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  Jul 2022 elfgirl
Even in your medication, even in the early morning and the foggy air and the heat from a meal your Mother made you, one you ate as if it was a way to recover, your promises haunt you like a quiet hum that no one else notices, one that sits at the back of your skull until it softly melts into something that you call a part of you. And the rain is still there.
Still in its eternal state of trying to find enough within itself to break down whatever doors it believes to be knocking against, and you look right past it.
Your Mother made you this meal, your Mother was singing in the kitchen, the same one that you swear gave color to her milky skin, the same one where you saw that same skin bruised by your Father.
And you don't know how she can make such a place seem so much easier to step foot in, like the whole time you're just looking for a way out but for right now, where you are is okay. With some people, their dreams find ways to follow them when they wake up and then they slowly start to ease their way into places like the bottoms of their sneakers or even their shadow, and then one day, when you try to remember why you are here, and the way the winds would blow right through you in your slumber, you realize there isn't a difference between the skin that held you at birth, (the skin that was there the moment you became and the moment you became less all at once) and the things it cannot touch, and you see that everything is it's own language and has its own way of being and it is beautiful. And every day in your wake, in the moments you rarely remember, you lose a sense as to why, you even forget to ask about it, and it is up to you whether or not you find it, or replace it with the things people give you, because people will give you a lot. They may not notice it, they may not even have good intentions, but they will keep your hands full.
  Jul 2022 elfgirl
they're saying "all you do is drink and cry", "I think you're bad for everyone" and you're not saying anything and I'm saying I love you,
I ******* love you
And maybe I needed something to bring me back to reality maybe these bathtubs are always a little too deep for me but I fit so perfectly in small spaces because I learned when I was 14 that i was never gonna grow into a butterfly
but my aunt still calls me hers and I'd still flutter my eyelashes on yours while the earth turned to ash because I like things ending so softly
and you are a ******* miracle if I've ever seen one I want to sleep with you so badly, on a trampoline in the summer and I want to watch you do bad things and smile so sweetly at you and you'll know that I don't give a **** what you do as long as you're still loving me while you're doing it because baby we've got this one life and I've been loving you as long as I have known what love is and I know it's in the way you whisper and I know it's in the way you say you're my world and if the world stopped turning tomorrow we'd be the only things still moving with excitement you make me so nervous and calm and nervous and calm and deep breath you make me nervous I bet you'll make me nervous when we're older and I'm making you pancakes and I feel your eyes on me and I burn my fingers but you always kiss them better baby
you're an alleyway and the kitten that sleeps there
you're the rain on the windowpane and the water breaking the levee
I'm drowning in everything I have ever said to you so if I say one last thing one last thing,
while you're not saying anything,
I love you,
I ******* love you
  Jul 2022 elfgirl
sometimes i wonder if god keeps a record
of all the times i have been left,
all the times i have been unable to leave.
i wonder if he thinks to himself,
"when will she learn?"
as if he feels my heartache too.
i picture god with a furrowed brow,
hunched over a typewriter,
beginning me again and again,
a mountain of crumpled paper at his feet.
but somehow -
he always ends up at the same point in the story
where i am all ****** palms
and half-hearted hallelujahs
propped up on bruised knees.
spitting up blood & teeth at his feet screaming,
but he doesn't answer.
and i catch myself wondering if the silence
is his way of punishing me for making a deity out of you.
after all, the bible says he is a jealous god.
i could've sworn there was a verse somewhere
that said you weren't allowed to love anyone other than me.
but now that i think about it,
i probably took it out of context.
if i could add a parable to those already existing,
it would be how your chest
felt like church under my head,
and how i thought to myself,
"this is how it would be if he loved me back."
or how you fled my bedroom like a crime scene.
i am still bleeding.
i won't tell you how many times
i cracked my heart in half
trying to be what you wanted.
how my lips on your skin felt judas.
now i am waiting for god to begin me once more,
hoping he'll leave you out of the plot this time
because i don't think i could stand to lose you again.
see, rumor has it he knew you'd leave
and has been trying to make it up to me
since before we'd even met.
my song is one of repentance.
the wood finish from abandoned pews
rotting under my fingernails.
i made sacrifices you didn't ask for.
i have never known
whether my inability to abandon people
is more a strength or a weakness
but so far everyone i've ever loved
has turned into an exit wound,
and myself into a flickering no vacancy sign.

