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Sep 2019 · 248
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
What is of a child's worth,
they say,
if not to save the Earth?

But hundreds of miles away
a twelve year old girl
sits in a classroom
and learns about the world
as it passes by.

How's it come to this--
having to defend the world to be able to live in it?
How's it come to this--
to be born
rid of birthright?
Must a child's life burn
as fast as a candle's wick,
or a forest in a slow, painful disappearing trick?
And instead of a crowd roar of applause,
there's only silence;
and then nothing.
Sep 2019 · 179
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
The boogeyman wears the same ring as mummy
And sleeps in her bed every night
Yesterday he hit my mummy
and told me she was alright.
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
For less?
I shape my dreams
with clouds
and dance on gloom
for me to chase false happiness.
I am
no bookshelf dust.
I have far a desire to remain
on cobwebbed nooks.
I have far a desire to
be as i am,
and be just that.
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
i’ve witnessed how his spine grows soft—
what makes his knees sink into the ground.
i am certain that the first time he said he wanted me
was the first time the word “want” felt like a leash around my neck—
you’ve got your hands full.
and on days you flinch
when you hear the word commitment,
they slink out empty.
Sep 2019 · 98
how do you evacuate?
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
how a soul
could wreak so much havoc
over another,
reminds me
why hurricanes
are named after people
and why pulses to pulses
are sometimes

Sep 2019 · 83
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
Oh how sweet it is
to want
and how fleeting it is
to have.
Sep 2019 · 106
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
should i inherit
the good days
and find myself
rolling on grassfields
teeth bared and barefoot,
i will think of you.

and should
i dance around
on barren land,
nimbuses by my ankles
and still river,
i will think of you.

my dear,
i’m afraid
i cannot fathom a day
that i dont.
i would not want to.
so i’m dating this guy...
Sep 2019 · 929
Mary Velarde Sep 2019
What a waste it is—
to be human
and be contained.
Aug 2019 · 213
Mary Velarde Aug 2019
Trauma makes a joke out of your peace—
like a circus visiting town
leasing under your skin.
There is no punchline.
Mary Velarde Jul 2019
there's a cavalry
that gushes out like river water
when the wall tilts
a few staring games away
and yet its never a game
until it is--
a house of cards
and you,
a sweet nosedive.
sleeves long enough
to swallow hands that flinch
from careful collision
and i'll tell you my name
and maybe where i'm from
and maybe where i went to school
but i'll save the rest
like a maybe-midnight-snack.
i'll fold my body in half
'til you could only get past
the purgatory of where
i deem myself unbreakable.
i sometimes get cramps
from choosing to remain
a mystery
long enough to be a mystery to myself
so i apologize
if i sometimes mistake
the butterflies for wasps.
a mummy but in caution tapes,
anxiety like a badge of honor.
i guess what im trying to say is,
i swear,
i like you.
but the words
come out like bricks.
Jul 2019 · 300
don't you forget
Mary Velarde Jul 2019
when was the last time your stomach
didn’t feel like a clogged sink?
the only thing you’ve been bringing to war
are gritted teeth and origami spine,
and the battalion you’re up against
come undone from your chest.
cling onto the yellow-green pill
like the omnipotent God you only knew
but you know **** too well it doesn’t keep you alive
it just drags you through another minute
and then another
and then another
like a prayer gasping for breath.
and oh,
you’ve forgotten what its like
to love like its not two hands
coiled around your neck.
bring back the ****** smile.
the morning that smelled of daisies
and felt like silk.
you live a life
that is selfish of do-overs.
but the mirror infront of you
offers a mountain
of lifelines.

need your pulse not spell it out for you--
you are the lifeline.
Jul 2019 · 688
A serenade to summer.
Mary Velarde Jul 2019
prompt: write about the way the rain makes you feel

12:39 am

I've greeted grayer skies
behind my bedroom window
like new blossoming skin.
The rhythm of the pitter-patter,
like a serenade to summer,
like a late-season peach,
soft with many bruises.
Listen —
there’s a kind of tender
in the rain
that leaves one to their smallness
as the world washes away.
Tell me,
what is the right way to miss you?
Because I’ve peeled away every weaponry
I’ve built from the rubble,
tooth and nail,
clumsy hands,
bricked walls
tightly woven into suffering,
And yet I am still
a welcome mat
to your name.
I greet your presence,
like downpour--
teeth bared,
but no longer quivering.

