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 Oct 2014 Kelsey
Everything is exactly what it is, and at the same time it is more than what it is.

I spend all of my time hoping you will understand.

It took me two car wrecks and 20 of your mother's favorite pieces of china lying broken on the kitchen floor to realize the world has so much more to say when it is silent.

Come back before you are ready.
Come back as anything you want, but you are still responsible for what follows you.

We need quiet to help us understand sound, as in : we need this tree to look differently under a cloudy sky than it does under a clear one.
The Why comes later.

Your father kisses your cheek and tells you goodbye and you spend the rest of your life not believing him.
 Aug 2014 Kelsey
The miracle, the way that we have found enough light in people to see them as more than a spit of darkness, is my biggest question.
Because the heart is tender, and more of a song than anything else,
and it is up to us who we allow to echo throughout our hollow bodies, proving again that our anatomy an opera house, and coming home a
form of apologizing without even speaking. You only die as many times as you live, you only come back somewhere one time until it starts to become a
piece of you.
People are the same way.

It was not how her hands
trembled pouring orange juice at breakfast, or how I saw his eyes never looking at her the right way,
but it was the silence that broke my heart. The quiet, the absence of everything beautiful floating in midair, suspended like lungs that
were made to be drowned and never had the taste of saltwater.
Silence, more than any word, carries the weight of cities, it is
the red exit sign, sitting atop the door near the back of every
restraunt that you look for without even meaning to. I want to
write about life, and how much it simply is, and how there is so much
to it, but I can't tell the difference between it, and the moments that
define it. All of these personal infinities that shape us like skin was made from wood and hands made to carve, and I find myself grateful for the small
eternities that come to me.
All of these ways to take the tender from the heart.
 Aug 2014 Kelsey
Even in your medication, even in the early morning and the foggy air and the heat from a meal your Mother made you, one you ate as if it was a way to recover, your promises haunt you like a quiet hum that no one else notices, one that sits at the back of your skull until it softly melts into something that you call a part of you. And the rain is still there.
Still in its eternal state of trying to find enough within itself to break down whatever doors it believes to be knocking against, and you look right past it.
Your Mother made you this meal, your Mother was singing in the kitchen, the same one that you swear gave color to her milky skin, the same one where you saw that same skin bruised by your Father.
And you don't know how she can make such a place seem so much easier to step foot in, like the whole time you're just looking for a way out but for right now, where you are is okay. With some people, their dreams find ways to follow them when they wake up and then they slowly start to ease their way into places like the bottoms of their sneakers or even their shadow, and then one day, when you try to remember why you are here, and the way the winds would blow right through you in your slumber, you realize there isn't a difference between the skin that held you at birth, (the skin that was there the moment you became and the moment you became less all at once) and the things it cannot touch, and you see that everything is it's own language and has its own way of being and it is beautiful. And every day in your wake, in the moments you rarely remember, you lose a sense as to why, you even forget to ask about it, and it is up to you whether or not you find it, or replace it with the things people give you, because people will give you a lot. They may not notice it, they may not even have good intentions, but they will keep your hands full.
 Aug 2014 Kelsey
Alex Fountain
Nobody teaches you how to react when you are woken up by the people you live with as they are screaming obscenities at each other.
Nobody teaches you how to defend your mom against the one she chose to marry and his demeaning words, full of hatred and anger.
Nobody teaches you how to tell the phone operator what is happening while also trying to stop the tears that continue to pour from your already burning eyes.
Nobody teaches you how to pry a 45 year old from a 14 year old or how to stay safe until the police arrive at your house.
Nobody teaches you how to convince your brother to come back inside after running away into the cold, December winds in order to protect himself.
Nobody teaches you how to quickly and efficiently pack your belongings into three small bags when your home life escalates from bad to worse to hell-on-earth.
Nobody teaches you how to tell your friends that you will not be coming back to school.
And nobody teaches you how to survive when you are no longer welcome to live at the place you once called home.

Nobody taught me how to react when I was woken up by the people I lived with as they were screaming obscenities at each other.
I was not aware that standing outside my bedroom door – with every limb of my body cemented into place and stricken with fear, unable to move or even breathe, let alone defuse the situation – was worthy of being verbally attacked.
I did not know what to do when actions were required.