- m.f.
  Jul 2022 elfgirl
Tom Leveille
okay so i’m beginning to believe i was born asleep and still haven’t woken up, or caught in a day dream where my name is the answer to all your security questions. okay. a thousand years of wondering and all i can come up with is that you fell in love with me at a picnic in my imagination. the lemonade we always talk about swimming in sugar and tiny handmade sandwiches from my kitchen, your favorite, extra pickle. don’t forget about the pickles. of course the clouds march in stomping out the sunshine, of course. it was dark and there was lightning so much lightning. don’t be scared just now darling don’t be scared. in the middle of the night we only talk about your version of the story. how i’d ask you to stay, asking you to tell me what’s real asking you with my hands asking you with maps, a country called please listen to me, you should know by now that it is an island too far to sail to according to you. i know i know, who dared name an ocean lonely when all the ships are sinking. we can go back we can turn around where the sky is the gentlest shade lavender, we can go back and have a conversation that has never happened before. when everything is the color of day old bruises i won’t let you down. i promise when i get home i will count every freckle every one. when i get home can we open one of those mason jars full of fresh air because i can’t breathe. i remember that day, although i pretend it was more recent than it was. you were there in a swell of green grass in a dress that makes me blush, and there i was blushing. i’m not sure how i made it out alive, skipping the part in the song where you, long gone come busting through a doorway, through the well air conditioned living room and and across the kitchen tile, to the refrigerator where just like in elementary school, my fourth grade heart wrote all your favorite things on flash cards in the blackest magic marker so i could memorize the things that made you happiest. and you turning around in slow motion to see my face, or where my face should be, the only expression i can make anymore, realizing that you realized that i only ever wanted to be something that made you happy. suddenly you’re tired, and i’m tired too, goodnight goodnight, i’m falling asleep because it’s the only thing that doesn’t burn. i’m falling asleep to go back again. everything glitches and i’m underneath your perfect teeth. you say “i would never hurt you” and i say “just like that?” and the layer starts over again, always back to the moment i asked you in my bravest of voices if i could hold your hand. you probably don’t remember that moment, or maybe you do but don’t particularly share the same sentiment over its importance. you see, i’m always fine until the part where i have to say it out loud, and then time stops. i have always wanted to tell you that something happened inside me that night and now i’m not the same me as i was before. so if you ever cross a bridge. if you ever get my voicemail, if you need me, i’ll be sketching up the dramatic parts in my head and they’ll happen just the way i imagined just you wait you wait. the last scene the very last one, the bottom layer, knee deep in mud knee deep in i told you so, you say “i would never hurt you” and instead of saying “just like that” i reach up to kiss you and the room evaporates. so if you want lemonade and bedtime stories, if i can make a believer out of you, if you want bucketfuls of november if you want grace if you want the courage it takes to ask for grace, you’re over the train tracks you’re almost home you’re almost there. what else can you say besides “okay pumpkin okay sweetheart, in my head everything was beautiful" the doorway now filled with people who send you birthday cards saying welcome back welcome home we’ve missed you, hello. hello. the time spent waiting, chorus of rain, i only invited you over so we could make perfect sense. i only gave my hands away because you didn’t want them anymore. and days later a man with a shark tooth necklace asked if i was okay and i lost it i just lost it. all the little red bricks with their little names carved into them, how they don’t feel comfortable under your feet, how there were hundreds of flowers but somehow we took a picture of the same one the very same one, and how we can’t talk about things like that anymore, how i was sitting on a bench and i didn’t hear you call my name, shaking hands on accident with your parents hello sir hello mam, your daughter is my favorite ghost.
my book "down with the ship" is availible for purchase at /
  Jul 2022 elfgirl
i miss you so much it hurts my whole body.
do you remember when we talked about going to seattle?
you said you liked the rain
and the fact that no one there would know you,
i just wanted to be wherever you were.
i was never afraid of the dark
when you talked about yours.
i still don't have words for what i felt
when you told me the only other number
you had saved in your phone apart from your mother's was mine.
i keep telling myself you're not allowed
to just exit and re-enter my life as you please,
but i leave the door unlocked,
so what does that make me?
the last "i love you" from the last time we spoke,
is still stuck to the roof of my mouth.
other lovers have tried to pry it out of me,
but the memory of you is like lockjaw.
i miss you so much it hurts my whole body.
do you remember the lizard you caught last summer?
you let me name him forrest.
if life is a box of chocolates,
there are pieces missing,
and whatever is left has gone stale.
i can't smoke cigarettes in my backyard anymore
without wondering where you are
or if you're smoking too.
i hope you're not drinking,
i know you hate what it does to you.
your secrets are still tucked between my ribs,
i will hold them safe and repeat them back to you
if you ever lose your way home.
i miss you so much it hurts my whole body.
do you remember when you told me
about the person you were afraid of becoming,
i said i wasn't scared,
and i told you i was proud of you?
i'm still proud of you.
i hope you're in school or at least keeping busy.
i hope you still make yourself laugh.
i miss you so much it hurts my whole body.
do you remember what movie we were watching
the night you got arrested?
i still can't finish it.
i am holding the place.
can we pick up where we left off?
can we stand up and wipe the dust off?
i never got to tell you why i only write in pen,
or why i can't sleep with socks on,
or about the day i caught god with his hands in a public fountain
fishing for change.
i'm not mad at you for disappearing, but i'm lonely.
the only reason i haven't called
is because i'm afraid of being sent straight to voicemail,
but if i ever find myself in indiana again,
you'll be the first to know.

