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chloe hooper Jan 2019
they’re passing you the **** for the first time, rubber yellows and greens and reds so bright that you can see them despite the flattened beer boxes covering the windows. keeping others out. letting you stay in. you are always trying to get in. you pretend to breathe in, pretend that your entire chest isn’t already full of something else. don’t worry, it’s not going to **** you, they promise, passing it around again. ‘yes’, you say, studying his profile in the sliver of streetlight coming through the cracks between the boxes, hazy with smoke that burns your ******* insides out, ‘it will’. you can feel his hand on your leg, inching between your thighs, willing him to crawl up inside of you until you are someone else. until the shell of you is finally filled. they notice you’re shivering, ask if you’re cold. ask about the art exhibit you attended earlier. ‘it was nothing,’ you say, looking at his smile, bright square teeth illuminated by the persistent streetlight. ‘just ******* nothing.’ he is smiling, laughing the laugh that makes your head spin, spilling **** water all over your four thighs until he is squirming in wet discomfort, something he makes you do, alone. anywhere but here. especially here. they ask if you’re high, you’re not. he tells you you’re high, looking you in the eye, and you are. ‘i’m high out of my ******* mind.’ and you want to stay there. stay in the claustrophobic car that doesn’t even start while your friends are quoting memes in the front seats, while your boyfriend sits on your other side, smoking a cigar, while you stare at his staring, hear his begging for fresh air, wanting to get out. you should’ve known it would come to this. you should’ve known. you’ve been told before. your friends are choking and laughing and moving, somewhere far away, and all you can think about is how when loving a wild spirit, you are always left watching the door.
chloe hooper Jan 2019
when he tells you he’s decided it’s over, you leave the hotel, leave him sitting on the sheet with only the moonlight to hold him, walk down the smoke-filled hallways that have seen so many broken people trying to get somewhere else. anywhere else. you should’ve known this would happen, coming to a hotel. they are pit stops, things that lie between the before and after. you would happily stay stuck in the middle, forever. if he let it. if he let you. you remember that line about homesickness while passing through the lobby, something that looks like a living room that has been abandoned. like inside of your chest, inside of your heart. you are always letting people come, and take what they want. but he always gave it back in the morning, and for the first time you don’t want it anymore. you will learn to live with the gaping wound in your centre because its like a sign on the side of the road, a banner stapled to a tree in the woods, carved graffiti underneath a park bench. matt was here. he was here and he left. people leave. outside, in the parking lot, you are focused on *****, on a mission you won’t dare back down from. a man is swearing at his car, nuts and bolts scattered across the frozen blacktop. you used to lie on the blacktop at recess to keep warm, to heat up the parts of you that were cold, the parts no one could see. he asks if you know how to change a tire, and you say no, but that you are familiar with the way things fall apart.
chloe hooper Jan 2019
he reminds you of the last time you were in florida, sunscreen-white skin, hiding the damage underneath. skin like the ivory you saw on the elephant on the safari, making you think, ****, they are going to **** you for that. making you understand why.

your sleepy hands dove into his sleepy hair in that sleepy hotel plenty of other people have ****** in, loved each other in. not like this. never, anything, like this. because it wasn’t *******, not like in the movies, not like your friends talk about while you’re looking at your hands under the table, trying not to cry. you are trying to tell them how he is different, how he can carve your heart right of your chest, how you’d hand him the knife.

you try to convey the type of special he is, the kind that lives in the staticky silence after you tell your estranged father over the phone that you still love him. your knowledge of your father consists of 10 numbers you couldn’t care less about.

you dug out the box in your closet, kept for times like this, and stowed away the pieces you have left of the boy, pieces you got away with. broken rays of sunlight you captured in your bag the moment after he first kissed you, the sun breaking through his curtain because it just needed a ******* glimpse of his jawline, the slopes of his back, roadmaps you wanted to explore with him, confetti that used to be pictures of him, of his hands, thuds and melodies you made on the unfamiliar bedspread, ones that crawled into your ears when he played you his music. you couldn’t help but think of his hands, long palm-tree fingers plucking something out on the piano like he knew just how to break you. you wish he could introduce you like that to his friends, all of his friends. this is chloe. i wrote her two weeks ago. i’ve erased some parts, edited them, changed them. added in better ones.

