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Dec 2021 · 2.2k
Madisen Kuhn Dec 2021
the poem i resist digs deeper into my chest like a buried soulmate. it grows blurry and distant until i can’t find the sharpness of it, but i can still taste how it made me feel. the feeling becomes a dull hunger. the distorted memory of a bite. still gnawing, lost, hopeful that i will give in to my undoing and gruesomely reveal the bloodied shadow of a bluff that has been called home. neither of us can sleep. my teeth ache. when the sky turns purple with torment, i end up in the woods, collecting feathers, consumed in the uncaging of a fire that will never catch
Oct 2021 · 1.2k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
When I’m older, I’ll give more of myself to the yellow morning. By then, I’ll have a front porch where the honeybees join me for breakfast, and I won’t worry about the sting any longer than I should, and the day will be enough. But for now, I am still waiting for a flood, still waist-deep in the rain. I am taking communion with the things that hurt, letting them melt on my tongue like hot wax. The broken clock, and the hollow haunting, and the songs that say what I can’t. I think the winter knows me better than I’d like to admit. But sometimes, the heaviness feels a lot like being held, and so I let it crush me.
Oct 2021 · 1.1k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
I want you to know me by my handwriting
Let’s start licking envelopes again just to say hello
I’ll sit at my desk drinking coffee in the morning
A stack of letters in the drawer ******* with a string
You know I would keep every one of yours
Even if you lived next door or wrote me every day
I don’t know how to throw anything away
Oct 2021 · 913
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
funny how the good feels like a stranger. i went to office depot with my little brother, we were buying markers and glitter glue, and i was someone whose hands didn’t tremble. someone who didn’t want to go home, so we took the long way. when i am driving with the radio on, i am an actor in a bad movie. when i am picking up scallions at the grocery store, i am the girl you believe in. but when i’m hurting, when i’m breaking, when i’m scared—i look down and my shadow is there. i don’t know who i am without it.
Oct 2021 · 1.1k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
where were you when the tree branches
were scraping against my window
when i was staring at the cul-de-sac
clutching the landline to my chest
one time i thought i saw a bear
in the woods across from the bus stop
but it turned out to be a pile of brush
you know i still see things in the dark
the other night i woke up from a bad dream
and saw teeth that weren’t there
i managed to blink them away but
there are some things that i can’t
like the shadow in the doorway that visits
every night and the open hand i am doing
everything not to grab
it pretends that it needs me but really
all i needed was yours
Oct 2021 · 2.3k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
The first days of fall are always warmer than I remember. It just takes one cold morning to make me want the glare back. Now I'm looking for any reason to go outside before dusk begins to swallow afternoons. I'm checking the mail on a Sunday. I'm carrying a broken lamp to the shed. I don't miss July and its quite seethe. I miss the beginning. I miss not knowing when it would end. It's a slice of sponge cake, a half-erased underline left behind in a book that I can't put down. I'll go inside and read it until the pages begin to curl. My nails were made for digging into palms. I only ever want to stay when I know it's time to go.
Oct 2021 · 1.3k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
it's a race with the blade
of who can sink faster
but my heart doesn't
know what's good for it
so i take the stairs
and search for
my grave at the top

tell me that i don't
have to carve my name
into the granite
that i could leave
the bottom of
this page blank and
you would
fill in the rest
Oct 2021 · 1.1k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2021
I woke up and forgot it was October
On the front steps, I shook a little less
Than the last time we decided to rush
A season, shaking branches and wearing
Sweaters with the sun beating down
Tomorrow, it still won’t feel like home
But I am learning that nothing does
Except for autumn and that first cool morning
Where the air smells like it did when I was ten
Before I knew that life would ever feel as unreal
As it does now, standing on one side of a door
Stirring up the courage to pull it shut
Mar 2021 · 2.5k
Madisen Kuhn Mar 2021
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
Mar 2021 · 1.6k
Madisen Kuhn Mar 2021
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
Mar 2021 · 1.7k
Madisen Kuhn Mar 2021
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
Mar 2021 · 1.5k
Madisen Kuhn Mar 2021
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.
Mar 2021 · 962
anna karenina
Madisen Kuhn Mar 2021
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
Nov 2020 · 972
the patron saint of poets
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
Oct 2020 · 1.1k
resting place
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
Sep 2020 · 755
Madisen Kuhn Sep 2020
my whole life
i have been looking
for myself in the
gaze of someone else

