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Feb 2017 · 993
Defiance
Michelle Garcia Feb 2017
I have never believed in the principles of physics because they do not apply to girls like me. Girls who disobey Newton's straight-mouthed rules with scarlet leaps of blind faith, girls with hopes soaring past our pastel heavens, never weighed down by any mystical force of gravity measured by dead men. The audacity of the physicist's rotten rules anchoring themselves into thick velvet skin-- as if to stifle the daydreams that keep twirling unpredictably even if acted upon by an unbalanced force. There is no way to silence my momentum, I will keep blooming-- slender hands outstretched toward the flickering sun, past all of the white numerical lies and formulaic cages that ache to confine me. What a perfect contradiction, that a soft-spoken girl can rise at the break of Einstein's miscalculated morning, illuminating the sky with the poetry of her defiance.

She, who loves gracefully without friction. She, whose bones cannot be broken by the laws of heat. She, who keeps herself warm when the cold mathematical wrath of their graves fails to keep her quiet.
Michelle Garcia Feb 2017
I.
a calm darkened room, curtains drawn
outside, the sky is crying-- its tears
slamming white noise on our rooftop
there is a mattress and blue cotton sheets,
a cloud for a comforter and two bodies
clasped together like refrigerator magnets
as icons dance on the screen of our
static television minds

II.
here we are again, hands intertwined within
the streets of Rome, ivy crawling across
yellow edifice recollections, Italian
sun scorching her liquid tongue upon
our baking shoulders-- home
is across the Atlantic, a plane in the sky,
my head on your chest as a passport
to a place forever engraved on our eyelids
and in photographs where love
never fades with time


III.
our hometown has our hearts memorized,
the coffee shop at the corner where past
Augusts had melted our whipped drinks
into fumbling infatuation, the trees
we kiss madly against, the empty grass fields
that know the shape of our spines as
we gaze up, fingers tracing wispy trails
of our blue sky canvas

IV.
do you see that cloud? the giant one near the sun;
what does it look like to you?
like you, like you,
like proof that God adores me.
Feb 2017 · 950
Panic
Michelle Garcia Feb 2017
I have been at war with my brain for as long as I can remember. A perpetual massacre, crimson annihilation, whatever sounds best bleeding from your tongue. No matter how many casualties you can find staining my fingers, there is no tragedy here. Words are what the carnage always leaves behind.
I have always had words, too many of them-- always left hiding behind my overbite in fear of crowding the world. It is a torturous thing, to be a writer in a world where people are not made of paper, where transparence is sacrificed for conversation.


I think in different shades of contradiction.
I want to talk to you but my brain keeps telling me to pretend my phone is ringing so I don’t have to talk to you anymore. There always seems to be an escape plan I cannot help but map out. I want to speak my mind, to watch my opinions soar into morning skies, but my brain gathers all of my words into paper boats drifting into shark-infested waters. I am full of synonyms and definitions, of pretty cursive words inked on skin. Perhaps it is hard to see this. I am, in fact, too busy picking my eyelashes out to realize that you are speaking to me. My heartbeats have cold feet when they try to serenade my thoughts.

Forgive me, for the paradox of my friendship. I am listening. It is just that sometimes, I am a telephone line with both ends in my hands.
Feb 2017 · 1.1k
Aviation
Michelle Garcia Feb 2017
You have always dreamed of aviation,
cellophane wings glued to your heartstrings--
my marionette lover of hopes hanging high
enough to abolish the air from heavy lungs.

I watch your cavern chest rise but never fall,
tsunami tides engraved permanently airborne,
intertwining hands with time as suspension
silences destruction.

Time does not exist here--only periwinkle
veins illuminated by morning light,
wispy eyelashes beginning their ascension.

You are all light, and altitude, and grace.

I am grounded, tethered to comfort, but
the curvature of your spine breathes sanctuary.
Your shoulders-- broad, significant--
as if to fingerpaint the alpines you will ascend
once the wrath of gravity is conquered.

When your parachute soul finally gathers
enough strength to pilot the destined flight,
I hope you remember to save
a window seat for my heart.
Michelle Garcia Jan 2017
Wrote poetry and decided to turn it into music.

Link: https://youtu.be/BadmCkoPOdE

LYRICS:

You hear me through the silence
Bleeding down the streets
That used to know your name

Can you see me through the fog
That's anchored to your eyes
Oh you can feel me sighing

Take me back to you
Take me back to then
Take me back to midnight
Dancing on the rooftops breathing blue
Like heaven's sin
Let heaven in

Your veins, sweet surrender
Summer catching rain on
Skin that's tasted freedom
Young, but why are we so
Quiet--
You are still my words
When they are left to die
Your phosphorescent smile

Can you love me
When the night holds steady
When my hands are trembling
When our hearts burn lonely

Take me back to you
Take me back to then
Take me back to morning
Dreaming in the sunrise living reds
Like heaven's sin
Let heaven in
https://youtu.be/BadmCkoPOdE
Jan 2017 · 1.1k
LOVE LOUDLY
Michelle Garcia Jan 2017
Love hard, my friends. Love noticeably.


Love does not deserve to be shoved under the rug, to be disguised, or to be quieted. Love does not mean conforming to the idea that genuine affection is “sappy,” “cheesy,” or “cringeworthy”; instead-- love loudly.


The world wants to tell you that relationships are to be silenced. That posting multiple photographs of each other is tacky, uncomfortable, and something to make fun of. That devoting time with your favorite human being is disgusting, overbearing-- especially when you are young and the future does not exist in your hands.


Too bad, future. And how unfortunate, world. Because at the end of the day, the world does not own love. You do. It is yours to have, to keep, to share, and to do whatever it takes to hold onto it. It is mine.


When you find love, shout it from the rooftops and frame a million photographs. Post selfies of the two of you smiling wide and unwavering. Wear its colors on your face and shamelessly declare it to the whole universe and beyond: You are in love. You are alive.
And likewise, this is my philosophy: Love intentionally, fiercely, tirelessly.


Love so hard it makes people dizzy. Take it as a compliment. In an exhausted world that spins with violence, hatred, and monstrosity-- praise its joys. Snap those pictures.Tell your friends. Scrapbook it, publish it, make art out of it. Laugh about it, display it, live it. Put an end to the grotesque concept that something so beautiful, perhaps life’s most magnificent, should be sheltered. Let it grow.


This is a declaration. I am boisterously in love. There is no quiet here.
One day, you will find someone or something that your heart will never be able to shut up about. And that’s okay. Let it scream.
Dec 2016 · 827
REASONS TO STAY
Michelle Garcia Dec 2016
Like the bulls in every existing china shop,
we danced clumsily past midnight.

The soles of our feet sticking
to the hardwood floor of my living room,
twirling, dizzy--
in hopes that if our souls learned how to tango,
minute hands would cease
to spin.

It was holy bliss.
It was the sweat shop
factory of affection.
Our bodies-- luminous in the
palest moonlight, a passerby
might have believed
we were angels.

Even now, as we sit
in the midst of silent tension,
furrowed brows of frustration
with no words left to promenade
out of our jaded bodies,

I watch your chest rise and fall
to the hostile melody of our
fruitless accusations, each breath
a reminder of our dance.

Your soul is still liquid music to my ears.
And as long as it continues to play,
I will stay, the hem of my dress floating in motionless air--
waiting for midnight
to intertwine our silhouettes.
Dec 2016 · 844
IN AGES PAST
Michelle Garcia Dec 2016
I will one day become a grandmother in a wooden rocking chair,
hair dusted over by the willowy waltz of passing time. A cataract memory,
mind sheltered by the wedding veils of unblemished maidens
long after the receptions have ended.


My granddaughter will see right through my fossilized transparency
and she will smile, for she will only see my frosted forgetfulness,
eternities buried within my scattered steps
as I remember how to walk each morning.


She will never understand--
not until my fragile bones find home within dampened earth,
that her grandmother was a poet.
That I, of countless melted birthday candles and weary stumbling,
was once seventeen with poetry embedded in my irises,
pounding to the cadence of my pulse.


