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Sep 2020 · 335
Janelle Tanguin Sep 2020
I've had it for so long,
this sadness,
that it almost feels like
a second skin.
Some days it speaks like me,
it acts like me,
it becomes me,
it is me.

But, I am not my sadness,
although it dwells on,
I am not what happened to me.
I am not my hurt.

I am still becoming.
Mar 2020 · 717
Janelle Tanguin Mar 2020
At my worst, you taught me
how to feel again,
brought me places I thought
had already ceased to exist,
now I miss them.
I miss them all the time.

Without my compass, my guide
all I have are these thoughts.
Eyes aimlessly searching for trails
in undergrown forests,
hopelessly lost.

You could have left me
the way you found me:

a screen door that only knows how to open,
a playground swing causing accidents,
a walking precaution,
a sink hole trying to grow a heart,
something inherently broken,
something with missing parts.

But, you didn't.

You mended the hinges,
you took down the warning signs,
grew an entire meadow of wildflowers—
you patched me up with your love.

My cup is brimming,
and I no longer know
where else to pour.
Nov 2019 · 401
Janelle Tanguin Nov 2019
Absence is a strange occurrence,
a shapeshifter manifesting
in the most trivial things.
A presence where there is none.
Something never entirely gone.
Oct 2019 · 326
Janelle Tanguin Oct 2019
You were wrong about me.
I am no halcyon,
no summer song,
but a wilted rose you picked
with its sharp thorns.

I wasn't a catch.
I am a fire hydrant's glass.
Something constantly left shattered
when it all goes up in smoke.
Inktober 2019
Day 29
Prompt: Catch
Oct 2019 · 619
Janelle Tanguin Oct 2019
There were warning signs to beware,
great walls you had to climb,
more parcels inside,
sealed with labeled reminders
to handle with care.
That a wrong cut of a wire
could trigger explosives,
that the place wasn't just fragile,
it was also volatile.

There's a reason why
from miles away you'd been told
to keep your own distance.
Why this wasn't just something
you could happen to stumble upon,
but a shipwreck, a paper town,
a lost city you needed to find.

When it dawned upon you
that this was not paradise,
but a haunted cemetery of some kind,
you snuck your way back
to the hole you fell into;
burning the place to the ground,
like the ones who came before you.
Inktober 2019
Day 8
Prompt: Frail
Sep 2019 · 952
Janelle Tanguin Sep 2019
To think that the planets might have been misguided
when they let your star sign almost be my rise;
they would never have guessed
how in twenty years my sockets would confine
sullen, sunken, eyes
surrounded by darker spaces,
recurring insomnia I try to hide.
Worn-out clothes now, twice my size.
You gave me the longest summer of my life.

I hate my voice booming static
on the other end of the line.
I miss all my old friends,
and I can't figure out why
I wait in my tower for a knight,
but when at long last he comes
I'd throw him out the window
expecting him to survive.
Sep 2019 · 674
Janelle Tanguin Sep 2019
Store me in a foreign wooden house,
but please
let me out.
Daylight seething through skin
and bones I don't have.
Rain wiping hand-painted
stage pearl-white smiles.

Make me walk
and then run on my own
without strings holding up
my wrists and calves.
I hope by then a mile
knocks the wind out of my lungs
and while I pause for breath,
lay rest, look up
may it remind
me of the crown I wear,
the color of the sky.

Tear up scripts
made for me to recite,
and let me write
all the stories
I'd rather hear,
not just act out
with my time.

I'm not cut out for a role
I never auditioned for
or this life.
Aug 2019 · 532
Janelle Tanguin Aug 2019
I do come back
in dreams, lies
and broken down deja vu,
only I can't
find my way back to you.

I can't sneak out the old window,
I can't wait for the bus.
I can't write you letters.
I can't keep thinking of us.

How are you doing today?
I miss hearing your stories.
I miss hearing your laugh.
I miss being Eleanor.

(with references to Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor and Park")
Aug 2019 · 292
Janelle Tanguin Aug 2019
I let down my walls for you—
a complete stranger with sad eyes,
hunched figure, face down,
back plastered in dimly lit corners.

