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Apr 2015 · 2.8k
dear america,
Kelsey Apr 2015
there are invisible children hidden behind
miles of above ground swimming pools
and wooden swing sets. they've seen
life sized doll parts scattered across
their front lawns and were taught how to
take their first steps
as though they were being sent off to war;
knees straight. head tall.
don't flinch at the sight of blood.
a few weeks ago i turned on the local news,
the upcoming story took place in the west side of Detroit.
a photo of a young, colored girl wearing
butterfly shaped barrettes in her hair comes up,
the headline at the bottom of the screen reads,
3-YEAR OLD SHOT IN FRONT YARD
the news reporter talks about the situation
as though she's being forced to discuss
the weather in the middle of a heatwave;
it's the same. ****. thing. every. day.
i'll tell you what no one pictures
when they hear about another ******
in the same city that might as well
start building their front doors
like cemetery gates.

picture the mother
trying to sell a cradle so she has the money
to buy a 3-foot long casket. picture her
walking into her daughter's room
to tuck her into bed & remembering that she's
got nothing left but empty hands.
dear america,
tell me why some of us were born
with targets sewn into our backs, tell me if it
disturbs you at all that there are children
who want to chip off their skin, that want to be painted
a new color because they want to see if the light
will hit them in a different way,
& make them less invisible.
Oct 2014 · 2.4k
evanescent
Kelsey Oct 2014
i always seem to be sitting
in the middle of intersections
like a traffic light that hasn't
hung itself yet, always
seem to be waiting in the
middle of the ghost town
of where our love was first
built. there's a hospital
down the road where the
waiting room chairs are
much more morbid than
the hospital beds and
every electric heart rate
line sitting on the screen
of the heart monitors flatten,
make long beeping sounds
like an alarm clock, like a
wake up call; they make
long beeps like the ringing
i hear inside of the phone
when i call the owner of
the voice mail i've seem to
have made a home out of.
they took every place
we kissed and turned it into
a church that closes on
Sundays and holds a choir
full of people that lost their
voice in their own war. i've
been in the line for the
confessional for about two
years now because every
time i go up to say how
badly i want you to feel it
back, i let the girl wearing
your t-shirt cut in front of
me. the sidewalks only
seem to crack when they
remember how it felt
when you walked on them,
when you gave the ground
its purpose. one of these
nights the traffic lights will
come to their senses,
drop into the intersection
and crumble right next to me
because it's not like they have
anything to stop or at least
slow down because this is
a ghost town, & nothing is coming back.
Oct 2014 · 1.4k
Unbuttoning
Kelsey Oct 2014
i open the front door & a small
man with his shirt buttoned all
the way up asks me if i'd like to
buy a pocket bible, so i can
worship wherever i go. i ask if i
can fit it in a flask & if it's okay
to take with whiskey. his eyelids
shut like a casket as he touches
his forehead, chest, right shoulder
then left shoulder. tells me i'm
going to hell. i crawl back
onto my bar stool and drink from
the ceramic mug you glued back
together the night you saw my face
and pictured a room full of soft
things shattering. i can hear the
sound of a train & it's such a shame
that the nearest railroad is under
construction. it's such a shame that
the floor of my mind is set up like
a child's playroom with plastic
train tracks set in the center & a
younger version of myself is sitting
in front of them playing with a
replica of the train my whole body
was begging to be kissed by.
ugh, kissing. my god. i'm so high.
kiss me in my death spot, the
spot that'll be where my life ends.
replace my train tracks with
a dollhouse. tell the soft things
that i love them. open my front door,
tell the small man to unbutton his
shirt, that not everyone buys
pants with pockets in them.
wake me up when i'm sober &
tell me to write an ending to this.
i cannot think of an ending. please
don't let me become it
Oct 2014 · 2.1k
Ship in a Bottle
Kelsey Oct 2014
the average human
describes their heartbeat
as a thud-thud or a few
rough pats to the chest.

i fall asleep with my ear
pressed up against your
chest. all i can hear is the
echo of a captain yelling,
"let me sink...let me sink..."
i ask you how you would
describe your heartbeat,
you point to the ship
in the bottle mounted on
your father's bookshelf
& faintly say
"the glass bottle keeps the
ship from sinking, completely
blocking out the captain's wish
to learn how to breathe
underwater because air just
isn't doing its job with keeping
him alive."


your break up letter to me
went a little something like;

"you were built in the fire,
stop acting like you burn in it.
you were never made to be fragile,
you were never made to be my glass."


my plead for you to stay
went a little something like;

(20) Missed Calls

your final goodbye
went a little something like;

a thud thud to the pavement.

