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Mar 2018 · 192
Janet Li Mar 2018
we went to catalina once
hoping to see seals.
it must have been the third or fourth beach
(all rock)
that we kayaked to,
when we saw it.
we shrieked with glee
until, honing in,
saw something unnatural—
a perfectly round hole
gaping in its belly.

we shrieked again.

sometimes i feel like that seal.
my heart has this round hole in it,
gaping wide,
unable to ever be filled.
why is it that we feel our emotions in our heart so strongly?

i need to remind myself
it’s just the caffeine.
caffeine gives my heart holes.
so do unanswered calls
when you’re desperate for the person
you love.

the caffeine will wear off soon,
and you’ll be able to fall into the elusive sweetness of slumber.
don’t think about
loves long past
faces, eyes, smiles you cherished so hard
so long ago.

all you have now is you.

you are responsible for the decisions that led you here.
technology has made us more connected than ever,
a dozen faces running through your mind.

you miss them all.
with the touch of a button you could be close again.
to be so close is dangerous. you can fall back in.
but you, or life, or fate, has led you here.
some things are out of your control.

but things that are under your control are much worse.
you have the power to flick that switch,
to change the train track you’re chugging down
so easily.
one flick.

of course we have free will.
i know any one of the dozens and hundreds and thousands of potentially little choices—
but really, big choices—
can change my whole life.
that’s scary.
that’s staring down into the sea when
you can’t see the ocean floor.
just nothingness.
plunge in.
it’ll be ok. you can’t go too wrong.
you’re living such a blessed life as it is.
but the possibilities are endless and swimming in them is dizzying
i have vertigo
Jan 2018 · 160
Janet Li Jan 2018
gotta stop saying
I love you -- the words are so
stale in my hard mouth
Dec 2017 · 252
Janet Li Dec 2017
saturday nights,
after turning in final papers 24 hours late,
are for
red grapes, and
stalking your ex's exes.
Aug 2017 · 163
Janet Li Aug 2017
we're all the ******* same.
we wear hoops in our ears to seem gangsta,
wear black to show we don't care,
we're all existentialists fond of nietsche
we write poems and laud self expression as a new god,
the god of the self.
we listen to the most minimal techno
while smoking cigarettes that will **** us
and we don't maintain eye contact too long
or we'll fall in love
because we're so not used to raw human contact.
we **** on drugs
god forbid we let someone see
our real selves, stripped down,
not hiding behind a haze of being high.
we yearn for a greater meaning,
and strut around like roosters pretending
we care about politics
but the world is collapsing on itself
and all we can do is write facebook posts,
millions of the same laments.
we don't actually care,
except as a way to boost our own egos for being informed.
we care about living in the moment,
paying exorbitant amounts of money to
rave in a desert with thousands of other people
also living in the moment.
we don't want ugly friends,
beautiful friends are so much more instagrammable.
we all care about having perfect sunglasses,
perfect shoes,
perfect hair,
more than having a perfect world,
perfect understanding,
perfectly imperfect, fought for love.
no wonder we keep smoking to
shorten our hedonistic lives.
our minds are decaying while
our bodies are getting primed up,
glossified, matted, blurred,
made more perfect every day.
nazis have an undercut? well,
every boy in america has one too.
go punch a ****,
not because you think it's the right thing to do,
but because you want to be cool.
we're all just followers, all just tools.
and writing all this out makes me the biggest tool of all,
because it's nothing that hasn't already been written
a thousand times before.
Jan 2017 · 406
birthday poem
Janet Li Jan 2017
twenty-something years ago he emerged
into the light from a state of submerged
he now fills the air
with beauty and care
and all the lovely things of the absurd
Nov 2016 · 1.1k
bleghhh, self-care
Janet Li Nov 2016
self love and affirmations
are so cringeworthy to me --
that's mean, i know.
the perfect depiction of
but it's so needed.

sometimes this space feels too small
with no more balcony
you blow smoke directly in my face
stain our ceiling fan black
give me a contact high
while i try to multitask on five
things at once,
ever more unsuccessfully.

i've lost all focus.

i just want a clean bed,
soft sheets,
a sink free from ***** dishes
and every manner of walking and
flying insect
-- this constant infestation.

i just want clean air,
to breathe,
bikes that don't break and
don't get stolen.
shoes that protect my feet
from the grime that slickly coats
the sidewalks of LA black.
shoes that are also pretty.

i don't have any of this.
money, money, money
i'm always crying over you.
i'm sick of your ****,
but i'm forever bound to you.
and you treat me cruelly
taunt me with everything i can't have.

