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mt Feb 2018
i want to be able to see my heart in word-form, all of its callouses and scars spelled out in strings of the alphabet
i want words to flow off of my fingertips like the drippings of water droplets into a sink from a faucet closed only half way
yet i've found that the four-letter word i've been feeling
can only be expressed as it is
numb
i want to be able to express myself but i feel as though i have nothing to express anymore
blaise Nov 2018
my boy with fig leaves and lightning bugs
******* in his hair, he kneels with
crimson palms pressed to the unquiet dirt
and hums an abandoned melody.

my boy with sunbeams shining through his skin on the riverbank,
neatly coating the grass in thin white trails, woven into footprints like cotton twine, snaking their way across brown earth,
ankles slick with mud and the dead things that lay just underneath.

my boy with rosewater and stained glass ashes
feels me bless him with blackberries and the softest crush of words,
ice cubed, beneath my lips,
as he wipes the ichor from my chest with callouses
worn down gentle.

the light echoes from his skin
there are no symphonies nor sacraments,
only cicadas singing warmth to shivering willows.
2019 scholastic writing awards gold key winner
Heirlooms

Jun 2017

One day, parkouring through my uncles two story apartment,

I was drawn naturally to his desktop computer

upon which I found his OkCupid Dating profile.

I don't remember his username, Or anything about the site really,

But I remember the head-shot of a beautiful woman

framed above the desk

the sterile grey Rubbermaid totes behind me like caskets, 

How they made even the hardwood floors

look like they were holding in the dead.

For my Grandmothers birthday

my family gathered at Captain Newicks

her favorite seafood restaurant.

My uncle flirted with the waitress.

I don't think I've ever gone to a restaurant with my uncle where he

didn't flirt with the waitress.

Captain Newicks went out of business shortly after that dinner

followed shortly by my grandmothers life.

the relationship between my uncle and that waitress expired well

before both my Grandmother or Captain Newicks.

I remember asking my grandmother about my Uncle.

Tarots Fool would have predicted

my grandmothers eyelids

a silent prayer before her words.

He had two children by his first wife,

keeps a portrait of her above his desk.

She was a blessing on the family

Selfless amd loved by every one.

She took her own life

Spread her wings to break free from the cage He kept her locked in.

He buried his heart in her casket,

motorcycles, empty bottles

had a third child by a second wife

who buried her heart in drugs and strangers.

Amanda was 6 years old when her mother died.

my uncles wife. Her brother josh was 3

when she died my uncle wanted to put them both up for adoption

he didn't.

Their mother died on the 20th of September

a week after her 25th birthday.

their mother once bought a bunch of carnations

with a dead rose in the middle

and said "it looks like I'm dead".

she took a bottle of pills before going to a chinese restaurant

went out as a family

and collapsed at the table.

she was rushed to the hospital

she didn't make it.

their mother wasn't happy

her and my uncle were getting divorced at the time

lived in the same house that I grew up in.

when my uncle told the kids mommy wasn't coming home

my mother was 17 

and there to see all of it.

When my mother was 17 

she had to watch her baby cousins be told their mother had died.

When my grandmother passed.

grief bounced off of my uncles callouses

ricocheted to my cousins, robbed 

twice now of a selfless mother.

The tragedies in my family

have always enthralled me.

like shakespeare sonnets

I breath them into my faithless nights

tap an extra dream-catcher on my bedpost

in space of a prayer.

When The hearth-fire of our family dimmed 

a tealight in my grandmothers eyes.

grayed, Glossed.

she could no longer crochet 

one big dysfunctional quilt, 

together from our families yarn.

without her needle, 

I was determined to watch how our life spun forward.

The next time I saw my uncle,

He offered me a job.

Thick mosquito blinded us as we carried our sweat 

with Rubbermaid totes into a blue two story home 

deep in the evergreen thickets of Maine.

a tall white fan rotated slowly back and fourth 

Cooling the wet patches on our T-shirts while my Uncle 

flirted with the landlord

I still remember when my uncle tossed me the truck keys

the look of terror I gave him

How easy it was for him to trust

I guess when your heart is buried in a casket 

you stop worrying who has your keys.

