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Sep 2017 · 755
mama phoenix
power pose
in front of the angry men
"we're not scared of you"

but they should be
she spits fire bright
from lips she wears matte dark
she's digging the perfectly manicured claws into the palms of her hand
hands that bring incredible generosity
and incredible pain
depending on how audaciously you approach her

with your alcohol-stenched breath
and a body that takes up space
but contains nothing of substance
aside from liquor of course
an empty, angry vessel of wordy slurs and slurred words

she knows they don't deserve her tears
they should feel grateful to receive even a smirk
an ounce of her attention
in this economy
with the men who untuck their shirts after a long day's work
unaware of what the women have been up to
is priceless

you can't commodify what you can't touch

they are not beds waiting for you
to lay down on
to make your lives easier
while you weigh down upon ours

her silk sheet skin
and the comfort of knowing she will be there at 2pm and 2am

this is her home
this body is an address
it is not your residence
loiterers will be fined
she will be fine

power pose
the power grows
this is your power prose
because mama,
you will be fine
for jass
Aug 2017 · 760
aromantics anonymous
swaying across the hardwood floors
swoon, swoon, swoon
under the moon, moon, moon

your fingers dance across my spine
like piano keys
your hand tapping against my thigh
like a tambourine

a gospel choir singing
in the background of your laughter
sobriety is easy
when you're drunk in love

and you didn't even know you could dance to this
Aug 2017 · 810
salt looks a lot like sugar
rationing myself out
after giving you my everything
to place yourself in the hands of someone
knowing they can ruin you
is the ultimate gesture of trust
and when neglected and unwanted
the plunge of death
when your heart finally gets handed back to you
broken
beating irregularly
scared to even flutter again

how could you be so sweet
and leave me so bitter
now it makes sense
because salt looks a lot like sugar
Aug 2017 · 557
compulsory heartache
stick this dagger
in this chest
make it hurt
like you do best

i sink it deeper
because i want control
and spend all summer
looking for what you stole
perhaps i should have been gentler, they said
but you don't tell a forest fire how to scorch
what to burn

i was given one clear motive
and you would be given no warning

we are not entitled to what we did not give others
you steal innocence, and i can't buy back time

like a phoenix,
she rises from the ashes of her dollhouse
invaded and destroyed
but painted on the outside
like a perfect little home

we were anything but
and when i was handed a torch of my own,
how dare you meet my eyes with anger
at what you created

you say i'm not what you expected
and certainly not what you wanted

and to you i say,
good.
Aug 2017 · 491
enough
i want to love you enough
to make the way you look at the world change
the peripheral vision allowing you to see the
panoramic beauty
of a place made better
because you walk in it

you trust me
to touch your skin
and watch you cry
and listen to your truths
and i would hold my stare
if it wasn't so painful to see you like this

what is it like to be like this

i cannot ask you to stop gasping in fear
when you don't recognize me entering a room
i cannot ask you to stop wincing, crying, or thinking
because what happened happened, as you say
but this is not something you can so easily let go

i want only good things to happen to you
and i want to be one of them
i'll never let you go,
even if i can't love you enough to change very much
i'll love you
and sometimes, that is enough
Jul 2017 · 514
someday
i saw her fiddling with her ring in an effort to dodge my eyes and avoid conversation. our parents discussed their philosophies for life and plans for us.

she tucked a stray curl behind her ear, and only looked up at me
when i was speaking to answer her father's questions.
she laughed at all my jokes,
she watched me drink my orange juice when my eyes were averted.

"that's a lot of pressure," she says in the kitchen when her mother tells her to help prepare lunch. i want to get up to help her. i have no appetite. i just want to hear her voice more than one sentence response at a time.

