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Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
well, she's a pretty scene
but the characters keep passing out from lack of sleep
and the understudies don't kiss the way she's used to.

a cardboard backdrop of exaggerated proportions
with its painstakingly painted mural of smiles
couldn't hold up to the critic's deep scrutiny
(he later bashed it in a local newspaper review that no one would read)

packing my father's vinyl collection in each ear, i left you.
or you left me; i can't be sure,
but i vaguely remember us stepping out the fourth-floor window at the same time.

you run like a stain through an oxford shirt
handing out your unemployed business cards (blank on both sides)
but once i grabbed a handful of pushpins and tacked you to my door.
i have this laugh-out-loud feeling that says you won't be coming 'round anymore.
Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
it has been a long while since i felt comfort in this place.
for a short while there was only resentment and fear.
differing fingers, gently laced with clasped palms, say i missed you,
even if our whispered voices don't.

the sun rises with my chest at every inhalation.
your room is glowing with an aura, yellow-white and pure.
insomnia releases its hold on us.
there are no dreams here that can be described in words.

and as i drift on a lingering stream of consciousness,
i hum softly through my barely-smiling lips.
i could never think of myself as heartless as a siren—
my voice alone is not enough to sink a vessel

and somehow you're simply too handsome to shipwreck.
Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
i am being aimlessly guided by a decrepit side street.
the smell of who-knows-what hangs in the still like an occupied noose
as i strain to ignore the unpleasant moisture on my brow,
the imperceptible perspiration of emotional exertion.

my heels can decipher the coded cracks in the concrete
and converse with muffled clackings that echo from alleyway walls.
they say, "our coordinates are flawless; this is the path to freedom."
i think, to reach it alone would be more bitter than any confinement.

‘cause i left some love in an empty room miles from here—
it’s collecting cobwebs instead of affections
while the idol of unrequited passion burns
and its ashes are faxed to four far corners of a hardhearted world.

i reach a dead end and feel the breath catch in my throat.
there is nothing here but the empty cocoons of the homeless
who have hopefully lifted themselves on dusty wings to a better place
leaving me searching for signs of life in the litter they've left behind.

there is a poster haphazardly taped to the bricks;
no lettering, no information, just the face of a man.
he stares blankly at me from his paper veranda
as if i were a television set, some mundane form of entertainment.

then, unexpectedly, a hole rips through the flyer
to compensate for the boot-clad leg freeing itself from dried pulp
and stepping heavily onto the pavement below.
i stumble back in mixed horror and disbelief as appendages creep lividly from the wall

until the man with the advertised face stands before me.
he pulls a pack of parliaments from his trenchcoat pocket
and wordlessly offers me one as his lighter births infant flame.
soon, the nicotine fog hangs like an opaque grey curtain between us.

then the silence is shattered, with shards of stillness breaking against the asphalt.
"i hope you weren't attempting to be stealthy. i could hear you for miles."
the voice emitted is raspy, the sound of a dull razorblade on the neck of a convict.
i shiver fiercely in response with a zero-kelvin cold.

a frankenstein hand fights through the smoke to grasp my ashen face.
his finger to my lips is a canker sore forming.
"a pretty lil' thing like you shouldn't be caught dead in this mess."
his forked tongue forms the words of nothing i don't already know.

i push him away. "just cut to the chase. we don't need to drag this out.
you know what i came here for, so let's get it over with."
my heart spasms in protest, but i suppress it with clenched fists.
as it dejectedly thuds in my chest, i can taste the bile rising in my throat.

he raises an eyebrow, then sniggers, showing off a yellow shark-toothed grin.
"the princess has a temper! well, you've come a long way for this, sweet cheeks."
he reaches into his coat, pulls out his leather gauntlets blackened with singe.
"say exactly what you need, doll, and your old pal lucifer will handle the rest."

my lungs deflate, punctured by pins and needles of stale air
and the blood dries in my veins like cruel sun blistering the desert.
half of me begs for lockjaw. the other half manipulates the corners of my mouth.
"erase him from my mind. i can't spend my life obsessing."