Once, I was a poet.
I ran barefoot in the neighborhood streets,
aching soles on summer concrete, finding solace
in between the sidewalk cracks of smaller worlds.
Once, I was a poet,
and I found comfortable silence within the rhythmic thumping of typewriter keys
past unspeakable hours, graceful ink spilling symphonies onto paper,
every rejection letter promised potential,
every love an image to be painted with the soft brush of syllables.


She will notice my hands tremble.
Here, grandma, let me help you, she’ll say.
Celestial, it was, the pitiful gaze of the naive.
I let her pour my coffee, observing slim hands move with ease,
peaceful, calm, the apricot sunsets I used to chase
at seventeen, forever engraved on the backs of my heavy eyelids.


Once,  I was a poet,
and I wrote of my lover like someone handcrafted
by the calloused hands of an existing God,
how easily the blazing fires of youth melted
into promises creased inside sealed envelopes.


I do not recognize her anymore,
the reflection who pours my coffee today.
She has my lover’s eyes, his unforgettable opals of poetry
that are nothing but faded recollections
of the muse I used to be.


*My darling,
I still see you. You are still here.
Nov 2016 · 1.0k
STILLNESS
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
The day we fell in love, the world stood still for the first time.
No movement other than the midsummer air humming electric,
the warmth of our words rising up into dense clouds
and gray atmospheres of sticky potential.
I remember thinking, as our dewy skin melted into the grass,
how strange it was that the world kept turning constantly.
Cars speeding on hazy interstates, babies being born in porcelain bathtubs.
Screen doors slamming in distant houses, ivy crawling across
the windowpanes of writers who will never see their name sprawled
across musky paper spines. Houses torched, brakes cut, hair trimmed.
Somewhere, an arthritic old man sets his newspaper down. It is raining.
He dances, flood water cascading around his ankles. He only thinks of her.
City lights paint taxi exhaust bright green. It is nighttime in the city
and teenagers drive recklessly through underground tunnels,
hands raised through the sunroof of their father’s cars
as the yellow light bleeds into their corneas.
Everything is set in motion, the day’s suffocating inertia of color,
a spinning top cacophony of mindless rebirth.


It is different today. You kiss me softly, velvet-lipped and eager,
and the world stops turning. The streets of Mumbai are silent.
There are no babies screeching in the quiet rooms
of church services, no hearts in the midst of being shattered.
The old man stops dancing.
His eyes are closed, her face still sketched on the backs of his eyelids.


The sky sees nothing but us.
Nov 2016 · 890
OMNIPRESENCE
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
It does not matter if you wake up one mile away,
or fifty hours,
or if the entire globe separates the soles of our feet.
My eyes have memorized the language of your love,
the glowing warmth of your arms that is able to be felt
through a static telephone call,
a letter sleeping patiently inside an envelope,
promises sent shooting through the indigo heavens.


I will always be with you--
the rises and runs of your heartbeat
pounding inside your head, the rush of wine-colored blood
through translucent blue veins,
I will be as close as skin meets soul,
as sweat mingles with tears.


The ridges of your hands are roadmaps I will follow
until my heels grow calloused and blistered,
and when the sky darkens, your brown eyes
will become a compass that will point
in the direction of our dreams.


We go,
but love cannot.
We change,
but love does not.
We hold,
and love holds with us.


I will love you all over again in the morning
and we will always be together--
distance breaking nothing,
our faces shining in the same light
of tomorrow’s sun.
for my sweet Anthony, because I promise that everything will be okay.
Nov 2016 · 1.3k
I AM THE REVOLUTION
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
Fear.
For so long, I let it sink its tainted fangs into my neck, drawing blood that dripped to my ankles like something that could make angels tremble in the heavens.
It listened to me speak. I could see the hunched curvature of its spine in every corner of my imagination, watched it swallow the colors of my soul like leftover soup.
Consuming.
It surrounded me, an anchor tethering my heels to hollow ground.


But then I discovered poetry. I discovered the syllabic freedom of bleeding love into the spines of empty journals. I found out that poetry existed in glistening foreheads and moments spent trying to catch my breath again, in split ends and blotted lipstick stains.
I discovered that airplanes do not plummet into the Atlantic Ocean as often as I thought. I discovered that I can ride them without becoming another muted headline, a tragic statistic blaring into the white noise of late night television.
I discovered that my voice had meaning, that it deserved the embrace of a microphone, an eager audience, to be shouted and sung like lyrics to a revolution I had always been taught to silence.
I discovered that proving people wrong is fun.
To the boy who told me at age 13 that I would grow up and become someone’s biggest disappointment, this one is for you. To the despair that kept me wide awake until mornings I wished would be my last, this one is for you. To the same girl who doubted that she would make it, that her brain would ever stop screaming the same addictive chemicals that questioned her very fragile existence, this one is for you.


I made it.
I dyed my hair bright red because I am a fire that refuses to die out, my heartbeats fanning the flames of a life I have yet to conquer. I sing in the shower, with my car windows rolled down at fifty miles per hour, in my sleep. I have tasted tenderness in the form of a heart that beats for mine.  I am loved, I am young, and I am burning fearlessness with every breath.
Nov 2016 · 652
THE AWAKENING
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
This morning I was born, pink as a sunrise waiting patiently to melt into infinity.
I turned five in the afternoon, small hands tracing entire universes in the frost of a school bus window, wide eyes peeking out into a frigid February dream I have long since forgotten.
As dusk began to stretch its fragile skeleton along the walls, I was suddenly thirteen and searching for any trace of a ghost screaming relentlessly inside skin I could not recognize. Broken mirrors and madness tasted all too familiar as the sky began to blacken like something rotten kept secret for a little too long. Patience, young one. Minute hands will soon teach you how to taste sweetness all over again.
Faint stars collected far above my head, and all of a sudden I was one week away from seventeen. I knew that if I slept, she would greet me, after a day of sixteen beautiful stories waiting to be told.
A swaddled baby. A toddler scribbling backwards letters on blank pages buzzing in anticipation. An imperfect perfectionist, a paradox in process. A wanderer searching for fragments of salvation on an earth too broken for redemption. A rescued victim of her own absent self. A soul that has stretched its edges to form the revival of a buried smile. A renaissance blooming with every fleeting moment.

I have been all of these things. The thump in my chest understands this. Time paints with a hand that never tires of healing, never grows old, never loses hope.
In the morning I will rise, pink as a sunrise with blazing eyes that can already see the dance of infinity.
Nov 2016 · 1.9k
ON THE NIGHT TRAIN TO VIENNA
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
on the night train to Vienna I dreamt
as the soft tangerine light bled into the windows,
tumbling down infinities of Italian countryside
absorbing into my retinas in summer shades
of dusk-colored haze


entranced I was--
a nervous girl of sixteen years,
uncharted valleys sprawling ceaselessly
at the beds of my fingers,
love languages my tongue could not yet
stretch its fibers around
freedom forming its hunched silhouette
just outside of thin glass windows
cooled by the night’s apprehensive breeze


endless, it seemed
the rumbling blur of possibilities--
my hands sedated for the first time in years.
quietly existing in the jolt of a moving cab,
the subtle ricochet through the faint lamppost glow
of fragile Austrian dreams.


home-- four thousand and forever miles away
and yet here was fine, just fine
a girl with stringy hair and a steaming cup
of midnight European tea
as her mother sighed to herself in the
peak of her American afternoon,
wondering whether her baby had found sleep
in someone else’s morning.
Nov 2016 · 2.2k
TO BE A POET / A Slam Poem
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
I remember the first time I discovered poetry,
bolts of electric affluenza coursing through soft fingertips
and into the skinny blue lines of fascination
meaning nothing at first, yet transforming into the spillage
of emotion, the invention of color,
the budding metamorphosis of the artist’s apprehension.


I remember telling everyone about the honey-tainted metaphors
that exhaled yellow pigment through our film noir madness
of ravaged years cementing over irises
and I remember the revelation, saucer eyes and trembling hands
after discovering the faultlessness of magic
that tore at heartstrings and furrowed brows,
the mumbled prayer of stitching entire blankets of words together
to keep our souls warm even as the frigid ice of Time
burned in desperation to freeze our heartbeats.


