Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
alessandra manco May 2018
You might say I spend too much time on public transportation
Licking my lips and waiting for that dull reminder
Each stop is sticky on my fingers
A set of memories and ache I wish I could wipe off
Echoes of my childhood have me twirling
questions between my fingertips
Wondering why I can't remember
and why the ones that stick hurt so much

A man's eyes bounce off mine in the back row
Needling in that slick way that they do
Questioning me, really
What is your worth here?
Prove to me your flesh and blood
Lest I cast you out
Sharp bones in fist

My mouth is full of the lush green grass
Joints crackling and choking- just a little bit

How do I taste?

The feeling of your palms
jaded by the same stone I cut my teeth upon
When did you start to mean so much to me?

I'm tasting all your revelations
Tonguing your reasoning and experience
The way you say my name resting on my soft pallate

And I find myself unyieldingly grateful
for the way the ground moved
underneath our seats.
written on the westbound 3.
alessandra manco Apr 2018
Talking about the feeling that your brain
is trying to implode and explode at the same time.

Everything is
crashing in on itself,
all the distorted pictures and sound bites
and flashes of all those faces, on jagged
repeat. There are spiders, large, twitching
spiders outside my window
pretending to be my fingers.

Their webs are wavering in the wind and
I’m wondering how long it will take for it to feel
like they’re not crawling on my skin, softly,
in a way that no scratch can appease.

I’m biking on the very edge of the curb
fenced in by street signs
and my tires are wobbling in the way
that tells me that skull impact is imminent.

Stop ******* laughing at my helmet when you
can’t even tell me what it feels like when gravity
shakes up your brain between the sky
and the cement floor.

You have no understanding of not recognizing your own thoughts.
You can’t imagine what a hostile body feels like from the inside. You haven’t a clue what traumatic brain injury feels like,
all the worst parts.

Stop laughing.

Now my whole body is wavering and I see the dark gray, slippery rear end of your car that is not your car.

I am haunted,
paralyzed by the model and make of your vehicle
in the same way that I have been by all the others.

I don’t know why it’s always the cars for me,
but even a glimpse of the possibility catches in my throat and I’m coughing, choking, frantic
on the side of the road again.

It’s the impact of the car but somehow
worse, because you can’t see these wounds except for
how damp the pillow is when I wake up in the middle of the night, nauseous and sobbing.

Maybe it was a dream.
Maybe I’m the dream.
Maybe I am just one long, tempestuous nightmare.

I can’t stop thinking about all the people I’ve run away from,
deeply ashamed of the desperate, wild measures I've used
to savor even a moment of validation.

Unable to face the need I teased out of their mouths.

Only brave enough to start the fire,
rubbing sticks together shamelessly,
but not strong enough to put it out
before the forest burns down.
written june, 2016. reformatted april, 2018.
alessandra manco Apr 2018
I’m wrenched awake with a swaying hangover, the kind that rumbles in the back of your throat until mid-afternoon. I know that I’m late without turning my head but the only movement is the whir of the box fan in the window and the sinewy muscle of my calves twitching near the end of the bed.

It’s hard to wake up when the world outside the door has been in this way, insistent in it’s painfulness, and part of me wants to succumb to the quiet hum of this bedroom, disappear into the sheets and pretend for a moment that I never met Jordan Whitaker.

A scalding shower and a thermos of lukewarm coffee later, the sun seems way too cheery for the way my insides feel and I want to scowl at it. I swallow the bile for a moment to toss a ‘good morning’ to the old woman dragging her walking cane to the end of the driveway.

She used to drop by with cookies from time to time, but it’s been a while. I can see the toll of age and defeat on her cheeks like a fragment of my future and I have to turn away from it, towards the blinding sun mocking me quietly.

“You done yet?”

I hear his voice before I see him, taunting me in the way only a man in a position of superiority can. Archie is filthy with the kind of grease that doesn’t wash off, and all of my tricks to keep unwanted hands away, even a stubborn and unyielding androgyny, has not deterred him yet. I spit at the sidewalk before his foot lands in stride next to me, and he jerks a bit but keeps pace.

“You know, I’ve got someone on the inside of the courtroom today. Maybe you scratch my back, I scratch yours, that kind of thing?”

These words are accompanied by a haphazard set of teeth leering in some semblance of a smile. The smell alone is enough to make me want to start sprinting, but I keep my tone and pace level.

“I’m not telling you again, Archie. My leads are my own. I’ll get in there just fine.”

“Oh, the *****’s feeling feisty today, I see!”

I watch a bead of sweat collect between his eyes as he watches me, like a pockmark. “You’re kidding yourself if you think they’ll let you anywhere near the trial with the stunt you pulled last week.

