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 Jan 2014 Jill Stinehart
in a word
 Jan 2014 Jill Stinehart
To my best friend, for everything. I love you.*

definition seems to elude the soft smile and eyes (the teenage dream desperate to run)
stunned by lightning flashes and ghost hands waving in the dance that--
measure for measure--her limbs follow

how easy it is to love a monolith

where the sour limelight mocks the sweet
rough and uneven and sugared over with the words
echoing in my ears like the thudding thunder that our voices obscure
torn and laughing on the checkerboard we mock

the storms drag on in her eyes while she teaches me
glints of possibility trailing off in abandoned thoughts
poems rising in the night air she breaks
her glow streaming admiration onto our tongues
while the afterimages dance and touch and sing behind my eyelids

the whispers may die and stay stranded on the tile floors
the light ripping holes into the long-dead words

suddenly the words are loud
and they float from the unknown and mingle with the revolutions softly dancing
between us

she saved me
I dont want to be the dog
   who returns home
after a few days
   realizing how good he had it there
I want to roam the unknown
   beyond the domesticated shelter
live or die
   there are more experiences to be had
than what this shackled society has to offer. . .
       obedience nor allegiance
holds no reward for the likes of I

after all
  I wish not the mindset of a housebroken animal
unlike some humans.
 Jan 2014 Jill Stinehart
my biggest fear is that i will
stop wanting to become more
than the person i already am

(i will not settle for just getting by
any longer; i want to be
 Jan 2014 Jill Stinehart
this is a series of brief letters to the pieces of my body

dear body,
we don't always work together very well,
but i swear i am trying.

dear hands,
the callouses and crescent moons in your palms
will not be for nothing.

dear knuckles,
aren't you tired of painting yourselves black & blue
every time words fall short of the fire burning behind my sternum?

dear feet,
you know better than to follow roads that lead to dead ends.
there are better places for us to go.

dear eyes,
you have sunken so far into my skull
it shocks me you see anything at all anymore.
you're fixated on shades of gray
but i promise the world will regain its color soon.

dear knees,
stop crawling.
this broken glass is from his bottles.
get up. no more blood.

dear shoulders,
it was never your burden to carry. let it fall,
and try your hardest not to feel guilty.

dear neck,
his hands will never make a home here,
and you are worth more than one night of empty bruises.

dear spine,
stop waiting to be warmed by fingers
that would reach for another body if they could.

dear tears,
do not waste yourselves.

dear ears,
you have been filled with ghost songs for too long.
stop listening for things no one is saying -
it will make life much simpler.

dear mouth,
i know these secrets have been threatening to break my teeth
but please do not open your gates. i am not ready.

dear skin,
we have never been close friends.
i am sorry for the scars.
i am trying to learn how to be comfortable in you.

dear mind,
if i could wish you into an etch-a-sketch
and shake you clean of these bad memories i would.

dear heart,
i hope you can forgive me for being so careless.
i feel how tired you are. rest is on its way.  

dear body,
you will one day see a grave,
but it must not be by your own hands.

- m.f.
Dear Mom,
College is a blast.
I love it here!
I'm doing fine.
Mom, I'm okay.

Or at least I tell you I am
To avoid the proverbial
I told you so
That looms behind everything you say.
The reality is
I'm drowning on dry land
Just like you said I would
I am living up to the stereotype
of my depression and anxiety.

And you,
you were right.
You know me best.
You knew I couldn't do it
And I was so full of myself
I just wanted to prove you wrong.
Just once,
I wanted to swim
Or at least stay afloat.
 Nov 2013 Jill Stinehart
(best read in order)

The stone walls are closing in on me and I’m hungry

   So hungry

   I’m on my knees begging silently to let my anguish end. I could have made it good. I wanted the pleasure more than the means to the end. I just needed a taste to know that I was alive once again but I’m left trapped. The walls closing in on me are a testament that I can never escape my existence. Even my fantasies are not enough.

  So hungry!

  How did I get back here? Inside my prison?  Inside my own destiny? I am stronger than the person I was so many, many years ago but weaker than I want to be. I rose above the hand that life dealt to me and I have been a major player in history but I can’t rise above the fact that I’m left weeping inside my stone prison and I’m alone, again, and hungry.

   Where did things go wrong?

   The dark alley that I found you in was perfect. You were as alone, as lonely as me. But I didn’t want to make you feel less than special than you were to me. The restaurant, the candles, the sense of intimacy… It was all perfect. My imagination was at an all time high. I sensed your urgency.

  I projected images as arousing as I could make them.  I lived inside my own fantasies and I wanted you to want me as I wanted you. And I wanted you so desperately. Our dalliance was more than a mere moment. You were special to me. Not everything I projected was from my own mind. I felt your acceptance. Your willingness to indulge… Your complete and utter resolve to be what I wanted you to be.

   But now you’re gone. Seemingly crumpled to dust. Escaping from me just like every other thing that I held dear.

   You were not a figment of my imagination, even though everything around us was, but you didn’t stay and now I’m the one that will pay. I chose wrong. I understand that now. I’m sorry but please understand… I’m so hungry.

   I curl upon the dirt floor to contemplate my mistake. The tears from my eyes are from frustration and anger and maybe just a little self indulgence that I can’t hold onto the fantasy. I breathed upon warm skin but I'm left with the bitter taste of myself upon my lips. It's the taste of me that leaves me bereft.

   The mist that settles upon me like a blanket and hugs me in a gentle caress is more comfort than I can take. I don't remember much but I remember one thing...

   *I’m so hungry
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