You are a poet
but to the world, you are wasted opportunity
you only know of words that slip through tied tongues like silk
and mending excuses to make up for heartbreak
You are a poet
but they never stop reminding you to keep your feet glued
To hollow ground, shaking
To find something that tastes of reality, the human flesh
sweat of long lost longing
You have to stop living in your head
In the spaces where you breathe life into promises
You are a poet
But that has never been enough.


The poet is used to this--
the knowledge of failure always shoved under the doormat
numbers that collect under crumpled paper,
the rotten look of misunderstanding as they wonder
where the science of living went missing
When did art decide to invade your insides,
Leaving no room to calculate meaning with mathematics?


Oh, but only the poets understand
That there is no formula to meaning
No theorem to calculate suffering,
Only words that get stuck and disintegrate into whispers
only all-consuming madness, write me a storm
That rages through afflictions
Write me an ending where
We are older, in the house we dreamed of, buried
Under blankets in the forgotten fog of Decembers
Write me an ending where my voice is steady
Instead of constantly wavering past the silence of goodbyes
hellos
heartaches


Love me
And I will love you
Lose me
And I will turn you into poetry
stretch your bones into feelings,
follow the lines in your palms into futures
Where we end up together
I will hold up your eyelids
so they will never feel heavy at the sight of destruction
I will shelter your heart to keep it beating
As we watch  as the words I could never say
flutter at your fingertips like moths
with broken wings


The world does not understand love


nor the poets that create it.
Nov 2016 · 688
COMMITMENT
Michelle Garcia Nov 2016
I.
It is so simple.
Tuesday atmosphere bleeding
autumn rain down windowpanes,
the descent of fragile hopes
and hands intertwined a little
too tight for wondering.


II.
We are here; hazy within
the iridescent walls of my childhood home.
We slow dance to the fading refrigerator light,
our laughter reverberating down the stairs
I fell down when I was in kindergarten
and afraid of boys with loud voices.


III.
It is more complicated than they think.
We scour home decor magazines,
pointing at flattened apartment windows
overlooking the bustle of city chaos.
A young couple walks across the page
and into a dusk-painted room,
faces exuberant in the sunlight
of their newborn lives.
One day, we will be just like them, you tell me.
I almost forget that I have yet to turn
seventeen.


IV.
In my head, there is nothing wrong
with designing the future,
sketching myself into false realities
where I feel safe falling asleep
in someone else’s arms.
I have written myself within the spaces
of unpromised decades,
and I paint your hands, the ridges--
the crevices in which I have placed
an abundance of gemstone promises
that do not shatter in the light of something real.



V.
We are young
but I love you.
To the rest of the world, we are teenagers
clutching each other’s spines in grass fields
when we cannot even comprehend
what we are praying for.
Hold me.
I love you.
I cannot promise this enough.
Sep 2016 · 628
PURGATORY
Michelle Garcia Sep 2016
I am running out of pretty words
to let them know that
my darkness
is not fictional.
It is hidden instead
under crimson lipstick dripping down
blood red sins on the white lace dress
I wore on my First Communion.
My mother does not understand
how my mind, of sixteen years,
has run out of purity—
casualties of fading light
and trembling hands that have forgotten
the dimpled smile on God’s glorious face
the day I was born.
I too, have forgotten that day,
instead dreaming of mornings spent
on my bedroom floor heaven
of rapidly-inflating lungs
and eyes that have seen the reflection of affliction
far too many times to be considered holy.
For I am the sacrificial lamb
slaughtered to the mumbled hypocrisy of praise,
blinded by the guilt
of every mortal sin collecting like bodies in silence;
the sound of shattered souls buried by seraphims.

How much grace can one mortal swallow?

I beg you.
Have mercy on me.
Sep 2016 · 582
EPIDERMAL
Michelle Garcia Sep 2016
You are not supposed to rip pages
out of books bound by human spines
or all of the pages will fall out
and disperse across the ground
like autumn leaves exhausted of trying.

I learned this the hard way.

If there is a cure or concoction
to heal a brilliant mind

I crave it,

because finding medicine to express
my mutilated madness
is like dying without understanding
the allegory of mercy.

He wants to understand what hides
under soft satin skin and apathy.
I see it in the way the crumpled lines on his forehead
form question marks when I cry
because there was never a reason
nor answer
as to why my heart always seemed
to perpetuate the memory
of autumn.

No, he will never know, curious as he is,
because skin is miles
and miles
and miles deep
plummeting down to a hollow core
of sickness
of sorrow
of solitude
that could dissolve all of his worries
but never my own.
Sep 2016 · 976
PLAUSIBLE
Michelle Garcia Sep 2016
The first time you mentioned forever,
I attempted to measure it.

Just how far can heartstrings stretch
when tugged by the blur of passing seasons,
extended arms, and miles of uncharted tomorrows?

No matter how many times I have watched
hands embrace the seconds of fleeting time
I still wonder if a moment exists                                                                                              
when they will finally tire of spinning, trying to find
salvation in the rotation of infinity

if it even exists.

Forever
making pit stops at sixteen at seventeen
in yesterdays expired and the blood red rush
of exhausted mistake.
Forever
smoke seeping through door cracks,
fires of promise, of passion, of fading
Forever
we will love
Forever
until our names run dry of meaning.

Just how many heartbeats does it take
to shelter an angel,
how many words exchanged does it take
to ****** the demons that wish to place
years and age and affliction
between the two who have painted
a thousand forevers between hands
held so tightly that minds forget how to change?

I am still trying to measure even now,
as we glide toward moments whose horizons
we will always be searching for.
Sep 2016 · 520
SHEDDING SKIN
Michelle Garcia Sep 2016
Sometimes victory is the first step. The turn of a doorknob. The cry for help. Victory is finally getting up to eat dinner after crying silently on your bedroom floor when the weight of the world collects like dictionaries upon your shoulders. It is eating that bowl of ice cream anyway, even when the same voices that have haunted you for years keep attempting to shrink you into a skeleton shadow. It is dressing up in the morning when all you want to do is let scorching hot water carve paths down your spine, forgetting the sound of all the voices you have ever heard because it causes you to wonder just when yours disappeared. It is reading a poem in front of your class, hands and voice shaking like palm trees in hurricane wind. It is realizing that some people will pretend to understand the fire of your soul yet cower in your presence due to the terror of getting burned. It is realizing that you are not immune to this, susceptible to creating madness in the nights you keep searching for, but cannot find, any air left to breathe.
It is admitting you are weak. It is choosing to believe the I-love-yous even when they hang above your head like chandelier glass. It is falling asleep shattered yet committed to wake up anyway. Victory is hidden in the idea that tomorrow, as lonely as today has painted it,


exists.
Sep 2016 · 704
From Up Above
Michelle Garcia Sep 2016
The first steps you take as you enter the immaculate hallways of the first cathedral in Rome are the last ones taken out of fear.

Fear, you had always been full of it, of potential abandonment and quivering voices.

But here, the arches have beckoned years upon years of marveling, of eyes cast upward at staggering golden ceilings, light reflecting through the brilliance of violet stained glass.

This is the moment in which you realize that bravery exists in the aftermath. Just hours ago, you had boarded the suffocating plane all by yourself, red sneakers and matching suitcase, departing the same home that kept you calm for so long. With shaking hands and a hammering heart, you are buzzing with static electricity you were too afraid to understand before this moment.

Peeking out of the claustrophobic airplane window, you realize just how small you are, how microscopic everything seems just as soon as it has been defeated. And though your worries have taken shelter as a lump in your throat, they soon dissolve like sugar cubes in hot tea.

There is nothing left but tranquility.

Cascading blankets of translucent white hang daintily through the glass, blinding the plummeting ground from existence. This is the first time you have ever let yourself taste freedom.

And then, while your neck cranes down at the indigo expanse below you, you realize that the same blue is no longer taking shelter inside of your bones. Blue no longer runs through the paths of veins in your hands or in the moments in class you wished you would have said something but never did. Blue no longer remembers your writing and how easy it was to fit solitude in between the letters.

Blue, instead, is all around you, oceans below your feet like a collection of everything you were too heavy to hold onto.

Somewhere, miles and hours behind you, your mother is cooking dinner. She will leave an extra bowl of Monday night soup at your place at the dinner table, an accidental broth you will never taste. Your father’s heavy eyelids have collapsed, television humming white noise, cat on his shoulder as the peach-colored dusk melts into the room.

