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Madisen Kuhn Mar 27
come here. i’ll wrap myself around you
most of the time i’m sure i’m a sliding glass door
obvious like a schoolgirl crush
never able to hide the pink in my cheeks
or bury the truth behind enough broken parables
i’m about as vigilant as a chihuahua
perched on top of a sofa barking at the mailman
forgetting for a moment that you could pick me up
and put me down on the floor but
i promise i’ll just jump back up again
never fully accepting the plainness of my bluff
the winters crack my knuckles but
i don’t want to buy another pair of gloves
i’ve got ripped fingernails turned ******
and a kitchen sink full of unwashed mugs
and you’re pulling my hands away from my face
trying to show me how much we look the same
Madisen Kuhn Mar 27
someday i’ll be too busy to notice the vampires
the sun wakes me up and i know who i am
maybe the chaos will always be there but
i’ll find a way to break it down into mulch and grow
pears and herbs and gardenias from what’s left of me
it takes a while to accept that the shadows matter
and i can’t pretend to know the watermelon lollipop
without the tongue that exists only to melt it away
to turn it into nothing until all that’s left is a paper stick
it might feel like freedom now but it can’t forever
i’ll pull down the curtains and never snooze an alarm again
the worst thing i can think of is writing the same poem
each day for the rest of my life and everyone knowing it
but me
Madisen Kuhn Mar 27
have you ever held the sun in your hands
sometimes i carry it around in my pockets and forget it’s there
sometimes i feel so full of it that i believe in god again
what else is there besides
the streams of light peeking through magnolia leaves
who am i to the baseball shirt
to the blazer or the black fishnets or the crooked bottom teeth
it doesn’t matter
i smell lemon verbena laundry detergent and it’s like time travel
i’m in our west hollywood apartment again falling asleep on my right hip
sometimes i am forty-two but i am always fourteen
do you see me on the page or in the sidewalk cracks
i wish i didn’t care but i always do
where does it come from
the longing
the need to be loved by the things that we love
i hear a song or read a poem and i’m on my knees
i hate being looked at but
i’d do anything for you to see me
Madisen Kuhn Mar 27
maybe i leave it all till the last minute because some gritty part of me loves the rapid pulse of pulling back right before the truck turns the corner and blows through the stretch of hot asphalt i was just lying down and burning my skin on. it tears down the road, out of sight, and i’ve still got all my limbs intact. maybe almost failing feels a bit like cheating death, like how breathing feels after a contest of who can hold it longer in the motel pool, or how good a glass of ice-cold water tastes after downing a bag of potato chips. there are plenty of hours in the day. i could wake up at six or sleep in till noon and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. i’m just a girl who loves the taste of scraping by.
Madisen Kuhn Mar 27
it doesn’t have to mean anything more
than a crumpled up dollar bill in an open guitar case
i hope one day i’ll learn to keep my head down
to keep walking instead of getting stuck in front of windows
it feels like i’m loitering in the parking lot of everyone else’s lives
a heap of squeezed ginger ale cans
and candy bar wrappers crowding my bare feet
i guess eventually i’ll have to leave and find out
things always look better through a side mirror
i glance back and see the orange trees in the median
a runner almost getting hit by a left-hand turn
i’m so glad i didn’t have to watch her die
instead i watch two college students nervously laugh
shifting their weight from one foot to the other
beside the crosswalk button and i sigh a little
they are on one side of the glass and i am on the other
i seem to miss the things i made sure would never happen to me
tuck myself into bed buzzing with the engine of
a snow-covered train, a reckless ellipses
it is comforting to want what i cannot have
Madisen Kuhn Nov 2020
what is something insignificant
that attaches itself easily to whatever
it picks up in the passing wind
maybe a mosquito
i know people like to say their
blood is sweet
they like to think of themselves
as beloved but the truth is
you were only nearby
with a bit of leg to bite down on
they'll fill themselves up with anyone
who gets close enough
i think i'm the same way or at least
i used to be
i could tell you why i tend to feel
so desperate for wholeness
dressed up every morning in my black gown and veil
a hand-me-down rosary wrapped around my knuckles
but the story gets old
the older i get
when i was little i told myself
i'd never be the dad in the sports car
who only listens to oldies
but i've been practicing with the sound of rain
held by the way it always comes down the same
i think i'll stare out the window forever
i think i'll never grow tired of the echo
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2020
something about you. something about october
the dried up leaves and the way everything feels quiet
in the middle of the day
like living inside of a vhs tape that hasn't been rewound
in a decade or two
makes me want to start visiting the cemetery
make friends with the forgotten
when we ended up walking the dogs there on accident
it felt like coming home
i'll bring my books and a bag of dried cherries, peanut butter
bars of dark chocolate wrapped in gold foil, sunflower seeds
the nightstand with the warped wooden drawer
that's always getting stuck
where i keep the half-melted birthday candles
and a box of matches, just in case
prop my pillow up against a headstone
read vonnegut until i fall asleep
grow closer to death until it doesn't scare me anymore
i used to think ghosts lived in mausoleums but now i know
they live inside of a twenty-four-year-old who watches
the same vampire movie every time it rains
just to feel safe inside the familiarity of the past
i'm still the twelve-year-old girl
just waiting for something to happen to her
i burn my skin in the shower just to feel less alone
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