i'm sitting in the living room, legs crossed, eyebrows raised.
she's fiddling with the same ring on her finger, and i think to myself
as i watch her, that i want to someday,
place a very specific ring
on a very specific fingers of hers
someday
Jul 2017 · 285
bumper stickers
proud parent of a closeted gay kid

my honour student has clinical depression

crybaby on board

if you can read this, this is the closest thing to intimacy i have experienced in weeks

the voting system is a fraud. i think we should reconsider the infrastructure of the american government before endorsing a candidate via the back of our vehicles

how's my driving? validate me please i'm so sad
Jul 2017 · 888
mixed drinks about feelings
doesn't matter how i hold it,
liquor in my hand brings shame to the man

i've sat at hundreds of dinner tables,
watched the women politely drink their water,
nobody stops their husbands from making fools of themselves
and my father takes pride in never having asked to be picked up from a bar
there's so much more i expect in a good man than sobriety

i drink to forget, more often to mourn than celebrate
i am classless, i am not marriage material anymore

it's 1:15 in the morning, and i see brown curly hair
and heartbreak wearing it like a costume
approaching me

6'2" and probably a little younger than me
still, he gets to be the tower
even though i've been here longer

you can't hear wedding bells in a place this loud
i took a (tequila) shot in the dark, and kissed him like i meant it
what is that college readmissions essay supposed to tell you?

i was depressed, but you don't acknowledge mental health as anything but a lazy made up excuse to not work as hard as the people whose shoulders i stood on did.

"what have you learned, and how will you apply that as a student at our university?"

how do you define growth?

i'm going back to school, and that's what i want to talk about, but i can't help but focus on why i left. i can hear myself and others, battling the war in our heads called "pragmatics vs empathy".

i can't tell who's losing.
i can only tell who's participating in yuppie culture, i can only draft so many letters to my parents, and the congruence of my academic self and every other version of myself.

what does a gap year mean (to my family)? what about two?

i've had this stand alone identity, and it's cost me a lot.

i miss learning.

there are so many barriers, so much omission.
do i only make one-year commitments out of fear for anything longer?

i'm jumping into a lot of different identities, with their own different paths, but we ultimately come back together as one, as me. it's meiosis. only one of them has to eat or sleep. i could keep working and running forever. parts of me are really and only good at that.

how do i fulfill the expectation of living up to what my parents see?
how do i get recognized for "growth" and how do i identify areas for it?

i'm sorry, dad. this was a really long voicemail. i'll talk to you later.
Feb 2017 · 761
mid year summit 2017
preface: this isn't cohesive, and it's mostly a side effect of having too much free time while stuck in traffic - lots of thoughts can pop into your half-awake head when you choose to start your 1 hour, 45 minute commute at 5:30 every morning and 6:30 every night.

these are some of those thoughts:

how many car accidents and concussions will it take for me to just move closer to where i work? apparently, more than five.

driving on a california freeway, especially in the rain, is like getting a free ride on the world's most dangerous slip n slide. or like playing roulette and praying you and your precious car you have had since high school don't fall victim to the misfortune of a collision or sink hole or only clear radio station being the one that won't stop playing adele songs that compel you to hit up your ex boyfriend again.

but you're a smart driver who doesn't text on the road or date men from new jersey anymore.

i like to map out new ways to tell my family that i'm actually kind of really gay because they've been having a really hard time accepting that, despite the fact that i've tried to make it as blatantly obvious as i could by dressing like chandler bing from friends, dying my hair rainbow, and listening to more fleetwood mac than any straight girl should.

i have even walked up to my mother and outright asked her, "hey, what's it like having a gay daughter?" (not that it should be any different than having any other kind of daughter), and she said, "i don't have a gay daughter", and i'm like, "oh my god, mom. yes, you do. she's 5'8", looks just like me, and is constantly talking about how gay she is."

a lot of people have given me unwarranted "advice" on how to make myself more appealing for jobs or romance, and i'll mull it over in the car, but not for too long because women aren't empty suggestion boxes just waiting for your input.

if anything, i'm more like the receptionist at the DMV. i'm only listening to you a third of the time, and the other 2/3, i wish you weren't there to bore me with your problems because it's not my fault that you need to pay off a ticket you got for texting your ex boyfriend from jersey.

people in college frequently asked me "what are you?" and i never really knew how to respond because i wasn't clear or pleased about the question's context or purpose. i would half-seriously respond with "i'm a sophomore" or "i'm a capricorn" or "i'm a sociology major who just realized gender isn't binary and taco tuesdays are a real and exciting thing".