"joke's on you my friend,
you better guess again,
cause everybody's gotta pay their way"

"death is easy, life is hard"
Dec 2015 · 424
passing over state lines
Janet Li Dec 2015
weigh down the insides of buses
streaming out the cold air vents
seeping into seats

drifting in and out of sleep
passing over state lines
in and out
like a whisper nobody hears, each
person immersed in their own heaviness,
traveling for a job they're stuck to
or a girlfriend they've pledged to

songs you love on repeat
clinging onto anything that reminds you of
home while you're on the road

blinking as you pass another overpass, another truck, another
rest stop
everything gray
everything the same
running like an ant on an anthill
trapped in one world
not even knowing the scale of the rest

discovered among old notes, written who knows how long ago, still accurate
Nov 2015 · 354
11:07 PM
Janet Li Nov 2015
my depression's been pretty bad recently, daresay among the worst of the times i've had it. i couldn't put forth the effort to reschedule this meeting i was supposed to have with my boss for two weeks. today i actually reached a point where i gave up on my boyfriend's love for me too, thinking i was too miserable to possibly be loved. i had numbed myself out to the point where i couldn't even fathom his love for me or how it could exist. he proceeded to comfort me by lying with his full weight on top of me (per my request) and nuzzling me while i sobbed, so so happy because i was able to feel his love for me again. depression isn't being sad, it's about being numb and devoid of feeling. it's scary when you feel like you won't be able to feel again.
Nov 2015 · 453
2:22 AM
Janet Li Nov 2015
moved to the living room cause your
snoring was causing the ceiling
to collapse --
scrolling on an endless blue screen on
the couch we got earlier today --
for free! yay craigslist! --
and i can't hear your snoring anymore
and suddenly, with all my heart,
i miss it so much
Nov 2015 · 619
sunday night
Janet Li Nov 2015
the melancholy soaks your heart in an ocean of ice. you
are drowning but feel no pain, just a
numbness that spreads to your fingers and toes and
a cold whose depths have no limit. your mind is the
two-faced mayor of your body, knowing that everything is
all right but
plunging and holding you under at the same time,
torturing you only to show that it can.
it knows every beautiful thing in the world but also every
unflinching horror, and
pries your eyes open to parade in front of you
a sea of images of utter despair and desperation.
it is like the world's worst propaganda, the most corrupt
media company ever to have existed. it  
brings you from the pinnacle of your existence, the
sun-dappled happiest moments of your life, to lying
fetal and trembling
in the dark
it is an 80-foot monster wave that is the purest
adrenaline rush you have ever sought, and in a split second, it
holds you under until you wish you were dead.

you still have air in your lungs, though, and a heart that stubbornly
refuses to stop pumping and bringing life to your body.
you have legs that remember, and enjoy, the gift of walking, of running,
skipping, skating.
you have fingers that know how to hit keys on a keyboard, wrists
that can bend to let you write and draw anything that you want.
your mind isn't everything and you can beat it,
no matter what it tells you.
in response to getting hit in the face with a wave of depression that left me sobbing for absolutely no reason
Oct 2015 · 419
face hugs
Janet Li Oct 2015
your kisses are a symphony
of hallelujah choruses to my ears
i fall into your eyes every time i look,
immerse in the calming blue
pools of your soul

our face-hugs make me giggle like only
my five-year-old self could --
an overwhelming enchantment that my body had
long ago forgotten how to do

when i feel your body on mine
feelings of relief radiate from
the places where we touch
and i know, as long as i have you --
everything will be okay
Jun 2015 · 590
Janet Li Jun 2015
your hands are cold
and they don't fit in mine
our fingers struggle to make the fit

your face jumps from sweet relaxation
to indignant self defense
and psychoanalysis

you always struggle to say the right thing
but usually
you are dumb

you're slowly opening up to me
letting me in because I'd never hurt you
unlike how you've treated me

let's hold mismatched hands
trade bits of our hearts with each other
relax and be free with me
May 2015 · 273
Janet Li May 2015
"how did you get so good at ***?"

"dreaming about a girl like you"
May 2015 · 459
Janet Li May 2015
head's dizzy and heart is skipping
i can't eat, my stomach is doing cartwheels
my mind is muddled with past and present fighting
my gut doesn't trust you
my heart wants to

we can't go back to fun and games
it's do or die
you want more, but
you ****** it up so bad
instead of carefree I'm forced to
be tentative
you stole my innocence and my trust
and my faith in humankind

it's the ******* summer
let's just have fun
I'll give you my heart, I
reinforced it with concrete this time
bite into it and you'll die
May 2015 · 326
Janet Li May 2015
my love is poisoning me,
infecting me through another love
I did not ask for or want.
he is a snake, and we are both apples --
will he toss me for the other?