Mary Velarde Jul 2019
every heartbreak at 21
will make the ground beneath your feet tremble
and you will feel disposable
like the impression they will leave you behind
on white-and-blue-striped creased sheets.
like the spotify playlist youve forgotten about
and the walls you thought were impenetrable.
but when youve learned
that your legs stand like the Parthenon
instead of autumn twigs
you'll unlearn the concept
of a boy's ability
to cut through your steel teeth
and garden bed tongue.

every heartbreak at 22
will teach you to plant flowers
and not to pick them.
and when a wound reopens
like salt on papercut
you'll recall a memory
not too far
and you will have mastered turning
those tsunami eyes
into a calm sea
instead of an enforced desert.

you are 23;
and the city could no longer fit
into the palm of your hands.
you'll realize it's overbearing enough
that people break hearts all the time
and will never have to worry
about seeing the damage
on their morning train.

you are 23
and healing
doesnt quite mean like what it used to.
every heartbreak
comes back in a second.
and in the next,
you get on with your day;
the same creased sheets,
the same bitter-tasting coffee,
the same route home.
only that home
always varied in meaning.
Jun 2019 · 399
habitual impassivity
Mary Velarde Jun 2019
In the dream i run toward dead ends
that resemble concrete fists;
and we know that ghosts can only walk through walls
because they’re empty
but you’ll find creases on your bed sheets
just as vacant.
And the impression people leave behind
is something you will always take to bed
when the little yellow-lit squares in
those tall city boxes meant more than just
and so what if we feel too much?
they say one word can stand a chance
in changing an entire meaning
and so what if we feel too much, despite
— the coffee that had gotten cold
or the pillow-stitched manifestos
that were only ever meant for display
or the flimsy dots in the sky
we’ve yet to make sense of.
Your vulnerability is no one else’s
needle felt ball.
Do not hide it like baby teeth,
do not trim your sharp edges
for their butterknife.
Do not pick out
the quiet statice petals
just because you’ll never have to
worry about seeing the fracture
when you’re gazing down
at an entire field.
"why has empathy become a relic?", she asks.
"i guess that's just how it is now."
it shouldn't.
it shouldn't.
it shouldn't.
Mary Velarde Jun 2019
Howd we end up here
where the music is mellow
and we’re up dancing with two left feet
after two many glasses of cheap wine.
Howd we manage the keep a veil
on the moon
like a ***** habit
I will have kissed you and meant it
And we will have parted like strangers
at the bar’s parking lot by 3 am,
but only until we’re lonely again.
i wrote this drunk as ****
Jun 2019 · 280
12:34 am on a Thursday
Mary Velarde Jun 2019
I'm always talking about love
when I mean to talk about loneliness.
I find my tongue whirling into dissonance
on my too-warm skin canvas
spattered with blood
that blossom up like watercolor.
Maybe there's something
to be romanticized there.

My mother says that
you can try to smudge out faces
but the past
can still hold you by the throat--
even on a ripe ten-degree Thursday night
on Pearl Drive street.

Purple veins don't show up un-invited.
Chipping yellow paint
on the nails you bite on
doesn't exactly scream sunshine.
I've lost count of the times
I've burned my tongue on a memory;
lost track of the things I am hurt by
but don't know how to talk about.
Jun 2019 · 417
Mary Velarde Jun 2019
when was the last time
you reached into a mirror
to get a grasp of someone
other than a stranger?
May 2019 · 129
Mary Velarde May 2019
these days the noose
comes in a fever dream
in the form of honeysuckle vines
perfect coiled around my neck.
May 2019 · 767
Mary Velarde May 2019
So often are women branded
with a scarlet letter
the moment they learn
the definition of the word ‘choice’.
So often is dissent catapulted out of crooked teeth
and whose twisted tongues belong
nowhere close to the temple
that is our bodies
in which we are the god.
The valley of our chest,
ripe with liberty;
a womb like an unmapped terrain
you cannot navigate through
for one cannot simply trudge
a course he knows nothing about.
Our vulnerability is not a curse,
it is our compass;
and your preference versus our worth
makes your jaw grow soft
like how you prefer our nails untainted with red
or our hair longer than short
or our feet glued to the marbled tiles
of the kitchen floor
or laws forged to protect anything
but us —
it looks a lot like silence.