a glint of guilty pleasure in the devil's red eye seals the deal.
soul extraction's just like getting a tooth pulled, i tell myself regretfully.
it's just another part you don't need, a bland and disposable item.
but it doesn't quell the fear; i'm shaking hard enough to register on a richter scale.

the man in black embraces me, grasping my ribcage in his massive gloved hands.
a flash of doubt sears through me, yet i stand frozen, crucified.
i feel satan's minions pulling at memories like loose strings
and there is chanting in my ears; evolnilr igafognir effuseht eta ivellai sihth tiw.

i come to with dry heaves and a migraine sent from hell itself
to find that i am home in bed with the sheets around my ankles.
i rise and move to the mirror, see the dark circles traced around my eyes,
and dissolve into sobs without knowing why.
Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
you pull the phone from its cradle
(the dial tone wails miserably)
and the glance you throw at me is a mash of expression
the corners of your mouth blending together
bemusement and sorrow
hope and desolation
as you caress the seven numbers
and tell her in broken lies
that you're coming home soon.

after the shy thud of plastic on plastic
and the tumble of ice in a glass poured solely to forget
you stand and turn
so like clockwork
there is a kiss that never meant a blessed thing
and three words said without impact—
beached-and-sundried-starf­ish words
swept back out to sea.

i can wish for revolving doors
to keep you running in perfect circles—
a blissful three-sixty—
and lead you back to my cardboard palace
so we could air out the mold between the creases
just for a glimmer of something
and new.

but there are reasons why the serpent escapes from god.
Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
he was strong. i could see that much. and bitter, with a black-coffee way of speaking that kindled thoughts of fallen soldiers learning to walk again. holding fast to my blue plastic tray in true freshman fashion, my focus wandered to the red band around his arm, akin to the one encircling mine—always a symbol of the hunter, never the hunted. but i could not pay attention to this small detail for long; a gruff voice was asking me questions and a pair of sea eyes swept me away with the tide.

he was tarnished. i knew from the moment he took his seat, like an elderly man would, holding onto the back of the chair for support before lowering himself down. though it was easy to hide behind an ever-charming veneer, the fine wood was peeling at the corners, revealing the coarse plywood beneath. we talked of the living dead, zombies and zeds, planning attacks like star-ornamented generals as casually as two strangers meeting at a coffee shop. we never touched, and a bridge was building on our crumbled foundations.

he was beautiful. an army assembled under his command. and with myself at his side, we were breathtakingly terrifying. breathers defended the air that had held them thus far like a secondhand cradle, yet we were the vacuum that ****** it directly from their lungs. the ruthlessness of it all stirred up carnal instinct in me that had existed millenia before I was even conceived. and he felt it, too. there was no denying that the hypothetical taste of flesh on our tongues was enough sustenance to keep us from feeling the bite of autumn or the memories of betrayal sulking in our war-punctured hearts. a different war, for certain; but there was still the hunter and the hunted, and we fought with every cell within ourselves to be the former.
Written about Humans Versus Zombies, a week-long tag-style game played at many universities, and the relationship founded from within.
Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
***** comet
burning bile
physically sick of the party people—
dull as a broken record
with the same disdainful faces
that leave me screaming ALCOHOL
just to taste anything but bland conversation
and sugar-glazed eyes.

i'm used to fishing for compliments
beneath the **** of society's pond
waiting for someone to swim along
and take the bait

but it's the tragedy of the commons, babe-
everybody's doing it
and there aren't enough good fish left over
to keep me
Lindsey Miller Jun 2012
she's desperately
for the few remaining shards of modesty—
'cause yeah, they'll bite into her palms
but the heaviness of a reputation
is pounding her flat.

blood throbs in her veins.
it's the only credible evidence she has
that this isn't some
semi-permanent nightmare—
no, she's not lucky enough to sleep.

the room's a child's diary
left out in the rain
and everything she owns
is soaked in memory
as salt
and water
and black spider stains on the pillowcase.

and they build webs in her head
and they whisper feed us!
so she cries a little harder to appease them—
after all
their silk is lashed around her wrists
and it's the only type of contact she has left.
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