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Mar 2014 · 574
Full Circle.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
I loved her body
And I used it up
The parts I liked
I drank up with a fever
Of thirst
That left her
Dry and frail
And I would have felt bad
If I wasn’t so
Dry and frail
When I met her
And now I suppose she’ll
Go
And find someone else
Whose parts she likes
And after that we’ll both be hydrated enough
To look at the parts we aren’t so fond of.
Mar 2014 · 504
Cavalier.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
Can I be cavalier with a heart
That doesn’t belong to me
Can I afford the same careless
Actions to be inflicted onto someone else
As I have inflected them onto my own heart
Will I not feel knots in my stomach
And pains in my chest if I allow
The dread in my heart
To stain another’s who
I promised to keep untainted
Promised to hold with gentle hands
And look at with kind eyes
To blow off the dust that settles
On it after too much time
Without enough use
I said I would love your heart for
As long as mine would pump
But is that promise broken
If the beating slows so severely
It severs the sound of the second hand
Tick of a tenuous time keeper
My heart as always been my keeper
And it’s working at a slower rate
Than is needed for oxygen
To run through my veins
And into to my muscles
Making my mouth lethargic
And unable to not be cavalier
With the words I love you
And to shy away from someone else’s heart
I promised to love till mine stopped beating.
Mar 2014 · 626
Ordinary Evil.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
The ordinary man
Is always, in part, the villain.
The supporting role for the hero’s story-
They are never adorned with
Fangs or ominous and dark eyes
Their evil is much more insidious
Subtle but complex
Within a man that could easily
Pass for the hero himself
If his bad days did not over shadow the good
If he did not so strongly hold steady
His own beliefs
So that he felt bound to bind them to others
We are all part hero and villain
What casts us in our role as one or the other
Is if we act on the small part of us
That fights to the death for our beliefs
In the face of the popular opposition.
Mar 2014 · 348
My Mother's Wonders.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
I wonder if my mother ever struggled
With whether to give me roots or wings-
If she looked at me as a seed or as an egg-
I wonder if as a child she thought of
Planting me in the earth, letting me grow strong
In one spot she see could always see
And I could always call my home
I wonder if when I was born
She stretched out my arms
Noted their strength and deemed them fit to fly
From one corner of this world to the other-
To her, was I an impending tree or bird
I wondered if she wondered
As she pushed me out of her arms
But then I knew she always knew I could fly.
Mar 2014 · 471
Torture Out The Truth.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
One’s own personal philosophy cannot be
Accurately expressed in words
Nor can it very well be spoken out loud
The only blueprint offered to guide
One through the psyche of their own mind
Are the choices they make.
It is in their choices do their stances stand firm
And their beliefs made to be believed in
I do not think
I will not accept
And I cannot support
The idea that choices are only two
They are many and they are often
And they change and they are tried by life
They are what shapes one’s philosophy
Because they are the things that
Torture out the truth.
Mar 2014 · 413
Big Passion.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
There is no passion to be found
In small things
Thoughts, people, places
That cannot hold a word so big
A notion of human emotion
That can barely contain itself
It is not one for small things
Where the strongest of emotions
Are tethered by reins
To chariots hell bent on driving to reason
Passion is a horse that will never trot straight
Will never drink the water
Because it will never arrive to a lake
Passion drives itself- its master is itself and
Uses humans as little more
Than vessels to serve its own means
And I shout, “God, let them!”
Let passion use our bodies and our minds
Let this force stronger than us guide us
To places bigger than our small minds
Will ever take us to
Let us fall into the wild and live off
What passion has been thriving on for years
Trust an emotion that lives longer
Than we ever could and let it teach us something
About making a small life big.
Mar 2014 · 465
Thoughts On Guilt.
Hayley Neininger Mar 2014
In the darkest days of our humanity
I often wonder why we thought not
To turn on the lights
Why we condemned wrongs and injustices
To small rooms
And only entered them through back doors
Why the judges of damning deeds
Didn’t dismantle the decay done by guilt
And instead locked that guilt away
Not erasing it but not affording it the right
To catharsis either.
Keeping it in the dark leaving it to fester in and from itself
Why not expose guilt?
I asked
Then thought it strange the answer was in the question
Who does that help?
When has the airing of guilty feelings brought on by damaging deeds
Benefitted the one who owns no stalk in guilt
It is the guilty it helps
It clears their conscious and frees their soul
But so
If theirs is the one tainted shouldn’t it be they
Who have to live with guilt - a punishment
That doesn’t have a casualty count.
Feb 2014 · 563
Sweater For The Cold.
Hayley Neininger Feb 2014
I have this house of a heart
Each pump of blood
Blows open a window artery
Leaving all the rooms a bit too drafty
And I have never been able to find a sweater
Because there is no light in a rib-caged heart
It is not a sanctuary of a place
It’s one that keeps time and rhythm, yes
But the rhythm is only echoed back into itself
Confusing my muscles red as brinks
The rhyme throws off the time
And the record that places in my house of a heart
Skips and repeats its song
So I can never remember to feel around for a sweater
Or even to wait and feel that it’s too cold.
Feb 2014 · 526
A Silly Way To Miss You.
Hayley Neininger Feb 2014
I am a mountain.
Oh, the valley of person I used to be
You remember, I was so deep.