You do not get to weep
for what i choose to lose
in order to not lose myself.
You do not get to dress
your iron fist
with empathy
that is only ever in its loudest,
when it is the emptiest.
May 2019 · 265
a sinner's manifesto
Mary Velarde May 2019
You've outwitted a sandstorm.
Your granular debris
seeping into every crevice,
every crease and fold
in between the stutters
in Sunday mass
and the temple underneath the sheets
on a Friday night.
Tell me
if its really intrusion
in the absence of refusal.
If not,
the moon
retains its audacity
to be beautiful
and us,
collateral damage--
tucked in from implosion.
A means to an end.

The sun gets up
and I'm left to wonder
how I feel nothing at all.
Feast and implode, then dance on the ruins. Oh, aren't we so good at that?
May 2019 · 305
Mary Velarde May 2019
You can't just plant the good
without grieving the bad you've buried.
I've been daydreaming about anomalies
like crooked edges
and predictable ricochets
that stick and go--
like us, like everything.
Apr 2019 · 125
The F word
Mary Velarde Apr 2019
Familiar isnt always good.
Familiar could be hands reaching out from loose cherry stems your tongue couldnt tie fast enough.
Most days its the name that doubles as the lump in your throat--
how in a busy underpass of faces
it begs to be called.
Love, darling, dances uphill if thats where it needs to go.

Maybe we’re meant to fall inlove,
but maybe we’re not meant to stay there.
Not when I had practiced
loving you by seeing how long
I could stand keeping my palm over
an open flame before moving it away.
Not when my knees had always kissed
the gravel just to make you stay.
Not when loving you
was synonymous to being in a car
that never gets any closer
than five minutes away from home.

And people--
people would move lightyears through space just to
catch a glimpse of the person they love in their orbit.
But one day I drove my car back to the city
with the passenger’s seat empty.
And more than the hurt
I was alone but I knew I was going to be okay.
Those places and faces of where you had left
your breadcrumbs
were nothing but a warm and familiar blanket I could
free myself from if i wanted to.
(If I wanted to)
And doesn't that sound like honey gliding onto your tongue?
But the truth of the matter is
everything familiar
makes me recoil with a single touch.
But it does not hurt to aspire a little bit of healing
its just that ive been having trouble deciding
who i should heal from;
you or myself.
That night
when you slow danced me in the room,
we were off beat
and our feet couldnt quite get the rhythm right.
I didnt know at the time
that that shouldve been a warning.
You were all too familiar
but you were supposed to be a passing breeze
and thats all you were ever meant to be.
You were not love.
You were something familiar.
Apr 2019 · 841
Mary Velarde Apr 2019
the moon looks a lot like porcelain tonight
but not in a superfluously verbose kind of way--
more of a telekinetic fragility kind of way.
where the plaid shirt hanging on that semi-open closet
across the room faintly resembles
a picnic blanket that belonged
to a midsummer day sometime in March--
some memories as such now only belongs
in a film cartridge//
or on post-emptied bottles of Prosecco on your nightstand.
I now understand--
why hurricanes are named after people
but to make people--
fleeting, paper people--
your universe
is to trail further and further away from land.
we're too inlove with chances;
too fixated in the idea of emancipating the uncertainty from the "maybe".
lie your flimsy bones on your pillow-invaded sheets darling
and call it a lifeboat.

it's a fragile night
and so are you.
Mar 2019 · 402
A cordial unbecoming.
Mary Velarde Mar 2019
You were easily the light
of my life.
I didnt have walls.
I only had doors flung open;
a warm invite.
A better part of my life
tucked neatly at the back of my mind
where it had grown
a garden of potentialities
and hope
and thoughts like
maybe this time we'll do it right.
Every passing catastrophe
has taught me that the eye of the storm
is where the calmest region of the weather is;
not the opposite.
It goes to say that just because
we're caught in the middle of a calamity
doesnt mean it's always a heartbreak
from here on out.

