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 Jun 2019 galio
haley
when she was eight years old
she
asked her mother
have you seen the girl with
lashes like butterflies against sharp cheekbone branches?
a dandelion sprouting from sludge covered gutters and streets
streets, where you feel that bitter bland nothingness in your stomach

it feels buttery to stare at her:
see how snow outstretches arms and twirls tippy toes, envies her grace
see how balloon sized raindrops pop, target the freckles on her arm
see how her forehead crinkles when she concentrates, nothing more than a beacon
proclaiming she trickles with stars

when she was eight years old
her parent's violent protests slipped bruises under her skin like pennies in a coin slot
but they could not contain the celestial girl tucked under her ribcage.

she would still look at her like she was the breakfast sun on a saturday
whistling by the creak, catching glimpses of dresses from behind the legs of trees.
see how this is special love, sweet as strawberry fields under soft sun
they would never feel on their forked, sour tongues
 Jun 2019 galio
Mikaila
The day you got your hair cut
I went to a lesbian bar after work.
It was 3
And I was tired
But I went straight there
Because I had to do something.
I knew it was a lost cause before I even got there.
The back of my neck was prickling with tension
With fear
Because I knew I was too late.
Somewhere in the depths of my soul
My free will was on a gurney,
Cold.
But I couldn’t help it-
I needed to feel like I had control,
So I went inside.
People were dancing.
None of them held themselves the way you do
Like a marble statue that has set down axe and shield and stepped off the plinth for a brief rest
(You will be returning to battle shortly-
After you fix your eyeliner.)

I did a shot
Because that’s what you do.
They were free- *** on the Beach.
I sat there,
Wondering why the fact that you named your cat Heathcliff as a child meant that I had to love you.

I decided that I needed something stronger in the way of alcohol.

A girl with soft brown eyes and long hair came up to me.
Her name was Tiffany.
She wasn’t clever like you
And her voice
Wasn’t low and rough like yours
But she told me I was pretty.
I already knew, but I thanked her.
I felt nothing.
She wasn’t interesting
Or funny
Or smart.
She was attractive- beautiful even, I suppose,
And maybe she was kind.
She bought me a drink,
And mistook my sadness for shyness.
As I answered her questions I was afraid your name would fall from my lips like a seed
Take root and grow up through the floorboards.
Nothing she said changed me, nothing I said back changed me,
And my thoughts kept snagging on you
Tearing and unraveling.
I needed you out of my head.
She was looking at me with big eyes
And I suppose they were compelling
But they weren’t yours-
Rimmed with black, hypnotic and stormy at times, sparkling with mischief at others,
Forever changing and forever captivating,
Windows to a soul I fiercely wish I knew-
They were just eyes, and maybe they were vulnerable
Or curious
Or sweet.
I kissed her so that I could stop looking into them
And not seeing you there.
Her lips tasted like nothing.
I closed my eyes and kissed her harder,
Hoping for a reason to forget you.

We were beautiful, I knew that.
I could feel eyes on us-
Two small, lovely women
Tangled on the dance floor under the lights
Fingers in each other’s hair-
We must have looked
Just like lovers.

I searched for a way out of my feelings for you.
I kissed her for a long time, until we were both gasping.
I found nothing.
In my frustration I pulled her head back,
Bit her lip
Pressed my fingers hard into the back of her neck
And I felt her lust
But not mine.
It was nice to be wanted
But not nice enough.
I wanted to hurt her for touching me
For not being you
So I pulled away
And kissed her cheek gently
My hands beneath her jaw.
“Wow,” she said.
I couldn’t look at her.
That tenderness wasn’t hers
But it didn’t matter.
I kissed her hands
In penance disguised as sweetness.
Suddenly all the anger was gone from me
And I felt desolate.

That night I walked home with my head buzzing.
I wasn’t drunk,
I was sober as hell
Head pounding with thoughts of you.
I hated it.
I hate it.
Somehow I fell into this feeling
And I’ve been fighting not to drown ever since.
When I look at you
I feel everything I wish I’d felt while I was kissing her
And more
That I sometimes wish I’d never feel again.
Sometimes I think you see it.
Sometimes I know I cover for it badly.
Sometimes, when you’re suddenly present
Like the sun has turned on just for me
And then distant later
Like the sea at night
I think you know I already love you.
Maybe you hate it like I hate it.
Maybe you worship it like I worship it.
Maybe you fear it
And I don’t blame you.
A storm presses out against my skin when I look at you
And I’m surprised no chaos seeps through.
My bones hum with it
My heartbeat reaching like thunder into my fingers.

I’ll probably never kiss you
And maybe that’s for the best
Because even being near you makes me feel like I’m falling from somewhere high up.
If I kissed you, I’d feel everything, I’m sure of it-
Everything there is to feel
And it would end me
And I would be grateful.