I tried to hide it but I had a soft spot,
brown, slightly fermenting.
a place where I could become weak once pressed,
and pushed to a place not my own,
a darker place where I was a different kind of apple.

he found that spot --
because I told him --
and he doesn't look at me the same way.
I want to speak to him,
remind him,
now you know all of me, every single part! more than my brothers and sisters do.
you should rejoice!
but he looks away with sad eyes.
he can't see me without seeing the spot;
he can't see the spot without wincing in pain,
wincing in fear.

he doesn't want me anymore.
he wants that shinier, wiser apple
all pure and golden
up on that high shelf.
with her he can grab the best,
pretend that all apples are perfect and gleaming.
lick her juicy flesh,
become one.

so, with my heart at my feet
I watch him slither away in the darkness
leaving me to rot alone
on my eternal shelf.
he winds his tail around her,
she blushes with a pure happiness I never could achieve.
could I be happy for them in some small way?
I really want to.
written 3:40am sept 13, 2013. based on true events, written to a stranger via text. just discovered.
May 2015 · 274
break-up note
Janet Li May 2015
there are lots of things i want to say to you, so i figure i better write them all down so i don't forget to tell you.

the things i care about most are openness, kindness, and honesty. you don't share those values. you prefer 'don't ask don't tell', lies over hurtful truths, sparing feelings over being real.

being real is the most important thing in this world. if you're not doing it, what are you doing to your existence? how can you justify your spot in this highly coveted realm of being? in having consciousness and choice?

you can do whatever you want, but i'm just not going to be involved with someone who is not being true. someone who is against giving his heart and his home to the world to share in.

and if you want to be real? let me give you the real deal. we are from two different worlds. i'll be petty now. i'm above you, i could expose you to so much more, things you've never even had the vision to dream about. but you'll want to play it safe, because that's who you are.

you can do better. don't wear your desperation on your sleeve. it's unattractive. women don't owe you anything.

you can write better. your lyrics can go deeper.

don't settle for what's easy, what's comfortable. although you're already doing that with your girl. don't be a settler, be a pioneer. i expect more from you.

maybe that's what this is. i'm disappointed in you more than anything. i thought better of you. you're a friend i just want to help achieve great things.

well, you can't have me anymore. but best of luck with everything else. although i live here and will be returning often, i don't know if i'll ever see you again. maybe we really are just from different worlds.

PS, thanks a lot for getting me sick, on top of the meatgrinder you put my heart through. showers do not **** viruses. you really have to be smarter.
May 2015 · 331
Janet Li May 2015
you make me sick
I'm not supposed to feel queasy when I come see you
and I have to wonder who else was occupying your bed,
your head,
your heart today

you make me feel like a bad person
like I did something wrong
like you didn't also put your heart on the line for me

am I out here on my own?
are we substituting ***
for intimacy?
I'm 24
how can I not ******* tell by now?

good thing my heart is made of stone
and though I'll shed a tear
I'm a rock on the inside

it's how we've evolved to survive among the fittest
throwing away emotions when they get in the way
I'm not a beast, I'm a woman
and I can turn it on and off
I'll love you one minute
and not give a **** the next.

you don't deserve me.
and you'll never see me fall
Apr 2015 · 381
Janet Li Apr 2015
"baby come dream with me
we'll break all your fantasies"

your insomnia is contagious
i drift in and out
and you find a new way to hold me each time
your head always on my chest,
listening to my heart beat

everything is wet
but the morning comes and the sun
will dry our memories

i'm leaving and
you tell me my eyes are piercing
they're my biggest weakness.
i can never hide
and i fall in love every time
i look too long

you say we should be actors
and get paid for people to watch us
how did you know i was thinking
the exact same thing?

struggling to stay up on the
pull-up bar
you grab my legs and kiss me

your beard feels good on my soft skin
you could do this every night, you say
every night...


two nights later you're with another girl
as i suspected
and i show up on your doorstep drunk
my eyes pleading for you

i just want to lie around with you
and feel your mouth all over me
and hear your groans and
see your smile
and drift in and out
with you
Apr 2015 · 316
Janet Li Apr 2015
it is the greatest irony
that love can **** its devotee
that love can be toxic
and the purest bond
can corrode and turn to acid

when your love becomes irrational
and transcends all known structures
-- is that the dream?
or the nightmare

when you no longer care about yourself
when you let your heart bleed dry
and **** all life away from your fingers, toes, and brain

is that what love is?
that's deranged.
it's unhealthy
it's unlivable

if you see it,
shake the person
slap her repeatedly, hard
wake her up
scream at her
what the **** are you doing?
snap out of it.
this isn't fair to
Janet Li Jan 2015
breaking up is the death of a family member.

i don't know why it isn't treated more seriously, with automatic psychiatric enrollment.

you are suddenly without your other half. they left your life and it will never be the same. it used to be a shared experience but now you're left dangling off the cliff alone.

