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Lexi Cairns Dec 2015
I was built on unstable ground
Shifting sands as I ran towards the ocean
Arms reaching towards the vast and wavering wild
Challenging the waves
Give it all you’ve got you cannot knock me down
I learned to run when I was six years old
My hair manipulated into fussy braids that swung in front of my face
As I paced back and forth in front of the door
with a suitcase full of books
And waited for a taxi that would never come
I was built on burning asphalt and swing sets in sweltering summers
Escaping through eighteen different doors
Only to ride my bike in circles
And climb back under barbed wire fences
After wandering in cow fields and a home with a molding mattress
Where I was told people had *** before I knew what *** was
Returning to four walls to wash off the mud and blood
in glistening tubs and hope
That my mother would ask me where I had been
The neighborhood boys would play football in the eye of a hurricane
While I watched through cracked blinds
It only every rained on one side of the street
But the chalk on our sidewalks always washed away
No matter how many pictures of white picket fences
we etched into the concrete
I was built on not yet not finished not good enough this is not the one
this is temporary

Forests and muddy creeks became guarded iron gates
And I hid behind the pool bar to ash cigarettes
Into a Blue Moon
New marble countertops could not cover up the stench of desperation
And the echoes of gleaming empty halls
The sound of a ticking clock and pounding feet
My parents clinging to sand as it trickled through their grasping fingers
And I build castles with the remains
Lexi Cairns Dec 2015
"You don't know how lucky you have it,”
I say as I brake for the bird
who is hopping uncertainly
in the middle of the intersection,
torn between flight
and flirting with death
one second longer.

Today it will live.

I press my foot down on the gas pedal.

One day our sun will stop burning-
our universe will freeze, contract, and be reborn;
empires will fall and rise,
but will never see you skin your knees
or fight with your mother;
the wind will never carry away the chalk dust
from your grinning face.

Life persists but bears its scars;
and I see them
in the way we wish on the light of stars
that have been dead for thousands of years;
and I feel them
in the way that fingers trace the stretch marks
that have not yet faded from your mothers stomach.

A still small lump lies in the middle of the barren road,
and I swerve to avoid it

even though the squirrels guts
have already been painted across the gravel

and the baby’s ashes
have already been returned to the cold earth.

The world doesn't stop turning
for either;
but I weep
for both.
Another poem that I revised and added on from an earlier piece.
Lexi Cairns Dec 2015
We set off armed with bottles that clinked conspicuously inside purses after a few glances back into the mirror to wipe red lipstick from teeth,
blending our eyes into the night.
A bottle is pressed to my lips and the liquid burns down my throat,
and coals begin to stir in my stomach   
as I pass tables laden with signatures and soaked in beer.
Everything comes in flashes-
clapping and chanting that got more and more incoherent;
glass shatters hips sway and damp skin glows
as bass thunders through our bodies.

All this in a split second that echoes even now.

Hands and lips pull in all directions,
but I found yours.

We stumble into the dark and press our backs into the wet grass,
join slender fingers and trace constellations 
as sparks fly from our fingertips into the sky.
I remember thinking that this was enough.