I admit that your absence almost always
feels synonymous to my bed
stretching out to the side.
It always feels too huge,
I admit that I have not met anyone who loved
black coffee so much more than you did.
And I loved you,
perhaps so much more than you did.
I'm still learning to accept that.
how unconditional love comes with
an abundance in conditions.
But they say
you cant really love too much
you can only love the wrong person.

You were an interlude
to the series of my raging calamity.
You were the eye of the storm,
the calm,
the petrichor after a long period of drought.
Registered in my fondest memories.
A parched corsage in a memory box
that shouldve stayed under my bed.
Shouldnt have belonged elsewhere.
Shouldnt have belonged now.
But that's okay.
I'd argue that the imperfect line
where I trace down your spine
is where the earth grows soft.
The soil,
the last time I've ever looked into your eyes;
the last time I will ever look into your eyes.
Reeled out the last remaining molecule
of my peace
and gave it to you when you lost yours.
Loneliness isnt
the absence of peace,
I have realized.
Loneliness is just love with nowhere to go.
Like yellow cars on a bus lane.
Etched out of place
but only because the signs
are obscure and hazy;
a product of naivete,
a voluntary free fall.

You will perpetually only be
my great perhaps.
And that's okay.
I've learned to forgive myself
for refusing to believe that
in the past.
Mar 2019 · 819
call a mechanic
Mary Velarde Mar 2019
We were driving my car
out of town a few sunsets ago.
Had just gotten from the shore,
uphill on an 80.
Every headlight
like a good newspaper headline
to your cracking Sportage leather seat—
the steering wheel as heavy
as my breathing.
Fog devours all the windows
and if the engine participates
with the general meltdown
least i can do to help myself
is call a mechanic.
Hey now
stop peeling the last
bit of skin
on your already-bleeding lips;
you’ve gone past the necessary pain
now youre just prolonging the
sight of red.
Even traffic lights
turn green once in a while.
There are no dead ends from sharp curves.
Maneuvering always seemed
like cylinder blocks on your shoulders
But now youre steady;
too steady
and it’s scary isn’t it?
To simply be
An engine
you cannot engineer—
you cannot decipher.
Cut throat mechanism.
We’ve passed by
too many yellow lights
to forget
we sometimes need
a bit of a slowdown.
And perhaps you’re gonna
have to go through
the kind of adrenaline
that digs your nail
underneath your palm first.
The current
leads the batallion.
Even the strongest
require a running start
before the leap.
Twist the key in the ignition.
The fog eventually subsides.
The mechanic eventually arrives.

What i’m trying to say is
my car broke down in the middle
of the road.
A slow descend.

I counter the shaking fist.
At least we didnt crash.
Mar 2019 · 285
Mary Velarde Mar 2019
when do street lights
in ghost towns decide to flicker
until it recognizes its lack of purpose?
glistening gallows
bountiful burlesque
a kind of love that grabs the hand
that looks the most familiar
on days when the sun
glistens on skin that isn’t
patched against yours.
profanity becomes a prisoner
in your rib cage.
decaying but alive,
like ghosts that draw breath.
blindly fumbling
hungry greedy mouth
with eager needy hands
a strange audacity—
a smirk on the corner of your lips
veiling the corruption
between your teeth
i’ve made a habit of making my
tongue bleed
but that’s never going to come close
to the blood drawn
from your grenade-ricochets.
detonate my pulse
in all the ways you had ever
punic faith.
lungs brimming with fib.
stern and destructive.