i wonder what would
happen if i never cut
my hair again
or if i walked into the woods
and never looked back

when i was a little girl
you told me that
vampires couldn’t see
their own reflection

every day i run
my tongue over the
sharp points of
my teeth
burning to forget
the taste
of strangers’ wrists
Aug 2019 · 1.3k
take care
Madisen Kuhn Aug 2019
This time next week, I hope I will be breathing the air that I’ve been gasping for. I didn’t realize that four months could feel like four broken bones, two arms, two legs, all secretly cracked, only felt under the weight of my own invisible dread. It’s okay that I went back to being sixteen for awhile. It’s not what I wanted, what I planned for, but it’s what happened. I woke up with butterflies in my stomach and the rug ripped out from under me. My car sits in the driveway and I don’t drink coffee anymore because it makes me shake and I don’t know how to handle the shaking like I used to. I never used to worry about sharing drinks yet today I’ve washed my hands fifteen times and still don’t trust them. But it’s August and I’m twenty-three again. Or at least I will be when the key slides into the lock and I take that big gulp and pray for it to add a few years back that were taken away this summer. Everything is a circle cut in half, alternating between hollow and whole, snaking through time with hysterical pseudo endings and beginnings that are really just doors leading down a different hallway in the same ******* infinite hotel. Sometimes Wes Anderson’s, sometimes The Shining. I don’t have to listen to the yelling for the rest of my life if I don’t want to. I don’t have to be so unhappy if I don’t want to. Maybe next Saturday I will drive to the coffee shop on the corner and order something decaf and sugary and thank god that it’s over. It’s over. *******. The leaves will be turning orange soon. I almost forgot.
Jun 2019 · 2.2k
Madisen Kuhn Jun 2019
i want to write about you
but i think it might be too soon

i am stopped on the cracked cement
next to a small but necessary park
in the middle of it all

there are hundreds of thousands of windows
shut tightly to keep the cool air in

the only chickens for miles
are being served up on plates
between college roommates
and lovers who find the city
more romantic than any
vague resemblance of a kiss
exchanged quickly on a narrow step
but still, i carry around my wicker basket
packed with old egg cartons
and carefully folded tea towels

i memorize the feeling of tired eyes that won’t look away
of how warm it is inside my bedroom with the door closed
tracing your outline in the dark

until the soft orange light of morning
paints every shadowy corner

until i have found myself feral
deep in a dark blue thicket
somewhere between you and the trees
does this make sense to anyone but me
Jun 2019 · 1.2k
Madisen Kuhn Jun 2019
i was riding in the passenger seat
down a meandering stretch of back road
where the mountains look
like watercolors
when i realized that
your arms feel safer
than my own mother’s

(i am afraid of what that means)

i still fall asleep
in your old heather grey t-shirt
still think of you
every time i pull a sundress
over my head

(i am afraid of what that means)

the braids in my hair
the buzzing in my chest
the left side of the bed
the small, persistent voice inside
telling me to keep going

are somehow
in some measure
still yours

(i am
in some measure
still yours)
May 2019 · 1.8k
golden years
Madisen Kuhn May 2019
at night, i dream of sun-drenched eggshell walls
baking in the morning like yukon gold potatoes
where we wake unbothered by the encroaching light
i’ll meet you in the kitchen to switch on the toaster oven
the coffee ***, pulling our ceramic mugs from the drying rack
carrying our books with bent covers to the balcony
where you set down thick slices of french bread slathered in butter
and a bowl of fresh, cold strawberries on a small round table
that we found at a sunday yard sale two summers ago
we take turns taking crisp bites in between sips of steaming coffee
mine with raw honey and cream, yours black
our oily thumbs staining the corners of thin ivory pages
i listen to the sound of you reading; of the world waking up
birds singing their sunrise songs; and my heart
slow, and buoyant, and irrevocably yours
May 2019 · 1.5k
something honest
Madisen Kuhn May 2019
the truth is

i cannot be contained like that

i cannot be taught to like water 
more than cranberry juice

i cannot pretend for decades upon decades

(years like soft footprints and malnourished
buzzards circling who i really am;
the whimsical part of me
decaying like neglected cavities)

that i enjoy self-discipline and growing muscle

i cannot cook healthy dinners 
and go to sleep at reasonable hours

i will not wake up one morning
and be everything that you hoped for me to be

i tried holding myself very still for a while
i tried to like doing what i’m supposed to

and maybe i will someday

but it won’t be because i loved you
Apr 2019 · 1.3k
float away
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2019
i bump into the thought
that i don’t really care
about anything

not school
not being pretty
or healthy, or better.