i knew that being ethnically ambiguous meant i would be subjected to guessing games, but i thought if people didn't know what you were, you could dodge judgment and racism. but no, i actually just found myself treated like an ice cream flavour people had never heard of or tried before and weren't sure how they felt about it.

and i, myself, had been in this phase of dating exclusively white men for years, and it only recently occurred to me that that was probably because subconsciously i knew: "this is the closest i'll ever be to having white privilege".

then, i started working in schools where almost all the students were black and brown, and for the first time in my life, i saw myself in people around me.

small people, people in progress, with big brown eyes and clenched fists that i would spend months prying open

with love.

enough love to raise a hand,
hold a pencil,
braid my hair on days when it was so frizzy
- "oh my god, miss sangha, let me do it"

up until then, i had never chosen to be brown or queer or a woman. not until my students demanded i learn spanish because i already got the skin tone, now i just need to learn the language. not until my students asked me why the school made them line up boy girl, and one of them started the third line with pride that took me nearly a decade to find myself. not until i stopped letting people label me an angry ***** just because they lacked the vocabulary to say "wow, jaswin, you have really assertive leadership skills and i'm going to respect you and the space you take up and not at all be threatened or bothered by the fact that you have two X chromosomes to the point of harassing you to make my insecure self feel better."

i became someone who got "do it for the kids" tattooed on the left side vein that leads to her heart, someone who chooses her students every day to the extent of being terrified of having her own kid one day because if she can love someone else's child that much, her heart might just burst from locking eyes with someone whose existence she is actually directly responsible for.

clearly, i'm not going to let a little traffic slow down that kind of radical love.
Feb 2017 · 651
not monsoon enough
do you remember how we used to complain about the drought
ripped the green from the hills
and put us on watch
for how long our showers could be

i had to find a new place to cry for half an hour
and i had to watch forest fires on the 5 o'clock news all too often

now,
dams are breaking
and we can't stop the mood swings of Mother Nature

can you blame her?

the levee has been breached,
and the uncertainty is eating me alive
and oh,
how this reminds me of you

you set me on fire
and tried to drown me
and i never knew when to expect which
but i could always complain about the one that was happening

the changes in scenery were never what i wanted
i lay awake, hearing the raindrops hitting the roof
and i just don't know what tomorrow, or you, will bring me
Jan 2017 · 466
new year's revolutions
2016 taught me nothing feels as cold as the people you love leaving you. No winter, ice pack, or shower can startle and overwhelm you like the absence of a person who brings you warmth, energy, and purpose.

2016 also taught me how fragile the people we consider our rocks can be. People crumble. I wish I could see it happening and do more. This speaks for my individual connections here, and the world around me. I’ll work on it.

2016 showed me the world is unkind and broken, but there are enough people who counter that everyday, and I want to work alongside and among all of them.
i'm sorry we never made that grocery trip,
collecting ingredients for something simple,
homemade - like us

i didn't want to see you like this
we're aging too fast
you can't back pedal
you don't want to go back to a tricycle
you tell me i'm a little too late

how do you outrun apathy?
without tripping
or needing to

i'll push you in this shopping cart
we'll be little kids again
running in the sun

how did we get so depressed
we should still be able to bake pizzas
you were my sidewalk chalk best friend
and now, it feels like that won't be attainable ever again

they bulldozed through our favourite park
and we didn't shed a tear
and doesn't that just say it all
childhood memories personal nostalgia spokenword confessional freeverse blankverse depression trauma relationships
Dec 2016 · 529
the lines on our hands
i'm baffled by his kindness and patience,
realizing with each compassionate smile he sends my way
that i'm really bad at being a buddhist

i'm hyperventilating in my car,
and it's pouring outside,
and i can't drive home like this

his duvet calls my name,
and i get eyeliner all over his pillow case,
and all he does is stroke my tangled hair

i tell him to date other people,
i try to set him up with my friends,
and i know i'm confusing him
but i need to back track

we don't talk about the messes i leave behind
i don't let our fingers lock
i break the stare if it feels too long

he meets someone else,
and it hurts
because it's the first and last thing i wanted

i don't reach out again,
but when we see each other,
his arms are still open,
just like his mind and heart
they always have been