how would one know
what to do with all this hurt?
Feb 2019 · 1.3k
Predatory purple night
Mary Velarde Feb 2019
Between your breath
in my hair
the weaving of sunlight
by the window,
the sky’s audacity to resemble
that of a painted sorcery
violin legs intertwined—
darling, i am
Blow a gentle kiss on my skin,
but forget, I shall not,
that this all but a dream.
Let me lament
a morning dressed
in apology.
Let me toss and turn
to a quiet soliloquy.
What is there to grip
but a ghost
molded by the loneliness
of the night.
What’s it like to be the lonely?
What’s it like to be the night?
Feb 2019 · 102
Palm Tree
Mary Velarde Feb 2019
it’s a bit of a wicked monstrosity
a skinned-down canvas
lines drawn onto surfaces where they dont belong
a cocktail of poison
catharsis to your bloodstream
but the clock strikes 6 in the morning
and your limbs still tango to a pool of stoic
how do you sharpen your teeth?

there’s a corridor
with red-slippered footsteps
and echoed voices
and healing that sounds like a last man’s meal
the merry-go round stops.
cuffs nowhere in sight
but every move makes the shackles clang
there’s a palm tree view on a wall
a silhouette of the grand scheme of things—
an archive of the unspoken.

perhaps we’re all just flickering lights
and passerbys
on an unending roundabout.
one day she’ll see that palm tree again.
one day, maybe not.
Nov 2018 · 900
Mary Velarde Nov 2018
what could you know of her;
the girl whose palms had collected
the dark spaces
with frolicking knees
and grace unscathed.
who kept the static
buried under her tongue
with her mouth bleeding--
arms that only knew of warmth.
sawdust for sweat,
a perfect concave.
somewhere in the distance
stars had collapsed,
but she was no longer a lost tourist
in a night sky where even the cosmos
were not made to last.
the desert had settled quietly in her eyes.
maybe that's okay.
there's a war within the walls
that she wins everyday
when she gets her limbs out of the bed
and plasters on her happy,
even when the fallacies float in her lungs like rising mud.
they wonder,
when was the last time she's ever felt
the kind of love
that wasnt a makeshift raft
caught in the middle of a hurricane.
she shifts her shoulders.
when you salvage yourself
even with the last of the pieces you've got,
you refuse to deprive yourself of the ability
to heal.
we're all healing from something.
we're all trying to make it
to the next sunrise.
paddle that raft to the sunrise.
Dedicated to a good friend of mine who has a knack for keeping things to herself.
Oct 2018 · 207
The burnout.
Mary Velarde Oct 2018
Where has the time gone by?
You used to love me
with all your heart.
And now you love me
with only the words
your mouth could afford
to decorate.

Where has the time gone by?
A chainsmoker bids goodbye
to his last cigarette.
And a lover,
oh her lover's love...
has begun to die.
Both flames
eventually lose ignition.
And oh,
where has the love gone by?
Jul 2018 · 200
A Shoreline Sorry
Mary Velarde Jul 2018
When will you ever stop
writing your apologies
in cursive?

When will you ever stop
putting them
on sand?
Mary Velarde Jul 2018
The ocean spills
on a Thursday night
congested in between these four
skinned-down, off-white walls.
You're veering into retrograde,
obsidian and spiraling,
heavy and unsettling --
a plethora of pterodactyls gnawing their way
out of you
except on days like this,
they've grown too comfortable inside
and that is worse.

Here is to nights when pain screams your name
and misses your body
too much.
whose unmapped origins,
make you loathe yourself
and everyone else.
like maps to places
you don't want to revisit.
like an abandoned amusement park
consumed by tall grass,
infested with pests
and memories
the past was never too kind
to make you forget.
Jul 2018 · 1.2k
Mary Velarde Jul 2018
It begins here.

In the percolating silence
that lingers behind gritted teeth--
the loose threads on denim jeans
that only ever gets cut,
the landfall that prays
for minimal casualties
except each body bag
contained pieces of your heart
he could no longer mend --
a slightly-timed confession.

The end begins in the way
the essence of the beginning
becomes foreign.
We know about length measurements
from school,
but kilometers or feet
do not weave the tapestry
in spaces between two people.
we forget,
surpasses the cataract-like
tunneled notion of
merely its quantitative value.