when you wipe off
the good girl cosplay
the soft peach blush
and the freckles
and the lip gloss

the straight a’s
and the sweet potatoes
and the self-discipline

you will find a wild thing
dancing around
in her underwear
drinking iced coffee
for lunch and
doing nothing but
writing and reading
and abandoning any
semblance of sanity

completely consumed
by all the things
i shouldn’t be.

and when i have
destroyed everything
around me
with my negligence
and delusion

when the decent ones
have seen themselves out

when there is nothing
left inside of me

there will always be poetry.
from my third collection of poetry, ALMOST HOME, out in October. pre-order now:
Apr 2019 · 2.3k
i am everything and everyone
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2019
i am waiting for my coffee
i am the old couple eating pastries
with their chairs turned towards the window
i am the wafting scent of musk and amber
i am the bright magenta trees lining route 240
blooming in april while it rains
i am the veiny hands i know nothing about
except that i wish they would touch me
i am gulping down the foam
tasting the bittersweet memories on my tongue
the ones that have yet to happen
i am remembering what it means to have teeth
to feel so different, so distant
but entirely the same
Apr 2019 · 1.3k
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2019
the daydreams aren’t just daydreams anymore
i can get on the train whenever i’d like
the doors are wide open and waiting
for me to lie naked in the shifting light
of a four-story brooklyn walk-up
to fall asleep on a freckled chest
to run my fingers through fields of white sage
i am the opening iris
the floating dust that glimmers like crushed diamonds
the feathery eyelashes caught on eager fingers
i am the sunlight and the wind
intersecting across the gleaming reservoir
where the bluegills breathe underwater
where you and i dance gloriously on the surface
where we become carelessly entangled
before slipping underneath
Apr 2019 · 4.7k
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2019
tighten your tanned arm around my waist
put your thumb inside my bottom lip
tell me how pretty i look in a dress
even more with it on the floor
and with a sun-dripping smile
i will bloom beneath the ripened lust
that seeps from your secret gaze
like a blazing hillside of orange poppies
shifting towards you in the soft wind
waiting to be crushed
Apr 2019 · 844
head on
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2019
if i were to press my palms on the jagged edge of my fear
with the soles of my bare feet parallel to the sky
and sun-bleached hair spreading out over the grass
like a picnic blanket for little bugs in the dirt
to sit upon and eat finger sandwich crumbs
i could focus my gaze on the upside-down sea
and watch all the things i carry float around
in the blue-black waves wiggling like half-hardened jello
where the small fish nor the white sharks give a ****
whether i am beautiful or witty or doing okay
and when the sky fades as it always does
and the tide continues to pirouette in her borrowed
pink ballet shoes with moon dust in the binding
i will forever decide to run down dirt roads
until my lungs burn
and keep going
Feb 2019 · 3.8k
the brutal line
Madisen Kuhn Feb 2019
sitting across from you
at the white kitchen table
or cross-legged on my side of the bed
is someone hollow.
not as sweet as a fig. not as dead
as the inside of a black rotting trunk
but close. i do not hold beautiful things
like a terracotta vase. inside my head
is a seam ripper that splits everything
down the middle. sometimes
you are standing in front of the bright window,
glowing like a saint. sometimes
i let you fall into an algae-lined pool
that i will not pay to have cleaned.
everything is floating within me.
i haven’t figured out
how to anchor this stuff down.

no one ever taught me how
Feb 2019 · 1.7k
Madisen Kuhn Feb 2019
i don’t think my mother
ever brushed my hair.
and if she did,
i can’t remember it.
i could lie and say
that i wonder why,
but i know why.
it was because
she was busy with
my sister’s brand-new curls,
busy tending to her own
dark roots and dry ends.

when i am a mother,
i will balance my sons
and daughters on my lap
and one by one
comb through
their soft mops
with patient hands.

they will never wonder
why i left them
to sort out
the knots
on their own.

they will know
i am there
to help untangle
the predestined messes
caused by the wind,
and caused by me.
Madisen Kuhn Feb 2019
there is a modest
one-story home
with white stucco walls
and a red tiled roof
waiting for me somewhere
near a floridian beach.