We held hands as we toured through galleries,
artificial sceneries, and slopes overlooking the city.
I let you sit beside me in craters other people dug up
just to see if you could fill in the spaces they left.

But you dug your own,
left me wondering how you could
claim love, promise me new planets
and then leave
just as they did.

I let down my walls for you—
even when I knew I'd risk drowning
for people whose words slowly turned into lies
once they decide to abandon ship.

I let down myself,
in hopes that maybe you wouldn't.
But you did,
the worst part was all of you did.

Now my walls aren't the only ones left crumbling
but my deteriorating furnished interiors
barely holding up the framework
of what the people I love keep tearing down.
Jul 2019 · 1.1k
Heart-shaped Box
Janelle Tanguin Jul 2019
You found me
stuck staring
at rearview mirror reflections
of wintry, dusk intersections
of everything leaving me
all at once.
A forced exhale
of asphyxia caged
in collapsing lungs;
my mouth,
a fountain spring,
that coughed out
pools of blood.

I wish I saw myself
the way you saw me;
not a red traffic light
wounding speeding cars
on winding streets,
but an antique heirloom
priceless enough
you'd only wish
you could keep
in a heart-shaped box
you saw in dreams.

But, I'd cut my tongue,
paint my lips cherry shades
to blend with cells that'd stain
handkerchiefs you'd offer.
Make you believe
this isn't going to foster
because you are indecision,
unfinished watercolor landscapes
of summer forest fire skies,
a sun-kissed Pacific wanderer.
And I am true crime
untouched evidence of break-ins,
remains of faulty locks and lights.
I am mosaics misaligned;
static, seabed cracks
from forgotten fault lines.
Gaping fissures of sand,
and salt that won't let me stitch
frayed skin-deep fibres
barely holding me in.

Oceans would have to empty themselves
into whirring cyclones and high tides
for our selfish sense of touch to collide.
Ice caps would have to sink
deep enough to even bruise my skin.
And I wouldn't want to watch
more Shakespeare end
before it begins.

See, I am the one
with sharp edges,
but why
did you have to be the one
to clip my wings?

There is only an abyss
without a trampoline,
a safety net,
a bed of waterlilies,
I could fall in.
And I am so tired
of paradoxes
and ironies;
of always being wanted
by someone who doesn't even
want to be kept,
of always being mended
and then left
with more dislocations,
and fractures,
one after another
each taking longer to fix.

Now, in shapeless parcels,
without return addresses
sent out into the void
these words will echo
of love
I never intended to borrow,
and shadows
of false hope
you never thought yourself
capable of
giving away.
Jun 2019 · 793
Janelle Tanguin Jun 2019
But our eyes can't unmeet,
and you can't unwound my heart,
the strings you tugged at.
I'm not the kind of person you keep 
when you let everything just
fall apart.

You were always the first one
to bolt out the door
when the curtains caught fire,
when the faucet spewed dirt
instead of water.

What little light I thought you saw
in my fluorescent eyes,
couldn't get past your opacity
and you just watched them
burn out.

It was always going to end
exactly like
Jan 2019 · 378
Janelle Tanguin Jan 2019
As midnight strikes I wage wars
with invisible enemies
that will never breach
your side of the snow globe.
And you'll wake like my nightmares
are your dream catchers.
You'll wake and catch sunlight,
dew drops and morning air.
You are in the bubble of where
good things still happen.
You are where
I am not.

And sometimes I still wonder
how you get the better
end of the bargain,
while I only get nostalgia,
unhealthy coping mechanisms
and nuclear explosion
barren spaces in my heart.