I see it in the way you've forgotten
how to make me laugh.
How you've got a grip
on my hand
and yet
I'm still reaching out.
How we walk on eggshells
around each other,
and traded in words
for daggers
or words
that didn't matter
enough to land on ears
that swell to listen.
Ticking bombs,
deep sighs,
feeble temperament
waiting for the softest nudge
to topple the tower,
and you’ve predicted
the catastrophe
long before a tandem
of hot flesh
had turned cold,
and bruised,
and hurting.
The galaxies
in our eyes,
no longer colliding
into sweet solace—
you’ll realize that
you’ll always be in the
losing end
where you flaunt your
in plain sight
like a mannequin
on the other side
of the looking glass.

Let me stay for a bit.
Let me mourn what’s passed
and cherish
whatever’s left.
Jul 2018 · 211
Mary Velarde Jul 2018
On the 21st floor of a corporate building
down in Valero street,
there is an orchestra.
The delicate-paired symphony of
clicking keyboards
and heels tapping on cold cement
to the beat of
practiced impassivity.

The seconds also made sounds
along with a chorale
of both sweet and bitter voices
singing like cicadas faintly next to your ear–
"I told you so".
The second you glanced out the window
will have been the twelfth time;
gawking, scanning the view
like a hawk.
But a hawk is vicious—
and you remember how everyday
always seems to feel like a train ride to
a dead end,
and how Fridays are finales
to a weekly competition
where you reward yourself merely with participation
because you’re here,
you’re here,
but you’ve crawled your way to be here.

You’re not a hawk.
But you gaze down at the people
crossing the intersection of streets
and maybe that’s just as good as life can get.

You’re a lighthouse.
Watching as the hours and people go by
through a small office window —
but how do you call yourself a lighthouse if you
have lost your light?
The script says,
“I’m making a living”
and one ought to take it as it is.
But more often than not
we fail to ask ourselves
if we’re actually living,
or just merely getting by.

the latter sounds more like a normal thing.
It's 6:14 PM. It's Friday, and I'm still in the office. I miss my dogs.
Jul 2018 · 246
Mary Velarde Jul 2018
What is rest
but the withered flowers in spring
that never made it?

What is rest
to a heart that has only ever known
the edge of the cliff
as home?
Jun 2018 · 164
Mary Velarde Jun 2018
I am kerosene
and you,
a barely-lit cigarette
flickered onto my body;
reminding me of how David
conquered Goliath
-- how even a minuscule
entity could set you
We had created combustion--
we had also inflicted pain.
Why do we keep
burning down the ones
we love
to the ground?
Jun 2018 · 1.8k
Unpopular Opinions
Mary Velarde Jun 2018
Nobody ever talks about how the rain turns soil into mud;
how precaution tangoes
on the soles of your rain boots and
one misstep could lead to a concussion;
or a little scrape on the knee.
Nobody ever talks about
how caged birds sometimes forget
how to fly.
Mundane gestures marinated
as “special”
instead of something one ought to do.
He’s forgotten how to make her laugh.
When he says “baby”,
she could almost hear the anchor
pulling down the sincerity
in his voice box
along with the word “sorry”
and “sweetie, im never gonna hurt you again”
where his voice begin to crack
like tectonic plates that supported his
when he says “i love you”
nobody ever talks about the barriers
on beds and ******* and fetishes
to which the extent
of the phrase lies—
His i love yous were starting
to sound like a beg for ***
and his i love yous fade out
when he gets what he wants.

He gets what he wants.
Jun 2018 · 1.1k
Restless (spoken word)
Mary Velarde Jun 2018
I sometimes look back at 6th grade classroom settings
and i wonder about the times
i would raise my hand low enough
to be seen,
but high enough to be acknowledged
that i tried.

I reminisce about the times
when the words could’ve easily
catapulted out of my mouth
but there had always been bright orange road cones
placed on my tongue
with a permit;
my signature on them forged by
the things in my head that cause me to tremble
when i ask for directions without practice,
if i raise my hand without practice,
walk around without practice,
do some-*******-thing on my own without practice,
practice, practice, p-pr-practice, don’t stutter,
practice, perfect.
I sometimes fold my paper in half
because i know what its like
to take up too much space.
Turbulence always equals
plane crash.
Chances, to me, were always either just one, or only ever finite.

