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Hope May 2015
We remember your old habits
And we will practice some of them.
We will leave out ******* crumbs
And we will salt the velvet chair.
They will see you in in our faces.
They will hear you in our singing
In the rhythm of our dancing.
We will tell stories about you.
We will tell them all the jokes.
We will fill your house with children.
We will fill your house with food.
We will scramble duck eggs for us
Or we’ll poach them if we want.
We will work out in the garden
We will sit up by the pool
And we’ll speak Spanish to the dogs.
We know that a space is empty
We can’t fill by being you...
Written when I learned my dad would either die or at least never be the same again.
Hope May 2015
I am a thing.
A conglomeration of atoms.
A little thing you can borrow
From him
Or her
Or anyone, really
But I’m also sort of yours
Just ask you
I am a milky neck beneath long sunny hair
Sunshine, you call me,
Old Man,
Just before you dig your boorish, ***** blutwurst fingers
Straight into my crunchy upper vertebrae
In the spirit of a "neck massage,"
Invading me
Injuring me
Insulting me
Bruising the skin like a ripe peach you have dropped ten times
With your sick fingertips
Until I fear cervical dislocation
That’s a broken neck in lay terms.
Skinny, you call me
Like it is my identity.
Like if I gained weight
You might call me Fatty.
Beautiful, you call me
Like it is my name.
I am not skinny. I am not fat.
I am me shaped.
I am beautiful, but that is the least of my graces.
My name is Hope, ******. Call me Hope.

I am a thing.
A conglomeration of atoms.
A little thing you can subjugate
Without even using your hands.
All you need are words
Because all I’ve got are two X chromosomes.
Women should obey their husbands.
Women should bear children.
Wait, WOMAN isn’t generic enough.
Females only go to college to get married.
Females spend too much time with other females
But females should not spend too much time with men.
A man is a male human.
A woman is a female human.
I am a THING that is a HUMAN BEING.
And I would ask you to treat me like one
But until I am more to you than a female
I cannot expect you to act like a man.
Hope May 2015
Don’t stand for too long
Or even wiggle
Because that's exercise
And exercising is a behavior
Unless it’s time for the daily walk;
Then you must go
Even if it hurts and you feel like a dog
On an invisible leash.
Never spend too much time alone
In a room away from the people you barely know
With whom you are stuck all day and night and
Forced to share toilets and
Puked-in shower drains and
Cramped kitchen counters and
Painful secrets you wouldn’t even tell your mother.
Precious heartbeats spent alone
Are called isolating and they are bad.

A smear of avocado hastily forgotten on a butter knife
Raises suspicion and a quarter teaspoon more must be replaced.
But heaven help you
If you pour a milliliter too much orange juice.
This is disordered behavior
And the few offending drops must be poured out.
Time will teach you
That wholesome rosy-faced girls much younger than you are
Holding clipboards with your life on them
Will treat you like a child
And disregard your hard-earned quarter-century
As a fish disregards an airplane.
Black tea past three o’clock is criminal;
It must be eschewed
Lest the minuscule amount of caffeine
Affect your sleep eight hours before bedtime
And override the Seroquel and the Ambien and the lithium.

And don’t you ever shut the door or flush the toilet
‘Til they’ve come in
To ogle your **** and ****
And when you’ve finally proven yourself trustworthy enough
To shut the door and flush
Never stay in for more than three minutes,
Even when taking a dump.
You will be suspected of purging
And you will be grilled like that eggplant you didn’t taste
Until you beg them to take your blood and say
Please please check the electrolytes and the pH
And I will even *** in a cup!
I don’t care! I just need you to know
I’m telling the truth.
And never say you feel sick to your stomach
Especially when it’s true.
That’s just an excuse people like us use
When we want to yodel to God
On the big white telephone.

Thirty seconds stolen in your room
To brush unruly hair is forbidden
Unless your waist-length hair
Is nearing dreadlock status
Because you might be Up To Something in there.
You can say **** but not fat
Unless you are justifying a tablespoon
Of Catalina dressing
To the Food Police.
You can’t have a hand mirror because
You might smash it and hurt yourself
But you will be surrounded
With lovely, breakable little picture frames
Full of inspirational quotes.

If you’re upset at dinner
It’s called anxiety.
If your heart hurts and skips beats
From years of puking your guts up every day,
It’s called anxiety.
If you need your space
It’s called anxiety.
If you can’t meditate
And you get so bored that
You let a juicy pregnant wolf spider crawl
Over your hand and arm seventeen times
And instead of OM SHANTI OM your inward chant
Is I Am The Walrus
It’s anxiety.
If you tell them you’re not anxious
It’s anxiety.