You should stop taking me for granted, you know!”
straying from a poem- short piece from a writing workshop.
alessandra manco May 2017
i bought myself steel-toed boots for
christmas like it would matter
as if i could kick things like paranoia, fear and vulnerability

my whole head is making this strange, dissonant noise
it feels kind of like pressure building, by surprise

because i'm going, going, going with my
hands touching all of the things

i thumped my corroded heart onto the table and asked if he wouldn't
mind sitting with it for a while

did i know then that his body moves just like theirs?

i have blades in my palms walking home
despite how i interpret my murmuring heart
mostly i think it's reminding me to live, i think
it's especially easy to forget

i'm choking, go ahead and tell me how much you understand it

i have blades in my palms, the boots and buttons up to my neck
i can taste their eyeballs anyway and the rotting is sand
it's getting underneath my toenails now, stop just a second
the boots and the buttons might as well be silk
the way their bodies are closing in feels like absolute reliable death
i'm thumping and shivering and their voices
the way everything shifts a little as my hands tighten around the mace makes me wonder if i had ever been safe to begin with because it seems like i've only ever been trembling in anticipation of your violence

my father is strong and firm and knocks at the window in the way that punches a small, undeniable hole directly through my windpipe

there are a lot of things about this canal that the probe cannot understand

clearly evident in the shift in your spine as the door slams behind you

did i know at eight years old that footsteps would come to sound like fists to me? i always knew the tenor of arguments would send me over, but at this point i've lost count of the ways through which my environment stands to strangle me

how many voices eked out, slowly do you have to
miss before you'll hear me?

they might as well be constricting my limbs on the spot with the
ways they graze my hot, sweating flesh

does it count as purgatory if you're burning from the inside?
alessandra manco Apr 2017
it's only a little bit like a toothache when your
eyes well over in that muted, melancholy way.

i had so sorely forgotten this place
the anxiety, fresh like a cresting wave
that languid boil in my throat
the therapist tells me that I have to take deep breaths and
hold myself where it burns, tenderly
but i always end up choking myself.

limp attempts to strangle the fervent clamor
my brain revolves a harrowing dialogue,
masquerading as novel thoughts

this afternoon i stood, back to the sweat-slicked masses
my own mess of rank and fear dripping from brow to navel
tears vaporizing mid-air before they could season the eggs

and i realized in the most painful way
that the pallid, grease-burned hands stroking my neck
in some strange semblance of comfort
might as well be his,

they should have cremated him.
i ache to hold reverence on the same ground in which he rots.

you were humming between my legs while i twitched and gasped and then i burst into tears. wracking sobs, really, the kind that make my chest hitch and your mouth kept hitting my ***** bone while i shook, orgasming and crying.

i want to say a lot of things about the why, how and of course and to be honest with you and i think

but my lips are too swollen with his death. his bloated corpse is hiding in my throat, slicing up my insides, and i'm so ******* allergic, can't you see in the ways my hands flail and my eyes bulge?

all the lengths of my skin are boiling,
your validation a soothing salve
for a moment, before dissipating in my wretched heat

can't you see that this all fell into place decades ago? from the very first time you had somewhere better to be, someone else who needed your time and space, i was already burning.
so small and slight, trembling just a little bit.

it was you you YOU

all of you, now dead and rotting or just as good as

i refuse to join you.
i hurt all over.
alessandra manco Mar 2017
if i hate myself, just look at the skin of my palms
about the matter of my skin, and the translucent hair
if and when my eyes waver, softly, just for a moment

you, you, you don't even

i am all a mess of words and fragrance that doesn't have a label or a real taste. just a sticky, angry smell. i am all the frayed socks, every ragged hole and i keep ******* the circulation from your toes.

it's thursday, the children are doing that whooping and hollering like they never expressed a real pain between then and right now. where's the pain of tomorrow? do you think their baby fat has ever trembled in the face of all the evers and wonders and hows, all the wretched aches of "not yet" and "maybe"?

that seems a simple question, and all the dreadful needs come wheedling out of the woodwork like maggots. i can taste them, their want and flush and wish and scrape and oh for the love of all that is holy, i would like to be the plaque on your left-hand incisor. let me crawl up inside your cavities, taste all your stagnant air and need like maybe i'll save you if i can just fill my lungs up fast enough with you and all your rot.
alessandra manco Apr 2016
this languish is unyielding
ankles and bare shoulders are making me bitter
stop unwrapping my things
don't you dare try to take the tears from my cheeks
you have stepped in at the final moment of purity
and however you might try to
pry the gore from between my legs
you know nothing.

I am being suffocated by privilege
not enough to find me fortune, oh no
only that strangers afford leisure
and i am burning, slowly

brunch is taunting me
afternoons spent quietly,
a night out with close friends,
one, any activity alongside the sun
in the real world, there are days off
and dreamless slumbers
and friends.

all the evidence supports that i am doing everything i possibly can to do the very best anyone could ask of where i am right at this moment,
so how do i feel so behind?
and out of place?
and worthless?

the shade is being drawn back from my eyes now
my happiness was a glitch
to think that i deserved it, an error
my personhood, a mistake

i am so capable, and so angry
Next page