she's grabbing her coat from inside,
and i don't take a step closer

he meets me more than halfway

he knows
some people push you away with hands that say
please don't go
*please don't go
Dec 2016 · 525
why i hate word counts
if earning your trust back required a personal statement from me
and i was seeking admission back into the corner of your sofa of which you sat opposite me

and all i had was 250 words to make you feel something again

i'd say things like i ****** up (but maybe in more academic language??)
and i've been working hard to better for myself, and better for you
and that you taught me things i couldn't learn in a university

love would be in there more times than necessary, but i wouldn't let anyone edit them out because it's true

i love you, and i don't want to be limited,
even though the first time i cut myself off
and i dropped out
and i lost you

i hate word counts because they're just not enough
so i hope these words count

i'm sorry
Dec 2016 · 803
yule be here.
i'm glad that this is the shortest day of the year
because it means i will spend minimal time awake
and minimal time thinking of you
as if the two have become synonymous over the years
Dec 2016 · 1.8k
dear younger me,
make sure when you decide to start threading your eyebrows or wearing lipstick, you're doing it because you think it makes you look pretty, not because you think it makes anyone else think so.

try not to hate him, or anyone. he did a lot of awful things, and the best thing you can do for yourself is be better than what happened.

sometimes, you don't need to reply to that text message. or that person. ever again.

don't be everyone else's rock. find your rock. trust it. let it see you on your hard days instead of pretending not to have any.

ask your parents how they're doing often. help them out and stick around for a little while.

stop making cancer jokes around people who don't know or are comfortable with the fact that you are someone who makes cancer jokes.

drink lots of water.

you're allergic to crab. surprise!

the stuff you accumulate will stop mattering, and you will want to know you are a good person on the inside in order to be happy. surround yourself with the right people, places, and things to ensure that.

don't hug, kiss or sleep with anyone who you don't really want to. no matter what they say or who they are, if you don't feel like it, don't do it.

you'll be fine. you always end up just fine.
when people have faith in you
and believe you are a good thing for them
will it hurt more to disappoint them with the truth
or disappoint them with the lie

i am not what you think i am,
and i will not be what you believe i can be

you say you'll take your chances
and i grit my teeth
and disagree and disagree and disagree

your smile softens as my edges burn
and the heat brings tears to my eyes

you can't afford to believe in me more than i believe in myself
but it looks like you're willing to go broke trying
Nov 2016 · 396
anticlimactic
he LOVED me
in ALL CAPS
he was loud in his affirmations
he told me i shouldn't be embarrassed
i was a ******* superhero, he said

he didn't hold back in how he loved me
he held me and i knew what i meant to him
he kissed me and i knew everything he was thinking
i was so taken care of,
even if he couldn't give me everything
the fact that he tried meant so much more

this is a special gift
he was a ******* treat, let me tell you

and my god,
when it was over,
nothing could have hurt worse

i didn't want anything that great again
if there was even a shred of possibility of feeling this again
with great love may come great loss, i told myself
is it even sustainable to do this again?

and he came back, with a different job and a new love
and my heart didn't flutter
he was in front of me, and i didn't reach out.
wanting the familiarity and safety of his touch

this is moving on
i thought i would be much sadder when this moment came
the eyes of former lovers meeting
recognizing and reminiscing
but that's about it

this is moving on
that's about it
i guess i expected more heartache as something to write about
since the wake of our destruction
was some of my best work
i'm going to tell you a pathetic truth
i'm getting over you,
and i feel guilty for it

i feel guilty for acknowledging the sprouting feelings
for another man
who is nothing like you
and it feels so nice, i feel like i should be ashamed of it
i can feel myself changing,
like the phases of the moon
hiding the side of my face i called my good side
because it was the cheek you kissed
when we began and ended

i always thought i was lucky, you know
if i even got to feel this way once
and you were my once
and i had decided it was enough
and we ended
i had decided it was enough

the mere thought of experiencing this again
restarting
reintroducing
refalling
however many times it takes to get it right
twists my heart up

because i wanted to get it right the first time
and with you

and i'm starting to care less
and that feels wrong
which might make no sense
because this is probably good and supposed to happen

but i don't think i can take having something so good again
and not being sure i get to keep it this time