and it's all the more painful because this is something that was consciously decided. someone decided they could no longer live, like this, with the other.

and it's worse to be the dumper than
the dumpee--because it's your fault it's over. your decision. you have no one to blame but yourself.

i need to find something to fill that hole where you used to be
Nov 2014 · 430
Janet Li Nov 2014
i love when it's so cold
it hurts to breathe
i feel small and meaningless
like i don't belong
and i have to fight to
be where i am

i am positive
i've never in my life run to
see the sun rise
i am the antithesis of a morning person
in my bones i know i cannot fall asleep before midnight--
it's a waste
everything fun happens after midnight--
i'm only running now because
i ****** up my sleep schedule so badly
i've made a full circle
from normal to nocturnal and back again
i hope i can see it through

i've been letting myself fall asleep whenever i want
usually 7am-3pm
then for some reason i fall asleep watching cartoons
then up again
rinse, repeat

i have bruises on my thighs
from vitamin C deficiency
i've probably gone three shades paler
hiding from the sun for weeks
in my self-exile

i don't feel like i'm falling apart
going crazy
but all the signs are there
who is there to save me from myself?
Oct 2014 · 329
real love
Janet Li Oct 2014
real love isn't pretty.
temporary love is romantic
you remember their smell, their hands,
that look in their eyes,
those words they said that
seemed so poetic at 4 in the morning.
drinking too much,
flirting all night,
jumping into rivers,
losing clothes...
the anticipation.
the act.
you have great stories in the morning
and inevitably it ends
they're leaving, or you're leaving,
you always knew it was a fling --
and you're left with the memories of a brilliant flame
that flared in a burst of light you'll never forget.

real love isn't like that.
of course i remember everything.
your strong arms, the way
you held me every night like the world was ending.
the way you picked me up,
or forced me down,
i'd never been with someone like you,
someone who could actually hurt me with your power.
but you never hurt me, not physically.
i wanted it all.
you pinned me to beds, floors, kitchen counters,
i did anything for you because i loved you
i wanted you
i always wanted you.
but in the real world, we were two losers
you were a baby
i was your protector.
i accepted every part of you
but maybe it was too much, cause
did i also stunt your growth?

real love isn't pretty.
it's filled with fighting and
bringing each other down to a point
i didn't even realize existed.
it's seeing you at your absolute worst,
when you can't take control of your own life and
drag me down with you.
it's getting fat and wearing sweats every day and
asking me to love your belly.
which i did.
it's asking me to pop your pimples.
it's getting my face covered in my own spit
when i go down on you, hard,
the only way you can come.
it's feeling belittled when i can't make you come.
it's you making me come when i don't want to anymore.
it's doing things you don't want to do,
becoming someone you're not, someone you're not inspired by anymore.

i did it all for you, baby,
i threw myself away,
and in the end, for what?
it didn't last.
real love isn't pretty,
i don't even remember enough good about it to
turn it into a golden story.
maybe we were never golden.
what do you call a love story that ends
with no satisfaction for anyone?
i guess it's a horror story
because it's still worth remembering
if only to remind myself where i should never go again.

real love isn't pretty,
it's terrible,
and you're stripped down to your raw bones asking
to be accepted.
it's piling your **** on someone else and
having them pile your **** on you,
and struggling viciously to
get through it all, to make it to the top.
it's knowing the worst things you can know about someone.
it's protecting someone, and pretending that
they're so much better than they are.

i always believed in love.
but real love isn't pretty
Oct 2014 · 876
Janet Li Oct 2014
i was retching
my ***** looked like potpourri
clusters of tiny pink bits
must have been the beets and quinoa
****, i'm fancy.

i'm not even crying.
all around me i hear sobbing but
i have nothing left to cry for.

let us count the arguments, the fights,
the number of times i wanted to stab
my own heart just to
stop myself from feeling.
how could the person i care the most about
think of me so poorly?
i used to think that i was a good person
a good girlfriend.
someone with love and patience and honesty
and oodles and oodles of forgiveness.
my mom always said i was just like Goalie,
our labrador retriever,
never upset for more than a night,
overflowing with pure, untainted, never-ending love.

the love is still there
i think it's no longer my strength, but my weakness.

you forgive and forget,
you move on,
fights three weeks ago seem a distant memory.
you breathe a sigh of relief, oh,
i think we can make it.
i think we can make it through this time.
i think we've grown.

then it starts again.

