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because i can house children within me
and can create their food from pieces of my flesh, blood and tears
it is said that i must
sit up straight
cross my ankles
be softer than silk
quieter than a butterfly
and hold myself with the grace of a doe.
i mustn't be loud or brash
i mustn't play with my food
or allow my hair to go unbrushed
or allow my body hair to exist
or run barefoot through the mud.
these expectations suffocate me.
you cannot put me in an airtight box
and expect me
not to struggle to escape.
 Nov 2020 Aspen S
 Nov 2020 Aspen S
I threw up in the sink this morning
When brushing my teeth
I stayed in bed too late again
So I hope nobody sees
The chronic messy bedhead
And the stringy, flakey grease

Putting on old wrinkled clothes
With that ***** laundry stink
Sleeping on a bare mattress
Too lazy to put on sheets
Saying I’ll pick up later
But I’m always napping

Laying on a naked bed
Swaddled in familiar dread
Making no plans to change it
Because I’m sick of trying

I’ve never felt as committed to life
As I have to dying
I haven’t bothered to write lately
Because I’m tired of whining
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
bess goldstein
silk sheets scraping smooth skin
hiding from the morning sun-
the sky looking down at her
picking clouds out one by one.

jays chirping the same song
each night before bed--
the blues lyrics
always getting stuck in her head.

the shirt she wore when she first kissed you,
hands grasping so tight her veins went

when she sees her favorite color,
she only thinks of you--
but when you're together
she is never really blue.
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
b e mccomb
i didn't understand half
the words he said
and i don't understand half
the words you write

michael jackson
and waylon jennings
wrapped in a paper towel
"papa would be proud of you"
scratched in the back of
a children's book

it's the oddest thing
to no longer miss
someone who's been
gone so long

an odder thing to sit
in silence on your bed
with the fitted sheet all pulled
off the side next to the wall
feeling your best friend's
little sister's scratchy blue
nylon mattress rub
up against your sore feet

and open card
after card
after card
filled with glittering
words of praise and
monetary gifts

and then read about all
the things about you
that people think are
worthy of mentioning
and you start to
see a pattern

"thank you for serving"
"let God lead you"
"keep rapping"

(thank you
and by the way
i don't rap only
occasionally slam)

it starts to feel like a
bulletpoint hallmark eulogy
like you've left your body
and are reading about someone else
reviewing all the better
more visible parts of yourself
the parts deemed loud
enough to be acknowledged.

and you start to see
what's lurking off
the edge of the card
and the words they didn't write
the places that you
went wrong

the question marks
behind their eyes
wondering why they
haven't seen you for two months
why your hair is a different color
why someone else is in your seat

and the semicolons in
your stomach
when you realize that
you've made a mistake
and even with all the hurts caused
you've still got a family out there.

i'll say this
when it comes to
graduations and funerals
you find out who your friends are

the people who matter
will show up in the end.

am i mislead in thinking
that sometimes people
don't say everything they
think or feel until it's too
late because it takes a
loss to make them realize?
Copyright 6/13/16 by B. E. McComb
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
i learnt a lot about
myself today.

i learnt a lot about
fear today.

fear of
missing out

ive heard the term before
but never thought
it was something ive felt.

i went to my high school graduation
ceremony today.
only a year ago it was me.

that day wasnt for me anymore
and i stuck around
like a fly on the wall
asking if they remembered
when i was there too.

if people can be toxic
im glowing bright green.
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
melting minutes
into memories,
in to mayday parades of
everything i should have done,
everything i couldn't,
everyone who said i had to.
the days are starting
to feel like distant places
where my past self lives;
it is a miracle that i made
it here, it is a miracle
that i'm leaving,
it is a miracle
that my muscle memory
hasn't made me ruin it.
i've been thinking about
those first days,
the majestic trauma of
eighteen now the
monstrosity of twenty-two.
ahead of me lies a path of
i don't even know what
but i made it here,
i can make it anywhere.
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
i stole the man in the moon
and now i keep him in my room

i hop into my portable radio at night
and i switch the channels
when I get a fright

outside the schools of silver coin fish,
outside, the turtle, who
for a shell, stole a gold dish

yes, you may touch me
but that doesn't make me real

this wavering water glass
is between us
in panes i cannot feel

a glint of gold smoke,
flash of a crystal cigarette

shimmered right out of the spot she stood in,
with one sparkling pirouette
 Aug 2019 Aspen S
i run purely on coffee and thoughts of you
- things i hope you know
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