because what if it doesn't work out
and even scarier,
what if it does
Nov 2016 · 643
a love(r) that knows you
i am so tired
and upset

i toss my keys in the bowl by the door
and she kisses me softly,
happy to see me always,
no matter what version she gets

she hums against my lips, curving her mouth up into a smile
and i feel the tiny vibrations of joy
make their way through my body

it's like she's reading me
and suddenly, she knows exactly what kind of day i had
and gives me exactly what i need
and i know exactly how much i love her

and it is so much
and she is so good
Oct 2016 · 349
in your dreams, sweetheart
the way my body just gives into my bed
i sigh into my pillow
it is exhausting
to think about you so much

and it just doesn't stop
because i know i will dream about you
i know i will think about you as i dress myself in the morning,
wishing you were watching me because you did the ******* last night

i will sit in traffic, wanting you riding shotgun
like you do in my mind
i'd have to blow my brains out to stop feeling sorry

and i'll come home after a long day of work
that i want to tell you about
that i want to hear you tell me about
and it won't happen

and i'll collapse into the mattress once more

sometimes, another man is laying there
and i will never feel about him the way i did about you
the way i still do

i'll be seeing you
Oct 2016 · 998
lovers of the ice queens
racing across the train platform,
one hand on our heads keeping our beanies in place,
the other clenching each other's

we slid in through the doors,
catching our breath in between laughter
we make it above ground just as the sun is setting over astoria
and i swear your eyes turn golden

my favourite you comes out at night
we lose track of time, put away our cell phones,
and vandalize this whole **** place with our love

carve your name into my rickety old heart like you did the trees
near bethesda
kiss me long and hard, like the winters
just as refreshing when i open the door and seeing you,
my own wonderland

melt this ice pick inside of me
set me on fire, for all i care
everything is dying right now,
but for once, for once, it doesn't feel like it
Oct 2016 · 711
fall (apart)
the sun's peeking through the shades,
the morning rain has finally stopped,
i roll over, and see you reading the copy of the writings of florence scovel shin that my father gave me and i never paid mind to.
you glance over to me, adjust your posture to welcome me into your side.
and we lay like this for hours, talking about
people who have let us down,
places we want to find,
things that don't matter anymore.

i'm more than a little disappointed in knowing this will end.
we will get up.
monday will come.
you don't even care that my newly blue and green hair is staining your white shirt.

i know that i pick you over my ego more often than i should.
and i have loved you more than i ever thought i could.
but i think you should leave.

because when i lay back down, you always lean over and kiss me.
and i always sigh through my nose, because you always seem to take all my problems away, along with my breath,
and i think i need to learn how to do the former by myself.

before i let you back in this bed,
and decide that you're the most important person in it.
Oct 2016 · 605
making love out of nothing
i exhale into your shoulder,
my arms trembling as i lift myself up.
you look pleased with yourself,
pleased with me.

nobody tells you how exhausting it is to love someone
when you can't even love yourself.
it takes twice as much effort, and you feel emptier afterwards.
my body felt like it was going to give out.
every day you called me beautiful,
every day i wondered why.
i'm watching your chest rise and fall, unable to fall asleep this time.
i'm just waiting for the alarm to go off at this point,
knowing you'll go to work and fist bump your buddies.
and i'll be wearing a turtleneck so my students don't think i'm a hypocrite.
i decide not call you anymore after that night.

i toss my keys onto the counter a few months later,
heading straight to my bed.
i collapse, sighing into my duvet,
on the side no one has laid since you.

i sit up after a moment, looking over at myself in the mirror.
my bangs are a little messier,
but there's a little more colour to my skin,
glimmer to my tired eyes,
and the hint of a smile.

i turn all the way around, lifting up my shirt.
you cannot see my ribs anymore.
i exhale once more.

my breath,
my hands,
and the world has finally stopped shaking.
Oct 2016 · 375
an admittance of failure:
maybe all our wasted days will add up to this:
bruised knuckles
and
swear words
and
"i love you so much it's killing me"

we wanted to build something that would last,
something that would whittle away at time,
even after our bones melt into ashes,
and only a tombstone remembers our names

but darling, we were never destined to be permanent;
we were uprooted by our own volatile mouths
that would spit enough fire
to destroy anything we constructed

so, we created desperation and goodbye letters
written with shaking hands
neither of us would claim as our own

we built cities out of scar tissue and left them to rot
Oct 2016 · 454
this hurts but it's better
i think about you all the time.

