then I grew up."

II.
She knocks at my door.
Again. (memories are persistent.)
Teasing me with her calm voice
whispering lofty and cool.
I sigh
begrudgingly I follow
sliding into my raincoat
tugging up the hood
drawing the string tight around my jaw.
She dances in watery windchimes
sluicing across the slick sidewalk,
she pirouettes
leaps
beckons for me to follow.
My galoshes are not as forgiving as toe shoes; I trip.
I reach out my hand tentatively
curiously
feel a cold ***** of water slide down my index finger.
Icy. Biting.
I gasp and flick it off.
The world is a box of watercolors
but all smeared together in shades of earth.
Shadow, cornflower, lilac, mud
muddy colors I identify straight away.
They bring a smudgy comfort
a hesitant nostalgia.
I feel a note catch in my throat
like trapping a dragonfly in a glass jar.
It flits violently to escape,
but I dare not let it out.
It is sunny under my umbrella.

III.
Late late night
midnight and a half (to be exact.)
I hear her call
frosting my windows with condensation.
I etch into my foggy breath,
feeling the panes hard against my pale skin.
"Come." says her voice.
"Listen--" I protest.
"Live." urges her whisper.
So I fling back the door
let the coolness trickle down my head.
Silver bullets sparkle in the moonlight
I tilt my face towards the crystal beads,
watch them pour across my face.
I shake my flimsy nightgown
sodden with tears never shed.
I twirl, laughing across the yard.
"Old friend, how I have missed you!"
The rain calls to me.
My tears melt with hers
tumbling down my neck.
My words burst forth, a crescendoing horn
swelling across the rooftops
resounding to the deepest roots of the trees.
"I don't want to grow up."
Dec 2009 · 2.8k
Song of the Pencil
Bailey B Dec 2009
I suppose that I should be writing about the pencil itself, how its pale cerulean self lights up my taupe desk (yes, taupe.), or perhaps how the navy stamps that embellish it bleed a little at the sides
smeared, or even the sheer fact that it says "hoppy Easter"with little bunnies on it, which is ironic because it is January.
(and even funnier because the little bunnies look like demons waiting to pounce on your soul, slightly feline...feline bunnies?)
But no.
I sing instead the song of that metal thing at the end of the pencil, crimped like a tin can stuck in a sixties hair salon--the small item that sort of resembles Darth Vader; the metal thing that, when you think about it, you never notice; the thing that holds the eraser in place and the lead in the wood, and the wood in a line, the line for your pencil holder at the top of your desk (your taupe desk) that you write on and without writing you'd die...
Without life you don't exist.
I sing to the tiny piece of metal that is out of place, yet holds the world as we know it together. Because in a way, I know how it feels to bridge together two elements; two worlds, if you will.
It's a difficult task indeed to hold it all together. And I realize, staring at the satanic rabbits adorning my writing utensil that this thing doesn't have a name.
Dec 2009 · 880
Because it is.
Bailey B Dec 2009
Come, scream my name as I fly down the hall
chattering like a bird, my hair soaring like wings.
You can see me.
I pretend not to notice the world, even though I do.
It's just easier this way.
I spot you on the stairs,
Just a glimpse and my veins turn to ice,
rooting me to the spot.
You infuriate me and criticize my every word.
If I were a Jane Austen character, I might find you irritating.
I might find you slightly jerkish.
I would certainly not find you endearingly charming.
I certainly don't see you as such, where did you get such a ridiculous idea?
You're just a possibility, a marked-out one at that.
Not yet real enough to hazard a guess.
All I know is you're different from anything I've ever encountered:
A peacock in Antarctica,
A shaft of sunlight in an attic,
A diving stick in the shallow end,
Coffee, drunk black, when the barrista serves me creamer
and all I wanted was a taste of it undiluted and strong.
All I know is one day, I'll look outside my bubble and up the stairs
and there you will be.
I won't look away.
You won't either.
Then my face will turn the color of tomato soup,
I will find it becoming increasingly more difficult to breathe,
and everyone's eyes will pierce through me like tissue paper.
I will fly down the hall, chattering
chattering like a bird in a cage.
I will pretend not to notice the world.
I will pretend not to notice you pretending not to notice me.
It's just easier that way.
Dec 2009 · 1.7k
Jump.
Bailey B Dec 2009
I step towards the pool.
You look at me like each step is the end of my life.
I swing my leg on the side.
You flinch.

I laugh at your expression.
You didn't find it quite so funny.
I guess it's really not that funny to you,
how your mouth puckers into a straight line when you hear me laugh,
like the picket fence outside the house you were born in,
only the stark white boards of that fence don't curve downwards at the ends.

There's a fine line of difference between us,
the difference being "don't", "won't", "can't"
and other four letter words, such as "fear", "play", and "lame".

