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James Amick Dec 2013
Livid, then the jogging man pushing his child with cerebral palsy glided beside me, and I felt sick with petty spite.

I ran to the building for the nearest bathroom and vomited back every saccharine word I ever breathed into your mouth.

Excuse the blood, the ulcers you left are raw today.

I haven’t eaten joy or devoured love since while putting your blouse back on, I came up behind you and kissed the back of your neck and whispered that next to your eyes, that was my favorite part of your body.

I washed the spite and ***** out of my mouth with tap water and shame, they both tasted metallic against my tongue, like biting too hard and the jolt of tines on teeth.

I bit the fork and tasted regret and chipped enamel.

Is that what his tongue tastes like for you?

When you kiss his neck, does part of you still ******* skin?

The smell of the ocean that you only ever visited once, but every day for more than a year.

Do your fingers ever expect to tangle themselves in the seaweed of my curly hair?

I've been trying to remember your scent. You smelled of running through apple orchards, the sweat and the blossoms on the air whipping between trees and seaweed curls, the ocean.

I can only remember the taste of sea salt and chipped teeth.

But when you taste his lips, do you ever taste the salt of me?

Do you ever smell the ocean in the air, the ocean on my lips?
James Amick Sep 2013
Nothing but water. Millions of chemical bonds that sever bonds of the heart, infinitesimally small, but they amount to canyons of separation. On the edges of the canyon stand pieces of a whole, tied through chance equally as small that grew into something beautiful.

The ties that spanned this fluid canyon are stressed by the howling winds of uncertainty, and crashing waves of dire futures lap at this fragile twine, but it holds fast and firm. He won’t let the bond break. He stands ashore of his continent framed by ignorance of what lies beyond its coral shoals, knowing nothing of the ocean that spans his affection, or of the island where his affection finds a home.

And through the storms that threaten to rip the rope that binds him to his adoration from his blistered fingers, he can see the light that keeps his grip fast and strong. He has read Gatsby and knows the perils of ominous lights that cast shadows on placid waters, but Fitzgerald knows nothing of the tangibility of this boy’s shining beacon.

She stands, not as a faint reminder of what once was, but of a blaring beacon of all that could be, and her light pierces through the cynical fog that tries to ***** out her light.

You are my beacon. You are my light through the fog of my daily struggles, the beacon that guides me through these rocky waters, holding my hand so as not to run aground on the sandbars of doubt below me. I stay strong, and I stay hopeful, for one day the bonds of this watery divide will break, and this distance will be lessened, and as easy as folding a map to span miles, I will be there with you.

So as I stand on this shore, ignorant of the island across this canyon, I hold fast in my grip, and I would sooner be pulled into the sea than let this go, hold onto the ties that bind your heart to mine.
I wrote this in February of 2012. I wrote it for someone, and while stumbling through their Tumblr for the first time, I found that they had actually posted this on their Tumblr. I haven't spoken to her in over six months. This mostly just fills me with loss, shame, and regret. But, I treat this place as a community, and a community with which I want to share these pieces of my life.
James Amick Aug 2013
I’m watching my roommate come to terms with the fact that he actually likes a girl here who likes him back, and in the darkness of the dance floor, a smile curves across my face like his arm around her. They are happy.

I turn and scan the room for a broken bird, a wing clipped by circumstance and bathroom mirrors.

I find her.

Feathers furled, perched on a chair, her presence is threadlike, the stray ones pulled from shirt sleeves, I hold her between my index and thumb and I feel nothing but air between my fingers.

It’s a beautiful kind of lightness. She is a beautiful kind of lightness. Her hair caresses the air around her like satin.

Her eyes wide, sometimes I think it’s from fear, but sometimes it’s from the shadows of happiness that she allows to step on her heels from time to time.

They are amber. I see crystal histories, lattice lines of the past I wish I could know, but she keeps her stories locked in her stunning amber prisons.

I fled from her tonight. In the darkness of the dance floor there was no light to reflect from her amber eyes, so the grip of my insecurities around my neck tightened, and I left.

I wanted to walk to the lakefront. Clamor down the rocks to let the moon lap the water into mist upon my slacks, I could picture my silver tie reflecting the moon back at itself, drifting in the waves before the saturation of obsession dragged it to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

I couldn’t stand the thought of my tie not reflecting your eyes, the gray circle at the edge of your irises like the edge of a stormfront,

Transient thunder could lie behind the next whisper of your voice or closing of your eyes.

I couldn’t stand the thought of never reflecting your light, so I only walked a few blocks. I kept looking to my sides, reminding myself that the moon, and you, were still with me.

My dear, like the moon, our time is waning.

But my dear, like the moon, your amber eyes are waxing, lunar storms always on the horizon.

How I long for the fall of rain.
James Amick Aug 2013
Yes. I wielded the knife.