even when i'm asleep, i dream about your
fingerprints
and the way you snore,

and i have sad dreams where you tell me
that the sun rises & sets for us,
that western cities call to us,
and that june draws near.

but i wake up and cry without knowing why.

i think about you when i'm at work,
and when i'm on the train,
and when i'm watching racing droplets on the taxi cab window,
pretending we're the droplet that's going to make it to the edge.

and i think about you when i'm ordering coffee.
you like drinking it black because you think it makes you seem cool, and i tell you that's the dumbest thing i've ever heard - "you're basically drinking hot bean water then!" -
as i pour cream and sugar into mine, i glance up to see you smirking at me, lovingly.
nobody does that to me anymore, especially not when disagreeing.

i think about you when i'm washing my hair,
and when i stand in front of the closet,
and try to find a shirt i haven't yet worn with you.
it's a pointless exercise; they all have your scent on them.

i think about you when i'm making dinner,
and sometimes, it just hits me out of nowhere.
that i'm here, and you're there,
and my hands shake so much i have to put the dishes down.

it would probably be easier to not think of you at all,
to not be so familiar with how your fingers feel on my hips,
to forget the way you brush my hair every night before bed.

but i find myself deciding that i would rather know those things
and be in pain from the knowledge of your existence apart from me,
than to not know you at all.
Sep 2016 · 952
placenta
it will always fascinate and horrify me
how the people responsible for bringing you into this world
are the ones who make you rapidly sift through the file cabinet in your mind labeled "suicide attempts you haven't tried yet" in order to exit it

young girl,
you will scream at the top of your lungs
and they will call your cries crazy and your eyes will swell

young lady,
you will run down the streets of a city that will consume you
and you will pray it gets to you before they do

and you will age and you will return
maybe for a visit, maybe for a funeral, maybe for an answer
and you will be quieter, softer, and a little less angry

you might not understand why they pinned you in a corner
or locked you in the garage
or tried to quite literally **** you

you might not understand why they bought you plane tickets
and cars and shiny new things
you might be haunted by long car rides, equally terrible in silence or otherwise

"you know we love you"
"i know"

say it back
say it back, you ungrateful *****
you want to complain about how oppressed you are but they gave you everything, didn't they
everything money could buy, right

what else mattered?

**** your spiritual sanity and intangible desires
what kind of hippie nonsense are you whining about this time
ungrateful
******* ungrateful

then leave
run away (again)
you won't have us when you come back

come back
how dare you abandon us
******* ungrateful *****

don't you know we love you

at least say thank you
at least say thank you
at least say thank you
5:32am
walk three avenues if you don't catch the M116 bus
6 train
1 stop
transfer
4 train
3 stops
10 minute walk
deli stop
1 small tea + 1 everything bagel w butter
1 block
"good morning" to the security guards
she won't make eye contact but she'll smile so let that be something
4 flights of stairs
12 of us
in an office for over 6o hours a week
holding each other accountable
holding each other close
Sep 2016 · 601
the two types of cancer:
there are two types of cancer.
there's the kind that's caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells; we call them malignant tumours.
and there's the kind that's boys born on july 9th - 5'11'', with expressionless brown eyes, and in desperate need of a haircut;
we call them malignant *******.

i can't shave my head in preparation for everything he will ruin, and requesting time off to cope with the fact that i loved this person is not a valid option.