I can't see past old horizons
and what's stuck ticking restlessly
on blank canvass walls
has always been a marker
dividing my present
from yours.
Inktober 2018
Day 14
Prompt: Clock
Jul 2018 · 2.7k
how astronauts die
Janelle Tanguin Jul 2018
what was once a galaxy
has become a minefield
of massive black holes,
and all our rocket ships
have crash landed
without taking us home.

lost dreams of flying,
mechanical wings,
intergalactic suffocation,
stars in glass jars
as souvenirs
just in case we got close
to the moon.

we took off as one,
our faulty parts disintegrating
upon reaching the exosphere.
turbulence, then nothingness,
a lack of closure,
and gravity
working in reverse.
(old previously unpublished drafts making their way here)
Janelle Tanguin Jul 2018

I intentionally failed to wish you
a happy birthday this year,
though I know significant dates,
hours, moments, people,
by heart.
I still search for you in boys
I mistake for bandages,
the ones with eyes almost
the same shade of your hazels,
lips resounding your laughter,
resembling a wisp of your smile,
But they aren't you.


Sometimes I pretend you're dead,
because it's less painful
to stop reaching out into voids.


My mom still blames you
for everything that preceded that year.
Though you probably had no idea what happened
when we stopped talking altogether.
Can you believe it's almost been three years?


My dad wonders who was my 'one that got away'
Though, I'm pretty sure he knows
it's you.


Remember how I mentioned Sylvia Plath?
How most everything she wrote
brimmed with melancholy?
How I loved every single word?
Especially that piece
where she talked about expectations
and disappointments.
You'll never know that
up to this day I still think
people are selfish enough to
always, eventually turn into the latter.
Even you.


It's sad I never got the chance
to tell you about Ted.
How she loved him so much,
she just had to dive headfirst
into the flames-- burning herself,
what was left of her--
after she found out
he never really loved her
the same way
she loved him
in the first place.


truth is,
some of us
never learn to accept
the love we think we deserve.


I don't know if you still read my poems
or if you still think about me,
about us, sometimes.
Every time you fall asleep past eleven,
a part of me hopes you do.
because I always remember you--
in birthday candles, red ribbons,
off-tune voice records, golden arches,
concrete sidewalks, pedestrian lanes,
the last flickers of city lights
softly fading out of the blue.
I remember you
in everything, in everywhere,
in everyone.
It's useless, no matter how much I try to forget.
No matter how much I just want to forget.
I want to forget.

But, how could I?

When forgetting means forsaking
the very memory of you.
Jun 2018 · 12.0k
happy birthday
Janelle Tanguin Jun 2018
I knew I loved you
since the fourth feather light forehead kiss.
In your presence
I am isolated in utopian bliss.

An island overlooking
glowing hydrogen masses
of what looks like Pacific fires,
or Polaris,
or just you.

Small suns floating in nautical blue,
showered in Pearl Harbor reds
and paper kamikaze sunset hues.

My high sandcastle walls fall
a million grains all over the beach
and I am defenseless against the tide
that is about to swallow me.

I melt away,
let my demons burn,
open the gates,
and let the little girl escape.

I look at you
and everything
is made out of light.

You make every day
worth waking up to.
Mar 2018 · 3.5k
Janelle Tanguin Mar 2018

i used to only write sad poems.


you see,
i am a cynic,
a cemetery,
a holocaust,
a chaotic, distant, lost girl
buried in her own

but with you
i am different.

i want to wake up,
keep my promises,
make up for lost time,
spill blood and ink,
try again,

for you.


you walk me home
and the skies blush
pink cloud summers

we part and i marvel
at the sepia tint
of backyard roses
blurring my lenses.

you came in
like the missing palette color
i never knew
i needed
my skies painted with.


now, you are all the love poems
i didn't know i could write.

and every metaphor i create
is just a lengthier version of
'i love you'

i really do.
Feb 2018 · 758
Janelle Tanguin Feb 2018
i fell in a sea of crystal clear honey,
sank to the deepest abyss
floating, swimming
through candy-coated dreams.

i get a kid's licorice kind of high
everytime you look at me
with liquid warmth, laughter, summer—
those beautiful amber eyes.

i'm caught in a strawberry avalanche
caramel popsicle knees melting in milliseconds
i don't know how you trigger
my hidden sugar rush obsession.

can i comb my fingers through the maze
of your curly cotton candy hair?
can i taste the chocolate peppermint fragrance
surrounding your atmosphere?

i'd give up my innocence,
to live in your confectionary world.
rot my teeth, stay sweet
be your blueberry cheese cake, vanilla ice cream girl.
Janelle Tanguin Oct 2017
The last time I loved
I knew exactly
what I wanted,
I was so sure--
it had to be

It had to be
awkward laughs, soft music,
coffee brown eyes
a house full of dogs,
chamomile tea.
I just knew,
it had to be
you and me.