you keep having this dream, where he is in an unfamiliar body of water in front of your florida condo. washing your sunset painting off of his back, pinks and purples and reds, too many reds, saltwater curling his hair. he’s surrounded by swimming babies, babies that don’t look a thing like you. the ocean could sweep him away, if you let it. if he lets it.

he tells you you are beautiful, tries to make sure you know that hurting still hurts when you do it yourself. you want to tell him that he is beautiful, too, but that would be too easy. he wants to tell you to take him to the most wonderful place you know of, but you don’t know where he was born. countries away, and everything else. you want to tell him to take you to the top of the tallest mountain on earth and not show you the way home. you want to say, okay, you have been inside me, now it’s my turn. crawl into his ribcage, sit on his hipbones, and make a home there.

when it’s ending, you remember the hole you dug in the beach, too close to the waves. you are used to living in the negative space. just because the tide filled it in, doesn’t mean there was never a hole there, never something missing.

when you say you love him, not like that, it’s too late. when he says he is leaving, he’s already packed. when he says goodbye, he is already so far away.
chloe hooper Feb 2016
if you are ever at a bus
stop then take a good look at the person not standing near
everyone and know that this person is a
writer. know that their hands are in
pain and know that they have cried themselves
dry in front of darkened
mirrors because they can’t stand the sight of
themselves. know that the night into which their lover
fled is that which owns their
soul. they know much more than
you yet they would give anything
not to understand. they’re wearing long sleeves for a
reason and they are taking the
bus only because they know that their life has no
purpose, no more than that of an abandoned
cigarette. know that these people with the very melancholy
eyes and the pigeon-toed
feet are writers and that they will love
you even when they can’t
love themselves.
chloe hooper Feb 2016
you are alive. you are here, presently, surrounded by reasons why you must stay alive. even if the noose of your grief holding up your happiness shows no signs of letting up, stay. if you can't count every reason to die on your fingers, grab your friends and start using their hands to count the reasons you need to be here, with these people, these places, these moments. think of old men smiling to themselves as they drive by their childhood homes. sure, it was sad for them to leave. but they gave the wound a while to heal and sixty years later their wife is waiting for them at home with a plate of cookies and their son is just about to have his first kid and their daughter is the most beautiful starburst ever let out of heaven and that old man, that old man is happy. everybody has a crumpled suicide note if you dig deep enough. everybody's adolescence is stained with forgotten kisses and broken beer bottles and ****** knuckles and several prayers to dine with the dead and you are not alone. you are not alone in wondering if this is the end. the show will go on with or without you, and you need to love the sound of the applause because, baby, your big scene is coming up.
chloe hooper Feb 2016
when we were
kids my best friend said she
wanted to be famous when she grew
up, she wanted to have her name in the

in third grade she moved to new york
city, where they have billboards of famous people on every

in third grade too much was
happening to me at
once and I never had the time to
miss her.

I just found out she died of an
asthma attack six
months ago.

I heard she was the first child to
die from her hometown in more than fifty

I guess she got her picture in the
paper, even if she never
grew up.
chloe hooper Dec 2015
my heart
will never be as heavy as the ones of the
children who are forced to learn the anatomy of a gun
in two seconds
flat. it doesn't matter if you believe in
god. god finds calm in
violence, god doesn't come
here, to the schools that are named after presidents and
townspeople who've done good
deeds, places
that were supposed to be

my heart
will never be as heavy as the ones of the
parents who sent their kids to
school in dresses and ironed
khakis and two little
pigtails and got them back in
body bags. there are no
flags here. no Purple Hearts
for the kids who couldn't wait long enough to find
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