Yet you were there,

suspended miles of infinities above the same ocean you fell in love with back when you were even smaller than before. Back when your big brown eyes followed paths in the heavens, the soft glide of the ones brave enough to shuttle toward new horizons, redefining the notion of reckless abandon.

And now, you are here.

You are one of them.

Captivated, enveloped in the shadows of the masterpieces that have aged over thousands of lives that will never meet yours. You are a pioneer of your first real experience, marble statues and pillars the sole witnesses of your rebirth.

They are haunting, breathtaking, faces painted gracefully upon crumbling walls in colors that once made souls tremble in the same skies you had dreamed of, and then dreamed in.

You are here, surrounded by memories of light. And for a couple of moments tied together by blind hope, you forget that darkness once knew you by name.
Aug 2016 · 694
Blink
Michelle Garcia Aug 2016
I remember everything— each space on the calendar crossed out in permanent marker but never forgotten.

I remember every before and after, every minute that has passed by my irises with the impatience of speeding cars on the interstate. I keep my hands permanently cupped so that memories cannot slip through the cracks in my fingers, tea spilling from my grandmother's cracked porcelain. Every heartbeat that has silently taken refuge under the rug, every breath I spent wondering what it would be like if I peeked out and saw the soles of the feet that have replaced the metronome of my steps.

I am building a life out of the sound of my own laughter echoing down walls painted by the artist of morning light. My heart is a kaleidoscope house with mirrors I peer into and find older versions of myself, silhouettes of smaller dreamers with eyes that could ignite the world with the gentle flutter of a blink.

I am dressed up as Tinkerbell for my first birthday, fairy green and sparkling. Pictures are taken, kisses on pink cheeks and soft feet. Growing up is not an option. Blink. I am 5 years old and missing my front teeth, crying lava on the bus ride to school as my mother’s familiar face shrinks through the frosted window. No matter how hard I squint, she is still just a dot on the sidewalk waiting for me to come home. Blink. I am eight years old and playing with Barbie dolls on my bedroom carpet, crayons scattered all over my bed and my imagination sprinting across the baby pink walls faster than I can keep up with it. Blink. Thirteen hurts a lot more than scraping knees on uneven sidewalks. My own tears begin to taste like the beginnings of a broken heart. Blink. Blink. Blink.

I am sixteen and in love. The kind that holds my breath hostage in its arms, the kind that knows my name like the lyric of a song memorized in past lives. My hopes remain suspended twenty thousand feet in the air, fearless and spontaneous. There are flowers growing wildly in the way that I love him, in the way I see myself waiting for a thousand years to have this forever. The taste of happiness has finally made its way into my morning coffee.

And as much as they wanted me to live in Neverland forever, I have finally found the door to where my heart lives. Every moment is a volume. Every day is a masterpiece hung intentionally on the wall for the world to see, for my own hungry eyes to catch a glimpse of now.

Blink. It is time.
Aug 2016 · 645
teach me
Michelle Garcia Aug 2016
teach me youth,

the way it fumbles down spiral staircases
and flutters in late summer wind,
how it forgets the existence of time
as if preserved in fear
like fireflies pounding tirelessly against the walls of our trembling hands on August evenings

for I have forgotten it,
the look--
eyes overcast and words crossing their arms
because they have grown too fearful
of making a mess, the shy first kisses of  tangled hair and secrecy.

teach me how to dance
with aimless feet, stumbling
as if light can only pass through
the opacity of hardened hearts
with the soft brush of innocence
that somehow neglected to paint you brand new.
Jul 2016 · 807
SWEET REPOSE
Michelle Garcia Jul 2016
After comfort settles in, you wonder if the giddy anticipation has already packed its suitcase and whether it has already considered embarking on the next flight home. Today, your hair is pulled back in a soft tousled ponytail and the two hours you spent getting ready for your first real date has since waned into a rushed ten minutes, bobby pins resting at the corner of your lips. No longer do you wait on the staircase, eyes cast through the dusty window at the curve of your street for his car. Instead, you hear the electricity of his footsteps come humming up your front step, reverberating memorized and familiar, a sound that still makes the edges of your heart rise upwards like something you mumble in your sleep. It is today you decide that this is normal. His socks on the floor, his shoes kicked off and remaining tied tightly at your front doormat. He smiles and it looks exactly like last September, like uncomfortable summer, melting like birthday candles and falling in love with a stranger all over again.
You know him now, his hands, little—but firm. Those eyes shining in the humid July, and you swear that if someone asked you to choose their color from a palette, you could find it in a heartbeat, with a nonchalant point of a finger. Yet there will always be something about him, something new and as fresh as a ripe apple falling from the highest branch, bright burning red that you catch with your bare hands before it has the chance to hit the ground.
And your love, though you have learned it by heart, is the apple, scarlet and dewy, that you keep your eyes gazing up at even after you have memorized the physics of its fall. His arms are a fire you have warmed yourself by long enough to feel safe forever. But you are both ruthless and young, burning in dangerous shades of potential eternities.

You have fallen, but you are still falling. Love has a knack for catching the hopeless.
Jul 2016 · 650
Arms Race
Michelle Garcia Jul 2016
Those days,
I remember them clearly-- the ones decorated in violence.
There was no one left for me to fight
but the distorted figure glaring back
in the ***** mirror,
the reflected face that suffocated my gaze,
exhaling new nightmares like shattered glass fragments of insecurity
dropped from every creaky fire escape
overlooking the collarbone roads
of my own demolished city.
Those days,
my heart hurt more than it desired to beat.
But the pretty words flowed out of my fingertips like honey,
poetry never hiding at the back of my throat
like something that was afraid of commitment.
It filled all of the empty spaces,
cursive loops imprinted upon the edges of time,
the gaps between my own hands rubbing together in the winter,
black ink serenading pale paper.
Never lacking, never losing.
But the war has since ended.
The battlefield no longer exists in the trenches of my mind,
monuments proclaiming love rather than defeat.
I now rise to the bittersweet taste of victory,
morning bells chiming in my ears
as if this is my first time hearing music. Days have blurred into warm colors and melodies of laughter, of faith, of newfound innocence.
I have learned that it is easiest to swallow life by adding a teaspoon of sugar.
It is easiest to live without the weight of failed attempts.

I miss them so.
The words rarely visit.
Rarely call.
They are quieter now, poetry confined to corners I cannot see.
They were only ever around to witness the gore, the blood, the fickle sweat.
And once they had witnessed the scars fade into pink,
they did too-- just like all of the hurt that had risen up out of my tender bones
and into the stars.
Jun 2016 · 726
Heartbeat
Michelle Garcia Jun 2016
I miss the days when I would find poetry resting peacefully on the kitchen counter, hiding skillfully between the cracks of the tile bathroom floor. Back then, it shuttled out from the tips of my fingers like golden lightning that kept my heart pulsing, my eyelids propped open wide with all of the secrets I had been struck with.  

There were nights I found it in the soft flutter of his eyelashes against my cheek, the glowing warmth of his hand that held mine like something he would never grow tired of carrying, even though that was where I kept all of the words that had been stolen from my lips since the first moment I knew that I loved him.

But back then, they were everywhere-- the words-- nestling in high nests perched upon branches I was always tall enough to reach, settling in the pockets of worn denim overalls and the creases of watercolor smiles I had secretly painted on strangers with no names to match the dim light of their faces.

There was a time. There is a time.

Now, I sit at my desk with trembling hands and words stuck jumbled and uncharted in the aftermath of the past. And poetry no longer spills from the cracks of the baby pink teapot, no longer falls with every tear that still remembers how to emulate the rain.

But it is here when I am with him, his arms becoming the paper I have spilled my soul onto back before I memorized the melody of his heartbeat. In the sound of our voices filling all of the vacant spaces that used to haunt my bones, in the hushed music that plays every time my name drips like honey from the edges of his laughter.

There is a time. It is now. Poetry was once written, now it is living.
Jun 2016 · 671
Rediscovery
Michelle Garcia Jun 2016
You have since forgotten the stale aroma of old books, how they once stretched your afternoons into nights that ended in the final flutters of heavy eyelids and young hearts beating with flustered adrenaline.
An eternity has separated your fingertips from the edges of creased paper memories that have since faded into faint flickers of yesterdays, wilted and tarnished like the handles of childhood bicycles left out in the rain.