it's never-ending.
do you believe in people?
i did. i do.
but i guess when two people combine it's
a different story.
we were not meant to be,
i knew it three months in,
but his faith was strong.
why didn't i trust my gut,
why did i keep trying.
i drove him to the brink of insanity
led myself into depression's cold embrace
i thought we could do it
but we couldn't overcome each other
Jun 2014 · 339
it's only pain from love
Janet Li Jun 2014
"only pain from love
it's only pain from love
only pain from love"

i play the song on repeat
the lyrics wash over me
and the pain, so sharp,
subsides for a minute

it's not my fault
it's not your fault
it's only pain from love
"only pain from love, dear"


i've lost track of the times i said we'd break up
the moments would always hit me out of nowhere
and i instantly understood deja vu, or serendipity,
or something bigger than me
someone else who knew it was wrong.

i've lost track of the times we've fought
i don't even know what they were about
i just remember the broken pieces,
the broken doors,
the broken pots,
soil strewn everywhere
with bits of plants flying,
my clothes flying,
everything breaking around me.
i always thought this home was temporary
we swung through times of such chaos
two poles at odds
trying to be close but pushing each other away


you finally say that you love me
that we could be the only two people in the world
but... how?
can we forget all the pain we went through,
was the pain our own?
did we hurt each other,
did we make it worse?
why can't we comfort one another
do we make each other worse?

i was sure this would be the last fight
it fell with a deafening finality
our worst one yet,
a hurricane which tore up everything we'd built
our voices hoarse from so much screaming
my eyes had never hurt so much
from so much crying

afterwards i thought there'd be silence
but the days go on, and each time
i fall back into your arms.
i was made to fit there
it's where i belong
is this it?
can we stop fighting each other
and fight for us together
is this it?
is this it?
Mar 2014 · 1.4k
Janet Li Mar 2014
I will never be able to eat a grapefruit again without thinking of you.
I remember when I used to hate that sour flesh
It made the sides of my mouth turn down
on their own,
biting into that bitterness and tasting its wicked juice.
I liked sweet things, the sweeter the better,
piled five packets of refined sugar into my coffee,
(they're tiny, right?)
sprinkled sugar onto my vegetables to make them go down better,
skipped dinner for dessert.
But you couldn't handle the sweet,
you protested every time
I tried to feed you a treat.
It made your stomach turn and your teeth hurt.

I couldn't understand it.
but the meals cycled on
like everything else we shared,
and slowly our tastes circled in from
opposite ends of the spectrum.

I'll eat my grapefruit with a bit of sugar,
and you'll take your smoothies with a bit of lime,
And everything we share together will be sweet and sour
all at once,
The most beautiful flavor I've ever had.
Sep 2013 · 468
3:40 AM
Janet Li Sep 2013
I love you so
I love you so
I love you so

My whole body is one massive heart
pumping love
to you, for you

I love you so
Jan 2013 · 815
Janet Li Jan 2013
Lust (n.)
a. the feeling of being intoxicated with someone, thoughts drenched in their essence
b. finding complete happiness in lying entwined all night and day, forgetting every other world
c. dreaming and being unable to see anything but their eyes
d. losing track of the hours; never wanting to be apart.

Agony (n.)
Being apart from the person of your lust.
Dec 2012 · 500
Story Time
Janet Li Dec 2012
Let me bury myself in your sheets
so crisp and white, with the smell of a thousand promises
whispering of tall tales and dreams and
pixie dust that glitters down your spine

Let me run my hands up and down you
pausing at the most beautiful places
to relish, bask in what you evoke
in each moment

Let me caress your smoothness,
finger each page eagerly for more
and through your words,
gently peel back another layer of your soul

Let me in
to listen patiently
and learn your story
and intertwine it with my own.
Aug 2012 · 826
Why I hate you.
Janet Li Aug 2012
I hate
depending on someone else
for my personal happiness.

I hate that
I can't fully appreciate the present
because half of me is somewhere else,
half of my heart is with you
because I gave it to you
and I can't fully be happy
when you're not here with me.

I hate
thinking about you all the time
I have my own needs to think about.

I hate
being tied down
to your love
unable to freely explore the rest of the world
to experience other love,
other amazing people.

I am a bird
I have always loved flying solo
but now I have a partner to carry
and I am sad.
Because I believe in freedom. in adventure. in
exploring the unknown.
But I don't even know if I want that anymore.
I would give it all up for you.

Am I not giving up a part of me too?
the part with wings,
with eyes eager to see more
the part of me that so longs to be free.