I stifle my laughter and try again to coax you to the edge, the edge of the earth.
You frown, and back away, mumbling like that one Muppet.
Beaker, right?
"Come down!" Beaker cries. "You're being crazy!"
Meepmeep.
The thought of this causes me to laugh again.
You. A Muppet.
You would die if you knew.

I take another step, another, another, further away from you,
up the metal rungs to the top of the world.
The ground slaps beneath me, resilient and springy like summer grass.
I remember your face, panicked, frantic.

I dove.
You claimed you couldn't.

From the bottom of the pool, the world is crisp and clear,
like a vat of liquid nitrogen biting at my skin.
When I resurface it becomes blatantly evident.

I dry off and walk away through the counter.
Don't try to follow me.
I tried.
You didn't.
Maybe I AM crazy.

The bottom line is
even though I'm afraid of heights,
I still climbed that ladder.
Dec 2009 · 5.0k
Where I'm From
Bailey B Dec 2009
I'm Bailey.
I sometimes forget to recycle.
I'm from singing camels and trigonometry.
From soap bubbles and yellow scarves, Irish hymns and Zucchini the ferret,
piano keys, bluebonnet seeds, and DO NOT ENTER signs.
From salt.
I'm the color of hosed off sidewalk chalk.
I'm all summer in a day.
I'm a conglomeration of artistic thoughts that make me look more profound than I actually am.
I'm your infinite playlist.
I'm from elephant necklaces and rosemary bushes
from high-heeled taps and Camelot
threadless socks, shopping carts, and impromptu salons.
I'm the fifth ninja turtle.
I live where you laugh so hard you cry.
I'm from carrots and ranch.
I'm a happy cow from California, a fortune cookie with your enchilada, a drill team skirt over marching uniforms.
I'm from unfinished crossword puzzles and forgotten dead languages
from pixie dust and snapcracklepop
from actually-it's-pronounced's, because-i-said-so's, and that's-not-my-name's.
I am Nancy Drew with a Peter Pan complex.
I come from honeysuckle candles and sunroofs of pickup trucks
broken-down fences and peach salsa
the second you step onstage.
I'm from in between.
I'm Bailey.
I don't drive the speed limit.
And I'm from you.
Dec 2009 · 2.9k
Namesake.
Bailey B Dec 2009
So I've been thinking lately

What if
he's on a journey out to find himself
reading Hemingway and Emerson (his namesake) and roughing it at Walden Pond
smoking foreign cigars
and staring deep into coffee
to decipher the meaning of the swirls of smoke
that rise from it in the morning?
What if
he's asking ChaCha! the meaning of life
or trying out a new brand of shampoo
or attempting to set a high score on Tetris
or out burning down bridges just to see them ablaze
or doing volunteer work,
reading to disabled children at the local library?
What if
he's decided that this is all too much,
that he'd prefer to live in anonymity
trading his celebrity for secretarial work or carrot-harvesting
or breeding exotic fish
or renting out those inflatable jumping-castles?
What if
he's tired of all those books in Technicolor
all the paparazzi out to get him
and commercialize his favorite beanie
just because he's on vacation because he pulled some strings at the office
thus catapulting him into some movie set halfway across the world?
What if he's sick and tired of them hunting down his girlfriend
his dog
that random wizard mentor guy that's a deadringer for Dumbledore?
What if he would rather sit at home and watch the Game Show Network
and change his name to something boring like John instead of living up to a thinker's expectations?
Or maybe just the opposite, he's just watching Family Feud to pass the time because he WANTS to be a thinker
but doesn't know how?
Or maybe Family Feud just makes him lonely because he doesn't have a real family,
just that evil guy with funny glasses and ****** hair and an awful Hamburglar taste in clothes?
What if he's decided he's on the wrong path
and needs to turn his life around?

What if Waldo doesn't want to be found?
Dec 2009 · 1.3k
Never say never.
Bailey B Dec 2009
We walk the world slowly
to pluck from thin air the sounds we've been thinking (or at least, I have)
but some curtain hangs between the realms of thought and reality
and won't let me transcend the division.

If I could pick the words up from the cracked sidewalk,
scattered like magnetic poetry on the concrete, I would.
But look, even if I could, I wouldn't be able to piece them together in a coherent fashion.
With my luck, I'd scramble to pick them up
only to have them fall into place in a different language entirely.

So we continue to walk, ignoring the phrases glistening like raindrops on our shoulders.
I watch the way your hair curls.

Decisions, decisions. Can we never go back?
The road's right here, and we've been there before,
retracing the bricks of the streets isn't in any way difficult.

But it's all in the past tense (or something of that sort)
and somewhere I purposely took a fork in the road
because I thought you'd stopped following my lead long ago.