& my final goodbye was
cracking open a bottle on your
headstone & standing in the sea
with the water rising up to
my knees, with a small ship in
the palm of my hand, a dunk
underneath the tide & a faint
whisper, *"breathe."
Oct 2014 · 1.7k
Friday
Kelsey Oct 2014
he stands tall,
you get on your knees
& he shoves his gun barrel
between your lips,
he presses it to the
back of your throat &
asks you to look him
in the eyes, says not to
flinch when he pulls
the trigger or even try
to think of a last word
that doesn't end with
the final syllable of his
name. the fingers on his
left hand slide from the
front of your throat to
the back all in one gentle
motion, like this has
happened before. this
is a normal friday night,
this is the place where
all girls who **** like
they're trying to turn
modern architecture into
ruins go to die.
Kelsey Aug 2014
Somewhere there is a nurse putting clean sheets on what was once someone's death bed. Somewhere there is a police officer laying awake at two in the morning contemplating breaking his thumbs so he won't have to pull another trigger. Somewhere there is a body bag taking the shape of a person. Somewhere a warden has accidentally called a prisoner by their first name. Somewhere there is a man getting ready to pay for his glass of whiskey, his '1 year' AA token falls out of his wallet onto the bar counter. Somewhere the glass is completely empty, somewhere it's overflowing. Somewhere a therapist sitting in an empty session reading the local newspaper's obituary section wondering what she could've done. Somewhere a bullet has fallen in love with a heart, giving a whole new meaning to the 'kiss of death'. Somewhere the girl that never speaks is raising her hand but immediately putting it back down after the sound of her classmates' laughter bounces back and forth from the back of her mind to the front. Somewhere the silence at the dinner table is making a dent in a child's suit of armor. Somewhere a 70 year old man starts skipping instead of walking, he stops taking his medication. Somewhere there is a mother too drunk to sign her daughter's permission slip. Somewhere a man has stolen all of the flowers from a grave, so he can somehow feel as though he's  being missed. Somewhere a child is asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she realizes ''myself'' isn't a good enough answer. Somewhere a mirror has been mistaken for a stranger. Somewhere someone is being loved by another person the only way they know how to love; whether it's through kisses, bruises, sleeping too closely to the other, or fifteen missed calls. Somewhere a man is falling in love with the automated voice inside of a voice mail because at least she will listen to him. Somewhere a 911 operator is walking into her house, hearing screams that aren't actually there. Somewhere these short stories are being broadcasted on the news,  printed in the paper, whispered to a friend, or rotting in the back of someone's head. Somewhere I am whispering all of these things to a silent room full of people, none of them look up.
Aug 2014 · 2.8k
Cardboard Castle
Kelsey Aug 2014
Sometimes I tell myself that it's okay to feel this way,
that God gets tired too,
that sometimes He is the small child
slaving over a sewing machine
turning thread into warmth,
but not every sweater He makes
is made without a few loose strings,
or pockets sewn shut
or mismatched buttons.
My knees sink into the end of my bed
as I rest my elbows on my window sill.
I think as our hands face each other
and touch for the millionth time,
it's like a silent clap
that only the angels can here,
sometimes I apologize
to those resting in peace
for making their home sound more like
the ending of the movie
instead of the end of the book.
I greet God the same way
I greet your headstone.
I ask Him how He is,
why He only speaks in light,
and then I pretend to talk to Him,
when really I am talking to myself
or your headstone...again.
I say, "It's okay to feel this way.
I think it's okay to watch,
to write in depth about strangers,
I think it's okay to detach
yourself from the weight of existing.
Everyone around me built
themselves kingdoms,
they kept fire breathing dragons,