MRI scans won't show you what happened to my brain after he told me i made it hard to hate the world or what happened after he told me i was the worst person he met in it. they won't tell you what it looks like to be told you're loved, hated, and then not cared about at all.

side effects include:
mood swings, triggered by those who are as infuriating as they are infatuating
loss of sleep because he wants to rant to you about socioeconomic structures until 3 in the ******* morning
dissociation of time because it doesn't exist when you can make someone laugh and tell you about his favourite jewish children's book and why he doesn't like big dogs and that even though his family is full of jerks and idiots, he'd still do what was needed to support them.

more severe side effects include:
writing about him months after he's made it harder to breathe, but willing yourself to talk about it to a room full of strangers
being crippled by the fear he might stumble lost in manhattan again and find the cafe you are complaining about him onstage in

i want this to be a survival story and tell you that i do not have business cards for being a tragic event organizer who throws the best pity parties in town. i want to tell you that i had enough self respect not to call him when i got re-diagnosed, despite the fact that he once told me diseases like cancer exist to **** out little pests like me and because he was the only person who told me i was going to be fine, live longer than him maybe, and to stop talking like it was the end.

but that was really hard because there's two types of cancer, and he's the one that did a significantly much better job at making me feel like i was dying.
opening yourself up to the potential for pain also opens you up to incredible kindness and joy. the heart is a paradox. and you know, new york invented love at first sight, so if you wanna simultaneously expand your threshold for heartache and capacity to love big, do it here. everyone is as scared and willing as you are.
Sep 2016 · 245
CA
CA
california is that girl that puts her hands on either side of your face, and the whole world falls away. you will have never gotten so lost in a kiss before. and then the space between you explodes. your heart keeps missing beats, and your hands cannot bring her close enough to you. you taste california and realize you have been starving. you have loved before, but it didn't feel like this. you have kissed before, but it didn't burn you alive. maybe it lasts a minute, maybe it's an hour. all you know is that kiss, and how soft her skin is when it brushes against yours, and even if you did not know it until now, you have been waiting for this forever.
Sep 2016 · 702
brooklyn bike park @ sunset
we are somewhere between maintaining the comic relief we find necessary to stay alive and inappropriately utilizing a coping mechanism during a time in which we are hyper aware of our own mortality. we're standing by freight cars and staring at the river, while a toddler races by on a tricycle. we know we are going to die someday.
Sep 2016 · 887
take bad news out on a date
take bad news out on a date. give it your time and attention on a subway ride after work. buy it $2 margaritas at a gay bar on a tuesday. ignore questions about it. plan tattoos about it. sing terribly and loudly about it. do anything but talk about it. do anything but talk about it.
✨ it's time for renovation; it's time for us to make a change.

• friendships are work, honour the flowers that have decorated your path and don't be reclusive.
• however, being alone is simultaneously essential: carve out pockets of unabashed loneliness, yearning, and self-reflexive intimacy.
• write with less mythological standards. your favourite authors wrote drafts, pages and pages of nothing. no one emerges like a phoenix.
• persistence and self conviction are how revolutionary girls go public, spaces of uncertainty and lapses of effort are how revolutionary girls become real & effective. do both.
• use the good silver every day because every day is all there is.
• maintain your own standards of success and never trust rich people/the police/men in authority.
• do not imagine that revolutionary ideals make you above the hu$tle: money is ***** but imagining leftism will absolve you from labour is even dirtier.
• don't stay in your lane and play by the SJW's rules. it is better to actively engage in discourse and say the wrong thing than not say anything at all. the paranoid ego will destroy activism.
• live in the impure spaces, grip hold to contradiction, language is always performative and alienated, no one "means" what they "say".
• feel the fear and do it anyway; do it wrong; do it with rigor & recklessness.
• you will never be bored because you will always have books to read. • the past never leaves: there is no time in the unconscious: everything that has ever happened is always still happening, and so don't judge yourself for still being in pain about things that happened a long time ago: "a long time ago" doesn't really mean ****.
• never apologize for crying; never apologize for not wanting to have ***.
• remember girls own the impossible, the void, the image, and when this system falls apart, we rise. we rise anyway.
Sep 2016 · 513
exam room #1
white rooms and white coats and white lies. white pages of journals i haven't filled as often as prescriptions. white ashes from burning things with self proclaimed good intentions. white skin under white light. white bones that can never sit tight. self care. eat right. sleep well. goodnight.
i am from the west coast of california and the east coast of maharastra,
from the suburban houses of tracy and the village bungalows of jandu singha, from golden gate drive and marine drive.

i am from the united states public education system and the indian caste system. i am from the land of opportunities and the byproduct of two different american dreams.