Drunken secrets spilling from lips at a dawn heavy with dew,
we tell about different flames- 
skinned knees and hands rough from gripping bark,
how you wore hoodies in the sweltering heat
to hide your arms from the gym teacher,                   
my stepfathers hands locked around my throat,
and what we saw glowing in our eyes and clenched in our teeth
when we looked at our own reflection.     
­Under the ancient sky,
we talk about the ten thousand fires
and the phoenix that rose
 from the ashes.
Another piece that I wrote for class.
Lexi Cairns Dec 2015
You have been told that rapists were men in black hoodies
hidden in twisting shadows and dark alleyways.
****** offenders were always leering old men in rags;
never blonde haired and blue eyed and always smiling-
not once did you think to question the intentions
of his warm and familiar fingertips.
When you find yourself locked in his claws
and he tells you
that you must want it
don’t be a tease.
Look at what you’re wearing.
A sliver of skin mistaken for an invitation.
Do not be surprised when your mother
also asks you what you were wearing-
but do not forget.
Remember this for the next time.
You will also try to convince yourself that you asked him to,
but the scars on your sister
and the tribe of women with cut out tongues and pleading eyes
who stare back at you from your reflection
tell another story.
Tell your mother that no matter how many flowers she throws over the mass grave
she cannot hide the stench of rotting corpses,
do not pretend that you are okay when you feel all the lights inside of you begin to shut off
because your body has grown tired of sounding alarms and raising knives
against intruders who wield toxic gas and atomic bombs.
You have been taught to hold your tongue and to smile like nothing is wrong
but now your mouth is filled with your own bite marks and it is hard to hide the blood.
You should not have to.
Your words can crumble empires
and redeem centuries of trauma embedded in bleeding wombs.
It is time you used them to stand up for yourself.
This is a poem I wrote for my creative writing course at school and is a revised version of one of the spoken word pieces I posted here previously.
Lexi Cairns Jun 2015
The greatest mistake we make is teaching our children that monsters are not real
They are, but not in the way we imagine them
They do not hide under our beds
Do not even look like what we've been taught was evil, can't even see what is lurking
Inside of their heads
Movie villains are easily spotted in all black, ***** and cackling
The things that hide in the dark are not demons
I know
You're not a monster, you're a human just like me
Easy to pity because we both cry and bleed
You are not a monster
But you have seeped into my veins like poison
It does not matter who I am with
You will rise like the ocean and swallow me until I can't breathe
Wrapped in the arms of a lover
I freeze
His hands are not his hands his teeth are not his teeth
They are the hunters
They are yours
I know you're nothing but a ghost now
It's only the shadows of memory that seize me
But i'm back in that room and the door is locked
And I am locked and I am trapped
by hungry stares and greedy hands
Prowling like a lion and I am the prey tonight
Shouldn't have let the wolf inside
But you were dressed as my friend in an Abercrombie shirt and Hollister jeans offering what I thought was a comforting hand
But I am locked in your claws and they tear through my clothes
So I use the only defense left to me
The last resort mother nature provides
I play dead
Hoping my frozen body will somehow deter you
Turned off every light in myself one by one
The city in a power outage
Stepped out of my body like a ghost
Cold and unknowing
Hide from myself the way you cover a small child's eyes
so they wont see the ******
But pretending not to see it will not save you
Warning signs are there for a reason
Trigger warning trigger warning
I ignored all of the flashing signs
Why would I guard myself against someone I claimed to be like a brother?
Thrown off the cliff and your arms drag me down like an anchor
I am already dead
Wishing I could drown not even bothering to hold my breath
Your smile used to be so inviting but now your eyes are loaded guns and your teeth are like knives waiting to tear me to shreds
And I cannot run and I cannot hide
My body is mine my body is mine my body is mine
I know that he is not you
But you could be anyone
And in a way you already are
Because 77% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows
And in a survey of college men 51% said that they would **** a woman if they knew they would not be caught
All the voices are yours
Telling me that I must have wanted it, because "Look at what i'm wearing."
Every shadow following me
Still hunting me as I walk to my car at night
Always prey as I look behind my shoulder every two seconds like a twitch
And I run so I can get there before you do
Every time
Before you can climb in like you did before
"No" was a word you could not comprehend, could not understand
But if dogs can learn it and listen then so can you
You were not entitled to enter my car, my house, my bed or my body and especially not my soul
I do not desire your attempts at worship
Will not let you take off my pants so you can
"Make me feel like a real woman"
I am fire burning every place your hands have touched
My body is not a piece of meat to be sacrificed on an altar
Not yours for the taking
I am a temple, a sanctuary
And you are not my God.
Lexi Cairns Mar 2015
"You don't know how lucky you have it.",
I say as I brake for the bird
who is hopping uncertainly
in the middle of the road,
torn between flight
and flirting with death
one second longer.
But today it will live.
A still squirrel lays in the middle of the road
a little ways down
And I swerve to avoid it, too
Even though it was already dead
Just like the ten month old baby
But the world doesn't stop turning
for either;
and I weep
for both.
Lexi Cairns Mar 2015
I've been trying to become more aware of my breathing
To be conscious of the way it moves in and out,
Revealing whether the ocean in me is silent and still or roaring and tumultuous
Lately I've been breathing in sighs
Like the rush of the waves washing over the sand
Sighs of longing
The foam ever reaching
Breaths of wishing and wondering and waiting but also of knowing
The tide unstoppable
A sigh that feels like laying down a heavy pack after a day's hike
Relieving of your burden and watching the sunset
Sighing because my bones have been aching to feel you by my side
Listening to me breathe
And knowing exactly what it means
Like the release of bated breath after confession
After sawing off your chains your skin has never felt so raw, and so new
The next breath feels like freedom
Feels like me wrapped up in you.

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