Nobody taught me how to defend my mom against the one she chose to marry and his demeaning words, full of hatred and anger.
I could not think of the right words to say to put an end to
the hysteria in which my mom was continuously put down and verbally spat upon.
I could not think of the right steps to take to ensure she would no longer fall victim to words that did not accurately describe her worth.
I did not know how to defend my own mother.

Nobody taught me how to tell the phone operator what was happening while also trying to stop the tears that continued to pour from my already burning eyes.
I did not know how to breathe properly - in and out, in and out - or how to put my words into coherent sentences or how to listen to what I was being told from the operator and my mom and the cacophony of other voices that were piercing my ears with every uttered sound or how to recall my name, age, and address.
I did not know how to make a simple phone call.

Nobody taught me how to pry a 45 year old from a 14 year old or how to stay safe until the police arrived at my house.
I never before had to witness the strength that adrenaline causes a scrawny, teenage boy to possess.
I never before had to witness the deranged sight of a pair of eyes when they are locked onto your only brother, waiting and wanting to hurt him in more ways than one.
I never before had to witness and endure the way in which seconds seem to last hours when waiting for the police to bring safety and an end to the nightmare that had become real life.
I did not know how to escape the paralyzing effect of pure, unfathomable fear.

Nobody taught me how to convince my brother to come back inside after running away into the cold, December winds in order to protect himself.
I did not realize that sometimes letting my younger brother run away from home is the best thing to do.
I did not realize that sometimes the police agree that you should not chase after kids who run away.
I did not realize that sometimes he would rather be cold than bruised.
I did not know how fast a person could run when he is scared.

Nobody taught me how to quickly and efficiently pack my belongings into three small bags when my home life escalated from bad to worse to hell-on-earth.
I could not differentiate between what items were wants and what items were needs, what items I needed to live and what items I needed to survive.
I could not differentiate between the voice of the police telling me to “hurry up” and the voice in my head telling me “you aren't going fast enough.”
I did not know how to move out.

Nobody taught me how to tell my friends that I will not be coming back to school.
I cannot absorb the questions that I am relentlessly asked: Yes, I am okay; No, I don't know what's going to happen; Maybe I will be able finish out the week.
I cannot absorb the look of disbelief and confusion in the eyes of my closest friends and even those who I can only call acquaintances.
I do not know how to leave my friends.

Nobody is teaching me how to survive since I am no longer welcome to live at the place I once called home.
I was not aware how quickly feelings can, and do, change from acceptance to rejection.
I could not think of what was going through my mom's head as she and her children were mercilessly attacked with both sentences and strength.
I did not know how to talk to the 9-1-1 dispatcher when my words were so desperately needed.
I never before had to witness such deep animosity within one household.
I did not realize that sometimes words hurt just as much as sticks and stones.
I could not differentiate between the sounds of stomping feet and the sounds of police banging on the door.
I cannot absorb the fact that I am not allowed to go back to the place I lived for four years.
*I do not know what to do.
 May 2014 Kelsey
Giving Credit
 May 2014 Kelsey
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul says :
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

I do not know anything about God except that he was sure to not make us strong enough.
When people leave something, even if they don't see it, even if their memory forgets it so strongly that it's existence becomes less than it has ever been before, something in the world forgets how to grow.
Forgiveness is difficult.
Understanding is difficult.
But no one ever really has time for things that come easy.
Remember that we did not give the world it's color, we are only here to watch it change.

I am only here to show you that even in loss, even in darkness and ways and places that we may never understand, there is always something to see.
I wonder if everything in this world is connected in some way similar to that, and if we, in our most bare state of being, were once broken at the hip from the pieces of this world we hold most beautiful.

