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Anna Skinner Feb 24
When we all go to Memphis, we spread Ludington sand in Matt’s flower beds,  like somebody died, and a silence falls as we let the sand sift through our fingers like ashes.  It smells like Michigan, like seashells and ***** lake water,  and it drowns out the construction workers making new-money houses.
Instead of funeral hymns, we’re blanketed by sawdust and cigarette smoke.  We sip and savor Evan Williams and for once, none of us speaks.  
Our veins light on fire from the whiskey, and our souls share a collective ache,  like our bodies are made from some sort of symbiotic cell.  

After The Spreading Of The Sand, we go to a haunted bar where entry is a password, where there’s a frown of a front door, and the exposed brick walls reek of the dead girls upstairs. I think, This is Memphis, a very loud city with louder secrets –  the overpowering shadow spreading its fingers in all her corners, silent until she swallows you whole.  

Memphis realigns your center –  
a snap of the blues, a crack of whiskey and,  all of a sudden, things run much more smoothly.  

Memphis, she’s known as the City on the Bluff,  a place where summer storms split at the river,  don’t reconvene ‘til east of Arlington.  
Her protection, it’s always there.  
Like DNA shared among siblings,  blood is always thicker here in her quarters.  

Memphis, she tells me I should’ve kicked Worry to the curb all along.  

Memphis, she keeps her people safe.
v Jan 6
(The one where I’m feeling sorry for my cheating ex-girlfriend.0

We met the grim reaper on my 18th birthday.
He arrived to the party, uninvited,
dressed in ribbons
and legality
and student loans.  

Driving a silver Sudan
Eminem turned all the way up,
He hard braked in the turn lane next to us,
Skillfully smirking, words pulled back on his tongue like arrows.
ready to strike.


There I sat, cross faded in your passenger seat, crying for the 50th time over how Brockhampton is like
The best thing to happen to rap since Odd Future.
Singing “who’s got the feeling” at the top of my lungs.

I got a kiss at every red light.
No matter how quickly you turned away

Back then red and orange traffic lights were our dancefloor
We stood glowing in our favorite colors
Making up for every touch we could not share at prom.
I thought “god, if this barres me from heaven I’m already here with her.”  

I’d heard he always shows up at the worst times.
He, the reaper.
He’d really been there all along
In the smile of the lady at iHOP who invited us to church
In the down turned edges of mouths on waiters faces when I say,
“no, sir, we’ll be paying together”
I saw two girls kissing in the corner tonight and I only wish you were here to see it too.
I beg you come be with me.
Careful pitches “See these examples see what we can have”
Blue blood runs dry when their hearts are still soaked in red,
so no the money isn’t worth staying for.
You’re suffocating in red and right and trump signs.

She’s screaming baby, my love, pretty girl,
You are just too far,
and I am just too lonely.
We spent hundreds of days hating ourselves for loving each other.
Maybe we were too busy hating ourselves to actually love each other
She cannot meet me in the middle when she shackled to the start.

She reminds me of the reaper,
He lives inside her.
In the memories of being called a ****** at Christmas dinner.
Between picking out pears in the grocery store.
In the happiness over a haircut.
Happiness from my hands

Our breakup was not clean or neat or wholesome
It was all tears and excuses and hatred.
I still should’ve been there,
You’re the only one who understood how badly loving me hurts
I know it’s hard to love me.
To be good enough for me.
I haven’t figured out how to be good enough for myself either.

We’re Joking about how you mother thought we sat in circles
Whispering secrets, braiding
instead of pulling hair.
Now I watch as you pull yours out
Because ******* it you’re trying.
White people get away with killing kids all the time
Why would this be any different?

I’m in your passenger seat again
Asking what’s wrong, please answer me.
Where have you gone?
I’m pounding on a sealed casket
Pounding on the earth you lay beneath.
She is silent.

We held each other in pools of tears
Repeating that one day it gets better.
One day.
I feel guilty for living that truth
While you are stuck.

Yet still,
I will smile every June 11th
And wish you well.
I hope you’re still swimming
The creek we loved picked up quite the current.
KatThebliss Oct 2018
I haven't smiled with a glimmering passion since then.
The salt water wasn't as pure, but the heat filled my heart.
You weren't so far away, yet you were still many states.
I sigh with incomprehension, I've forgotten my lease and there's so much to do, yet nothing new to see.
I hope I make it in the blistering cold, as I miss who I was but this is who I'll be.
It's time for change, I hope we meet again some day.
When I reach a fervor with the mildest degree of sincerity, I'll be like I was back then.
Moving has been a big toll, emotionally and mentally. I miss greatly the life I had previously. I hope to go back someday and relive the same glory.
Christina S Oct 2018
Lake Michigan looks like an ocean
Mad autumn waves crash on the shore
You get so close to God, in this sacred place
Especially in the warm months, you want more

Young love is best savored here
Pure innocence found walking on the pier
Behind the lighthouse is best to steal a kiss
Happiest place ever with the one you love near

The sand on the beach is perfect
It's the only heaven on earth I know
Perfect for lovers to walk hand in hand
If you saw it, you'd want to go

As sun sets, purple and red hues
light up the heavens above
And birds overhead fly by
As people below fall in love

The stars are out tonight
I wonder if you see them too
They hang in darkened sky
I could reach and get one for you
Outside Words Oct 2018
At an unknown time of night at our cottage in northern Michigan…
My younger brother and I heard strange noises coming from the beach again…
We looked up at the ceiling and then the window…
As the voices from outside, in a lively allegro…
Grew softer and louder in repeating crescendos…
We skittered out the door and stared in fascination…
For what we saw must have been our imagination…

The door closed with a creak as our feet hit the grass…
It was at that moment we got a look at the mass…
Of stubby foot, hunchback creatures from which the sounds had amassed…

There was about six of them chanting like a choir…
They danced and paraded around our burnt out fire…
As we looked on, we saw our fire raise…
It got brighter as they lifted their hands in waves…
As light betook the blue beach night…
A crowd of colorfully masked gremlins caught us in their sights!