So deep that
You  blew off the dust
gently -
From your binoculars
Just to see what was at my bottom
The valley of myself that at one time
Was so rough and so steep  
That when you climbed down to touch the
Base of who I really was
Because  for you a look wasn’t enough
You came up I’ll admit victorious
But bloodied.
The last of you I saw
Were  your red footprints leading away
So since you’ve been gone
I am a mountain.
I have turned myself inside out
Rivaling Everest
Every sore and bump, you can see now!
I have made it so all you have to do is look up.
Now all I do is look down
Waiting for bandaged footprints
To walk beside the red ones
Only in a different direction.
Jan 2014 · 24.3k
Feminism.
Hayley Neininger Jan 2014
Feminism is not a bad word
It is more than four words
If you are a woman if you are a man
If you believe that gender equality
Is important, if you stand by your mother
When she shouts, “I am equal!”
Then you are a feminist.
And I’m tired, I’m tired and I’m frustrated
That the patriarchal society we live in
Would rather demonize equality
Rather than let it stand tall as the statue
It deserves to be.
All it means
Is you believe that women and men are equal
That they deserve to be treated both fairly and just
And I trust-
That the only image of a feminist in your mind
Is one that hates men, that burns bras, that simply get in the way.
And sure there might be a few of those, yes
But I would like to ask you
Since when did one represent the whole?
Since when were all white Christian men
Devalued, dehumanized because of Jeffery Dahmer?
If I were to follow your logic
If we were all to follow your logic
We’d have to lock up every single one of you
All because a few of your fellow men
Perverted an ideal that at the heart of it was good
And please be good
To your feminists please know that it is not a movement
To strip people of rights but to grant rights to those who have been denied
Feminism isn’t a bad word
It’s a word that holds an ideal
That genetics that genitalia do not dictate
Whether or not a human being is held to the
American standard of equality.
bit of a rant
Jan 2014 · 674
Wishes.
Hayley Neininger Jan 2014
If I could have three wishes
The first would be for bigger arms
The second would be for bigger arms
And the third for a bigger chest
I would use my newly acquired body parts
For nothing else other than to help you sleep
I would reach out and grab you from
Any of the corners of this earth
That keep you awake
I would hold you close to
My bigger chest so you had room
To move around on it like a pillow
And with my arms I would wrap around you completely
Making myself the world’s first human blanket
And I would tell you just as sweetly as I could
That it would have been pointless to simply wish for
A pillow, a blanket, a whole bed
Just for you to rest your head
Because within my own body I also have
A radio
One that can play you the various beatings of my heart
A set of lungs
Full of air that will blow on you more gently than any fan
And I have a memory that knows you better
Than the memory foam between sheets and mattress
I wouldn’t wish you a bed to rest your head
I’d wish to be your bed, to know I am the thing that rests your head.
I need to get over this clique writers block.
Dec 2013 · 2.4k
Afraid Of The Dark.
Hayley Neininger Dec 2013
I cannot fully explain to you
How perplexing it is
To be a 22 year old adult
But to still have the fear
Usually reserved for a young child
The fear of the dark
And not in a way that one is afraid of death
Or lions or tigers or bears
Oh my, my fear is much more irrational
You see I find I have bravery in real things
I’ve rock climbed mountains
Ridden roller coaters
Held a poisonous snake by the tale
You get why that’s braver right?
But what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand
What makes my skin pucker into tiny little bumps
Are monsters born of my own imagination
You see my imagination is wicked
And I use that word both ways
In the slang sense that it is awesome and powerful
And in the literal sense that is it evil
That when I imagine a monster
I give it ten hands with 20 fingers each ending with teeth
And eyes so black they sink into the monsters head
Making them look like empty sockets
So deep, they touch his brain
I am forever afraid
I’ll be honest with you
I sleep with all the lights on
And my closet doors wide open
So I could see exactly what is going on in there
I years ago threw out my bed skirt
Convinced they cloaked crooked
Teeth crawling critters capable of decapitation
And were all considerable stronger than myself
As you can imagine I have a lot of nightlights
Mobile ones I use to walk to the bathroom with in the middle of the night
I have to buy so many batteries
The clerk at Walmart can only reasonably assume
I have deviant private life
Because grown *** adults shouldn’t be that scared of the dark
Because at some point during or after childhood
I won’t assume it happens at the same time for everybody
Your imagination takes a backseat to logic
And you understand that monsters aren’t real
But death is and maybe that’s a better fear to have
That didn’t happen with me though and I think most artists
If they were to be completely honest with you would tell you
It didn’t happen to them either they missed a step
In the development milestone department
Though I think they would tell you too like I’m about to tell you now
The fear is worth it there hasn’t been a single monster
I’ve imagined that hasn’t had an equal
Beautiful thought and I can see them better with all the lights on.
Dec 2013 · 407
If You Would.
Hayley Neininger Dec 2013
I would call it love.
If you would-
It would validate every feeling
I feel when you are away
I think it would
Remind me that we are two
Healthy organs
In a sick body we named the world
And even through you call me heart
And I call you lung
And even though we aren’t in the same place
In this body
I still pump blood for you
And you still filter air for me
And I’d call that love
If you would.
Dec 2013 · 790
Their Clothes.