Coated with my word poison, I plunged it into your soul and the dagger spread like cancer through you, I could see it metastasizing every time you tilted your head to let your hair cover your face.

If I could take that blade and plunge it into my own heart now, I would before my next beat.

I would take back the cancer and smile as the tumors fought for residency inside of me, if I knew that you would be in remission from my cruelty.

Sometimes it takes three months for the recoil of punches thrown to take its effect. When it does, laying on your basement couch, trawling through an online poetry forum, your knuckles will fracture and your finger bones will cleave in two like firewood.

I doused you with the lighter fluid I spit and set you ablaze with the words I wrote. I watched your tears turn to ash.

And then I lit another match.

I turned my back as you smoldered, now your anger fed the flames I sparked.

Now my bones are brittle and dry, my marrow now tinder for you to set aflame.

Burn me with the hellfire I put you through, I need this self-assigned penance, and you deserve to watch me burn.

Take the charcoal that remains and draw yourself in perfect mirrors, sketch out the picture of yourself that I should have showed for you.

I once promised you that I would, remember?

I am so sorry.

I stood there, the whole time, with a water bucket in my hand.

I had your reflection, and I spilled it on the floor.

Set me on fire, let the crackling of my bones beneath the weight of the flame be the lullaby as you sleep.

Ten thousand apologies are nowhere near enough.
James Amick Jul 2013
I rub my face with my hands like a blind man hugs walls with his fingertips, trying to find a comfortable position to cradle the weight of my skull in my open palm.

I think it’s heavy from exhaustion.

I scratch my head and with an exasperated “****...” I forget why else it could be heavyneverminditwasapathy.

That’s the first time I ever... ****...

That’sthefirsttime I’ve ever played with word breaks! Carson would be proud.

I wish my cheeks were made of clay. When I use my forearms as kickstands, godfuckingdamnitIneedtostoplosingmythoughts, (What the **** spell check, you tell me my word break play times are not words but “godfuckingdamnitIneedtostoplosingmythoughts” is a word?) my fists press my flesh like putty, it molds around my knuckles, but when I move them, gravity drags them back down.

Gravity’s a *****.

**** poetry.

I’m tired and I want my **** clay face so I have to put in the effort to make myself see correctly after smushing my cheek fat so far towards my forehead that my eyes look nearly shut.

I should stop doing that.

Oils from my hands and all that ya know? I don’t want any more pockmarks.

Woah spell check, it’s pockmarks?

Huh... pockmarks. I guess that does make more sense than potmarks.

Carson would probably know, she thinks in words. The last time I thought in words was for fifteen minutes a year ago last week while sitting next to Carson at a sloppily painted table with patchwork chairs.

I couldn’t write anything down though, she had my laptop.

My nose itches, but I should probably find something a bit more poetic to add to this stanza. Then again, Carson might think that this whole streamofconsciencething was cool, not my style, out there for me. So I’ll stick with it. Carson gets so proud when I start branching out.

Yayyyyyy.... branching out... I’m thinking “**** this apathy,” but I don’t care enough to do anything about it.

Not at 2:03 AM in one of the four lounge rooms on the third floor of West Fairchild, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. I should probably change the title now...


I need to stop coughing. I need to get this phlegm thing figured out. I can feel the oils I’m leaving on my face...

It’s like a moist towelette just lifted away from my cheek, like a feather.

I don’t think Carson likes feathers. They seem too... ****... They seem too....

Ethereal! Yeah, ethereal. Ethereal sounds too scholarly.

It’s not worth the effort to think of something else.

Yeah, I’m not tired, it’s the apathy.

By morning it will just be exhaustion, I care too much about their...

This girl doesn’t eat, and she hates herself, so I play lifeguard and keep an eye on her as the day goes by, and I feel stupid for choosing to not respond to her text messages, and then for lying about not seeing them, but I’m too tired to care more.

Yeah, that’s it.

I’m too tired to care.

That’s not apathy right?
James Amick Jul 2013
Rubber bracelets adorn her wrists like she just strolled out of a punk concert (like she just strolled out of middle school) , she picks the scabs of playground ostracism till they look as though they were ripped into her self esteem yesterday.

In her mind, they were.

I find her burying her face between her knees during an ice breaker activity.

The quadruple piercings on one her ear portend an imagined mosh pit, but she digs her own as she cradles herself against the wall.

Her arms are bowling alley bumpers, she throws them up around her head to protect them from the familiar miasma that pervades every inch of her whenever she is in a group of more than three.


She let me in her room last night. She invited me to share in solitude w/ a good book. I brought a tattered poetry anthology. She said I could sit next to her in her bed; I took a seat at the head, she sat coiled in the far back corner against the wall, legs tucked in against her body.

She was an injured rabbit, her burrow of blankets and books only gave her so much shelter.

She eats alone at breakfast amongst the group.