But he’s got that infectious laugh,
and he held my hand
the whole cab ride back home
until they stopped shaking.
When he wraps his arms around me,
I begin to understand that vacant parking lots
never stay empty for long and sometimes ringing car alarms
are better than the silence I pretend to love.

And I didn’t get it.
I didn’t get how people could be so courageous.
Anxiety has a weird way of
making the process of falling the scariest
thing of all instead of the actual landing.
But those brown eyes had reminded me that
love lullabies our troubles to sleep.
Love turns the quiet into a symphony
of voices of all the people
whose heart you keep in your palms.
Love turns the trembling into a warm embrace.
Love never had to be a home.
it was a resting place
even for the restless.
This piece is meant to be read out loud.
Jun 2018 · 1.4k
Mary Velarde Jun 2018
I tell you I think we're crumbling
but we both avert our eyes;
its not polite to stare at tragedy.
I kiss you
and I keep a countdown.

I know you're here
but you're already leaving.
Jun 2018 · 436
Mary Velarde Jun 2018
She bites her fingernails in math class
The numbers have always been a dancing cacophony of
She was dyslexic
and the vignette of her vision were all the things
she couldn’t understand—
even when she wanted to.

Her lips weren’t the kind poets would write about either.
They weren’t soft, and red like cherry,
they weren’t velvety—
they were always chapped.
They were never inviting.
She’s grown so fond of peeling
the skin off until they bled
out the silhouette of anxiety
washing her insides
causing external decay.

But there was no external decay in coloring
outside the lines.
In 1st grade her teacher had told her
that maybe something was wrong with her—
but maybe its the unfolding of protest
in the early days.
Where little me believed that
things do not have to be perfect to be beautiful—
to deserve to be seen as art.
There’s poems you could write about
at the sight of coffee stained sheets
or faulty flickering streetlights
or collected dust that had found home in book shelves in bedrooms.
The little things that counted
were the little things that kept the flame alive.
Maybe the sun doesn’t shine for us,
but the world in its vastness conforms to the reality
that there are beautiful things in life
we are still yet to discover—
nestled in between the cracks we don’t step on.

In church she cracks her knuckles.
She found god more in navigating through life
and survival from mishaps
as opposed to sitting on a pew and
being told about how she could go to hell.
And in the lightest of days
she hums.
She hums along the rhythm of the abstract and imperfect structure of life.
Which brings us back to the hero's shoulders
and the gentleness that comes,
not from the absence of violence and misery in the world,
but despite the abundance of it.

- mgv
Mary Velarde Jun 2018
You’ve made your way to the party.
Your heavy limbs were sending you signals of something else—
every step towards the door sounded like two velcro strips detaching.
You persist anyway.
The welcome shots of ***** tasted more like a welcome to leave,
and the kisses you receive by your friends on the cheek felt almost strange—
but it also reeked of nothingness.

Home was a recurring thought
but home was also four walls that make you feel disposable,
claustrophobic, and home shouldn’t even be called home
when your demons take up most of the residence
only to kick you out;
and if you are lucky they don’t follow you out
when you should be happy and with company
but today was not that day.

Home was lonely.
But people for peers
and peers for bulldozers were too much for you.

So you tiptoe your way out;
slithering out of your second skin — dead and unwanted —
flipped switch, getaway car, calculated answers to future interrogations.
But every car is a getaway car
when you’re always trying to get away.
And every getaway is useless when you end up in the same place—
where the quiet is too deafening
and the noise is loud enough
to turn glasses into shards and smithereens
you sometimes daydream about
behind bathroom cubicle doors
where you could’ve sworn you would’ve had your final getaway.

And when you get there,
they’ll tell everyone they should’ve been there.
They’ll tell everyone they should’ve believed you.
They’ll tell everyone they shouldn’t have made that joke about you.
They’ll tell everyone they should’ve done something.
They’ll tell everyone they should’ve,
when they could’ve,
but they didn’t.

And maybe that was why it reeked of nothingness.

- mgv

— The End —