The thrill of disappearing into the spines of stories where your name could be whisked away into the summer wind and forgotten, every mistake ever committed melting within the spaces of all of the words you were once too afraid to write yourself.

Chasing thrills was only ever appropriate for the innocent.

And you remember being young—living without thinking twice about the hands of the clock and their lonely waltz, never worrying about crossing off monotonous boxes on the calendar and or where tomorrow would begin. Instead, you’d just wake, wiping away the hazy violet sleep from your eyes, your little fingers sounding out the words existing upon unfamiliar pages you were still too small to understand.

But now you do. You are full of understanding. The way time slips through bigger hands that have grown strong and calloused with the weight of your own troubles, how you have learned that trying to catch it after the fall is equivalent to waiting for yesterdays to come knocking at your front porch. The way days never return home, never send you letters, never call first.

Comfort sleeps in the knowledge of temporary. Time is fleeting. Perhaps love is too, but you are still too soft to know this yet. Still too eager to be left out in the rain.

And when you finally curl up with a stack of paperback nostalgia, you are greeted with neglected lives and heroes that exist far beyond the ones you have broken yourself to be saved by.

*You  have been busy chasing thrills this entire time.
You have only ever been innocent.
strength, love, discovery, happiness, inspiration, reading, books, read, hero, rain
Jun 2016 · 652
The Poet's Lament
Michelle Garcia Jun 2016
Write it all down. The way you feel when you wake up on a rainy Saturday morning, the howling thunder of a summer storm, how your heart races like hurricane winds at the simple thought of tomorrow. Write about your best friend's laugh at three in the morning and how blissful it is to have found a hand that squeezes yours back. Write when you feel as if your soul is perched at the very top of a mountain, and when it sinks to the deepest part of your mind's treacherous oceans. Write when your heart is dancing like a ballerina spinning in a white tutu. Write when it is still. Quiet. Lost. Write when you've fallen in love, when you've lost at a cruel game, when you fall asleep wanting to erase every memory you've ever experienced, like the songs you cried to when you were thirteen and swore you were falling apart. Write it all down, the bright colors that melt into fond afternoons, the bittersweet tastes, the textures that scar, the aches and pains. Write when words can no longer express what exists inside of you. Do it anyway. That is what love is.
Jun 2016 · 833
Undefined
Michelle Garcia Jun 2016
Contrary to popular belief, I am not always a happy person. I am not made of summer sunshine and daffodils and constantly feeling limitless. I am not a cartoon character on the screen of a static television that can only ever showcase one emotion, laughing away humble hours and only ever blushing out of joy. There are days when my skin is the last place I want to live in, my heartbeat just like an overplayed song on the radio. There are days that I burn, when staying buried under my sheets feels infinitely more worth it than getting out at all. Days when I let my fear of failure grab me by the throat with no intention of letting go, ones I wish would end before they even have the chance to begin.
I am human. Real. I make mistakes that stretch like wildfire and burn everything comfortable to me. I am a victim of comparison, of self-inflicted hurt, of seemingly endless defeat. There were eras where I measured my importance on the size of my waist, the amount of attention received from others, by false love. I once thought that I could find acceptance in what others had to say about my existence, that I would only find joy in being fearless.
Math scares me. Finding spiders in my sink terrifies me. Public speaking tosses my stomach like ***** laundry. My fear of abandonment holds me hostage, prevents me from tasting vulnerability. I am even afraid of myself on the days it is hard to keep inhaling and exhaling, inhaling and exhaling. I am very much afraid. I am alive because of it.
Fear is captivating, not always negatively. It allows us to understand what really matters based on a collection of what we are afraid of losing.
And yes, the same life I was eager to lose back a few forevers ago has morphed into one I never want to lose. I love this. I am loved, and I am holding on tight to the carousel of reality. I will hold my breath even if I fear running out of air, because I'd rather be breathless and experienced than falsely believe that there are no more horizons left to reach.
Jun 2016 · 470
Lover's Lullaby
Michelle Garcia Jun 2016
Home is here,

within the safety of arms that hold me tightly so that emptiness can no longer climb into my bones. You are the roof when it storms in my mind and the buckets overflowing with tears that seep through the cracks in the ceiling on the nights my skin forgets how to shelter. Your words exist in the whistling kettle on the stove steaming with gentle whispers that remind me that I must pour my doubt into a porcelain cup and swallow.

Sometimes the taste is worth the burnt tongue.

I adore you in the way you never think twice about parting your curtains to let the shy sunlight kiss my cheek on the mornings I worry that I'll only ever know the feeling of lonely shadows creeping down dusty mantles and floral wallpaper, tiptoeing down the ridges of my spine like something that has never dreamed of being loved.

Because now, there is no need to keep the television buzzing in the background to drown out the voices from under the sofa shouting for me to store my beating heart in the attic. Instead, the room is silent except for the melody of laughter echoing down the walls and in the pictures of us hanging upon them. There is only music left playing as your footsteps flutter down the stairs in a hurry to dance barefoot with me in the kitchen. The only voice left to hear is yours, lulling me to sleep better than counting reasons to stay alive ever could. Tomorrow, there will be no more numbers left to reach.
Jun 2016 · 533
silence
Michelle Garcia Jun 2016
what is left with the poet
after her words have been silenced?

nothing but the static hum of passing time
crawling past every wilted heartache,
every kiss left out in the summer rain
to rot inside stained pages that have forgotten
the blistering sensation of abandonment

no matter how hard she craves
for them to return home,
the door remains propped open
with a crumpled love letter
stained with sweat and addressed simply
to a name she has not heard
since the last time
she listened.
May 2016 · 473
Her
Michelle Garcia May 2016
Her
Her--
whose translucent face I first met
within the irises of your attention,
vibrant in the fading photographs
where your figures once melted together
like wax dripping from a summer candelabra.

She—
is still found in every obliterated promise,
a lingering aftertaste of faint perfume
I can still smell on your skin
when I am wrapped in it, comfortably,
secured in your amber chrysalis of worry.

I watch your eyes scan rooms for her walk,
for the soft motion of her dress swaying
those pale legs reflecting shy moonlight,
the flicker of yesterday’s flame.

I hear the syllables of her name fill the air
like a word you have grown fearful of mispronouncing,
a favorite song stuck in your brain
distantly hummed under warm breath
when you run out of reasons
to remind me that she and I
do not share the same blood
nor the same bones.

For I am made of her ashes, her expiration,
carried by the winds of your embrace
whisking me away to distant kingdoms
where the language spoken is one
that only remembers her voice
and how effortlessly it interrupts mine
before I can even part my lips
to speak.
May 2016 · 505
On Loving Someone Who Hurts
Michelle Garcia May 2016
There exists an abundance of neglected apologies stuck lodged at the back of my throat that remind me of how much I have forgotten the sensation of breathing deeply since you have. Words, how flimsy and inadequate, form into lethargic shapes that sit helplessly in the stomach and desire only to matter to you. I have painted for you a golden sky that stretches beyond horizons that can no longer be noticed by the naked eye and I guess we have both grown tired of prowling the heavens for potential endings.

I have seen dandelions sprout freely within the dimple on your cheek and I wonder how you can go on so casually convincing yourself that you are not made of sunshine. I have felt lightning channel through your fingertips far too many times to believe it is just an illusion you have designed to make the dark clouds feel a little less intimidating.

There is a certain danger embedded within the comforting blanket of safety. I want to tell you I am sorry that the metaphors and lines of poetry I have crafted will never begin to describe even the smallest fraction of your limitless importance. I am sorry that my words cannot make you see the icicles that form in my bloodstream when your tears whisper that you are exhausted of being alive. I want to shout I love you, I love you, I love you, why can't YOU love you? until I run out of air in my lungs, the chords of my voice continuing to strum the same promise inside and out until it forgets the tune. But doing so is impossible, because your soul is an old song that cannot be removed from the brain once it is stuck and I am so sorry, my love, that yours has lost the memory of innocence.