You can’t have your wallet
And your phone at the same time
So you’re less likely to run away
But they never check to see
Where your debit card and ID went off to
When you trade in your wallet for your phone.
They never notice the triumphant curve on your lips
Nor the slight stiff rectangle
In the breast pocket of the flannel shirt
That is perpetually around your waist.
You will keep these with you
All day and all night
In case someone drives the final corkscrew
Into your ear and you must vamoose
Before you find yourself
Floating white-knuckled in a deluge of blood
Grasping a cheese grater
Surrounded by seeping lumps of people meat.

But this house models the real world.
You are sick and you have no idea
What’s best for you.
After three weeks they know
Exactly how you work
And if you don’t agree with that
You are wrong.
You will relapse one day.
If you don’t agree with that,
You’re wrong and you will die
Because you can never quit cold turkey with food.

You must learn to enjoy the food
That you fight and claw and scramble to make,
To enjoy each perfectly metered tablespoon
Of peanut butter,
To delight in hastily and stressfully prepared dishes
Upon which you are terrified to put condiments
For fear of being told the selection is inappropriate,
To relish weak iced tea with no ice because
Someone took it all and never filled the tray,
Sparingly seasoned with two Splendas,
Carefully handed out and locked away by the keyholders,
Never sweet enough,
Never ever sweet enough,
The real sugar of real life replaced by
Bitter ******* brandied with the saccharine syrup of so-called safety.
A bitter ode to my time in residential treatment for my eating disorder.
Hope Jan 2015
Sitting in the car after a terrible movie and a friendzone
We find ourselves hugging it out like broskis.
Your arms tight like rubber bands cutting into my skin,
I tell you how much I hate you for leading me on
But your arms become paralyzed around me
And I like it so I ask
This really dumb question:

“I’m gonna ask a really dumb question; and if the answer’s no I’ll shut up and never mention it again.”
“Fire away.”
“Can I try? Just once, so I know what it’s like?”
“Try what?”
“You know what.”
—you pause and grin in realization that you’ve still got me even though it’s I who have got you—
“Sure, go ahead,” you say as I turn bright gold inside so I hold your face gently and
Caress those golden curls
And oh my gosh that is your mouth mmm yum ok lets try and how those fireworks


“Just once,” I said. But I kissed you three times

And I ******* meant it

You said “never done it like that before”
I said “I do”
I said “thank you”
You said “bye” and shut the door which you then left unlocked

I drove 100 yards.
Shouted woo hoo.
Got sad.



And oh god the pain—
Hope Dec 2014
Clouds of white March mornings
Surf inside this smokechamber I call a brain.
I was twelve and you were thirteen
Both separate rigid crystals growing
In the back of Mom’s awful red minivan.
We stained our fingers with Oxnard cherries
And got high on orange and eucalyptus.
Sand behaved like molasses.
My Walkman was full of ants
Who hated Third Eye Blind with a vengeance.
I had a pimple on my chin
Which I tried to hide with makeup
And I really hoped you’d notice
My cotton candy body splash
I got it because you like
Juicy Fruit gum and
That smells like cotton candy to me.
I chunked down short white shanks
On the red crabbed beach towel
Hoping you wouldn’t notice the ricotta billows
Developing on the upper thighs
Between slushy rivers of purple lightning stretch marks.
I couldn’t deal after ten minutes so I got in the water.
I laid myself across submerged tidal-pool boulders
Near-floating on the frigid little water-pyre
Congealing my skin like vanilla pudding
Bogging me down like a sea sloth.
It took me a halflife to figure out
That while I miss those mornings,
I do not miss you.
Hope Dec 2014
I slept until 4pm today
Dreaming of things the fingers of my memory
Can only scrape at.

Real life:
Phone rings. Belly aches. Cat bites. Siren howls.
Nothing matters.

Dream life:
Airport. Fog. You. Gone.
Nothing matters.

No. Rewind.

Real life:
Airport. Fog. You. Gone.
Everything matters.

“Don’t implode,” you said
before I shut your mouth with my own.

I disobeyed.
Hope Aug 2013
hard-candy crunches between
chattering teeth--warm blue
drool pools down wet chin. wet skin
reeks of chlorine, and swimsuit
sticks to piggy thighs
and pancake chest. eyes
are everywhere: eyes to stare
and judge and mock
and compare. it’s unfair
how these other girls eat
chips and pizza yet
their bodies are set to be
nubile marble demigoddesses
living off six pomegranate seeds.
i am teenage Taweret.

the unforgiving spandex drips
upon the floor, as if i had peed. quick!
get a towel, you’re ruining the parquet!
leg bones, feet bones hit the floor,
followed by white waves of flesh, always late,
rebounding wetly. bones and fat.
soggy pig bones.
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