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Frankie Jan 2013
Here I am hunched over another
stomachache, another mistake,
and all I can do is watch the bruises form and darken.

The first time I met you
was a corner table in a coffee shop
with blackberry water and toes frozen solid.
Mint chocolate chip nights, vandalizing desks,
scrubbing grimy dance floors—
it was my kind of falling in love.
Less like falling, blushing, butterflies;
more like a face plant onto the sidewalk
(unexpected, clumsy, bleeding).

But maybe love isn’t french kissing and slow songs.
It’s forehead kisses, dreaming of Japan,
listening to post-rock.

I think you knew, though,
that our ice cream would melt and our sparklers would die out.
Now I’m the beggar on the street corner:
“’Scuse me sir, do you have any love to spare?”
Or change.
Pennies and dimes jingle in my cup holder,
but change is what cracked my plastic heart and ripped my paper skin.

I’m weaker now, but not poorly made;
There’s been no knock-out punch or final words.
Just bare-fist brawling, searing insults,
Frankie Jan 2013
In my passenger seat is a girl
with more beauty than all of Great Britain,
but she only sees herself in funhouse mirrors.
Most days she wades knee-deep in silence
and makes beauty marks of her own design
because she doesn’t notice how
the room gets brighter when she walks through the door.

I remember the first time I cut into my own skin;
I remember when I smiled more as my hunger worsened,
and I remember why I stopped.
But for the life of me, I cannot form the words
to feed this lovely girl or to heal her battle wounds.

A cup of green tea and two slices of pizza,
half a breadstick and cream of wheat—
her mouth can take it all in,
but I remember closed doors and reliving meals.
And it still scares me every time she shuts the bathroom door.

There would be no hesitation in holding back her hair
after too many drinks or on a sick day from school—
it’s a different kind of scared.
Scared that she will never know how perfect she is,
because her perfection is sitting cross-legged
in front of the mirror while fixing her hair
and standing in line at a coffee shop.
It’s quiet and simple, but she is impossible to ignore.

This beautiful girl is made of
all the best ingredients;
she is learning a secret family recipe
and buying a secondhand  jigsaw puzzle with no missing pieces.
Stars cannot shine without darkness
and she is the brightest of them all.
Frankie Jan 2013
Under supervision of the sun, his fingertips are full of love;
when he lives with the moon, hands form fists, the doors and walls have holes—
muscles catch fire:

trying to force infantilization,
sticking nametags to every available swatch of fabric hanging
from her bony frame.

Her skin is peeling like dried paint curls from the wall.
She brushes it down like pushing
up her sleeves, feigning
a tough exterior.

The bathroom door explodes: her palm
is to her mouth; four horse pills
sit uncomfortably on her squirming tongue—
fatalist palmistry.
A single blow to her thoracic spine
(vertebra seven through nine, to be precise)
and the tile floor is medicated with
slimy, secondhand acetaminophen.

Pale worn flesh meets rug burn between
the bathroom and the walk-in closet where
she will huddle on the floor, shaking,
tiny bones ready to crack—

strong arms wrap around and pull her close.
Frail child-size hands catch hundreds of tears ‘till
one big, calloused mitt takes over.

His hand is to her little pink lips and
a tiny cold something tries to find a way in—

she greedily devours the lonely pill and
begs for the other three quarters
of her suicide.

Cynical laughter denies her pleas;
her lungs rip stale air from
mothball collections stored upon the shelves,
from shirts hanging stiffly,
ready for action that never comes,
from pants that lay lazily across
cheap plastic hangers.

She siphons O2 with her windpipe:
heaving sobs, obnoxious wailing, disgusting, guttural noises,
black mascara tire tracks—
she would swear on anything that her ribs were going to give.


Hazy home-video recordings on loop in her brain, the words
pound her body like hail and
the memories won’t leave. They’re bleeding
from her ears and eyes and her assailant stares on,

“Drama queen,” he reminds her.

Same as always, she cries
herself sick, he tucks
her into bed. Morning sunshine
shows bruises and she hides them
in her sweater.

Another flimsy paper hospital accessory, more
radiology tech jokes about her clumsy
hands, her butter-fingers.

And when asked her name, there’s
‘cause she’s got to remember which nametag
he let her wear today.
Frankie Apr 2012
I want you to pick me up and hold me against your body;
I need your arms around me, shielding me from any more pain.
There is nothing I want more in the world than for you to love me,
to want me,
to be with me.
I cannot imagine living without it.
I need your hand on my hair, holding my wits together and your arm encircling my waist, keeping me whole.
The raw emotion I feel for you is overpowering;
it fills up my insides until my torso burns and my ribcage threatens to crack.
The thought of your heart-wrenching smile or your lovely, all-seeing eyes whips the breath from my lungs and starts a waterfall down my cheeks.
I am in love with you, and I am wholly yours.
Frankie Apr 2012
When I think back to the past, my memories seem to blur together as if I have spent twenty one years on a non-stop merry-go-round. Ups and downs, too much to take in at once, the people you love only a splotch in your spinning, ever-changing field of vision. You wonder how long they’ll stay, leaning over the metal railing separating them from you; you wonder if they’ll call out to you until they become hoarse…but no one stays for long.
You think it’s fun and harmless until the carousel stops and you realize you’re the only one left. You clamber off the platform in a drunken stagger and wait for your mind, still caught up in the whimsical whir of charisma and carelessness, to catch up with reality. Eventually your thoughts slow and your vision steadies. Everything comes into focus. It seems eerily quiet compared to the cacophony of conversation and carnival music that was swirling and intertwining in the air just minutes ago.
Now there’s silence and you’re left to contemplate your past…and your future. This is the reality check, the wakeup call that sends so many adolescents into a panic; an early mid-life crisis if you will. Twenty one years spent so quickly, so carelessly…only eighty more to go.
And you can only wonder, “How will I waste those?”

— The End —