I am a broken vinyl record spinning the same expired words over and over again, hoping your tomorrow will be void of pain so that there will be enough leftover space for you to listen.
May 2016 · 821
High Hopes
Michelle Garcia May 2016
I often daydream of the places my feet will graze, eyes still bright and hopes lifted boldly above my head in a handful of future years when I will finally understand who I am. Oftentimes, I envision myself gazing through the frigid glass of my apartment window overlooking an entire city of hungry souls. Paired with a glass of pink champagne, I will study the intricate patterns in the way they carry themselves from one place to another, an entire kingdom of strangers dressed in pale blues and yellows and tans.

Who are they? What are they searching for?

I stand—a figure in a sheer black dress miles above, pondering upon the sea of incomprehensible gray swarming a thousand forevers below my feet. There exists a starving fear, one that reminds me that if my heels happen to break through the balcony, I will become one of them.
I dream of you returning home to me after an abstract day of trial and error. Even after the musky dust of today’s freedom collects upon your shoulders, you still smell the same familiar way you did when you were seventeen and unsure, wondering if I will be around to love you next year or tomorrow or only this afternoon.

Below us, they continue to travel, approaching midnight with a cautious volume that grows more and more lost as the hours waltz by. Some are hunting for a friendship that slipped like soap bubbles through the valleys between their fingers. The youthful delicacy of unrequited love. Some search for the art of escaping from a life that shattered their bones numb. Others, for salvation. A reason to permit their hearts to keep beating.

We are no longer wandering; instead, fingers intertwined at the success of a future that would not have obeyed the stars if we had not been like them before, pursuing dreams like pixie dust before they had the chance to grow up and become a little too impossible.

You kiss my forehead goodnight, drawing curtains and racing hearts. For once, I sleep. There is nothing left to search for.
Apr 2016 · 616
Flimsy
Michelle Garcia Apr 2016
I am longing to get lost somewhere far, far away. Away from the routine hum of constantly pushing the snooze button. Away from the stress of misunderstanding and complication, the hunger of chaos and disorganization. I desire to grasp the entire world with my own eyes rather than with a microscope that can only be focused on untouched possibility. I want to view life in vibrant colors I've only ever been able to understand in my mind and to speak of my adventures in words that have never been written down. I want to drive down avenues that no longer exist and balance at the very top of a mountain that has forgotten the feel of footsteps. I am thirsty for the impossible. I am exhausted of falling asleep to the sound of my own heartbeat banging against my bedroom walls and breathing in air that has already been exhaled in past lives. I will never settle for contentment. I will never settle.
Apr 2016 · 993
Hostage
Michelle Garcia Apr 2016
I am having trouble writing.
It is as if there is a wall of bulletproof glass separating me from the words that are dying to escape the metal cage they are kept in. I am the only one with a key sitting comfortably in the pockets of my jeans, but no matter how hard I pound my fists against the wall, I do not get any closer to quieting the agonizing screams emerging from the trap. They get louder, aching for liberation, tethering their syllables around the bars as they sit, confined within a reality I am desperate to free them from.

They are starving to live. I can see the outlines of their bones through the transparent letters that blanket their elastic limbs, each day growing more tired, forgetting the taste of hope every minute that passes. I can feel them collecting dust, shrinking down to fragile skeletons that have begun to lose meaning. What if one day I will no longer be able to see them? What if one day I have nothing left to save?

I am starving to live. I cannot feel love without a knife stuck wedged in the back of my throat reminding me that I have nothing to describe it with. I can give all of myself to the one who thankfully accepts it but my teeth chatter at the thought of having to apologize for stealing joy from the cookie jar. I am sorry for having no words to say sorry. They told me to tell you that they are sorry for their absence, but I do not know how to say this without them.

For now, I am waiting. The same way I do for Fridays, for your call, for my heartbeat to obey the speed limit, for time to run dry.

I will continue to wait
patiently, tiredly, averting my eyes to the hopes that maybe tomorrow, they will be small enough to squeeze through the bars and set me free.
Apr 2016 · 797
The Art of Adoration
Michelle Garcia Apr 2016
So often we hear stories about love. It is a word that slips easily off the tongue as if it is made of only the finest silk. It has become a mumbled concept that we poke fun at, the joke someone tiredly decided to crack at a birthday party because everyone has already memorized the punchline. Love, the deepest of all popular clichés, sits prominently upon pedestals within the stanzas of sappy high school poetry and in the elderly eyes of companions that have spent decades of their lives blooming in adoration. Love, the only child of fear and fearlessness, is the friend you invite to the party out of pity because your mother told you to. Yes, we are all drastically different people; from ethnicity to personality, and language to beliefs. Diversity is potent, harboring oceans of colorful ideas that define the nature of beauty itself. It keeps the human race buzzing with truth, extremely vital to the development of who we are all becoming. And just like ourselves, there exists many different kinds of love. Loving ourselves. Our families. Our friends. Our passions. Another person whose existence gives life itself infinite value. Each other. As people, we cannot be defined by labels. We cannot be packaged and wrapped into pretty little categories of where we fit solely based on the events of our pasts. We cannot only exist interpreted by where we have been and what we have seen. We are not just where we truly feel the most at home or what we choose to fill the empty space where the puzzle piece we have spent years searching for belongs. In fact, we are not just anything. You cannot define your worth by the way you sign your name, because when all is said and done, the only thing that is visible is the curvy loops in the way you penned the first letter with only ink and paper. No skin. No bone. No fight. No dream. The roads you have traveled to get to today’s destination do not matter as much as you think they should. A recovering alcoholic. The girl who survived an arduous battle with cancer. The teenage guy whose future feels impossible to decipher. A middle aged man who quit his job in order to seek true happiness. These are just fragments, broken glass pieces of who we are. Only a cropped, blurry photograph. Never the full picture. Love allows us to zoom out. Love permits us a chance to view the bigger picture, to expand our hearts in order to make sense of not only ourselves, but the chaos that has surrounded us for as long as we have been conscious enough to remember it. What does a sixteen year old girl of an uneventful town have to say about love that is so important or even worth the time of day to listen to? The answer, like ourselves, cannot be answered so simply. It sounds silly, unheard of, for a young woman of such a tender age to believe that she has the wisdom to understand the many facets of the foundations of love. However, there is so much electricity she has stored from the hands of time, the gifts of observation, and priceless experience to bleed out into words so that the people who told her she was too young to possibly understand a fraction of its meaning will realize that she did. She does. Or at least, she is beginning to. This one is for you. Perhaps you have been taught to treat love like a swear word, the estranged family member that disappeared from your household Christmas card collection. Perhaps you are trembling to experience it for yourself, rather than hearing what it must be like to hold the hand of a silhouette that does not desire only to let go. Perhaps you have spent years believing that love is only a feeling. Only positive. Only fluttery. Only romantic. It is not always such. It is a force that, much like a Category 5 hurricane, cannot be reckoned with. But “cannot” hardly ever resonates with “should not,” and so I beg you, that when the winds disturb the shutters, sometimes it is beneficial to keep the window open. Let love envelope you. Let it love you. Whether you like it or not, you are the home that will not crumble in the gentlest of breezes or the most treacherous of gusts. You are strong enough for love because that is what you are made of. Not just blood or tears or cheek-to-cheek grins. You are made of love. This package of love is the only category we should cease to be afraid of. Love, of all forms, is who we are.
Apr 2016 · 619
Foreshadow
Michelle Garcia Apr 2016
When the air around us becomes still, I begin the hunt for guarantees. Perhaps they are hiding, terrified, within the glimmer of promise that always seems to catch me moments before the fall. Maybe they are written somewhere inconspicuously, in the spaces between the fingers that hold me together better than gravity ever did. Savor this, I repeat to myself, a broken record that only remembers how to play the same tune over and over, over and over; but for some reason, I keep it running. Savor this. Savor this. Savor this. But when your lips greet the apples of my cheeks with a fire that cannot be extinguished, time is all that crosses my mind.
You whisper the volumes of reasons why you love me and I am only thinking of the moment you will tire of it. You shelter my joy in a canopy of trust, but I am far too busy counting seconds until the minute I become just another pretty story for you to tell when I have been set aside to collect dust.
I have discovered art in the curvature of your temples and the way you shook my father's hand with honor that night you kissed me under the illuminated blanket of God's great masterpiece. I have discovered it in the way you hold me close on the days I feel light years away from myself, the days when my body feels more like an abandoned orphanage than something that is meant to be alive.
You promise me forevers decorated in contentment and I am waiting for the day you regret it.
We are youthful and electrified, juggling candles at the tips of our fingertips and expecting not to burn.
I tell you that I want a yellow house with light blue shutters and a swing on our porch that rocks gently in the breezes of April.  I tell you that I have visions of us warming our feet by the fireplace in December snowfall, consuming peace within the melodious laughter of the children we will have. I tell you that when it storms, we will build forts out of quilts and hold competitions of brightness between the lightning and the glow of our own love.
I almost tell you that I need this, but I only find fear in my disappointment when I realize that there are no guarantees, and until tomorrow comes, we are holding our breath in limbo.
Instead, I tell you that I love you presently, and while we slow dance in our backyard a thousand eternities away, I am losing track of days spent grieving a dream that has not yet, or never will, come true.
Apr 2016 · 986
Background Noise
Michelle Garcia Apr 2016
We exist within—  
the hollow spaces between dissonant piano keys,
love notes hidden under dusty bookshelves,
the underside of the mattress
that has never been dreamed upon.