She starves herself. Her blood fills her stomach as the ulcers feed her imploding hunger that half glasses of chocolate milk cannot

She was dared to eat five gummy bears, and I swear by my own scars that she was about to bawl, eyelids pulled back by the judgmental demons she sees every day in the mirror, they chastise her for the chocolate milk, but her desperate hunger wins this battle. Barely.

Her headphones are like sunglasses shielding her eyes from meeting gazes with another.

I’m sorry Sarah, no matter how hard you push your spine against the bricks you will not phase through them, you are stuck with us here for five weeks my dear, and it is only day one.

I’m sorry that all I know of you is that your name is Sarah and that your last name begins with an R, I think. I haven’t had the guts to look back at the group text message our counselors sent out to check your last name because that would be closer to stalking than I feel comfortable going.

I’m sorry that I notice how your wrists and ears contradict the smile you stitch across your face just before you hide it behind your hair, and that I notice the absolute terror in your eyes as you stare at the mass of your peers before you.

I’m sorry that noticing makes me believe that I know you at all.

I’m sorry for how they all gawk at how adorable you are when more than three people give you their attention. I can only imagine how flush your cheeks become.

But I would think that you stopped blushing years ago. The permanent outflow of blood from your aorta to your face coagulated long ago, leaving your face with a perpetual hue of dull purple. Your body doesn’t know what to do with all the excess embarrassment.

I think you compensate by blood letting.

The only bracelet you wear that suits you is of the Deathly Hallows. A tiny silver stencil on a blue piece of twine. It’s blue like the four A.M. sky.

I think it gives you strength.

Sarah, your arms are not an invisibility cloak. While your hair may hide your face and your bracelets your scars, the world will see you.

It’s ironic that the very things you use to protect yourself bear your self-loathing like a family crest.

Class time. She darts to the back corner desk like a painted swordtail to a coral shoal, she curses her opaque scarlet hue, she thinks it ugly but the reef can still see her beauty behind the jagged outcroppings of her fragmented self-esteem. It shines through and refracts off the water, viscous like teenage judgment, and we see the spectrum of her beauty.

She’s a cognitive science major. She looks for a road map through her own thoughts in the curriculum, turn left at her fear of eating in front of others, bear right at her boyfriend of four months. She tries to make herself two dimensional at the lunch table, arms strapped to her sides like a straight jacket.

She jokingly told me to stop whistling about dreamt dreams and the French Revolution, she said it would make her cry. So I stopped.

I’ve never read Les Miserables, but I’ve sung enough about dreamt dreams to know that Life can fill your lungs like a zeppelin and can resonate through your mouth like Notre Dame just before Sunday mass if you only let it.

Let Life build a cathedral inside of you Sarah. The bricks are yours for the taking, and we are all standing here beside you with mortar at the ready.
James Amick Jul 2013
He lives in a time of plague.

The tag team of cholera and dedication killed his father, for all Dr. Juvenal Urbino knows, his father was faithful to both work and love.

The good doctor knew from an early age that his work would be his love, and from a slightly less tender age he discovered that his love of flesh and the body ran deeper than mere science could take him.

He met Fermina Daza in the doorway between clinical curiosity and obsession over her doe’s gait, and as he walked through his heart made room for a new kind of dedication.

He thought his devotion would be equally as precise as his practice.

Fifteen or so years of marriage, between years in Paris they bled together like a Van Gogh after a rainshower, the intricacies of their companionship were jointly held in a contractual cradle, but neither of them felt obligated.

Dr. Urbino was before my time, but my story will know the life of Carlos Mucharraz, Pre-Med major, they both dedicate themselves to their love. I’ve never seen her, but I can imagine Carlos likens her gait to that of a doe. He fawns over her from 17 hours away, for nearly a year.

Like a Texas dust devil, he sends his love through the air to Minneapolis to brighten her phone screen and her day.

They’ve only ever spent time together twice.

I’d like to think of his devotion like a boulder, immovable, but twisters slither across prairies as wicked winds push them towards seas of lust, but I’d like to think his love flew above turbulent skies.

I thought Dr. Urbino as a rock.

He must have thought of his fidelity as a disease. His father died fighting cholera, and Urbino would not let his affliction of faithfulness **** him. He thought himself ill, and the mantra of his practice taught him one thing only: cure.

In a slum of San Juan de la Cienaga, pants around his ankles, holding a mulatto girl’s legs around his waist, he crumbled like stale bread as he plunged himself into infidelity.

This man of granite broke and fragmented, his sin etched a crooked cobweb of fractures into his back, I wonder if the beads of sweat stung his spine, or dulled the pain.

But maybe I should put my faith in dust devils.

Humans may be able to shatter the hardest stone, but no one commands the sky, for it straddles North and South, East and West, Fort Worth and Minneapolis.
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