- m.f.
  Jul 2022 elfgirl
Raymond Johnson
“pinky promise you’ll be there for my play?”

i don’t do pinky promises.

“why not?”

I don’t make promises that i can’t keep. because a broken promise is just about as bad as a broken tequila bottle shoved into the soft spot just below your ribs.


speaking of tequila, let me tell you why i don’t do pinky promises.
it was a few falls ago, three if you really want to get technical.
i’d come down to visit you on a weekend instead of staying home to study like i should’ve been.
it was eleven to eleven. 

drunk. dear gods we were drunk. we’d just stumbled out of the greasiest mexican restaurant i’d ever eaten in. 
but hey. the margaritas were cheap, and more importantly, they were the only place in the area that would serve to minors. They even included a free shot of tequila when you asked for your check, that went down with similar smoothness to the way my debit card slid through the reader and emptied my bank account a little more.

but yes. you and i were drunk. and as we strolled down fifth avenue i-


No, i mean her. not you.

“who is ‘her?’”

that’s not important. do you want me to tell the story or not?


anyways. as we strolled down sixth avenue i-

“i thought it was fifth avenue?”

Can you not?


as we strolled down whatever the **** avenue it was, i couldn’t tell my feet from the concrete because the street lamps tinged everything an odd warm shade of brownish orange.
to stop myself from falling i reached out and wrapped my arm around your shoulder. 

I can still feel the fur from your coat brushing on my cheek.
you didn’t protest, and i sure as hell wasn’t going to stop.
we were drunk. and talking. 
talking about nonsense, about school, about our grades, about boys… 
it’s funny that if we talked for long enough, without a doubt, our conversation would drift to the subject of love.

You knew that I liked you. back then i thought you just liked to torture me. 

we stopped at the burning open palm of the street light before us. 
i stopped you mid-sentence. 
‘i could love you better’.

after those five words left my lips i suddenly wasn’t very drunk anymore.

there was no turning back now,  so i had to just roll with it. 

‘you waste all of this time on these boys who do nothing but hurt you…. but i’ve loved you for years now. you and i both know that you deserve better. that i would be better. every single time you come up in conversation with my old friends or my parents they ask whether or not we’ve finally gotten together or not. what’s stopping us?’

You stared at me for a long time, saying nothing, but it didn’t take a psychic to see the indecisiveness and longing and anxiety and fear swirling inside of you like your unmentionables in your Maytag.

“I guess i don’t really have a good reason. it’s just…. awkward, you know?” 

She paused. I tried not to betray any emotion with my face. 

"I'll cut you a deal. if in two years, we aren't seeing anybody... we'll give 'us' a shot." 

Not quite the answer I was looking for, but it was better than a flat out 'No'. little did I know at the time that they were essentially the same thing. 

I stuck out my pinky finger.

'Pinky promise?'
"Pinky promise”, she replied.

We locked eyes, locked pinkies in an embrace, and seconds later the ghostly white of the pedestrian walk signal shone down on us. 

We broke our gaze and walked off into the night.

That was three years ago, and it’s probably safe to say that we won’t be taking that shot.
I don’t hold it against her. But i learned through three years of waiting not to make promises that you can’t or don’t intend to keep.
  Jul 2022 elfgirl
I hadn't cried in years.  
I was always taught that strength
was not having the courage to let yourself feel but
******* it up, holding it in.
I am sick of "You're going soft on us, honey"
Today I came to understand that
you are completely okay with writing the same poem
over and over again.
This is a metaphor for the way you ****** her in my bed.
This is a metaphor for the night you copy and pasted love letters.
This is a metaphor for what really happened-
I never fall in the same place twice.
Except when I do.
I think the critical difference between the two of us,
critical because there are many differences
but- I think our hamartia, our fatal flaw,
our end scene is this:
if people didn't like my poetry, if nobody listened,
if I walked out on stage and nobody snapped their
fingers, I would still write for just your eyes.
I would still cramp my crooked, birth defect,
quadruple jointed fingers writing to you about the nights
you loved me back,
for a minute there you loved me back.
And you loved 20,000 other people back.
And you loved small towns back and big cities back and the entire west coast
back when you drove through, making temporary homes out of people
who should have been permanent
and I loved you.
And I hadn't cried in years.
Not because I wasn't sad, but because I was taught that showing emotion
was weakness.
So if my father made me memorize the How To's of strength,
if I were going by the book, today I'd be so fragile
you could say hello and I'd shatter so suddenly you'd
forget you were the one that let go.
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