Hayley Neininger Dec 2013
It’s their clothes
That’s the worst thing of theirs to get rid of
Each removable of a garment from their closet
A different  scent  hits you in a wave
That you have to push back just one more hanger more
But then after the scent passes
You remember Easter
Christmas
Thanksgiving
When they wore that blouse
Or button down shirt
When you go through their drawer
The one you couldn’t a few months ago
Because then it was still too private then
That watch that was probably a few links too small
You remember the sides of skin around it that were
Lightly suffocated highlighted the veins that flew through them
They seemed  so alive then
It’s their clothes
When you pack them into boxes when you
Donate them to charity because the sight of them on anyone you know
Would send you into a spiral of remembrance
That you’d rather not slip into
Those truly were the slippery slopes
Ones that tiptoed on a double take
Ones that made you think if only for a devastating moment after
The initial realization of those clothes on someone else
That they were no longer going to wear them.
Yes, their clothes are the hardest part
Not wanting to slip into everyone
Garment they owned when you were forced to pack them up
Jealous of that cloth that touched them last
Them after you did for the last time
Yes, their clothes are the hardest part.
Nov 2013 · 919
Nuns Out West.
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
The Places I’ve been
I’ve been in rain, I’ve stood
In puddles and I have watched
As the pools of water climb up my pant leg
I’ve traveled to different continents
I’ve hiked up the mountains that separate them
And I thought I had seen most of everything
The dips of this world and its highest peaks
And after all of this seeing
After all of these places of being
The place I remember seeing the best
Was a place I wouldn’t have guessed
Some rink-**** of a church out west
And even now I cannot tell you what
Art looks like inside the Louvre
But every detail of those nuns I can tell you know
The sound of their forks hitting metal plates
The sound of those same forks when
They were pulled between teeth
Their black coats fraying against the ground
Their protruding knees as they bend down
When they were praying the tiny mumbles
From a distance sounded like sweet-nothings
And I thought that this was their version
Of making love to the Lord.
Nov 2013 · 2.1k
Goodness.
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
Kindness and goodness are only genuine when the motivations they come from are born of morality and not fear.
Nov 2013 · 813
Dreaming Prose.
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
I dreamt that I wrote to you last night. I woke up with paper cuts in between my fingers, lemon juice that stained my bed a ****-yellow color, ink embedded underneath my fingernails,  and every time I reached down to scratch my ***** I left a shameful line of old black ink. I think I’d have mailed it to her if I knew that when she read it she would scream with a horrid realization. A realization of finally understanding the monster she use to sleep next to, before the **** sheets before the ink stained boxers. I’d have mailed it to her if it wasn't just in my dreams. I imagine that the lines in my letter were laced with layers of lucid logic that stringed together feelings that con-caved in on themselves. That ate themselves whole;  but instead of making them disappear entirely they grew twice their size and spilled over the pages and underneath my nails. The diction I imagine I would have chosen to write with would be read with a southern twang.  Slow and drawn out. She would have to read it with extra syllables that her tiny lungs could not possibly hold. It would make her choke, for the first time, on words that weren't her own. My words would finally fulfill the dreams of my hands; constantly wanting to ring around her neck like I was seven again on the playground and her name was Rosie. I wouldn't have rhymed in my subconscious, to me that always seems fake and I can’t really rhyme without having my voice break. I might, however; use from time to time red bold words laying in the middle of long paragraphs in hopes she would remember her red dress. Of how, before bed, it grazed over her slopping neck and slid off onto my floor. In my dream it’s still on my floor. I hope in my letter that I wrote out a picture of her seeing me seeing her put it on in front of our window the next morning and even though that dress was too short for autumn and she would wear it anyway. Because she knew it drove me crazy and because she wanted to remember me even after she walked out my front door. Mornings like that I begged her stay even if we had just fought over how much she snores, even if I had called her a **** one too many times the drunken night before. My letter, I think, would tell her that I wish she didn't have to bundle up and leave that she could instead cut up my bed sheets and make herself a new warmer dress. One that would have matched my pillow too perfectly for her to not lay her head on it and call it a hat. For her to pretend that my bed was the world outside the door. My letter would go like that. It would make her scream at first then make her remember that monsters can love too and knowing that; she would punch her new mattress and tear up her new pillows ones that I have never touched. She would scream, "*******!" preceding my name every time she landed a blow. She would say that so many times that she could never look at her new bed again without thinking of me, and of ****. When I dreamt last night I dreamt I wrote you a letter, but dreams don’t have hands that can hold pens. So I instead sent you my bed sheets, my boxers, I signed them with lemon juice and old black ink. Wear them, sleep with them, read them for what they are worth or toss them out because monsters with words like mine give you nightmares.
Nov 2013 · 970
Nightmares.
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
Nightmares are a hell of a thing to happen to a person. They only exist in the perfect storm of conditions, elaborately timed coincidences that spiral into a world they know can’t possible exist. And yet, at the time, in the eye of this perfect storm, the fear of things that are not real is completely rational. It must be dark, pitch back even; there must be noise like floorboards creaking or perhaps something more obviously ominous, a skipping record player for instance. There must be a thing, an unknown thing with terrible intentions, malevolent and insidious, unknown to compassion or love. These are the things that breed goose bumps that render irrational people into rational cowards, what a thing to happen to a person.
Nov 2013 · 625
Favorite Things.