I know what the body sings, and what pushes blood inside people's arms and legs, how life and death is the only art that humanity is worthy of remembering. About the ending of things: is there any better way to die than lying on concrete, feeling your Life detach itself from your core and knowing nothing that you can hold on to is going to save you today, knowing that this is simply a conclusion of what was always there?
Remember: we never love anything enough to keep it alive,
and whether or not you want to believe it, you need more than love, because we are not built to withstand something so immense.
But in our lifetime, if we are lucky, we will find someone who makes you feel the way you do when you hear your Mother laughing from the living room.
How even the smallest ways to love things are greater than happy endings and how even in our greatest moments we are simply what we are.
 May 2014 Kelsey
Tom Leveille
i have racked my mind
trying to figure this whole thing out
the staying, the going
the threads we claim hold us here
& the people who've stopped to play a tune on them
i sometimes relate it
to waking up in waist deep snow
in our former selves
the us we wish we could give one another
the children we've sat on the shelves
trapped, like the looks
we leave behind in snow globes
i sometimes imagine ships
dragging the bottom to the sea of "me"
for sleep & pieces of my old self
to sell to the new one
like history doesn't repeat itself
it gets me wondering
if you too want an apology from the rain
or if you dream of burning family photo albums
and wearing the ashes like perfume
if you're anything like me
how i hope god chokes
on memories of me blowing out candles as a child
i know i shouldn't reference my reader  
but don't you know, the only difference
between alone & lonely is you?
that if my hands could talk
the only thing they'd be able to say
is "dear god we've missed you"
and how can you tell me it isn't love
when even the rain refuses to fall
in places where i've kissed you
i remember the day
you found my smile at a yard sale
it reminds me of how you'll leave
i wonder if when you go
you'll tell yourself
the person in the rear view mirror
is closer than they appear
 Apr 2014 Kelsey
Tom Leveille
i can feel you
distancing yourself from me
i can feel continental drift
i wonder, do the shoes
you wear to run from me
have holes in them?
or do you go barefoot
careful not to make a sound
in your retreat. "cover your tracks & don't look back" i imagine
your demons whisper daily
as you are growing fond of me
i wonder if your heart puts up a fight when you want to see me
or if it's a massacre
& the demons dance
on dreams you have
of us holding hands
do you wander to your car
only to find yourself back in bed?
do you put your makeup on
just to take if off again?  
is your imagination of me
a graveyard, or a pair of open arms
that are inches away
but just out of reach?
you see, what i've been so afraid
to tell you for so long,
why i feign sometimes
before speaking
careful not to tell you
all my unspoken promises,
it has to do with the night you had your head on my chest and confessed you never thought my heart
could beat like hummingbird wings:
i apologize for my silence
what i've been trying to say
is that my heart hasn't slowed down
since the day we drank coffee together
continents apart
 Mar 2014 Kelsey
Tom Leveille
today i kicked the door
to history off it's hinges
my jealous frame:
still too proud to say a word
it seems my folks forgot
to pencil in growth marks
cause they thought their boy
would never grow out of small breath
******* dead, years now buried
and i bare his name
too many syllables
for my father to go back
fish & play football
to stand in the yard and play catch

my mom, the bombshell in retrospect
broke her back in her sleep
a thousand times
since the stairwell in 87'
she still sits for spills
post nuclear about settling
now from the couch
she's a weather report
spouting nonsense
that makes my father
grow grey, crack remotes
& slam doors to dark rooms
abandoning ship
for "cheers" & "scienfeld"
while my mother
sometimes forgets
and sets his place at the table
and my appetite is abducted
by family photos
my mother says things like
"go see your brother today"
-- Johnny's long gone
don't you remember?
we buried him
the day your smile died

