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Tori Barnes Jun 2018
***
with you
it's slow like the syrup I
drowned the waffles
my mom used to make on
Sunday mornings in
the way you tilted me sideways
and let my sighs build up on the
plate’s edge only to drop me
at the last second
and let the puddle settle
before tipping me once again
Tori Barnes Jun 2018
10 pm in front of Chipotle
and you said, this is my [rusty] Chevy [something],
which had a radio that played exceptional static
for us to tune out on the trek to Mount Washington.

It was raining, but we had already driven all that way
and so we stood outside anyways
in the low hanging clouds above Pittsburgh.

I said, I’ve never been on a date
         with a girl      before.

And you said, is it everything you thought it’d be?
And with that

we decided to see who could throw a rock the farthest
[which you won]
and who could name more constellations
[which nobody won, because there
were no stars in sight on that Tuesday night].

Then the couple next to us left
and a new one arrived
and the blanket of fog temporarily lifted
to reveal the UPMC logo.

We watched as the number of tiny office lights
diminished, looking a little bit like an end of the world
power outage in slow motion—

and we silently shrunk in the weight of the moment
as the Earth turned and dragged the seconds along,
and the water of the Allegheny and Monongahela
merged into the Ohio the way our bodies connected at the hands;
two posterchildlesbians showing a city
how
         to
                     fall
                                 in love.
first date magic, a homage to a tony hoagland poem i once read
Tori Barnes Jun 2018
My girl has the gravity of Saturn
Endless layers I have yet to discover
Her eyes, a smeared palette of every color
A surface it’s easy to get lost on
One large ring I often fantasize about
Wearing on my finger
my first girlfriend
Elliott Jun 2017
People have ruined so many songs for me,
I hope yours is the one I get to play for the rest of my life.
I need more songs.
AJ Fredrickson Apr 2016
It’s 3am and I can’t sleep
My hearts too heavy to dream
My eyes burn as I walk through the halls
Trying to find shelter from my thoughts
I’ve got a strange feeling
I guess heartache is what it’s called
And I carry her with me everywhere I go
I’ve learned to hide her well
Leave the room inside my head where she lies, when they ask
Deny her existence everywhere I turn
But when it gets quiet I can hear her crying
Moaning through the halls that she paces each night
Mourning the loss of the one that she loved
I think I died that night
The one where you left me alone
Lied and said it wasn’t her who had called
And I believed you
I believed that you wanted to be with me but you had a client emergency that couldn’t be avoided
But you promised you’d be home just as soon as you were done
1 hour, you said
3 hours passed
I cried myself to sleep praying not to see another day
You left me alone and I died that night
It was 3am when you returned
The smell of her all over your skin
The taste of her spit still on your lips
I felt more disgusting in that moment than I have ever felt in my entire life
I realized where you had been as you slid your hand down my pants
You looked at me and you knew that I knew
You panicked and ran off to take a shower
You tried to burn her fingerprints from your skin
Tried to wash away all of the guilt and shame
Tried to maintain the lie
I paced through the living room
Trying to grasp the reality that had recently become my own
It hurt
It hurt like hell
It was 3am and I died that night, and each night since then
AJ Fredrickson Apr 2016
You’ll never know how many times a day I fantasize about running a blade across my skin.
Feeling that dull burn and the pull of my flesh against the blade.
The sweet crimson relief pouring from my soul.
I feel the blackness in me.
It’s toxic, flooding my veins with poison.
Causing sepsis within my heart.
Killing what is left of me.
I need to release it before it eats me alive.
It can’t get out if I don’t make an opening!
It’s fingers reach through the wound and slowly tears me apart.
Pulling at my skin until the hole is big enough for it to slink out of.
I am frozen.
Forever haunted by my shadow.
Forever tormented by her words.
AJ Fredrickson Apr 2016
Devastated
Lonely
Confused
Hopeless
I’ve felt this way for months
The sky has been crying since
I often wonder if it sees me suffering?
If it’s nature trying to console me?
That’s crazy, I know
But I still can’t help but wonder
Every time I start to cry, I mean really cry, it starts to pour
When my spirits start to lift, the weather soon does after
The sky has been grey for at least 3 days now
It’s beautiful
It reminds me of home
I feel safe in the darkness
So I let it swallow me whole
Enveloping me until there is nothing left but black
This is my sanctuary
This is how I escape
This is how I will make it out alive
This is how I become sane
Or is this how I become insane?
I never could tell the difference
What’s the difference between pain and love?
There’s a fine line
With just one stumble, you could fall out of one and into the other
Good or bad?
Right or wrong?
Easy or hard?
These simple questions hold a multitude of different answers
They have millions of questions inside them
Three simple words
That’s it
Three simple words are so easy to say
They hold so much meaning
They get used too easily
Easy or hard?
Easy or hard?
Which would you choose?
With the easy road, it never gets fixed
It never gets resolved
It could possibly end it all
The hard road is filled with struggle
It’s filled with sacrifices and pain
But it’s worth it if you can get there
Which would you choose?
Do you know the answer?
What if you walked that hard road, but they went the easy way?
Right or wrong?
Right or wrong?
Is it right that they do wrong?
Are you right?
What if you’re wrong?
What if you took the easy way thinking it was the hard way?
How do you know the difference?
How do you keep sane?
Left, no right?
Right again!
Left, Left, Left.
Search inside, find your moral high ground
Good or bad?
Bad or Good?
Neither?
Do you know?
What do you stand for?
Keep searching
Unlock that door
Find the key
Find the key
Break it down if you have to