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
Isn’t it strange how we as humans choose our favorite things based off of their ability to **** us? For some its cigarettes, others choose *****. Mine, my self-appointed executioner is a woman, a girl really. Her face is not beautiful it is fragile, nor is her body it is frail. She looks almost dead to me, freshly buried; hair thin and untouched; skin just now starting to fall off her bones kind of dead. I would think she was but for her eyes. Perhaps they are too close together and perhaps a little too big for her face but either way they echo the most wonderful hue of vein-blue. They are beautiful. They ruin me. They make me want to start a militia. Run down the street naked. Proclaim my love for blood. Open up my veins that on the surface promise one color but spill a completely different one. She makes me hate my body. Makes me realize its trickery, that it would promise me her eyes in my bloodstream but when I cut myself open to see them, to touch them I am left with nothing but me. My body, blood red when my favorite color has always been her eyes.
Nov 2013 · 1.6k
Star Bullets.
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
I know I am not really lying on the beach
Eyes facing up towards the sky
Where I really am is in Vienna
In a small classroom filled with fourth graders
Sitting in a circle in a room
That was decorated in glow in the dark stars
And a fake camp fire next to a cardboard cutout of a wolf
I remember learning about the Oregon Trail
And how cowboys would campout underneath stars
Guns close by so other dangerous creators wouldn’t be
And looking at the fake stars in that room
I was in another world, a realer world
Where the cosmos didn’t make stars
Bullets did
Silver bullets meant to hit werewolves
Who were so compelled to howl at the moon
They forwent the odds of being gunned down
And so easily they could be when the moon
Lit perfectly their silhouette  
Naked in plain view
All the stars were silver bullets
One that never met their target and flew
Past the wolfs and up into the black sky
Where they pierced the world’s barrio
The bullet holes became not stars
But un-mendable scars
From men who wanting to mutilate
The sky’s beauty with weapons
There to remind me
When the lights turned on in that classroom
The glowing little stars melted into the white popcorn ceiling
And as we, the fourth graders, disconnected our circle on the floor
The reality of the origin of stars I had just come to know
Never left me and the stars I see at night now
Are not as real as the ones I saw that day.
Oct 2013 · 974
Only Tenant.
Hayley Neininger Oct 2013
Be my innkeeper
Light up the no to my vacancy sign
When I’ve had a long day
Let it flicker like the neon
Sign at the ABC store a few blocks away
And when the next day starts turn it off again
And let in those who’ve had worse days than me
Rest their heads and let them be
Remind me of myself and who I am when
You are my only tenant
But don’t let me forget that while
Yours is the most important
I always have a room for more.
Oct 2013 · 1.0k
Ode To The Letter Y.
Hayley Neininger Oct 2013
An ode to the letter y
A letter that holds a word
A fork in the road
A wishbone
The beginning of a question
The break of a tree
The arch of fingers signing I love you
Or rock on
An empty martini glass
An empty valley
One letter full of possibilities.
Oct 2013 · 529
Advice On Hell.
Hayley Neininger Oct 2013
I used to know someone
A someone with a funny neck tie
One that was white
And flipped the wrong way around his shirt
He told me he knew what hell was
He said to me, “hell is the end of the world
When the meteor, or the bomb,
Or the death of compassion
Hits our planet
And you alone survive, standing there
Naked and raw and scared
Senses impaired
Burnt and singed hair
You were the only one spared
But then, then you see someone else
And as they walk towards you
You see it’s you, the you you
Could have become if you didn’t give up
And in this other version of you all you see
Are the reflections of your mistakes and
Chances you didn’t take
And you sit there for eternity
Faced with who you should have been.
Jul 2013 · 458
No Secretes, No Lies.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
With no secretes and with no lies
I love you
Although we have had so many words
Talked about so many things
These are the words that matter
And maybe the other things we say to each other
Aren't so important after all
But that we are alive together and as
Present for each other as best we can be
That’s what counts
Every finger you laced in between mine
Even when they were sweaty with nerves
Every touch of my hand to your shoulder
Even when you already had so much rested on them
Every word we spoke to each other when we said I love you
With no secretes and with no lies.
Jul 2013 · 615
Time And Goodbyes.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
I never thought of our goodbyes
I didn’t think they would happen
Or if I did I would have thought
Them more as see you tomorrows
Not actual goodbyes
Remember the time when we drank
And sang of our lives forever being lived together
We were living together at that time
And we agreed that time is the only thing
Other than each other that we should value
We live in time, and that’s what we should be saving
We should be putting it under our mattress
And in our piggy banks
See, our lives live behind our credit cards and folded dollar bills
And we waste so many minutes wondering how we will spend it
Me? I would sell mine
I would barter off everything I own
Just to buy some more time to spend with you
Before our goodbyes.
Jul 2013 · 722
Mistaking.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
If I could change anything about you
That would be a mistake
Maybe the mistake I would make
Would to be changing you so you never met me
Only so I could met you again
But that would be selfish
And frankly quite weird
Because I don’t think I could shake your hand
And let you tell me your name
Without finishing it with your middle and last
Or without asking if you needed anything at the store
Like those pretzels you like so much.