My life is a series of crossed-out calendars,
and I scooted them aside to pencil you in.
But you didn't come.
You never came.

So I veered off course into my own little world.
Can you really blame me?
Here they all know me,
where I live down cobblestone lanes with my music and twelve cats named George.

I've accepted their offer because it held more water than yours...
(I was never quite sure what you were proposing anyway.)
At least I've allowed you this one last opportunity to break something
that wasn't really solid in the first place, and you're still suspending it.

The road's right here. I suppose we could go back.
But I'm not sure if I want to anymore.
My yes-or-no questions don't allow you much wiggle room.
They never did.

You look at me hard as if there's some constellation etched in my freckles, mapping your escape, your options, your halfway-open door.
I laugh and take a step back.
"It's a yes-or-no, dear."

I know I resemble a crazy, but truthfully? I don't really mind.
I leave you by a tree for shelter, stomp through the puddles down the street.
"Goodbye!" I scream.
"See you soon!" you reply.
"Orrrrr, how about never?" I shriek to the sky.

I prance down the roads, rattling with laughter.
I'd try to cry, but the tears don't come.
They never do.

And that's when I see them, glimmering at me like rain on the pavement.
"Mai dire mai."
I scoop them up in my pockets and call it poetry.
Bailey B Dec 2009
Once I took one of those blot tests, the ones that that Rorschach guy invented.
Or maybe it's Rorscarch.
I don't know, but I call him Roar-shark.
Anyhow.
The ones with blots of black paint that you're supposed to find pictures in.
There was this one blot, and I saw the profile of a lady's face, with long windblown-looking hair.
I was supposed to find a butterfly.

I've always had a different take on things, a weird memory association.
Well, I guess I can't call it memory. As far as I can recall, I've never seen that Roar-shark blot lady in my life, or anyone like her. At least, anyone that I can remember. And I only remember the truly remarkable.

I had these really great microwave burritos that I would eat after school, before rehearsal so I could just pop them in and go.
They were warm and gooey and really realllly bad for me, but hey.
I'm in a hurry. I'm allowed to be fat.
They were soft and I could eat them in the car on the way to the theatre without spilling things on my rehearsal skirts.
But then my grandad got throat cancer.
I was house-sitting my Nana's house one day and opened the fridge to get myself a glass of milk while I fed her cats.
Those very same burritos were in their freezer.
The other day I shoved one of them in the microwave so I could grab it and go,
and I hopped in the car and took a bite
But I couldn't eat anymore.
I looked at it and my stomach turned and for some reason I could not eat that burrito.
My mind had decided that if I were to take another bite out of that food,
I would be eating cancer.
I told myself that I was being ridiculous and stupid and I was hungry, so eat it.
But I couldn't shake it.
So I threw it out the window.

My mind's ALWAYS doing stuff like that, playing tricks on me.
I can't touch the page numbers on the pages of a book. I think they're spiders.
Sometimes I think my oboe reed blades are actual blade blades
and I'm afraid to put them in my mouth.
Weirdness doesn't go away.

So now I've switched my before-rehearsal food.
Tortilla. And milk.
I don't know why this strikes me as appealing, but it does.
My mind equates tortillas and milk-- warm and cool-- with happiness,
just like it equates my face wash to orange and honeysuckle.
(Though it smells like neither.)
and Christmas angels to pillows.
Rugs remind me of Egyptians.
Theatre seats are associated with a certain animated clownfish.
Leaves are reminiscent of the Sistine CHapel.
Pleas don't tell Roar-shark.

Once my English teacher told my class to write everything important in ink,
which brings us back to that one guy,
in pen.
Since everything I write is important, I write everything in pen.
Of course, you can see everything I scratch out, too.
The unimportant of the always important.
I like to think I'm not afraid of mistakes.

But sometimes, when my iPod is on shuffle,
it decides to get inside my head and play that song
that reminds me of you--
back when I bit my lip,
back when you owed me a slow dance,
back when I actually LIKED the scent of apples and pine trees.
And my mind does this "freeze" thing that
makes me stop breathing for a second.
and I hit the next button really really fast and then
fly off to the kitchen to find a glass of milk
because nothing can go wrong when I've got happiness in my hands.
But it's no use.
The thought gets to me before I can stop it.
About
my
our
YOUR mistake.
And then I just get angry and the milk quivers in my glass and I have to set it down before I throw it at the wall or something drastic like that.
Because I am dramatic, maybe.
Because even though I have played it over in my head
because even though I try to think it's my fault
because even though I try to blame it on myself
I can't.
Because it's not.
Because I'm not afraid to make mistake.
But I'm afraid to remember you.
Because
Even if you were remarkable.
You aren't.
Roar-shark would have a field day.

— The End —