rolled out their drawbridges like red carpets
and I built myself a cardboard castle.
I built it on the highest hill
with a view of all of the kingdoms
and you know what?
I was alone,
but I had room to breathe
and sometimes that's all  you can ask for;
an empty room with a closed door
and open window.
I said grace at dinner earlier,
but I said it out of tradition,    
not out of genuine thankfulness.
So, thank you for the empty room
with the closed door and open window,
I know you're tired,
I hope you can respond when you get a chance."
May 2014 · 1.6k
Matches
Kelsey May 2014
I'm sitting at the edge of every minute you thought should've been your last, thinking.
Thinking about how different things should be verses what they currently are.
What if my fingertips weren't built like the tips of matches?
My hands would be more skin than third degree burns or the look of a kitchen ceiling after a mother's cry for help after burning down the whole kitchen trying to put a meal in front of her children,
with an empty bottle of whiskey in her left hand.
If this is how it needs to be so that you can cope,
you can burn my insides like you're trying to get the attention of a rescue helicopter,
but don't think for a second you can use me to warm up your hands while we wait, don't you dare.
You can treat me like a war zone but you will not shed a single tear over any bloodshed pouring through my territory.
None of this should've happened.
The only tone you'd ever taught your voice was to let your tongue hit the back of your teeth
the same way rain hits the inner workings of a chestnut piano,
you set it in a storm and 'rhythm' loses its meaning.
You've been taking piano lessons since you were six,
your voice shouldn't sound this way.
Maybe if I had learned to let go the correct way,
If I knew there was a correct way.
Either you let go of something and watch it hit the pavement and try to keep the feeling away from your heart,
or you let it slip right from your fingers which doesn't work out well when your fingertips are made of matches and your veins are storing gasoline.
Mar 2014 · 2.5k
What Is 'This'
Kelsey Mar 2014
THESE ARE YOUR HANDS AND THIS IS HOW YOU TELL THE FLAMES YOU'RE NOT ALL BAD.
THESE ARE YOUR THIRD DEGREE BURNS TO SAY YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH BONES MELTING IN TRUST ISSUES.
THESE ARE YOUR WRISTS, THOSE ARE YOUR KNEECAPS, THIS IS YOUR STORY.
THIS IS HOW YOU BITE YOUR TONGUE BUT STILL MANAGE TO LEAVE THE WORLD WONDERING HOW YOU COULD MATCH UP TO THUNDER'S HARMONIES,
THIS IS HOW YOU WHISPER TO MOUNTAINS AND KNOW THE PEAKS WILL HEAR YOU.
THIS IS HOW YOU TELL THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD TO SHAKE HANDS WITHOUT STARTING AN EARTHQUAKE,
THIS IS HOW YOU TELL DEPRESSION TO LIGHTEN UP,
THIS IS HOW YOU GRAB ANXIETY BY THE SHOULDERS AND SING LULLABIES TO ITS LUNGS.
THIS IS HOW YOU WALK UP TO GOD AND RIP OPEN YOUR CHEST WITHOUT INTRODUCING YOURSELF FIRST AND ASK "WHY?"
THERE'S PAPER UNDERNEATH YOUR PILLOW,
THOSE ARE THE NOTES YOU PASSED TO YOUR BEST FRIEND IN THE THIRD GRADE WHEN YOU TOLD HER ABOUT YOUR FIRST CRUSH.
THERE'S A PAPER THAT'S BEEN IN YOUR BACK POCKET FOR A YEAR AND A HALF,
THE ONE NEXT TO YOUR RECEIPT FOR A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY AND STAIN REMOVER,
THIS IS THE NOTE SHE WROTE YOU A WEEK BEFORE HER FUNERAL.
THIS IS HOW YOU WASH YOUR JEANS WITH TWO CUPS OF 'TODAY I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET'.
THIS IS HOW YOU COPE.
THIS IS HOW YOU LAY ON MUD STAINED CARPETING AND AND STARE AT YOUR BROKEN DOOR,
THIS IS HOW YOU CONVERT TO HARDWOOD FLOORS AND STRONGER DOOR HINGES.
THIS IS HOW YOU WIN A WAR WITH ONE BODY ON A BATTLEFIELD,
THIS IS HOW YOU SHOW A BLIND MAN THAT YOU CAN PAINT A ******* MASTERPIECE.
THIS IS HOW YOU REACH HEAVEN WITHOUT DYING, THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW HELL WITHOUT LIVING THROUGH IT.
THIS IS HOW YOU UNDERSTAND THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE, BY CROSSING PATHS WITH THE GUY THAT MADE YOU HATE WET PAVEMENT AND THE SMELL AFTER IT RAINS,
THIS IS HOW YOU HELD HIS HAND THE SAME WAY YOU HOLD A KNIFE, THIS IS HOW YOU LEARN FORGIVENESS.