My heart is torn
between you and me.
Whom do I love more?
Aug 2012 · 850
Janet Li Aug 2012
I am naked and wrapped in you
-- your flag, that is --
green, yellow, blue.
Green always reminds me of you.
I lie in bed, close my eyes
and remember your face --
your stupid grin,
your crooked teeth,
your eyes, young but
already wrinkled
from too much laughing.
your green grass pajamas.
Oh how you used to wrap me up
in those pajamas
in your green bed,
under green sheets,
and kiss me and hold me and
love me forever.
Jul 2012 · 536
Janet Li Jul 2012
these days
i try to stay
awake as long as possible
so that
as soon as i
bury myself in my sheets
close my eyes
and sink in
i'm gone

if i don't
all i can do
is lie there
and miss you.
Jul 2012 · 518
Janet Li Jul 2012
my insides are hollow.

i can forget for a bit;
the pain is more distant
when i'm with others.
people who joke with me,
make me smile and laugh,
bathe me in their love
in a warmth as constant as the sunshine.

i can hardly stand the pain.
the emptiness that can't be filled
with food or music,
emptiness that can only be satiated with
love that is gone,
taken cruelly away
before i could prepare myself for this new void,
this hole, this missing *****
where my heart used to beat proud and strong.

how foolish i was to let it keep
beating with such force,
a happiness so strong it could not be stopped.
it's gone now
and i am counting the days until
this loneliness settles,
until my heart is refilled,
until i can breathe again without
this sharp pain
this constant reminder
of my missing love.
Jul 2012 · 581
Tip of the Tongue
Janet Li Jul 2012
I was lying in bed with him
after we had both come.
In the pitch black, I had to
use my hands to see his face,
trace his
eyes, lips, cheeks, the shape of his head.
We were silent but for our breathing.
His rumbled ever slower
and I knew I had to act
before sleep captured him.

The words were so potent
I could feel them in my mouth,
A heavy weight pressing on my tongue.
I opened my mouth to
spit them out, but
my brain was too powerful
and kept them locked in,
snapped my jaw back into place.
I swallowed as
I felt his breathing deepen.

I held it in as long as I could.
But the force from my pounding heart
won the battle against my brain
and before the defeated could rise to try again,
My mouth burst open on its own
and I heard the words tumble out of my mouth
as clear as the sun.

"I think that maybe I love you."
May 2012 · 1.9k
Janet Li May 2012
my brain is a pile
of writhing pink earthworms
tangled up like confusing spaghetti,
pressing against every crevice of my skull,

forcing open cracks, burrowing through,
chewing out tissue and
crawling through my orifices
-- eyes, ears, nose, mouth --

here i am
spewing earthworms --
sorry i can't be in class,
i'm busy choking on my own brains.
written during Finals Week.
Mar 2012 · 1.6k
Squeaky Clean
Janet Li Mar 2012
peppermint patties:
they're really just chocolate
with toothpaste inside.
I just ate five.
Mar 2012 · 1.6k
Janet Li Mar 2012
Everyone is so
How could you not be?
The only way that could happen
is if you'd planned your whole life out from the start--
very carefully stacking block upon block,
building your massive tower to your dream destination.
What do you do when you get there, though,
when you’re done?
You keep stacking towards your next dream,
rushing onwards, onwards to
the next destination,
the next layer,
each one a little less solid than the last.

And finally, when you get there,
there, the end goal of your whole life--
the perch atop which you sit, staring down,
with nowhere else to go,
at the final place you’ve been dreaming of all these years--
hell, was it worth it?
Worth all the anxiety and sweat and the meat being squeezed from your soul,
everything you’ve been working towards forever?
... what the hell is it, what are you even looking at, tell me!
I scream at you,
“Tell me, what's so great about where you are up there--
the view?”

But you are wise.
You’ve got to be, you’ve lived your whole **** life already.
You chuckle, and your wrinkles are friendly.
“Come see.”

I clamber up.
It takes forever—you’re old as hell and spent your entire life building this thing.
I keep climbing, and climbing, and the view keeps changing.
I’m getting higher.
I pause once, and glance behind me
to see the sprawling architecture of every floor beneath.
I have to remind myself to breathe and
keep going.

Finally, I reach you
and shake your hand.
I am standing atop an enormous tower,
So tall I can’t make out the ground,
Gazing back down at the intricate construction of your life.
Layer upon layer, every block a different day,
every floor a different chapter in your life.

Maybe it's the thin air, but it finally dawns on me.
It doesn’t matter where we are now.
What matters is every day, every moment that you spent getting here.

I look at you, and you sigh perfectly and completely.
“So long, kid,” you salute me,
and step off the edge.
I watch you fall in wonder.
But I know your legacy lives on
in the enormous and complicated and twisting tower
that remains, a tribute to your life.
Apr 2011 · 884
Janet Li Apr 2011
She moans and he writhes
and they shiver on the ground,
Minds reeling through 911 tapes and sirens blaring
and blue-red lights glaring, and mothers screaming
and lovers leaping and parents weeping and
children seething.
Their minds are at war,
every tremor a quake,
every shudder a shake;
They start molting like snakes,
shedding pieces and flakes
of themselves, their identity
their strength and serenity;
become anonymity, silently, frighteningly,
Til nothing is left
but raw red meat
that bleeds straight through the streets.
It's oozing and thawing,
more alive than a drawing,
But much too alive, just wanting to hide,
and melt into nothing under the hot sun,
and be laid to rest with the shot of a gun.
Apr 2011 · 526
Suicide by Love
Janet Li Apr 2011
She searches through a hazy dream,
Eyelids fluttering in a world of pixellations.
She reaches out through the nightmare,
     blind, scared,
Feeling nothing solid in her fingertips.
She falls through the mist,
her whole self hidden
in a fog that hurts her eyes.