Jul 2013 · 588
Body Wars.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
I fear a rebellion beginning within my body
The succession of my skin from my muscles
And armies of muscles that will then leave my bones
Who over the years have made such a strong ally in each other
That they would never fight for my heart alone
My heart, whose only comrades are my frail ribs
Bent, bruised, and broken from my lack of care
They stand as the last line of defense
A brave bunch no longer virgins to war
As I have after done battle with them many times before
When my dictator-like brain forces
My skin
My muscles
My bones
Down my throat to grab my heart
Commanding that they snap off my ribs
And use them as swoards
To claim that pumping ***** for its own
But my ribs they never move, they never break
My ribs alone know that a heart that belongs to a mind
Isn’t really a heart at all.
Jul 2013 · 473
Loving Me Is Hell. (edit)
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
Loving me is hell
The brim ****** coal melt the
The rubber base of my shoes
Leaving my soles bare-
And red and raw-
Pulsating with heat-
Pumping blood into my skin in attempts to
Make it alive again.
But my body is faulty
And it does not know the flakes around my toes
Are already gone
And any aid to save them is as useless
As rubber trying to fight fire.
Loving me is hell
Because when my feet are the first to die I cannot stand any longer
And I will need you to carry my rotisserie rotten
Soles to where ever it is you wish me to go
And at first your arms are strong enough to hold my weight
But like everything else
Like the iron on statues like
The wood that built a house
They will weaken
And I will only be a burden of a beast
With soles so black you will wonder how a soul
Could stay in that fire and still be in tacked
And into that fiery hell you will consider throwing my body back
Because loving me is just like that
Jul 2013 · 520
Promise To Listen.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
Promise me you will not
Spend too much time talking
Forever busy diluting oxygen from atoms
So that you eventually forget
And I mean, truly forget,
How much you love the sound
Of another’s voice
Embrace the ache you feel not when you
Are lonely and miss someone to talk to
But when you are alone and have no one to listen to
Always remember how much
Every word you’ve ever heard has kept you company
And promise that even on this circular planet
When you stand up as tall as you can
And then when you can’t see the end of it
That you will look anyway
To find the people worth listening to
And even if you sometimes slump over the curve on this earth
And your stomach aches with the pressure of your arched body
Over this rounded mass of a planet
Remember that you can ease the pain by keeping your chin prompt up
And your eyes always forward
Place your face in my hands if you must
I’ll hold it steady so you can have a better view
Of this world and the people in it
And every now and then I’ll turn your head
So you can look in a different direction.
And if the thunders of this world are really just the growling
Of your stomach over top of it
Know you can feed that ache with the stories of others
And when they get hungry you can tell your own story
One free from the ignorance of not listening to others
That have taken the time too, to get a better world view
When you do speak keep in mind all that you’ve seen
Promise me to wait when you come back down to earth
And you have something true to say.
Promise that when you’re done saying it that
You will listen even better than before
Even if all they have to say back is I love you too.
Jul 2013 · 1.1k
A Different Nation.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
You pledge allegiance to a certain type of government.
A nation that is ruled by fat men
in ***** dens who fill the air so heavy with smoke
it tears up your eyes so you can water their poppy fields
and all the while with your right hand over your heart
that beats feverishly with the influx
of toxins that mix with your blood
and dilute the red poppy petal
with clear atoms that bubble on spoons
in the shape of bone crossed skulls.
They rule with iron fists clenched around
green paper that they take from you only
to sell you back  fresh needles as necessary happiness
to counteract the sadness they have created and placed you in.
They sit there with smoke rings coming from o-shaped lips
that ring around the perpetual cycle of
supply and demand-
supplying addiction and wrapping it in itches
and demanding your free left hand scratch
and you do, you scratch so hard that your skin opens up
and the pain requires more relief.
The nation you live in waves its flag with
173 stars representing Celsius and not celestial
because space is far away from this place
and it offers too much unknown for you to think
that there is a different world besides the one they own
and maybe there is true happiness there
somewhere where hands are free from swollen veins
that act as puppet strings.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
The Baker boy down the street is a peculiar thing. His book bag is a familiar sight around town, its red and aged with dirt, it’s anchored to his back by brown straps that are torn and excrete small little tuffs of white stuffing. Like the kind you’d find inside a teddy bear. The large front pocket is scribbled with poorly drawn cartoonish characters. Doodles one could assume to be depictions of imaginary friends and by the boy’s sheepish and largely odd demeanor one could also assume these imaginary friends were probably spawned by the lack of real ones. The boy’s book bag is more familiar than the boy. If only because his face solely exists in a light tan hoodie too close in color to the completion of his skin to readily differentiate between the two. Either way, the Baker boy usually always has his head down, this allows for a small ***** in his posture that pushes his book bag up to the very top of his back, making it very prominent, making it something like a substitute for a head. People started recognizing his book bag as the boy himself. In their minds they could see it as clearly as they could the faces of their own children, spouses, close friends. They gave his book bag the same recognition and remembrance of aesthetic value as one would give to the details of a face. They notice quickly and with the same concentration a new rip in his straps as they would a pimple on someone’s chin. He never spoke. Not to anyone. Not a word. The kind of recognition given to a person’s voice with whom you are familiar is a sign of their presence in your world, a kind of confirmation of their existence other than their physical self. The Baker boy used a sound instead, lacking a voice. The specific sound the Baker boy used to validate his existence in our town sounded like the soft scratching of an itch, a repetitive petting of his book bag strap that marked conscious thoughts from underneath a silent exterior. He did this when he was nervous, or if he felt he was being prompted to speak. A repetitive thumbing of his book bag straps.