THIS IS HOW YOU SMOKE WITH THREE LUNGS AND LOVE WITH ONE.
THIS IS HOW YOU STUFF THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE IN A FORTUNE COOKIE AND LEARN PATIENCE.
THIS IS HOW YOU TELL PEOPLE YOU'RE NOTHING LIKE YOUR MOTHER. THIS IS HOW YOU SAY YOU HAVE YOUR EYES, NOT HERS BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU UNCLENCH YOUR HUSBANDS FISTS.
THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE SOMEONE THAT NEVER KNEW HOW TO BE ALONE, THIS IS HOW YOU WORRY.
THIS IS HOW YOU CONFIDE IN A HOSPITAL BED TO TEACH YOU HOW TO LET GO.
THIS IS HOW YOU LET THE NURSE WITH SHAKY HANDS TEACH YOU HOW TO TRACE THE STRAIGHT LINE ON YOUR HEART MONITOR AND BE OKAY AFTERWARDS. THIS IS HOW YOU LIVE AND ACCEPT DEATH.
THIS IS HOW YOU UNEARTH YOURSELF,
THIS IS HOW YOU STOP EXISTING,
THIS IS HOW YOU STOP FOCUSING ON LIVING AND BREATHE FOR YOURSELF.
THIS IS HOW YOU STOP THINKING AND FEEL.
THIS IS HOW YOU SPEND A LIFETIME TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT 'THIS' IS.
Feb 2014 · 2.4k
An Unspoken Heaven
Kelsey Feb 2014
I visited your grave the other day, and it occurred to me that I couldn't tell you how I was doing.
I assumed you're doing fine, or at least I'd like to think so.
I couldn't bare to tell you that I've stopped believing in Heaven,
I couldn't bare to tell you that I've become the soil surrounding your casket.
I sat there in silence while my fingers went numb and I swear for a second
I could feel my soul sinking into the ground trying to shake you awake,
To tell you I need you. To tell you I haven't made progress. I'm killing everyone around me.
I wanted you to wake up for just ten minutes. I wanted to tell you everything I haven't been able to write nor say out loud.
I wanted to tell you that I'm okay and I wanted you to tuck my hair behind my ear
and melt these frozen tears off my cheeks and look me straight in the eyes to tell me that I'm not.
I wanted to sit there in your arms and scream,
Because every time I try screaming, I  fear that I'll awaken parts of me that are meant to stay unconscious.
But I've been meaning to think about myself for a second and-
I'VE BEEN SPENDING RESTLESS NIGHTS CLENCHING MY FISTS AROUND MY BEDSHEETS,
AND DIGGING MY FINGERNAILS INTO MY HANDS BECAUSE I'VE FOUND AN ADDICTION THAT I CANNOT TAME,
THE SIGHT OF BLOOD DOESN'T BOTHER ME THE WAY IT USED TO.
I'VE STARTED DOING THINGS TO FORGET.
I'VE STARTED LIGHTING PLANTS ON FIRE TO GET SOME SORT OF HIGH OUT OF LIVING.
I'VE STARTED BECOMING THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU TOLD ME NEVER TO BE.
MY PALMS ARE THE EYES OF HURRICANES AND DESTROY EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH,
WHY IS EVERYONE ACTING LIKE THEY NEVER SAW THE TREMBLING IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SANITY IS AND I DON'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME
MY HEAD WAS SILENT.
IT'S LONELY YOU KNOW, HAVING FIVE DIFFERENT PEOPLE TALK TO YOU AT ONCE IN BETWEEN YOUR EARS.
I MET SOMEONE THAT LIVES A BORDERLINE AWAY BUT STILL MANAGES TO SIT
ON MY PORCH AND WAIT FOR ME TO LET HIM IN.
I CAN'T STOP LEAVING DINNER TABLES WITHOUT PUSHING MY CHAIR IN FIRST,
I CAN'T STOP LEAVING PEOPLE WITHOUT SAYING GOODBYE.
I FEEL TOO FULL. I FEEL TO FULL OF FLAMES BURNING DOWN EVERY LAST CITY IN MY BODY,
I FEEL EMPTY. I FEEL LIKE IT'S SUNDAY MORNING AND I'VE POURED MY FATHER A BOWL OF CEREAL JUST TO FIND OUT WE'RE OUT OF MILK.
PLEASE DON'T HURT ME, I'M SORRY, I DIDN'T MEAN TO, PLEASE DON'T HUR-
I have a body made of one-hundred sheets of college ruled notebook paper that kids like me used to make scrapbooks out of.
I am a collection of bruises holding up photos of a Father's fist,
My hands were only made to hold those who feel empty when not holding a glass of wine.
Some days I am full of constant negativity and feel the need to rip grass out from the earth
and throw China cabinets to the floor to say that nothing stays pure forever.
I stopped thinking about myself for a second.
I sat at your grave and said nothing.
I was going to tell you all of this but I couldn't bare to tell you I stopped believing in Heaven.
The only time I ever saw you smile was on Sunday mornings.

— The End —