I gaze,
not at you—but through you,
translucent skin beckoning to encompass
the opacity of my own being.

I can no longer pass minutes
without blurred illusions of your face,
laugh lines and rose petals in silhouettes
that beg to be understood.

and there you are,
a familiar face in every fading photograph
I keep tucked within the musty pages of my journal,
in crowds of strangers and static radios,
within the cardinal’s scarlet flight
and oceans of words that can no longer describe
even fractions of your importance.

I can keep pursuing synonyms
to paint you porcelain poems of my love,

but then it is cheap,
nothing more than a human
worth writing about.

and you are everything
and everywhere— you and those hands
that refuse to loosen their grip.

on days I lose track of time,
you become a mirage stuck somewhere
between heaven and reality,

the remaining shadow  
of everything I cannot bear to lose.
Mar 2016 · 606
to be a poet
Michelle Garcia Mar 2016
is to be fluent in the art of insulting

there are only so many words
to be hand-picked from the ground,
spun around like ***** laundry
in melted glass shapes designed to mean
something to someone

we can write about
the way the tired clown collapses on his bed
after a night spent sweltering in forced laughter,
the way the sunflowers your grandmother planted years ago
continue to bloom outstretched to the sky
countless years after the last time you heard her voice

we can write about
the flutter of first love,
red cheeks and somersaulting stomachs,
the way it burns like a chemical spill on newborn skin
the moment it is stolen away from us

we can write
we can write
we can write

yet we will never fully capture
how the clown sobs tears of loneliness
after a lifetime of painting smiles on painted faces
or the way it still aches to stare out the window in the summer
because the cheerful faces of the flowers remind you of hers

we will never fully understand
how blissful it is to experience the beginnings of love,
how the entire universe ceases to exist anywhere
but in the unfamiliar palms of the one you have fallen hard for;
we will never fully understand
how the cries of the earth can also exist
in the deafening silence
after the one who poured his soul out for you to cradle
decides he wants it back for himself

we will never understand
we will never understand
we will never understand

but perhaps,
when we choose the words,
we choose to try.
Mar 2016 · 640
COMING UNDONE
Michelle Garcia Mar 2016
Though my hand remains intertwined with yours as we lie perfectly like plastic figurines in the middle of an empty nowhere, I am wondering where you are. You are not here, not really-- and by the memorized angle of your brow as it focuses up at the hypnotic veil of heaven enveloping our fragile bodies, I can sense that you have drifted gently, somewhere far away. Perhaps you have already built a comfortable cottage for us within the tiniest crater of the moon, our own little claustrophobic wonderland without envy or indifference. Or perhaps you are sitting upon the most pristine carousel horse at a London carnival with a woman who does not share my name, or my face, or my essence. Maybe, as the song plays its lighthearted melody and the lights create a memory of iridescent dizziness, you find yourself trying to search for fragments of me in her. I am nowhere to be found in the smoothness of her puckered lips or the salsa of her fluttering eyelashes, batting away the only expired yesterdays I exist in. Maybe you have ventured off into the limitless abyss of outer space and have discovered the loveliness of a parallel universe where we do end up together. A place where I am the beautiful woman on the carousel, buried forever in the familiarity of your childish laughter that resonates like rainfall. I have built myself an entire kingdom somewhere within the muddled walls of the heart I taught myself how to adore. Because despite the calmness of the present, love has always felt like sipping down a mug full of chamomile tea while the hot mist still collects upon my cheekbones, yet still biting my tongue the moment I realize it is destined to get burned.

I saw it coming then. I see it now, our figures floating together in the absence of distraction,
two humble souls existing as the tired stems of ripe cherries that have forgotten the taste of eternity.
Mar 2016 · 751
STRUCK
Michelle Garcia Mar 2016
Even the sturdiest trees in my backyard quiver like mad in the breath of a strong breeze. I am like them, as I panic over the thought of watching you brush effortlessly past my shoulders, the way hurricane wind has the power to sweep a grown man off his feet. I am cautious, tiptoeing around the idea of your absence like fallen power lines in the rain, trembling as I carry the precious moments I have spent with you in the safety of my own coat pockets so they will never feel the agony of electrocution. I am electrified, as I seek shelter from the storm within the comforting warmth of your arms. There are places where the sun flutters her fiery eyelids against waves that kiss shorelines like familiar relatives. There are places where park benches call us by name and ones that long day and night for our feet to grace their unexplored streets. There are words that hang in the atmosphere like hot air balloons waiting to carry us to newborn horizons. It is strange, how there are places where the skies do not bleed threats or cry in languages we cannot understand. How I know that we are metal statues standing embraced in a field during a lightning storm, and yet I would rather get struck with the energy of a thousand prayers if it meant that I could stay, frozen in time, for an eternity we are not guaranteed.
Mar 2016 · 925
THE ACHE OF ADOLESCENCE
Michelle Garcia Mar 2016
On the evening of my sixteenth birthday
I remember curling my hair with an iron and
burning the tips of my fingers pink,
mumbling pained words under my breath
that I probably shouldn’t ever repeat
unless I desire to live beneath the shadows
of adult eyebrows being raised so high
they might never come back down

as if they had never said something like that
before

that night I put on a silver dress,
and lipstick so red it almost gave the illusion
that I had been bleeding from the mouth
but I felt unstoppable, so why not?

“why not” was the question
that was always replaced with stone-cold silence
and the shrug of a shoulder
instead of an answer

that night, I blew out sixteen flaming candles
and felt beautiful,
surrounded by the smiles of friends I had met in high school
and ones I had known since the days when our only worries
revolved around who had the prettier Barbie doll
and who held hands during recess in the fourth grade
and these thoughts caused my stomach to somersault because,
now that we were illuminated by candlelight and the brightness of celebration,
everything had changed.


I blew out my candles and did not wish
for a car, or a new wardrobe, or for more
faces to call my friends, but rather,

I wished to be taken seriously.

I knew there was a deep-rooted problem
when I became acquainted with real love for the first time
And everyone said that I was too young, too incompetent to understand
What that word even meant,
That I was silly for believing that such a concept could exist
When you’re sixteen and five and a half feet tall
and not that great at chemistry or parallel parking
and can barely even hold up a strapless dress
as if somehow that dictated
that I was too small, too stupid to realize that
love was something much bigger than I am
but I did.
I do.