the yard is flat and dry.
some days, i’ll lie there
on top of a patterned quilt
in a two-piece
hand over brow
reading a thick memoir
on loan from the library
that sits on the other side
of the brush, beyond
the wooden fence.

winter will just be a memory.
every week, my toenails
will sink into the sand
wearing a different shade of pink.
i will not fold away
my sundresses and shove them
under the bed.
they will only leave
their wooden hangers
to be worn and washed.

time simply records the falling
and growing and falling of things.
one of these days,
i will be the budding lily
pushing up dirt
to greet the other side with
all of the beauty
i am ready to be.

i have fallen enough.
Feb 2019 · 1.2k
a kind of amnesia
Madisen Kuhn Feb 2019
keep me awake
i keep falling asleep

i keep forgetting 
that i have
fearfully crawled
into places filled
to the brim with
heartbeats and
suffocating heat
just to find myself
with dry palms
and a soft jaw
minutes later

i hold my tongue
only to cut it off
when i hate
the feeling of it
inside my mouth
and leave it for
him to hold
all pink and slimy
and frantic and cruel
and wonder
why it’s hard for him
to read my poetry

and every night
i lie my head
against the chest
of indifference
and swear that
i can hear the
lazy thump of
his affection
resting shallowly
below thin ribs

i am kept awake
through the
loneliness hours
my own
instead of dressing
the deep cut
we both share
Feb 2019 · 1.1k
one fantasy
Madisen Kuhn Feb 2019
sometimes i drift
into another life
where ivy crawls up
the side of 
a warm building
to my left
as i walk
hand in hand 
with you,
your parents
strolling slowly
a few paces behind.
everything is still
inside of me.
i do not fear 
the future
nor ache for
the past.
my heart beats
quietly next
to yours.
i am only here,
only there.
i do not drift.
i listen to love songs
and am reminded
of my own
Feb 2019 · 776
Madisen Kuhn Feb 2019
the rain has stopped
and the birds are lining
the sidewalks, shaking
their feathers dry.
today will be slow
and i’m okay with that.
i’ll cook and clean
and sit on the balcony
and breathe in the mild air.
i am happy and lucky
to be here.
it makes my heart heavy
to know that i must
remind myself of that
so often.
Jan 2019 · 811
the likeness of him
Madisen Kuhn Jan 2019
every day
i look into
a mirror
with smudges
all over the middle
framed in gold
with carvings of
birds and vines
at the edges
there are little cracks
that sometimes
my fingers
get caught on
and i bleed quietly
onto the cold

it doesn’t like
to be kissed
when my hair
is half up and
half down
but still
i leave my
balmy lip stains
defiantly on
the spaces
i can reach
and focus on
in front of me
except for my
Jan 2019 · 812
Madisen Kuhn Jan 2019
if you are
like me
when you
were young
you were
taught that
should sleep
safely inside
filtered mouths
not dressed
in honesty
or pleasure
but rather
in delusion
in carefully

and when
your bones
form around
these limits
they break
a little
with every
they form
in twisted
we must learn
what it
means to
unravel it all

to taste
to talk
to touch
and be
Jan 2019 · 766
write it all down
Madisen Kuhn Jan 2019
i keep falling asleep
with poems on my mind
something about
my mother
something about
missed connections
i repeat the idea in my head
try to make it stick
enticing them to get
caught in my psyche
like flies in honey
i swear i won’t forget
but when i wake up
the window is open
the screen is intact
the little bugs are sweetly
humming on the outside
too wild and busy
to whisper what was felt
the night before
Jan 2019 · 1.9k
old oak tree
Madisen Kuhn Jan 2019
i shouldn’t expect
to stand still
while the untethered
and unbothered
wind demonstrates
the power of the universe
as it sends the rain sideways
twisting dead and
soon to be dead leaves
in its playful vortices

because my roots
are brand new
my limbs are still
thin and delicate like
soft green saplings

for awhile
i will bend
and shake
and fear
the thunder
until i dig down
far enough
in the dirt

the bending
and the shaking
is part of
the beauty

if stay here long enough
if i let the storm soak into me
instead of letting myself
run for cover
i will become
strong and steady
like an old oak tree

i will wear my growth rings
like gold metals
proudly parading
the proof of
what i have weathered
—there will be
too many to count