I am always running,
looking for fire exits,
secret passages,
ways to escape,
always wanting
to be somewhere else--
anywhere else

but with you
I stopped running--
started wanting
wooden floorboards,
walls and a person
I could finally call

Sep 2017 · 874
Janelle Tanguin Sep 2017
I know her by name.
I know her by face.
Only, I don't even
know her at all.
I think I've seen her
and for once
I wasn't disappointed.

We are so much alike
only she has brighter eyes.
We are so much alike;
So, I figured
from black and white
I could be pastel--
faded bright.

We are so much alike
only she drinks psalms
like the preacher's wine.
Before I abandoned religion
I used to kneel
and break bread every Sunday, too.
So, I figured
I could still be as holy
if I clapped my hands together
and whispered litanies
on candles burning outside chapels—
faded light.

We are so much alike
in the way we love
books and music,
anything aesthetic.
But, I am wrapped in tin foil
and she dons silk and laces.
Same filling,
different faces.

And kid, I wouldn't blame you
for craving
the same flavor
in different packaging.

We are so much alike
only, compared to her
porcelain China doll skin,
I am a witch's voodoo,
covered in pins and needles
piercing rough skin,
a cheap imitation—
a fake.

We are so much alike
only I'm lying
when I say we are
because she is pastel
paint in coffee shops
and I am crayola
vandals on the sidewalk.

And let's admit pretty
isn't anything I would
ever be.

It makes me sick.
Because I'm not like her.
I'm never going to be just


Pity, that's all they ever want us to be.
Aug 2017 · 3.9k
Janelle Tanguin Aug 2017
I've learned my ABCs at one,
learned to read by four,
constructed my paragraphs at six,
a know-it-all reciting parts of speech by seven.

Letters assembled themselves ready for scrabble.
Rocks, paper, scissors,
I never learned to let go of the paper.
And grew up with dry fingers caressing books.
Breathing in language and literature.

They say you can only love something so much
until it leaves you empty.
But I've only ever truly loved a few things about life,
and first was how words strung empathy.

The way I wrote about tying yellow ribbons on trees for a hero at eleven,
wrote about anything that won me passports to a passion I had to sacrifice a few years later after fourteen,
wrote about the boy who broke my heart at seventeen,
wrote about the monsters in my head at nineteen.

I don't know how words always found me
whenever I tried to run away from the world;
how they kept my sanity along with melodies for as long as I can remember,
and made countless others feel less alone.

What I love is a weapon
that has sparked revolutions, waged wars.
What I love is art that built acropolises from embers
and most the world's wonders.

It rushes euphoriant through my veins as much as it does through yours,
yet it is neither blood nor oxygen.
It is all the words burning as we keep them hidden,
dying for us to give them meaning.
Jul 2017 · 827
3 AM
Janelle Tanguin Jul 2017
What goes on in my head?
The words start playing with themselves and I try
to make sense of the nonsense occupying what little space there is left.
It is so hard to explain what goes on, in, under, above, across
when all I want is a projectile through this skull.
Some nights, I'm as scared as you are.
The noise louder than panicking sirens as I cower
hoping it all stops
before it's too late,
before the worst
yet most relieving end.

But sometimes I grow as numb
as the people who think they know
a ******* thing
when they don't.

3 AM is for studying ways to make death look like an accident
so I don't hurt anyone else after the process.
I cry my nonexistent heart and soul out
like I never do in broad daylight
while using neon highlighters
to mark exes on my throat, my wrists, my chest,
then put both blades out of reach.
I try to memorize the places where I shouldn't hurt myself.
But I am already bleeding everywhere.

I don't want to hurt anyone else.

No one wants scars around their hearts because the hurt doesn't count
unless you're dressed up for death in a hospital gown
so that everyone sees it,
so that everyone ******* believes it.