I wonder if you ever see that in my eyes.
That fear, that longing, that shame and joy.
A love and loathing so intense it scalds.
‘I can’t believe I’m here again,’
It pounds through my veins.
‘I can’t believe I love another person
Who is always looking elsewhere.’

Just know, if you ever discover how I feel
That I tried to **** it.
I looked at this beautiful feeling
A feeling you could pray before like an altar
A feeling you could whisper into like a temple- barefoot and cold with wonder- and hear your soul echo back,
I looked at the sacred piece of humanity that had suddenly risen in my heart like a hymn
And I tried to silence it-
I tried hard-
So that you would never have to fear it.

I failed. It lives.
It took root in me, and whenever I speak your name little harsh flowers push their way up through the concrete under my feet, sending cracks out like jagged spiderwebs.
They bloom like wounds.
They kiss the sky.
And, slowly,
They are crumbling this city to dust.
Title is a quote from Milton’s Paradise Lost, spoken by Lucifer.
 Mar 2019 galio
Meera
He doesn't burn photographs
He doesn't join therapy sessions
He doesn't smoke too many cigarettes
Nor he drown himself into alcohol
He scratches his wounds daily
And never let them heal
He doesn't try to get rid of the pain
Instead he let it grow on him
He waters the seed of sorrow with his tears
He feeds it with the manure of old memories
He takes it to sleep with him
And nurtures it in himself
Till the moment when every single drop of his blood gets replaced by this pain
Until his fragile heart can bear no more
And his soul starts overflowing with emotions
That's when he dip his pen into this pain
And empty his heart on a piece of paper
He bares his soul for us to feel
He creates poetry that the world would cherish for centuries to come
That's how true poetry comes into existence
Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t just been the backseat of your car,
Intoxicated. My first drunk hook up. My first. Period.
I picture myself being champagne on Valentine’s Day.
I picture myself being you, nervous in the car, holding Starbucks
because you know I love coffee. Sometimes, I picture myself as her,
calling you a stalker and ignoring your calls,
but then I see myself. I call you beautiful,
turn you into poetry, laugh at your bad jokes,
I see myself as I become your drunk Wednesday night
when you’re sad. I see myself as I say no,
I become a “this is not a good idea”
and you a “we’ll deal with the consequences in the morning.”
We laugh because this hurts too much.
You take her out for dinner and I burrow money
for Plan B because you forgot you don’t like condoms
and clearly have no idea how children are made.
I have already named him. He has your curls and
my anxiety. He is smart. Except, I never wanted kids and
you would be a great father. Instead, you tell her
the beach reminds you of her and I cry in a McDonald’s
bathroom with my friend as relief floods through me that
the test comes negative. I stop talking to you,
move forward, meet someone new and before long
see myself becoming you. Because isn’t that the cycle?
Bad men turn good women into bad women who turn
good men into bad men. I’ll set him free so he can hurt
someone like me, and I drink red wine as I read her
poems about him and me.
 Mar 2019 galio
Emily Miller
My father walked me down the aisle,
But my mother held my arm.
He went with me,
But we went not towards the altar,
But towards the door.

My father walked me down the aisle,
And the ***** rang through the church,
Humming through the elaborate crown molding,
Carved by my ancestors.

He went,
Not beside me,
But before me,
And I watched,
As he was illuminated by the bright,
Overbearing,
Texas sun.

My father walked me down the aisle,
But I did not wear white.
My father walked me in silence,
And I shed tears not for a man standing at the altar,
But for the one I would never see again.

My father walked me down the aisle,
And no veil obscured my face.
All eyes were upon me, but not for my pristine beauty,
Instead for my clenched jaw and furrowed brow,
Severe and fierce to distract from my glassy eyes.

My father did not leave me at the end of our walk to sit beside my mother.
She clung to me for support and sobbed breathlessly,
Loudly,
Unavoidably,
And I carried her with one hand,
My sister the other,
And walked towards my future.
A future family,
Not one person more,
But one person less.
I walked,
One final time,
With him.

My father walked me down the aisle,
And I will never forget it.
Hundreds of eyes isolating my family from the crowd,
Slow and muffled sounds drowning in the deafening beat of my heart,
Blurred faces staring,
Black heels clacking against the cobbled path from the church,
The anguished wails of my mother,
The whimpering of my sister,
And the wooden box that glided before us,
Pulling,
A string tied to our patriarch,
The pin key of our family,
Pulled taut and then snipped with the slam of the hearse doors.

My father walked me down the aisle,
Before I had a chance to grow up.
He walked me,
Out of the church,
Away from the altar,
Never to be walked again.
 Mar 2019 galio
Megan
Quiero un besito.
one is all I need to get me through the day
and I haven’t seen you in a while

so let me be of some trouble
and take me by mis manos
porque quiero un beso
I’m practicing something
 Mar 2019 galio
Phoebe johnson
That caught your attention.

But the moments leading up to it didn’t.
Not mine. Saw this. Thought everyone should see it too
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