I have no idea where this is going...
Jul 2013 · 393
Whole Dancing.
Hayley Neininger Jul 2013
I think some days
I am not wholly me
I am solely my own, I know
but some days I feel like only half of who I am
its not like the other half of me is missing
I know fully where, if I were to split,
where the other half would surely go
it would go with you
and while I am sitting or writing or
doing nothing of particular importance
a part of me would be carried with you
if you knew it or not
I would fold the extra half of my being
into the creases of your pant leg
the underside of your tie clip
or the heels of your feet
so that with every movement your body makes
I could make it too and then at least half of me
could dance with you.
and if there is ever a day when I feel  
a little heavier than my whole I'll know
that half of you yearned to dance with me
some days too.
Jun 2013 · 1.5k
Stubbed Toes.
Hayley Neininger Jun 2013
In the end it’s the smallest of things
That make the biggest of impacts.
It’s the last ripple of an earthquake
Or of a skipped stone.
It’s like how you’d rather cut open your leg
Than turn a corner and stub your toe.
It’s the smaller kiss on the forehead
That follows the longer one on the lips.
When saying goodbye
It’s not the deep looks into each other’s eyes
It’s the rear-view glance at that person’s
Back that makes you cry.
Jun 2013 · 3.9k
If I Had A Daughter.
Hayley Neininger Jun 2013
If I had  a daughter,
I would tell her this-
"Never lose your strength baby girl,
Always respect yourself enough to walk away
From anything or one that makes you unhappy
Walk away in combat boots or stiletto heels."
I would tell her,
"Always travel light, don’t ever be weighed down by all
The burdens life will make you carry
And if you struggle sometimes don’t worry because
Your mama will always be behind you with a purse
Big enough to hold some of them for you."
I would tell her,
"Always keep your heart on your sleeve
And after that teenage boy rips it off time and time again
Don’t worry because mama will always keep on hers
A needle and thread to sew it back on."
And, "Either way Papa's a straight shot."
I would tell her,
"Baby girl when things get rough,
When you’re down and getting back up seems
Impossible and you’re feeling low and you're feeling stuck
You can always reach for my hand if you need it
Even though I know you don’t."
And I know she’ll remember how strong she really is
How beautiful in everyway she grew up to be
And when the same people that pushed her down
Tried to again-
She would tell them,
"You know, you should really talk to my mother."
Jun 2013 · 655
Poems About Heaven.
Hayley Neininger Jun 2013
I used to write about heaven
Because, I knew that I was the type of person
Who would never see it,
Not one that drinks too much
Swears very often
Smokes so heavily, as I do
I used to think there was beauty
In a place that I couldn't see
In a location that isn’t mapped
I thought that in the absence of the tangible verification
Of its own acuality that
It could be anything I wanted it to be.
It changed over the years
First I wrote of it as a couch of clouds
Blue bundles of cotton
With light pink underbellies
That floated free and molded to only me
Then I wrote it as if it was a movie theature
With pictures blown up in front of me,
Mostly home movies that would zoom in on my mothers face
As some Elton John slow song played in the background
Timed perfectly with my mother's movements
And the popcorn was free.
You read all of these ideas of mine
Of what heaven was like
And you agreed and said,
"They are equally bad places to never be."
Now I don't write of heaven often
I sleep next to you much more
Than I drink
Or I smoke
I still swear very often
But the beauty of a place I can't see and could never be
Seems to have lessened to me now
And my idea of heaven are things I can verify
This bed,
Blanket,
Your head underneath a pillow.
May 2013 · 453
No One.
Hayley Neininger May 2013
no one loves like we do
no one appreciates the weight of another's
hand inside our own
nor the wrinkles from another's body
in bedsheets
nor the balance of another's heart
on our sleeve
not quite like we do.
May 2013 · 629
If I Had A Son.
Hayley Neininger May 2013
If I had a son.
If I had a baby boy
I would tell him, "cry to your hearts content baby"
I wouldn't say,
"If I put you down now will you be a man about it?"
because he wouldn't be one yet and I would
cherish the time that I could speak to him without
response and when I could still comfort him with kisses
he couldn't turn his head away from yet.
If I had a little boy
I would fill his head with tales
of wizards and knights,
of dragons and princesses
so his mind wouldn't know the limits
of existence and his imagination
could have wings bigger than the ones
I would paint on the ceiling of his bedroom
I would tell him daily, "respect your father
and mind your mother"
because your papa ain't no rolling stone
and your mama only rewards manners.
I'd take him to the water and I'd tell him to mind that too because that's where he'll find peace.
If I had a teenage son
I would tell him give valentines day cards
to all of the girls in your class
because beauty is in everyone and only
a fool would see it as only skin deep
and mama didn't raise no fool
I would tell him read all you can write down even more
because each moment is fleeting and best to
remember all these times when you know everything, right?
when he makes mistakes I would tell him,
"Tough."
because thats what my mama told me
and there ain't no point in crying over
a problem that you know you can fix
and if you can't fix it on your own
know that I can help and there isn't a problem in the
world a mother won't fix for her child.
If I raised a man
I wouldn't tell him anything anymore
I would let him tell me
of all the things he has done all the things he wants to do
and all of the person I raised him to be.
May 2013 · 494
Monsters As Children.