Her bed
is red and lonely,
And she lies,
     stiff, hard,
back arching, head pounding,
quick breathing, quick feeling,
a snap.
Her body escapes, and
she breathes one last word.

It found her, captured her,
tied her up in ropes
she was too weak to fight.
She went willingly,
drowned in the toxic elixir.

Her heart was at peace
at last.
Nov 2010 · 697
Light in the City Night
Janet Li Nov 2010
My eyes are really bad.
So when I'm trying to fall asleep
and I see the golden orb of light through my window,
it takes me a few blinks to realize
what it is--
a street lamp.

Without my glasses,
the light widens and narrows,
grows and collapses,
patterns playing on its orange face
and edges smearing,
sometimes shooting out like sun rays.

You are that street lamp to me.
Sometimes blurry and not quite distinct
but always there,
always constant.

A fireball,
a sun,
a star.

A light in the city night.
Nov 2010 · 607
Please Rescue Me
Janet Li Nov 2010
I'm drowning
in a sea of other boys


I just want you
to pull me out quickly and
slay everyone else.
Nov 2010 · 1.4k
Dead Butterflies
Janet Li Nov 2010
I don't have butterflies fluttering about my tummy.
It's more like
a large mass of dead butterflies
rolling around,
smacking and tearing my stomach walls.
The butterflies start out happy and well,
flitting about, jostling merrily,
wings glimmering, flying wondrously.
they lose their energy,
collapse and die,
Their fragile bodies crumpling
like bits of sticks
as each leg and antennae snaps off and falls
to the bottom.
They decay and collect
as more and more butterflies give up,
give in, and drop.

I am left with nothing but
this heaving mess of dead insects in my stomach.

I feel sick.
Nov 2010 · 959
For Girls Everywhere
Janet Li Nov 2010
I'm a heartbreaker, babe.
Watch me strut in these heeled boots.
Don't you realize if you snooze, you lose?

I'm the girl of your dreams, babe.
Watch me glitter and wink and laugh,
The highest point on your sad love graph.

I have a million lovers, babe.
One, two, three, seven, nine
Don't you dare try to say, "You're mine."

I'm a star, babe.
You haven't seen anything yet.
What you see is only half of what you get.

I am me, babe,
No other like me anywhere.
So take me, and hold me, and love me, I dare.
Aug 2010 · 870
40,000 Feet Above
Janet Li Aug 2010
You're hurtling down the runway and you're scared.
Taking off, 45 degrees above horizontal
until you can't hear anything but
the rumbling thunder of the engine and
the hissing air of the cabin.

One glance out the window
and your eyes widen in shock at the entirely new world.
A city of spun wool and wispy cotton candy,
piled snow and gigantic foamy marshmallows,
solid white mountains and hills of soft fluff.

You want to jump on them,
roll around and off their feathered slopes,
Pet, stroke them,
lie with them forever and tell them all of your secrets
because they are your best friends.

Be careful, though.
For clouds are a mean and sneaky illusion,
and the very second you touch them,
they'll melt into nothing,
break apart in your fingertips.

You will fall thousands of feet back to Earth with
your heart in your mouth,
a silent scream caught in your lungs.
Dazed, dying, you'll look up,
no longer able to see the world of your dreams.

With your last breath, you can only watch
the clouds laugh and wave a careless good-bye
as the transparent drifters move on,
blowing away faster than smoke,
off to catch the next unsuspecting dreamer.
Janet Li Aug 2010
I want to feel magic.
I want to feel what all the songs sing and the movies show.
I want to want to go down on someone,
                 be with them so completely,
please them, cuddle with them, hold hands,
declare our love to the world with huge stupid grins on our faces, not caring
how idiotic we look.
I want to be in love
          in actual love
and have that person love me back.

(I mean,
who doesn't?)
adapted from a blog entry
Aug 2010 · 785
Why Jack Can't Travel
Janet Li Aug 2010
The airline refused him for their flight
Despite his being quite polite.
He then attempted to board a train
But was informed he couldn't remain.
He headed for a subway station next
Which at first seemed to be a safe bet,
Until he yelled, “Get out of my way,”
Followed by an impatient neigh,
And everyone around him turned to stare
At the strange creature standing there.
For no one had noticed from afar,
That plain old Jack was in fact a centaur.
Aug 2010 · 736
Love Letter
Janet Li Aug 2010
This is a letter for you.

there are reasons I dumped you
And those reasons make
me not want to be
your friend, either.