I'm not stupid
just sick.
But, if life is a lesson
I quit.

I feel like fading ink
gushing dry on my pile of unread books.
And maybe all those
record stores, libraries, museums, cafés, lighthouses
and sunsets waiting for me
won't wait any longer when I'm gone.

I don't want to hurt anyone else.

It's 3 AM again,
one day
I really am going to lose it.
But for the meantime,

I am tired.

I don't know how
long I could
keep fighting

I don't want to hurt anyone else.

It's 3 AM again,
and again
and again
I'm sinking.

It's 3 AM again,
let the ghosts back in.
Feb 2017 · 4.4k
Janelle Tanguin Feb 2017
Before everything

i. I never knew four letters could melt
menthol candy-like, hydrochloric acid on my tongue
and keep burning it in different degrees
I had to swallow back.

ii. That there would come a time
I'd have to baptize the pain in my chest like seasons
robbing me lungfuls
on January, September and December nights.

iii. That my blood was really ink I needed to stop using
before my skin turned paper-like.

iv. That my heart had an epicenter pumping a magnitude of earthquakes
that made me tremble helplessly in its intensity;
and that they were man-made calamities
followed by harsh, heavy, whipping tsunamis
to flood my grave of bleeding, jagged fault lines.

v. That aftereffects lasted longer than treatment itself,
and that I didn't need any professional diagnosis to know
I was terminal
from the same drug that made butterfly-strokes in my veins,
whose arms withheld the only elixir to this malady.

vi. I named my sickness, my pain, my agony like orphaned children, after you--
a rare disease
the doctors didn't even know about yet.

vii. I did and I doubted
but a part of me beat signals
that echoed off the cave walls of my skull
that I knew.

viii. Before everything,
I have been warned
but I chose to listen to the soothing, wrong, hopeful voices
"He means no harm,".

ix. You began spreading like an epidemic-- a tumor to a colony of cells all over me-- until I became you;
a reflection of familiar suffering and mortality, slowly withering away.
In the end, I didn't even have you to blame
for letting me overdose from intakes
of my own ****, bitter medicine and unforgivable mistakes.

x. I guess, this was how you wanted the price to be paid.
Feb 2017 · 971
Janelle Tanguin Feb 2017
Do you remember the questions
you used to ask about dying?
About grief and then pain
that wash over you in freezing pales of regret?
Are you supposed to remember every minuscule detail
before you completely forget?

You choke on your own verses
to convince yourself
and then everyone else
about acceptance--
the magic that should lead to recovery
yet, knowing that
most poems
are just lengthy epitaphs
for all the people
we refuse to bury alive;
that most poets die
as they try to relive
faded images,
wishing they could
turn back time.

There is love in lamentation--
in how the living die with the dead;
how years of November air
become the oxygen
that slowly suffocates them,
how the things they love most
create consuming black holes
they still succumb to
long after
their beloved's faux passing.
Jan 2017 · 1.3k
Lost Objects
Janelle Tanguin Jan 2017
I left it here,
came back
a different person
searching for
the same object.

Three years
of moving back and forth
searching for it,
frantically blind
in every nook and cranny,
in eyes filled with words only
I couldn't read,
in corners, seams,
**** even
web-like cracks on the walls.

I kept searching
til it drove me

They say lost objects show themselves
by the time you've stopped searching,
so I did.

I stopped searching,
see it's already lost.

We are both lost.

I don't know where to find it,
and I don't think it still remembers
its way
back to me.
Dec 2016 · 1.6k
Janelle Tanguin Dec 2016
I am one
learning how to
carefully seal
myself shut;

still working on
the art of hiding
in less obvious spaces
that won't give me away,

folding myself
onto myself
like messy origami
forming no figure,

my pale skin
being tinted by sunlight,
my hollow cheeks
being surrounded by sunny faces

that have no idea
how much all I want
is for the rays to
melt these glaciers.

I tie my hair
with bright red ribbons
like I am a present
with no future, no past.

Might want to unwrap me
only to find a box

I do not hold

for you.

I cannot even hold

for me.

— The End —