There!
Over there!
The answers you’ve been searching for!
Crack the code
Crack the code
What if I can’t crack the code?
Was this all a waste?
Was this not the hard road?
Slipping, slipping, slipping
Psychosis is sinking in
She is my best friend
Coddling me like a child when I can no longer stand on my own
Sinking in, deeper and deeper
Black
So much black
She is my only friend
She speaks to me silently, but from where I can not tell
Who’s that?
Who’s there?
Yes, I hear you!
Hello!
I understand
Thank you
It’s good to not be alone
AJ Fredrickson Apr 2016
I don’t know what we are now
I just know it’s not what it was
I fear that you don’t want to change
I fear you can’t see through my flaws
There are so many thoughts running through my head
It’s hard to keep track of what is real and what is not
I feel like I’ve been side swiped
You were hiding in my blind spot
Fragments of memories scattered all over the floor
Picture perfect memories, that don’t seem so perfect anymore
I dream of you when I’m not asleep
I dream of what could be
I’m at a loss for words now
This wasn’t anything I could foresee
What do you say, when you have said it all before?
I’m running out of breath
What do you say when no one’s listening anymore?
This silence is making me deaf
I’m unlocking all of the secrets
The door is open now
I’m just hoping we can make it through
But these trespasses, I can’t allow
I know I’ve made my fair share of mistakes
But I feel I am doing my part
I feel like nothing I do will ever change this
I fear it might be too late to restart
I know that is not what I want
I know what I want is you
But I’m afraid that you are unavailable
I fear there is nothing more I can do
It’s hard to feel so helpless…
It’s hard to feel so powerless and alone
We’re at a crossroad now
And it’s up to you to find your way home
I’ll be waiting here patiently
But I can’t wait forever
I will help you anyway that I can
I know if we try, we can make it through this endeavor
I’ve seen you at your worst and loved you through it all
My love for you is unconditional
But I can’t get past your wall
This wall you’ve put up is putting a barrier between us
It is keeping us apart
I can’t get in if you don’t take it down
We can never have a fresh start
The lying has to stop
It isn’t doing anyone any good
I know that you are just afraid
Afraid of being misunderstood
I understand where you are coming from
But you never know until you try
You break my heart a little more
Everytime you lie
I know that it will take time
But my heart will one day heal
This situation has caught me off guard
The whole thing is just so surreal
I’m going through the motions
I’m trying to find my way
I’m trying to read your morse code
But the message, you won’t convey
I need you to talk to me
I need to know the real you
I need you to be honest with me
It’s the least that you could do…
AJ Fredrickson Apr 2016
Where do you go when you’ve strayed so far from the path?
Is there any turning back?
Do you just keep moving forward; with hope that eventually it will take you where you need to be?
Trudging down the trail as fast as you can; trying to find an exit, with no success
I feel like I’ve been running circles through your brain; trying to tie up loose ends
You say there is nothing to find, but your eyes lie
With empty words and broken promises; I try to believe you
Everything in my souls says there is more
Do I really want to know what it is that you are hiding?
What if there is nothing left to find, and I’m just stuck in a loop?
It’s been this way so long, that it’s like second nature; a lifetime of lies
Even you can’t seem to tell the difference anymore
I’m a wandering soul, trying to find my place; looking in the mirror with disdain
I hate that girl in the mirror; the one who looks so defeated
Her eyes are empty
The light that once was there has been distinguished
Can you fix the broken?
I mean what’s really broken; shattered into pieces on the floor
Glass shards cut my feet
I press down and grind my heel into the ground where the broken pieces lay
That’s better
What’s broken is now a piece of me; never to be forgotten
Each step pushes them further into my pad
Eventually the wounds heal; the shards still embedded in my skin
What’s not supposed to be will eventually push its way out anyway
Still I try to keep it
Once it works its way out, I repeat
Not realizing what this cycle is doing to me
What am I without it?
Am I still me?
Was this ever who I really was?
Will I ever know the answers to the questions my brain needs to know, but my heart fears?
They burn behind my eyes, leaving black marks on my retinas
Where do I go from here?
Do I push forward against your force?
Do I just let it be?
It is what it is
That’s been my motto lately
You can’t change what doesn’t want to change
You can only control yourself
Things are always changing and if you don’t move with it, you will be left behind
Nothing more than a forgotten memory that pops up from time to time; after a few too many drinks
Maybe one day you’ll be sitting at the bar, having a drink with a few friends
Maybe SHE will even be there with you
She reaches for your hand and caresses it softly
Suddenly all of the memories come flooding in; everything that you had and gave up
Do you think you’ll regret your choices?
Or are you happy now?
Playing house with a married woman; who has no intention of this ever being anything more than just a game
I would have given you anything, you know
For me, it was never a game
But I got played like a fiddle that was out of tune and then tossed to the side like yesterday's garbage
Now you’re searching through the debris, trying to find me
But I’m withered from the weather and the harsh conditions of this storm
I’m not shiny and new anymore
There’s scuff marks on my body, and my strings are broken and tangled
You hold me and try to tune me again, but the notes that come out are distorted
Every now and then a beautiful notes leaks out, only to be followed by the twinge of my broken heart
I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same
I don’t know that I’ll ever be the person you fell in love with
I don’t know that I will ever be okay
But I want to be.
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