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beth winters May 2013
i'll make mixtapes we can lay down rubber in parking lots call out our joy and anger which are almost the same thing anyway i will cry at night but you will lick the salt like a wild deer pepper me with small bruises drive in our underwear just to feel skin sticking to something make contact with your hair as it billows in and out of the car in and out of sight make contact with the only part of your body that is not warm stop only in small towns that keep their stories close in those towns press silky moonlight to the warm parts of your body like poems like slits of light to let the light in through smoke and eat hanging out of the windows pretend we are leaving crumbs to find our way home with but never come back anyways anyways
may 13th
beth winters May 2013
it is unseasonably warm
from across the neighborhood
"******* ******!"
the rumbling masculine undertones
of his voice compress my heart
i crawl into my stomach
seeking shelter from a nonthreat
"liar liar liar liar liar liar liar liar"

he spits
and i cringe
his anger pulses
every anger
that has ever been shoved in my face
whispered in dark rooms
the anger i have witnessed
pierce the skin of women i do not know
the rejected wounds i have absorbed
all wrenched from their hiding places
pulled in pulpy fistfuls
from the crevices of my body

he shocks my system
of sympathetic nerves
like lightning
my palms sweat
i close the window
april 26th 11:30 pm
beth winters May 2013
my body
has rejected me

too quickly ripened
in the scorch
i am twisted off at the stem

running streaked against the ground
skin broken by the first hesitant
scrape of teeth
old, old, old. january?
beth winters May 2013
the state flower is the dandelion
a persistent ******* who pushes out of concrete
lifts the earth up over her head
as if to say "look at me too"
i have driven down too many roads
where rich people build fountains but are never in
and have felt that i am about to be murdered

i walk to the top of mountains to pray
and cleanse my lungs
i give my jealousy and greed
and shame away freely
to the tiny alien flowers
and the ferns
and the cities of moss
and i ask them to keep the damp rotten bits
safe until i might need them again

an old woman in the city
gives three pounds of breadcrumbs
to five thousand pigeons
and coos as if she is protecting something
the essence here is grey
and hits the back of your throat like an ember
like your first cigarette

the state faith is loss
we bury our lovers in the mud
and wait until the rain grinds us to bits
drives us into the soil to decay
and become new life again
april 23rd
beth winters May 2013
a forest grows roots in my scalp
a baby touches the soft short bits and laughs
like there is no greater delight in her world
my spirit swells in her beams
i walk shoulders forward
collar popped
half-sneer that says “yeah that’s right
i’m a badass”
nobody sits next to me on the bus
once this bleach-blonde spent half an hour worrying
nail-biting, foot-tapping worry
before setting the clippers to my head
like she might hurt me
i intimidate the thing in me that is vulnerable
staple a wig to it, put it in a dress
build it safe bridges out of my body
so that on the street
the people who do manage to worm their grubby fingers
through the cracks
are ******* psychos
and i can imagine driving their nose up through their brain
without feeling guilty
or shameful
even though that is scientifically impossible
due to the density of bone
and this charred twisted gargoyle on my shoulder
who tells lies as long as the mississippi
like “you deserve this ****”
on really bad days my hair turns and shouts
“back the **** up gargoyle! you make no ******* sense!”
even when i decide to trim it
when i’m ****** out of my tree on sudafed
and haven’t eaten solids in five days
and it looks like, well, this
i am a magnificent peacock
swanning down the street
and everyone is a little bit better
for having walked through my glow
now if only i could make eye contact with the cute **** on the bus
april 17th.
beth winters May 2013
my first idol was gene kelly
i wanted to tip my hat to frilly women
creases in my trousers so sharp
they could be used as weapons
i would smell like cedar
shaving cream
cigarette smoke
dank alleyways where bruises are bestowed
and everyone has a second
stomach-down on an orange **** carpet
chin in hands
til my elbows were rubbed raw
watching a gender i could never perform
pressed into the seams of a slate-blue suit

my grandmother equates food and love
but won't try anything green
or tomatoes
or bell peppers
or brown bread
or breakfast
but grandma, the waffles
the frozen cinnamon ones
you had to wait long excruciating moments for
drenched in syrup, not even the real stuff
and cookies after lunch
and ice cream for dessert
and white bread
with a wink, a "shh don't tell"
to this day i cannot eat
without the long fingers of guilt
counting my ribs like beads

there is a house
rising out of the backyard of my grandparent's house
it is one story taller
and fifty years newer
it stands on my grandmother's rose bushes
it stands on her pansies
her snapdragons
the beauty bark paths
and the small trinkets that defined their edges
i bet you can't even see
the patch of grass where grandpa parked his truck
for twenty years and plants grew
all sparse and yellow and shriveled
that house is built on top of the three or four trees
we played in, thought were a forest
the hundreds of pinecones
some as big as my head
some as small as my thumb
once i drove past this malignant mansion
and wanted to throw fists at it
to challenge it
i waited for a long time
waiting for it to grow while it thought i wasn't looking
for it to engulf my grandparent's house
which suddenly seemed tiny and brown in comparison
the next time i am there
i expect i will tiptoe
and wait for my child-self to appear
so we can warn each other
of the coming ruin
april 19th
beth winters Apr 2013
the sky is keening
grief is heavy
and clings to me
i am humid and slow

my mother kisses me and there is desperation in her movements

i come up to the precipice
and cry a hymn
throwing it
against the vaster loneliness
that is pushing
its fingers
through my mouth


i bit
a hole in my
own skin

the walls and land
pilfer what leaks out

i cannot touch anything
for fear it will drag
too much from my body

at least

i will never forget
how i have travelled


i turn in the sunlight
arched against the warmth
joy glints sharp
draws as much blood
i am waiting
i am kept dull
barely open
the brush of a sound
will tear me from here
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