i am from places i didn't choose and places i will never completely be able to leave. i am from the coordinates tattooed on my right arm, the hills with the prettiest sunsets in the whole world, from the love of a man with rigid principles and a woman who broke all the rules. i am from a culture that says i shouldn't but a mindset that says i will.
Sep 2016 · 2.1k
bushwick
it's a college party
even though i never finished and the rest of y'all are spending money you don't have on the ingredients necessary for homemade sangria so you can drink the crippling anxiety of not knowing how to pay off your student loans away

there's a man living in a tent in the backyard, and i'm pretty sure we put one too many pieces of scrap wood in that very-hard-to-maintain bonfire. that has to be a metaphor for the state of most of our lives. stop throwing things i'm unprepared for in what already feels like a situation that is going to **** me.

is this a literal housewarming

i'm drunk, and sitting on the deck, counting the christmas lights. i smell ****, and there are white people dancing and singing to blink 182 inside.

i paint my name on a drywall with a brush and canisters i find on my way to the living room, where i'm asked to referee a game of beer pong. i lose interest quickly.

i scroll through my phone, sober enough not to text you but drunk enough to desperately want to. someone sits down next to me because i've apparently become that person at the party.

i talk about rent with a guy who really wants to connect on the fact that we're both middle eastern, even though i'm not middle eastern. he smells like PBR and completely believes what he's saying. he says he's proud of me for following my dreams of coming to new york and that he likes my "crazy hair" and that he wants to **** me.

i raise my eyebrows, more in disgust than interest, but he then takes his perceived cue to shamelessly ask me if i have a ******. i don't, and i leave before he brainstorms any alternatives i am just as aversive to.

ironically, i find a ****** dispenser attached to a tree on the walk to the subway. considering the amount of catcalling i experienced on the way to the station, my level of discomfort is amplified by the fact that the neighbourhood literally, physically implies, ******* is going to happen in the streets. it's 2am, and i just want to go home. and i'm sitting on the J train, recalling everyone who's told me it's shady and unreliable and makes you feel like you're going to die.

a few months later, i am nicknamed J train.
you're yelling at me to hurry up because we're going to miss our flight. i'm still standing in the shower at 7:08am, having locked you out of the hotel room we booked with the money we didn't spend on textbooks.

i'm staring out the window as people depart from the terminal. my hair is dripping wet. i focus on the sound of the drops hitting the carpet rather than watching you sit up in anticipation every time the woman on the intercom announces who's leaving and when and where to go.

i bet you wish someone had told you that about me. someone in a uniform with wings pinned to their blazer, assuring i will get where i'm going safely.  i can't tell if you're eager for this thing to get rid of me already, or making sure you know how to respond when it does. either way, it feels like you've decided i'm already more gone than not.

you didn't think about this when we were high school students on the field and in the bleachers. you didn't know that i intentionally didn't have a four-year plan. you didn't know that i didn't have one at all. i wasn't guaranteed the opportunity and burden to sit here as you panic in silence anymore than the next person. but i knew you were going to find new meanings for the words "departure" and "terminal".

the cabin air pressure gives me an excruciating ear ache, and my nose starts bleeding. while you were too busy freaking out, frantically pressing the attendant button,  i pulled a napkin out of my purse, looking away, more embarrassed by you than anything else. i make eye contact with a kid sitting in the middle aisle, and she starts crying. she tugs on her mother's sleeve, yelling, "mommy, she's bleeding! that lady's bleeding!"

her mother glances back at me with an apologetic smile, and eventually calms her daughter down, who seems more panicked about being on the plane with a dead person than my actual well being. i don't blame her. i have the empathetic capacity of a young child as well. being lightheaded and thousands of feet in the air doesn't allow much room for me to care or think about much else either.

a few minutes pass, and i've dozed off, but not so deeply that i don't hear the kid whisper, "is she gonna die?"

the attendant has made her round back to me, and asks me "miss, are you okay?" the tissues stuffed up my nostril are soaked in dark, red blood. i sigh.

"mommy, is she gonna die?" the kid repeats, tugging again.

i nod, more to the girl than the attendant and close my eyes again.

— The End —