and i will find myself
smiling at the sky
when the dark clouds roll in
because i am
still here
still standing
after all this time.
Oct 2018 · 1.8k
what brings me peace
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2018
sun squares on the hardwood
the morning robins
and you.
Oct 2018 · 1.7k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2018
i will wait up for you
i will kiss you at the front door
i will rub your back until you fall asleep
we will walk down tree-lined streets
in cities that are new to me and old to you
we will hold hands on trains, in museums
for years, until there are permanent tan lines
on our fragile, well-lived knuckles
we will find rest in one another
on long days, on slow days
together, you and i
Oct 2018 · 1.3k
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2018
i hope you revel in the normalcy
when you feel the sunrise on your skin
walking down a brick path
i hope you breathe in the morning
hold the ordinary close to you
like a life that almost didn’t happen

because for some of us
it didn’t happen

i have never felt the blissful repetition
in being surrounded by what is expected
standing in seasons and looking at skylines
that your mothers and fathers
have stood in and looked at
mothers and fathers who do your laundry
when you come home to a home
that has smelled the same
for the past twenty years

so i hope that you laugh and drink
a little too much
and kiss people who make you feel seen
i hope you listen to bad music
and hug your friends too tightly
and skip your eight a.m. just because
you need slowness and stillness
and a coffee from the corner
and a breath of fresh air
in the morning
on a brick path
with the midday sun
on your skin
Oct 2018 · 1.1k
the tenderness of autumn
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2018
i hold onto
the way the air feels in october
it brings out the best in me
unlike the violating heat
of august that fills the space between
the dirt and the heavens
only a handful of moons prior to
the golden treetops and the
ritualistic pumpkin and maple
that stir our hearts and reveal
our need for stupid, cheery things

the earth is falling asleep
lying its head to rest
in the fading foliage on the ground
folding up the day into smaller
and smaller glimpses of light
but here i am
bathing in the soft wind
here i am
grinning in a grey sweater
here i am
waking up
Oct 2018 · 1.1k
blooming in concrete
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2018
the bits of apple
between my crooked bottom teeth
remind me of all the homes i’ve lived in
or almost lived in
that have left a sweet but spoiled taste in my mouth
as they rot just under my nose
i have yet to find a place to rest my head
not a clean pillow or warm chest would welcome my cheek
but i have looked and obsessed and tried
i have tried
my fingers ache from all the golden knobs i’ve reached out to
just to have them slammed in the door
again and again and again and againandagainandagain
the wide and narrow roads are lined with
quaint front porches and crooked mailboxes
they are bursting with life
sad ones and dramatic ones and unremarkable ones
gasping and pulsing and humming
but there is nothing suited for me
all the welcome mats have been flipped over
before i clear the front step
so i keep running my tongue over the bite of longing
in places i rather not be
Oct 2018 · 1.1k
i do what i'm supposed to
Madisen Kuhn Oct 2018
right now would be a great time to write poetry
it’s past midnight, everyone is asleep
there is a pale blue light coming from the hallway bathroom
my thoughts are lingering in distant, buried places
recalling nightmares as dreams
drawing halos over the heads of humans
but i don’t want to
i am tired
and bored
and afraid my words will smell like stale clichés
maybe i can just dip my toes in reflective black holes
feel the coolness, the deadness
the other world i’m too afraid to fall into
like quicksand or riptides or working nine to five
maybe i can lean in, just enough, to get a glimpse
of what i do not want

i promise i don’t think of you.
Sep 2018 · 2.7k
her thirties
Madisen Kuhn Sep 2018
i have paid the fines
of dozens of overdue library
books i never finished reading.
i love reading.
i love curling up
in a big leather armchair
while the sun reaches out
to me through the window
as time slows
and my coffee grows cold.
but tolstoy and fitzgerald
sit on my shelves
or in my purse
carried everywhere
and collecting dust.
i can see the silhouette
of who i would like to be.
the curve of her hips
the stillness of her limbs.
she grows her own herbs
and tries out new recipes
while her husband is at work.
she doesn’t mind driving
for hours alone
and enjoys singing
along to the radio
going five under the speed limit.
she is not in a hurry.
she is proud
and sure
and poised.
she reads books and returns
them on time.
she gave up on dreaming
and hoping
and longing
and finally began
Sep 2018 · 3.3k
the moon
Madisen Kuhn Sep 2018
i do not speak your name
i cannot even whisper it
instead, i hide it in my dreams
under my sheets
beneath a sky that sees all
but does not burn my skin
do you ever wonder
what the moon is thinking?
does she gaze down solemnly and see
a fading opus
or a symphony simply tightening its strings
for the final act?
do you think it makes her sad
to see the greens replaced
with soot and plaster
the seas rising to meet her
with an apocalyptic kiss?
the falling tide
the slow recession
reminds me that
she keeps our secrets
but i think it breaks her heart
Sep 2018 · 7.6k
brooklyn baby
Madisen Kuhn Sep 2018
i could be that girl
whose voice is low and melodic
and coats your mouth with
acacia honey
whose eyes are the color
and depth of
whose presence is thick like
new york summers
rosy like
los angeles in early spring
if i braid flowers into my hair
if i write enough poems
if i learn to show the skin of my essence
but remain an abyss—
i will stop making art
when i become it
Aug 2018 · 3.9k
Madisen Kuhn Aug 2018
if you look up, you will see
the bright-eyed and
the wide-mouthed—
the interesting, the casual, the adored
glistening in the warm night
peered at through microscopes and
telescopes and stethoscopes
far and far away