Hayley Neininger May 2013
I think I knew you as a child
not then you were young but when I was.
you weren't a child at all to me
in fact I think you were something else entirely,
a haunting shadow at my back
less peter pan and more boogie man
I could feel you growling at the bottom of my ears
hot breath wet with spit whispering things I couldn't understand yet
you were frightening-
the reason I slept with all the lights on
and the closet door always either wide open or completely shut
my fear of what you were slept in my dreams
it manifested your face in my imagination
as I had never been brave enough to look at it
as a minster with fangs and claws
gills and wings, things that couldn't exist together
that somehow all lived on you.
I was seven or so when I first felt you
and not knowing what to call you I shouted at you all the names
of all the four letter words my little ears had hear
from much older mouths
I used to hear you though, your feet bumped to the beat of my
heart like you  wanted to match my pace
like you thought I walked with my heart as my feet
your breath was as heavy as mine
and sometimes I swore you lived inside me
how else would you know the structure of my organs so well
I lost you around 20 when
I learned that monsters weren't real they were just something that
bore from vivid and growing children's brains
a year later I meet you again
I didn't know your face but you felt like
something I felt before
you made my heart race,
my fever pace around apartments and staircases
my breath struggled to keep up
and so did yours as you chased me
matching my foot steps and labored breaths
acting like a shadow around noon that reapeared again
after you thought it left
the monster I had known as a child
really was you wasn't it?
something powerful and scary and unknown, but familiar
I wish I would have looked under my bed sooner
I wish that instead of having fear for fangs I had strength to see your eyes
yo find out sooner that monsters don't live under beds or in closets
and they don't exist solely for children
that monsters can live inside us
and if we just look at them without covering our eyes with fingers our blankets
we could see that the unknown isn't a masked monster
that what is masked could be love,
be it scary and unknown
it lives in us just the same
wanting to be seen for what it is and what it is is what we are
apart of ourselves that never changes or ages and
knows us wholly as us, even down to how or organs are structered.
May 2013 · 448
Too Much To Ask?
Hayley Neininger May 2013
Would it be too much to ask
That we use this bed as a cocoon
And wrap ourselves so tightly in blankets
That we forget that there is outside for awhile
Morph ourselves together  
And only to each other
Finally emerging as something different than what we
Were before
Something easier to handle than two
Something more simple like one.
May 2013 · 494
Baby.
Hayley Neininger May 2013
The best things in life are free
The littlest things in life matter the most
This poem was free and it is little
It is for you the best thing that matters most.
May 2013 · 426
Space In Words.
Hayley Neininger May 2013
Do you know how often I speak of you
Even when you aren’t around?
No one notices as I don’t speak of you
In words nor in phrases
But the spaces in between them
Vacant as you are-
The pauses marked by punctuations
When written but when spoke-
Marked by nothing anyone else can hear
They are an empty space in time
To everyone else who doesn’t know
To me they are filled with you
Even when you aren’t around.
Apr 2013 · 486
Dreaming Stories.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
I promise to keep writing
About all of this
To document all of our stories
And read them over and over again
Until the stories
Become less like tall tales
And more like memories
Each repetition making them truer and truer
Making them feel like they happened
Like they were real but only like
In the way that a dream is real
And only because you’ve dreamt the same dream
So many times and only ever to yourself
Apr 2013 · 576
Death's Heights.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
There is something horrifying about being up high
When you look down at things and people that
Are suppose to be bigger than yourself
But then suddenly having the roles reversed
And then it is you that is God to them
But a God that would die none the less
Just to meet his darker equal
I think-
I hope I get to meet death
To shake his hand
Look him in the eye
And say, “You aren’t so scary now”
To be free of terror finally
And know what it is like
To live without expectations of horror
To be able to go to the empire state building
It would be nicer then, once dead
I wouldn’t be afraid of heights then
And really death would tell me then,
“It was never the height you were afraid of.”
He would be right.
It’s the death that puts the fear in heights
Apr 2013 · 1.1k
Brain Battles.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
They say we have two halves of a whole brain.
Two sections that govern our actions
Like tyrants that ride horses with reigns made
Of nerves and weald weapons that shoot out sparks
Of neurons across our synapses
The lands of our minds that dips and rises like the Andes mountains
Amoung cerebellum fields
Where nervous horses hoofs trample
Nervous systems flowers and bend their stem
Into an L shaped pendulum that swings
Unevenly over corpus callosum oceans
That separate left and right.
Art and reason.
Two separate sets of war torn warriors fighting,
One with methodically measured maps
Marked with red flags between concurred lands of logic
And one with holistic metal armor that clinks and clanks
Around soldiers making music for them to march to
They fight over proper ways of reason
And creative formulations
Of treasons that ought not be crossed
Their trenches the rivens in our brains
That wet rot their feet with slimy blood and
Membrane juices
The left speaking in tongues
That right cannot hear when not
Set on staff lines
Or painted onto animal skin canvas
That once covered similar brain battles
Between right and left
Only to be cut and sectioned off
In improper fractions that yearn to be whole.
If only the sides would sign treaties of peace
With pens that pinch fibers together and bind
Halves into wholes.
Apr 2013 · 518
Before Strangers.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
I love this part.