Their feet slowed to a stop and they quieted down…
They stood still as the fire flickered off their weird wooden frowns…
One reached out his hand in a come-here motion…
They seemed to stand and wait with an encouraging notion…
As the fire crackled and the waves tumbled onto the beach…

All I can remember, is for the rest of that summer…
My younger brother and I served as the drummers…
For that quirky marching band of lake sprites…
With which our burnt out fire we’d reignite…
At an unknown time of night at our cottage in northern Michigan…
© Outside Words
Haylin Sep 2018

Dear Future Self in 2024;

Hey. You still alive? Well if you’re reading this then you’re alive. So congrats on making it this far. I know you have been going through alot over the past 6 years. I just wanted to see how you were doing.

As I’m writing this, I’m a 15 year old sophomore at Dowagiac, in choir, art and in honors. I’m about to join color guard. But I have some questions. You still dating Dakota? Possibly engaged? If you are planning our wedding, it must be in a barn. No exceptions. But are you graduated from Central Michigan for meteorology? Do we work at The Weather Channel or NWS? Got our stuff back from our dad? Martha still our best friend? Did you hurt yourself more? But please tell me we went to prom.

Well I hope you are doing well. And Dakota, if you are reading this with me, I’m glad we made it this far. I love you.
But don’t let others bring you down like I did before. Graduate, get married, have kids. But most of all, have a good and fun filled life. I wish you the most of luck.

You from 2018
Shin Aug 2018
Sunbeams sift through emerald leaves
as 'munks pitter patter down below,
their whiskers tickled by the spring breeze.

At the shore a cerulean wave splashes,
while young lovers soak in the sand
brushing joy-filled tears from their lashes.

Baskets of fresh fried fish are passed around
to a picnicking family on the hill
absorbed in the peace of nature's sound.

There's something about these slices of time
that melts away the darkest of minds,
and that my friends is truly sublime.
These observations were made in Summit Park in Pentwater, Michigan across the street from Bortell's Fishery
thomas Apr 2018
take me back to that
small town in michigan.
with the people i love
and i know who love me.
with snowy mornings
and afternoons with
skies as clear as glass.
with rainy days, the
clouds mirrored in windows.
with the old, blue car
that she always jokes about.
with the late nights where
i held her close to me.

where i didn’t let go.
michigan - the milk carton kids
SK Feb 2018
i felt the great lake in the summer time
i swam beneath her depths
her currents rushed beneath my feet
the upwelling water refreshed.
i knew the great lake in the winter time
i walked across frozen waves
i saw her ice and destruction
her chill took all i gave.
i never met her in October
when her shores were cooling down
the west winds glazed over her churning surface
surrounded by orange, then red, then brown.
the world around her was dying
but she was coming alive
excitedly, she slammed the pier
warning all to step aside.
sand whipped across the naked beach
but now my body was not bare
i was protected by an autumn sweater
and i learned from the springtime wear.
we rode our bikes through forest dunes
the sun snuck through the departing leaves
the last remnants of summertime fell to the ground
air whistled through the trees.
nothing can last forever
no matter how sweet, how pure, how true
there is a time when it ends and falls to the ground
and waits to become anew.
the lake must let go of her summer guests
and spend the winter alone
the trees must release what holds them down
and with freedom they may grow.
i sit here holding onto something i loved
even though it is no more.
my fingers still gripping onto the strings of the past
like waves afraid to leave the familiar shore.
maybe i can learn from the autumn lake
maybe i can be like the trees
maybe i can release what holds me down
and step out into the chilling breeze.
it scared me once to be alone
to face the world with no one by my side
but when i let the cold air hit my face
i felt a tingling sense of pride.
we cannot fear what we do not know
we cannot live if we do not let go
a seed is afraid to fall on the frozen ground
but in the springtime, she will grow.
Part of the Michigan collection. I wrote this poem after I spent time with my ex in his hometown. Is was then when I realized that it was time so move on. It still took long after that, and I always go back to this poem when I doubt myself.
Angela Rose Dec 2017
Your body is like a road I traveled along when I was a child
Bumpy and all of the twists and turns drive me wild
Your eyes are dark blue like the sky I could not look away from when I was young
Full of stars and I cannot wait to stare into them and find constellations
Your voice is like the wind blowing through the highway fields in Illinois in the midst of spring
So swift and soft, yet could catch the attention of any person perusing through
Your hands are like gravel I fell into when I was learning to ride a bike
Rugged and painful to the touch however I cannot stop touching and yearning for more
Your smile is blinding just like the sun's reflection over Lake Michigan in the summertime
It has left everyone who viewed it enamored by its beauty and coming back for more every possible opportunity
Your demeanor reminds me of my childhood and all of the love I wanted to feel when I was young
Rare and sublime and everlasting
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