we are so desperate to be close
close and close and
close enough to see the blemishes
the scarring and the peeling
effaced by obvious and biased inner-commentary
they’re just not as red or sore as mine
perhaps they were formed under
a different kind of sun

what does the unfamiliar heart say?
does it sound at all like mine?
will i ever escape the sloppy grasp of dullness?
will the world swallow me whole?
if i count the days on both hands
on toes, on eyelashes—
if i only eat green things and
read tattered books and
pretend that i don’t mind—will i ever
break the mirror?
will i find seven years of good luck
between the jagged edges?

to exist as a reflection
is to not exist at all
there are lonely, dark purple heavens
waiting for you to sever your longing gaze
to stop lying to yourself
to hop onto the back of the cow
and begin living somewhere beyond the moon—
to realize, with closed eyes
you belong to the sky
Aug 2018 · 1.2k
two souls
Madisen Kuhn Aug 2018
after you've mix two souls
combine the brightest blues
with the deepest reds
but it becomes all too heavy
and you're ready to go
lace up your shoes and turn off the light
how can you tell which bits are yours
and which are theirs?
is it ever possible to be entirely untangled
or do you leave holding pieces that don't match?
left with gaps that feel hollow
can you get them back?
can you grow anew?
the feat truly feels unfathomable
it seems as though
when you walk away from love
you’ll always be carrying too little
or carrying too much
an old poem i found in my notes
Aug 2018 · 1.5k
(not yet titled)
Madisen Kuhn Aug 2018
your parents
have wounds
they kept hidden
while pushing you
on the swing

now you’re seventeen
squeezing your eyes
shut and daydreaming
about all the ways
you will be better

you can create an ocean
once you’ve collected
enough freedom
to dig the pit
(it is reminiscent
of the one in your stomach)

the bridges
are yours to build
you don’t have to be
an island
but you don’t have to be
a punching bag

their wounds are
not an excuse
they do not get
to point to theirs
while brandishing
***** fingernails to
draw blood

but while their teeth
are sharp and their
eyes are dark
their broken skin shows
there’s still a beating
in there

maybe when i’m older
i’ll be brave enough
to reach out
and try
to feel it beat
feel free to help me come up with a title for this
Aug 2018 · 1.3k
when i kept going
Madisen Kuhn Aug 2018
i kept anticipating
blocked off entrances and
handwritten out-of-order signs
over gas station bathroom doors
that are rusting at the corners

because each time i got in my car
that smells like sweaty dog
and lavender
i found a reason to turn around
i convinced myself that
the green lights were not meant for me
only backroads and passenger seats

the sun was not there
when i kept going
the sky was full of grey
and i could feel the rain in my chest;
i didn’t need it to be a perfect summer day
i just needed to believe
that i had enough light within me
to make it through
Jul 2018 · 1.1k
Madisen Kuhn Jul 2018
on one overcast afternoon
under a dull sky
when the wet grass tells a story
of a storm you just missed
i will learn to compose my heart beats
to match the slow
dripping of water
off a steel roof’s edge
i will play its strings like a harp
the soft music will regulate
an even pattern of inhales
and exhales
a rising chest
there are no bruises
i do not wince
i’ve forgotten the feeling of
sharp venom
my blood pumps the antidote
and the ire at my temples
in my lungs
on my chest
dissolves into a vapor of knowing
i am safe
within myself
no matter how low the clouds hang
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