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it's an unlove sort of thing, rancid and vaguely rotting. it sweeps through the room when your name is mentioned. unpleasant, enticing, a quickening of breath and onslaught of dread.

the sinner knows when he has sinned, but sinners also believe they are not sinners. your boldfaced words, not quite lies, but not full truths are the accusations of unjust recollections coming from our half moon mouths.

the ones who fall in love with you offer you stained letters from the palms of deteriorating hands. the ink runs through the quagmire of rusted paper, delicately flowering bruises on parchment paper stems.

you told me kind things that sprouted kind fingers and evicted my kindness from the depths of my hollowed out femur, from the depths of my marrowless ulna, my rattling phalanges. you ****** it through my teeth and separated it from my breath. the kindness has been replaced by marrow once more.

the girls all look around and see morbid mirrored horror, the suffocating love they all mimic, with him at the center, a spinning dial slowing to land on his next curiosity, his next sweet-marrowed banshee.
It's been a year.
A year since the night I was last in love.
Or realized that I was in love.

It's been a year.
A year since the evening I cried as the sky turned blue, orange, pink, purple, black.
Since I cried as the night stumbled in.

A year seems like not a very long time.
Not a long time yet it feels like it's been three years.
And maybe I've grown, or maybe I've just changed.

It's been over a year since you laid with me while thinking about her.
Since you've pressed yourself against me while knowing she was yours tomorrow night.
Over a year since you told her that you were hers forever and I was yours for always.

And now, a year later, she and I are friends, and I still mumble about you in my sleep sometimes, and I wish that I hadn't known how soft your betrayal was.
Claire Elizabeth Nov 2019
I think of everything I will never be
And I grow infinitely more uncomfortable in my skin.
Claire Elizabeth Oct 2019
I am in love with the idea of love, with the very thought of it.
But I am not in love with being in love.

It hurts in the pits of my stomach, roils like a storm above an unsettled sea.
And my eyes are the escape, my mouth the outlet.

Once the actual love comes pouring into my chest cavity the turmoil grows louder.
An antagonist, a conduit for anger, destruction.

When I love it is with fear, a tight fist clutched at my side, a knot of unknow.
I'll apologize each time I let this go.
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
To be a poet there needs to be a tragedy
A trauma hidden in the endless folds of your cowering mother's skirts,
A great happening in the form of your father's alcoholism and abusive tendencies.

Or that's what they say.

I have no trauma. No grief-stricken past with needle-sharp memories that ***** my eyes like tears when I go to bed every night.

Who's to say that in order to feel this deep sense of nothing that there needs to be a huge something that came before it? What if there's a happy childhood and a beautifully achieved mother married to a gruff but grateful father and two dogs with lolling tongues and a house with the perfect screened in porch that the poet spent hours with her dad on, reading the rites of childhood competency disguised as "Goodnight Moon" and "I'll Love You Forever"?

I have no trauma, no stomach twisting horror that made me realize my ****** was best torn out of me or that being a mother is pain inside of its own pain? I am a poet but am I real poet if I don't talk about the night I almost threw up the memories of my smiling father into my transparent hands, just because I felt too sad to deserve them? Am I real poet if I can't write about tearing the thought of my dog lazing in the sun on the perfect edge of an afternoon out of my head just because something so pure was never meant for something like me, something so unpure.

To be a poet there needs to be a tragedy
A trauma tangled in the Great Awakening of teen angst and the realization of all that is not your mother's soft voice waking you up every sunrise
A great happening in the form of losing all sense of self and filling the Void with the copper taste of pennies and nights that border on mornings.
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
That room engulfed me as soon as my foot hit the worn wooden floor
All red light and zagging lines, ethereal art decorating the whispering walls.

A man stood next to me with a beer bottle in one hand and his Rolex ticking quietly on the other, a sound that seemed to clash with the echoey quietness of the voice telling us all its secrets.

You were all stars and shimmer and so much **** beauty, still
The red light creating the same shapes on your face that my dreams created for two years after that night.

My head spun with the fiction of the circumstances I found myself in;
This small room with its glowering characters on the walls and its eerie lighting with all of these people who probably had more pent up sadness than the entire continental U.S., all pooling their resources into the middle of the splintering floor, covered in dust and sweat and the hearts of every quivering poet that had poured out their guts to the crowd. To me.

It didn't make the sadness *****, though; it only amplified the sheer agony of it all.
And when the band played their songs with too much bass and too little voice, I was so enamoured with every single person who was closing their eyes and listening as if the sky itself was singing about wailing midnights and midsummer loves wrapped in that ephemeral depression.

I was so enamoured in everyone
And you
Claire Elizabeth May 2019
my bones have learned how to store the sadness i harbour
in their marrow, in the soft sinews between molecules.

it sinks and settles, like sediment, like coins with their heavy edges
all jagged and used.

when each sentence that comes out is worse than the last
that's the sadness speaking in its foreign tongue.

but when the tension on the surface of my skin gets to be almost too much to bear, it threatens to split open into two equal halves;

one for me
and one for the sadness.
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