And there is something so contagiously twisted
That lurks in our society like a epidemic
The idea when your age lies between thirteen and eighteen
you are not really a person
that instead, you are a shadow of ignorance that sleeps all day
and clothes yourself in different shades of apathy
and that the only things you care about are
alcohol-induced parties on Friday nights and
losing morals and hours of sleep while gaining temporary highs
as if that is the highest I will ever go in life

you have to be kidding me.

because you might look at someone like me
and snarkily remark that I never look up from the screen of my phone
and you might think that my taste in music is repulsive or that
I’m only holding his hand because I love the thrill of letting it go,
and you might think that people my age have brains
that contain only a spoonful of intellect and the rest is just
empty space filled up with disease
but maybe it is time that your pedestal falls
and you realize that the older the wiser
is hardly ever true at all

I have witnessed lives spiraling out of control

the truth is not that we are dirt
and no, I am not taking pictures of myself unclothed
or chatting with strangers in online rooms
maybe the reason why I’m on my phone
is because I’m talking my best friend out of killing herself
and I’m researching time travel and why the happiest people hurt the most
and a cure for my own depression
and better words to fit my poetry
I am not equal to the garbage you see kicked to the curb of the street
Or scenery while you ride on by in your horse and carriage

I am just as great
As someone who has spent 80 years of their life achieving
And if time is uncontrollable
Then why am I being treated like somehow,
I have not chosen to be here long enough to know anything at all

And one day I dream of having my words praised for the truth that they are
Rather than having eyes roll back in guilty judgment
Because I have not lived as long as you have
And yet I am the one writing the words

Because yes, I am sixteen.
I haven’t even been here for two decades
but I do not search for happiness in empty glass bottles and clouds of smoke like you think I do
and I do not play with hearts like they’re made of matches
because I know that they burn
and when I tell him that I love him
I am not doing it to **** time
and I know that life is sacred and
impossible to retrieve once it’s gone and I am not going to waste
the precious seconds of my own aching until someone decides
that maybe, I am worth listening to.

Because I know that I am.
And on my sixteenth birthday,
as I smiled scarlet in every photograph
I was right--
I am unstoppable.
Mar 2016 · 1.9k
I AM THE WAR
Michelle Garcia Mar 2016
I do not wish to be
an emerald, pressed firmly against
the flesh of someone else's finger,
to be marveled upon by eyes
that only see beauty disguised beneath layers
of self-inflicted ignorance.
I do not wish for a life
sitting gracefully upon its pedestal,
or a striking face behind a glass display
that has never tasted the sweat
of reality.
I refuse to pass days behind
white picket fences trapping me
from seeking out scarlet horizons
or to live by the shout
of a clock that is running out of words
to tell me that I mean
nothing.
I am not going to sit, confined within
the peeling floral paper
that embraces the same walls that suffocate me
nor will I let my heart sleep
within the cavern walls of a chest
that is starving to set it free.

I want to crawl towards comfort
with scraped knees that do not bleed apologies
and earth trapped underneath my fingernails
like a joke no one ever broke silence to laugh at
I want to harvest gratification
with these same hands that have taught themselves
how to let go of the ones
who have tried to set it on a silver plate
for me to eat.

I desire to be dizzy
on the last day I will ever grace the air
with my breath,
blinded by joy I had spent a lifetime pursuing
with shadows cast beneath these hungry eyes
that have realized--

that it takes a revolution
to be able to say that I did more
than just exist,
I conquered.
Mar 2016 · 617
youth
Michelle Garcia Mar 2016
there are still words knotted in her stomach,
tangled cherry stems waiting
for shy hands to unravel them,
the pungent scent of fear dancing slowly
in a dimly lit room where you
cannot see her

but you feel her,
innocent, blameless—

a soul with runs always sneaking
down the sheerness of her tights,
the one who revolved her days
around messy diary entries crammed underneath
the mattress she grew up dreaming on

and right now,
you can feel the weight of her eyelashes
fluttering against the warmth of your cheek
the desperate wings of an injured butterfly that knows
that there still exists something called love
drifting soundly down a river of juvenile apathy

it is at this particular moment in passing time
that she decides to dedicate her youth
to the one with enough courage to hide it
in the pocket of his brown overcoat

tell her you love her
before you grow old
Feb 2016 · 623
The Taste of Fear
Michelle Garcia Feb 2016
I am holding onto minutes
as if they consist of
a thousand red helium balloons
ready to ascend like mumbled prayers
into the atmosphere
the same desperate way I sense that
maybe,
you are ready to leave me

I have conquered time with a death grip,
dripping sourly with words
that cannot form at this altitude,
with worries that feel as if
they have both feet hanging off the edge
of a New York City skyscraper,
plummeting the way my stomach feels
every second that passes without
even a glimpse of
your fragile existence

for I am a windowpane
that will shatter because of
a gentle April breeze
or the caress
of a perfect lover, destined to break
like the fragile bones
of a skeleton that has forgotten
the knowledge of living

the last time I kissed you
I tasted blood in my mouth.
Feb 2016 · 470
lost
Michelle Garcia Feb 2016
when I was a child,
I used to gaze up at the man on the moon
peeking through the gaps
between the bedroom curtains
that sheltered me from the rest
of the whole world

and I remember feeling small,
pressing my hand against cold glass,
against waves crashing along shores I hadn't yet met,
people swarming around dinner tables
with faces I couldn't recognize;

how we were all just tiny specks of dust
frozen in our beliefs
that we meant something
bigger than just our bodies

and now that I am older
and my skin has tasted the warmth of other voices,
I have built myself a box made of other words
from lives I entered by accident,
simply by trekking around cities
and falling in love with strangers
that once felt so unfamiliar

here I am,
and now I gaze out the window
of the house I never felt at home in,
feeling the embrace of a thousand worlds
I somehow met
even before I truly learned how to wander.
Feb 2016 · 579
affliction
Michelle Garcia Feb 2016
so much slander
is ****** upon the poet,
who sits uncomfortably
at the tip of every tired pen
aspiring to run out of ink

she will suffer
for as long as our streets
remain flooded with the blood of the innocent,
for as long as our wrongful hands
desire to invent new ways to tighten the ropes
of our own expired dreams, hanging exhaustedly
around the same necks
that have since forgotten how
to support us

and because of this,
the poet will sob
violently, the way she prayed
to destroy the sight of her own words
sinking down the clogged drain
in her bathroom sink

how willingly it swallowed
every remnant of everything
she could never bring herself
to understand

from the thunderous sound
of her father's kind footsteps
escalating the stairs after a long day
that will leave his back stiff,
to the absence of her mother's voice
the moment she finally decided
to listen

pain, she thought,
is a remembered affliction

and it is the poet's sin
if she refuses to shelter it.
Feb 2016 · 787
Lukewarm
Michelle Garcia Feb 2016
I wonder what my life would be like if I could feel constant in-betweens.
Not scarlet or neon orange, but instead,
a warm, friendly wall of peach or something grey and familiar.
You always seemed to climb through my skin from the inside out,
clawing at reminders hanging from my limbs
to stop taking everything so seriously.

On hard days, I do not cry.

Thanks to you,
I spew lava from my eyes until it feels
as if my tears could burn entire highways
down the slopes of my cheeks,
my anger the epitome of a pyromaniac's paradise.

When I am afraid, I do not tremble.

Instead, I am a nine on the Richter scale,
a category-five hurricane of fear
that cannot be shaken away.

And like lightning striking the top of an oak tree,
the next moment I am filled with so much joy
that my heart begins to burst
into four-thousand yellow balloons
and learns how to fly away,
performing a salsa with the hummingbirds
and a waltz with the rays of sunlight
emerging from inside of me.

Never have I felt the calmness of the lake.

Instead, I harbor oceans within the crevices of my palms,
scraping out entire planets from the pupils of those
who have spent their entire lives feeling too little.

And thanks to you,
I wonder how my life would be
if I had been blessed with the capability to feel
just okay
just fine
just something other than
out-of-control.


But my heart keeps pumping
in tsunami waves rather than puddles,
and when I finally stumble upon peace,
it consumes me.
Feb 2016 · 453
beginnings
Michelle Garcia Feb 2016
on the 4th of August 2015
at 3:39 in the afternoon
you said your first hello
to me

I replied,
uncomfortably;
and advancing five months,
I am wrapped up in your arms
the way a butterfly resides
in its chrysalis

A summer hello,
a friendly greeting
has turned into the kind of poetry
I fear losing
the most.
Feb 2016 · 969
Memorization
Michelle Garcia Feb 2016
I am memorizing

the shape of your teeth, the crater on the side of your right cheek
when you smile, resembling
the California coast

your concentrating face,
the way you dance like
the only other person in the room
has already returned home

how you wrap your arm
around my waist as if you already know
that I am going to fly far,

far
away

This is how I know

that no matter where I build my home,
mine will always reside
in the heart of the only man who has memorized
the way I eat my dinner with my fingers
and the way I will always pray
to love him
for as long
as we are given
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