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 Dec 2017 Renée Casey
Cali
Wind
 Dec 2017 Renée Casey
Cali
The wind is a scream
tonight
or a quick breath
upon the solid lip
of the quarter-filled wine glass.
It haunts the eaves
of my empty house,
stalks the corners of my loneliness.

This bedroom is a recurring scene
well-worn and moth-eaten-
the cat flickering in the lamplight;
the plants climbing the walls
in search of a light;
the sharp click of the furnace
as bitter cold December
creeps in over the windowsill.

Familiar, familial,
like the dichotomy of flesh
and a mind with sharp edges;
of soft sun kissed curves
and this brittle winter heart.
 Nov 2017 Renée Casey
alex
when a boy shows you his hands
bare except for the dust
he’s begging you to look past
take them in yours.
squeeze them once.
twice.
say without speaking
that you understand that the valleys
in his palms were meant to cradle
shooting star wishes
that he’s allowed to still hope for.
when a boy shows you his eyes
of milk and crimson and melanin
a bloodshot vein for every night he can’t sleep
let him shut his eyelids.
say without speaking
that you understand that the black hole pinpricks
of his irises hold more than the universe
should allow.
when a boy shows you his soul
shivering but still working toward friction
iced over but still working toward melting
let him come to rest next to yours.
say without speaking
that you understand that he is lonely
and that his silence speaks volumes
and that you kept his treasure close
because you love him.
when a boy shows you his hands
show him your hands.
when a boy shows you his eyes
show him your eyes.
when a boy shows you his soul
show him that
this is a comfortable place to rest it.
when a boy shows you the hardness that shaped him
show him the softness
that you have in store.
k
Funny how I swore;
not to lose my mind,
if you ever leave;

Funnier how
I didn't know;
that it is the heart;
that'll go missing.
 Jul 2017 Renée Casey
Dakota
I’m old enough to buy a semi automatic
but not old enough to buy a forty.
That’s okay, my dad drinks enough
that he doesn’t notice when a beer
or glass of wine is missing.
I drink to fall asleep, drink to wake up,
drink to write. They say alcohol doesn’t
make you any more creative, but I don’t
buy into that when I’m four beers in and am not
just another suicidal kid on the internet.
He doesn’t care that I hurt myself,
just that I cry around him. I’m not
allowed to be angry, but he sure as hell is.
He knocks over my mom’s organization
and yells at me as I tremble, scared as hell,
ready to bleed to be forgiven. My therapist
says he’s an alcoholic. She’s probably right,
but admitting that would be admitting
a predisposition that should keep
me away from bars and liquor cabinets.
To be sober is to be vulnerable
and I’m sick of being scared.
The title is taken from the Janis Joplin song of the same name.
 Jul 2017 Renée Casey
glassea
say cowboy.
say hot dog.
say ice cream.
say baseball.
see, the step into the sound booth is an awkward height,
about 6 inches off the ground,
and i find myself raised on a pedestal,
sealed in for you to inspect,
watching you and an audiologist
through a glass window,
watching you decide my future
as you face away from me
so i cannot read your lips
and you cannot see me shouting stop.

say airplane,
say sidewalk,
say you might hear static in your right ear
but i know i will only hear a tone,
an electronic beep going on and on and on

say conducive hearing loss say sensoneurial damage say surgery say it might be permanent this time,
like it hasn't been permanent for the last ten years,
say there's a new technique say we can fix this,
say negative impact on social life, say poor classroom performance,
say we just want what's best for you,
say try hearing aids try CIs try cued speech,
say you need to be fixed.

it's been a decade since i first entered that sound booth,
noises not echoing off these walls that take a little more from me with every test.
it's been a decade since my hearing slipped away and
i am done mourning it but i don't think you are.

persistence is a valuable trait but stop trying,
stop putting me under with an x on my right cheek so the surgeons know how to lay me out on the operating table,
stop refusing to turn on the captions because i need the practice,
stop talking to me without tapping me first,
stop screaming at me when i mishear.

i am done mourning my hearing and i don't know if i ever grieved in the first place but you are still stuck in the stage of denial,
hoping against hope for some ******* miracle.
i don't want a miracle, i don't want anything god can give me because i am not lacking, i am whole, i already am the miracle you were looking for and i don't need to be fixed.

but you don’t believe that, do you?

so the audiologist can open the heavy soundproof door but i am still trapped inside this box,
the walls swallowing my words as you decide my future for me because
no one wants to listen to those who cannot hear.

say stop sign,
say hairbrush,
say push the button when you hear the beep
and i hold it down with my thumb,
gripping the clicker like the handle of a gun
until you tell me to let go.
but i hear deserts stretching away from me,
flat sci-fi dreamscapes where there is only one sound and i can hear it too.

say tinnitus,
say psychosomatic because you don't believe that i might hear infinity where you tell me i shouldn't.
say hole in the eardrum say the surgery might have accelerated the deterioration,
say we can try again but
i gave up ten years ago and i think you should too,
and i'm here in this sound booth screaming for you to stop
but you will not look at me,
will not even attempt communication.

no one wants to listen
to those who cannot hear.
this is meant to be spoken word.
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