you are inches from me
******* a stray hair
caught in the fabric of your coat
the last remnants of a dog
we laid to rest last week
and here we are
in the hospital again
people don't shake like dogs
finality is found
in the eyes of humans
passing archways
into shallow rooms
where plague and prayer
are the only songs sung
round the stagnant clocks
it makes me wonder
if the clipboards cry
over being the last thing
someone ever writes on
take a number, have a seat
stay a while
i am back, 7 years old
& there are different doors now
they buried the ones
you kicked in that night in '92
when my lungs
were filled with holy water
you never stopped smoking
*i never grew out of asthma
 Mar 2014 Kelsey
1) For every great skyscraper, there are petty fingers that built them.
I wonder if we were made the same way.
They were strong enough to raise a hammer, but not enough to raise a family.
I wonder if we were made the same way.
She is cold, and he is drinking, and this is our backbone.
She is alone and he is driving home too fast because sometimes you don't have to be in the wrong place to be looking for the wrong thing.
She is afraid and he is warm, this is the beginning spark of a forrest fire filled with broken glass shattering in broken homes with broken people inside on a broken piece of land in a city that has too much rain for someone to build an emergency room in. Everyone with a burden holds their confessions in their left palm and their beggings in their right and no one ends up having enough arms to hold each other.
2) One day the whole world will be in your hands too, and you'll see that sometimes darkness can blind you worse than the red glare the sun paints your vision when you stare at it with your eyes closed.
You will be brave, you will stand up straight, you will stop being royal when people stop painting Jesus with a purple robe.
Even the concrete asks the sun to make it a garden so try cracking your knuckles a little louder and maybe you will wake up as a mountain.
3) Autumn. When you wrote secrets on notebook paper and taped them underneath benches in the city park, you gave too many pieces of yourself to things that weren't made for holding that much weight.
But you said it kept you honest and there were never any reasons for me to ask you to stop giving away the parts of you I wanted to myself. It kept me humble.
4) I am alone
5) You are October in a green dress with a black mask around your eyes and you have stolen the breathe of that day. And I hope when you are 80 years old you feel a breeze sliding on the back of your neck reminding yourself of all the times it should have snapped in half during the moments of what should have been your hanging, how it takes you back to living life like you're always in the desert and stealing innocent people's money and smoking cigarettes beside rattlesnakes.
I hope you find a beach in the Caribbean that asks to be died on, I hope you learn to forgive people harder than you can cry on their shoulder. I hope you watch a sunrise that you spend the rest of your life thinking about. I feel like for that to happen you need your feet in the ocean or underneath a rocking chair, but I would settle for your bedroom.
6) But with you it was never settling.
 Mar 2014 Kelsey
 Mar 2014 Kelsey
what you need to understand about me is that i am nothing more than misplaced passion and a pair of blindly swinging fists that tremble with unrighteous anger. so allow me to apologize in advance for the fires my subconscious starts. i am a clumsy compilation of ill-suited lines that will never see life in your poetry. at least, not like they used to. you are a book filled with with pictures i never got to take, and every day i am forced to sit idly by while she starts a new roll of film. the missile crisis reincarnate is inside my chest, so forgive me for not being able to control when i shake. forgive me for fumbling with syntax so crassly. i know better than to spew hate and call it poetry. please understand that the endless series of sinking ships in my head makes it difficult to form coherent thought. my thoughts, will **** me, if your absence doesn't first. i think about your hands more than i am proud to admit, and when i picture them reaching for her i feel so sick. i'm sorry. i am so sorry that i haven't yet learned how to moderate the volcano in my throat. i'm so sorry for spitting fire with my eyes closed. forgive me for confusing anger with bravery and burning down too many houses to count. in my misguided thirst for blood i weaponized memories and threw them like daggers in every direction, but the only one being hit is me. i am so tired of bleeding, i am tired of this one-sided war, i am tired of being a war. i tried so hard to be catharsis personified but i have to face the reality that my arms would only hold you like a grave. i loved you like rainwater, and lost you like time. you were never mine. you were never mine. you were never mine. i have to say that to myself every day because it eases the pain of watching you belong to anyone else. but i can't ignore the surplus of "what if's" wreaking havoc in my consciousness. i think that's why i get so angry when i picture you laughing with her instead of me. i am blocking out the memory of the night you told me my laughter could cure your sadness. ******* it. i am trapped in a nightmare where the walls of the home we built are lined with photographs of her. this is why i can't breathe at the thought of her smiling when the flash goes off. they say that nothing good stays; i have never been good at leaving, so i guess that makes sense. you once referred to me as an anxious mess you would spend the rest of your life cleaning up, and i can't get that out of my head. i hope you know, that after everything, i would still sit and collect dust on a shelf in your house forever, if that's what you wanted me to do. but i know it's not, so i'll go back to apologizing. i'm sorry that my rage doesn't have an off switch. i'm sorry for being a literal spitfire. i'm sorry for being an earthquake under her glass slippers. i'm sorry that my mouth is a loaded gun and that i have ****** aim. i swear to god i'm trying not to shoot so often but this is one of the hardest things i have ever done. so until i learn control i will burn in silence with the safety on.  

- m.f.
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