When your lips still are brightly colored
alphabet letters and my forehead is still a giant white
refrigerator
When even after just an hour passes
I miss our hands touching
and you might get mad-
and you might say, "already?"
and I laugh and look down at my boots and say,
"yes, already."
then you take my face in your hands
and you tell me, "I like the way you do certain thing, the way you say certain words."
I love this part, when I can still think to myself
isn't it strange that we used to be strangers
I feel like we meet way before that.
Apr 2013 · 651
Real Dreams.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
I dreamt that I wrote to you last night. I woke up with paper cuts in between my fingers, lemon juice that stained my bed a ****-yellow color, ink embedded underneath my fingernails,  and every time I reached down to scratch my ***** I left a shameful line of old black ink. I think I’d have mailed it to her if I knew that when she read it she would scream with a horrid realization. A realization of finally understanding the monster she use to sleep next to, before the **** sheets before the ink stained boxers. I’d have mailed it to her if it wasn't just in my dreams. I imagine that the lines in my letter were laced with layers of lucid logic that stringed together feelings that con-caved in on themselves. That ate themselves whole;  but instead of making them disappear entirely they grew twice their size and spilled over the pages and underneath my nails. The diction I imagine I would have chosen to write with would be read with a southern twang.  Slow and drawn out. She would have to read it with extra syllables that her tiny lungs could not possibly hold. It would make her choke, for the first time, on words that weren't her own. My words would finally fulfill the dreams of my hands; constantly wanting to ring around her neck like I was seven again on the playground and her name was Rosie. I wouldn't have rhymed in my subconscious, to me that always seems fake and I can’t really rhyme without having my voice break. I might, however; use from time to time red bold words laying in the middle of long paragraphs in hopes she would remember her red dress. Of how, before bed, it grazed over her slopping neck and slid off onto my floor. In my dream it’s still on my floor. I hope in my letter that I wrote out a picture of her seeing me seeing her put it on in front of our window the next morning and even though that dress was too short for autumn and she would wear it anyway. Because she knew it drove me crazy and because she wanted to remember me even after she walked out my front door. Mornings like that I begged her stay even if we had just fought over how much she snores, even if I had called her a **** one too many times the drunken night before. My letter, I think, would tell her that I wish she didn't have to bundle up and leave that she could instead cut up my bed sheets and make herself a new warmer dress. One that would have matched my pillow too perfectly for her to not lay her head on it and call it a hat. For her to pretend that my bed was the world outside the door. My letter would go like that. It would make her scream at first then make her remember that monsters can love too and knowing that; she would punch her new mattress and tear up her new pillows ones that I have never touched. She would scream, "*******!" preceding my name every time she landed a blow. She would say that so many times that she could never look at her new bed again without thinking of me, and of ****. When I dreamt last night I dreamt I wrote you a letter, but dreams don’t have hands that can hold pens. So I instead sent you my bed sheets, my boxers, I signed them with lemon juice and old black ink. Wear them, sleep with them, read them for what they are worth or toss them out because monsters with words like mine give you nightmares.
Apr 2013 · 368
New Lips.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
The moment I saw you
It was if
I had never seen another woman in my life
Like all the other women
I had known before
Melted into one person
And quietly stepped out the backdoor of my memory
I was aware both by the amount of children in the world
And the amount of drinks being bought by other men at bars
That there were in fact other women
But not for me, the moment I saw you
They all became faded images in someone else’s head
And in mine there you were, and still are, clear as day
Standing with drink in hand, mouth moving
And there I was, and still am, waiting for them to stop
Just so I can kiss them
Like I had, and have, never seen lips before.
Apr 2013 · 491
Moon And Sun.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
I want a love
A love like the moon has found
In the sun
The sun, who dies everyday
So the moon can live
And the moon who dies every night
Just the same.
They extinct themselves for the others existence.
ehhh
Apr 2013 · 903
Red Dress.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
I remember her red dress,
Of how when night came its thin straps slipped over her thinner shoulders
Falling slowly into a wrinkled circle on my floor.
I remember her seeing me seeing her put it on
She stood in front of our ice curtained window the next morning
And even though that dress was too short for autumn she would wear it anyway.
I think it was because she knew it drove me crazy.
I remember she would hide it underneath her long winter sweater
Like she was keeping safe a secret that was only just for me.
When she put on that sweater the light from the dawn
Would sneak out through the tiny holes in the fabric
It would look like sun-ray freckles kissing her skin
Her pale and previously unmarked body.
She pulled it over her head ever so slowly.
The leisurely motion in some way made me image a 9 year old boy
Who I imagine for the first time that winter hesitated
To pull but his snow boots over thickly crocheted Christmas socks.  
His feet look like her head in some way.
Both are somewhat unwilling to slide into warmer weather clothes
Both hiding a secret heating joy.
Apr 2013 · 683
If I Was Shel Silverstein.
Hayley Neininger Apr 2013
Once you’ve been in the ocean
A lake is far too small
If a lake ever had ledges
Off them you would surely fall
You’ve swam in much too big of a place
To move to another without so much space
A pond will never be your true home
Not for you not once you’re full grown
Your arms will be too big your legs too giant
Your body in a puddle will never be complaint
So as you develop from a child to something bigger
Remember that you’re an ocean not a river
Your brain is too big so your body had to fit it
And living in a river would would surely **** your big sprit
Stay in the place that fits like a size too big shoe
Where there’s plenty of space for you to grow up to be you
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