You seem confused.
of course you are.
All right, well, if you
really want to know
(brace yourself):

You’re annoying
and small;
you try wayyy too hard.
You think you’re a stud,
a Hot Shot,
but you’re really not.
Everyone knows
I was way too good for you,
except you.
You tell your friends
like a ******* girl.
Did I mention
how puny and small you are?

It’s laughable that
you think that
you still have a shot with me,
as a lover, a friend, whatever.

Well, guess what, *******.
You’re living in your own head.

Please don’t talk to me anymore,
invite me to things,
or think about me.

I’m SO over it
And I can’t believe
I ever fell for you
in the first place.

The Girl of Your Dreams
cheers to failed relationships.
Aug 2010 · 1.6k
Janet Li Aug 2010
Sipping iced coffee,
so creamy, so fresh.
Hair whipping out from its knot,
tangling in the wind;
she doesn't mind.
Driving around Manhattan
in her uncle’s ghetto, beat-up truck,
the sun beating down on her face,
she sighs—

this is the good life.
Aug 2010 · 524
Two Fish in a Storm
Janet Li Aug 2010
We were walking.
Past glittering bars, past the loud music and laughter and frivolity
of the Saturday night crowd.
Walking, walking
until there were no more lights,
until the bars were tiny, luminous flecks on the other side of the lake,
Like glimmering fireflies frozen on the black horizon.

The lake was a calm ocean,
rimmed with planted trees,
And we raced to embrace one
once the storm started and the skies fell down upon us.

Pouring, pouring,
soaking, drenching, drenched.
I had never been wetter in my life.
We laughed at the absurdity of it all,
the sheer strength of the downpour,
the uselessness of the skinny tree.
We were two fish lost in a feverish typhoon.

He put his arm around me.
By some miracle, his cigarette was still lit,
and we sat there, him smoking,
me breathing,
Listening to God cry,
watching sheets of sky plummet to the earth.

He kissed my shoulder softly,
so soft I thought it was just his breath,
then my cheek.
And there, in rain so thick
we could have both been weeping,
We attacked each other
tasting the salt on each other’s tongues,
Wanting anything and everything of that moment.

The moment passed,
the storm ceased.
I threw his cigarette into the brimming lake.
He took my hand,
still sopping wet, a fish’s fin in disguise,
And we walked back toward the lights
of society.
Based on a real storm.
Aug 2010 · 672
Hell's Theater
Janet Li Aug 2010
Eyelids are closing
like the huge velvet curtains on a stage,
But you don’t want the show to be over!
not yet! it's too soon!
You scream at the actors
but everyone is screaming, too
Yelling, gleeful, chanting, shouting:
Hurrah! hurray for the play!
You want to slap them.
“I’m not done yet,”
you say.
You are furious,
you roar, but
no one can hear.
They are too busy basking
in the hoopla of their own dreams.
Their faces alight
like a hundred drugged infants,
clapping away for the pure marvel
of the Sound.
Stop it, stop it, stop it,
Don’t you know what’s happening?

You wish someone could hear.
But no one listens;
they continue their merry ways
of oblivion, of blindness, of pride.
And you:
There is nothing you can do
but close your eyes
and go to sleep.
“Do not worry,”
you tell yourself.
It is but a dream.
*It is but a dream.
Aug 2010 · 1.1k
Janet Li Aug 2010
Her ******* grow and shrink,
rise and fall like lava-spewing volcanoes,
Balloon out and shrivel in
depending on her mood, the time of day,
her appetite, the month of the year.

Sometimes, she’d like them big,
so she could squish them together,
squeeze them like giant tomatoes.
Other times, she’d want them small,
tiny, like snow-colored clementines
jutting out just so from the ***** of her chest.

She had a range of bras to go with every
mood of her *******—
Pale and padded lightly, for everyday life,
soft and sheer, when she was asleep,
Huge and fire-red, when fiery passion struck deep,
***** and black, only for lovers’ eyes.

She loved her *******,
loved them like a father loves his dogs,
Took them whether they were fat or skinny,
little or big,
bare or plunging or pushed out like
neon street cones.

Sometimes her ******* got her into trouble,
but more often than not they saved her life.
She would not trade them in for a million rubies,
not for seven extra lives
or a winning lottery ticket.

Bad news came one day.
She cried and she cried until her insides were hollow.
As the surgeon sliced into her chest,
she could only mumble ‘sorry’
over and over
to her poor *******,
the loves of her life,
the apples of her eye.
She could not believe she had to say good-bye.
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