It makes me remember

when my daughter asked for my keys 

I would sit her in the drivers seat

watch her pretend to drive.

I loved imagining her free

living how she wanted.

I still wouldn't give her my keys.

she would turn my car into a casket.

It makes me remember

when that little girls mother asked me to drive

My words spun portcullises

prison bars forged in anxiety

scaffolding out of latex secrets

Glued with siren smiles, pacifier kisses

denying cigarette smoke on her breath

fueling infernos in my head.

when my uncle handed me his keys without hesitation.

my religion was insulted by his tough skin.

I felt his simple kindness 

like a splash of holy water. 

saw in me, the devil 

caging a woman like property

holding her hostage 

out of fear.

And yes 

when She could drive she left me

And yes 

when she left me she took her daughter.

every morning 

cereal bowl of pills, I **** myself

keep a poster of my mothers face 

covered in bruises 

behind the tiny orange bottles 

to remind me why I do it.

wake up twice, 

first as Phoenix, dying

second as a watcher, writer and admirer.

callouses are not to protect us from the outside at all.

Callouses harden our bodies into caskets.

Hold in all our dead.
Maia Vasconez Apr 2018
His
I like boys who look like deer in the headlights. Shy. Startled by the movement of clouds.
He looked like a cherub. I miss the callouses on his hands. Everything he says sounds like rain water on the outside of a window! I shoved his love letters into beer bottles and threw them into the sea! It's the ven diagram of our bodies overlapping.
I spell it all out in refrigerator magnets.
I wanted someone I could make snow angles with...
He tied balloons to my wrists and I got carried away.
I've had butterflies in my stomach for weeks and I can't swallow and I can't sleep.
In the summers when you were a boy,
you would take a mattress to the roof,
you would wake to the stirring of
leaves, the blue hydrangeas, cashmire
coats,
persimmon sunsets,
when you were a child your mother
would take you, her callouses running
like rivers over your skin,
her green eyes on fire,
don’t you remember?
It’s the same spot they buried your father

remember, the narrow lanes
where you could see dust gather
underneath bare feet,
people from the east in
their white cars;
in Belsen where
you could find god in a *******
and in Eurasia where we
steal like clever thieves,

in the night when the lights shone
for you, how you would hold your head
as the ache deepens within your skull,
maybe there is more to life than just the physical?

The moon is in Taurus,
you lie awake next to your mother
and you count the lines on her face,
in her aging you find your history,
in the filth there is always beauty

then.
the world starts to erupt,
there are people whose voices like
molten cause revolution

this is the part you do remember,
the bombing, the deaths, the bodies.

you remember how faces of your neighbour, of mothers with their children
like apparitions of Venus,
can be glimpsed peaking out with their
azure eyes dying underneath
pillars and railing and soot,

you learn how to turn gas into midnight fog,
how you can turn empty shells into rocket ships that take you back to your mother,

you learn how bomb craters can become home and house warm bodies,
How clothes can rip like paper
when you are searching along shorelines
for home,

you realize no one wants you,
not you - but the idea of you,
the idea of who you could be

They have not seen the way your hands
shook when the sun caressed the parched
skin of your mother’s body,

now, you’re eyes close in prayer
your cheeks brushed with the godly red
of childhood,

but you do not know, child, that the
world does not work on prayer,
and has the ocean ever listented to the drop?

You forget how many centuries deep the ocean is,

but for you I pray,

I turn to God to atoms, to energy and divinity,

that the waters
their sails masting half way,
and you capsizing in hope,

I pray the ocean knows

I pray.
been a while.
kk Aug 2018
A pencil is of dreams,
the Sandman sings sweetly on graphite.
Unlearn your rules,
unleash your light.
Dance on rhythms of pentameter
and sing melodies that twinkle
on the tip of your tongue,
alliterative opera and assonance
played among the bass that is literature.
Sometimes you must ignore the pain
in your hands,
let callouses build and relish
in blood filling your blisters.
Pain here means progress.
Sweep agony away for the sake of day then sink into the ink of night.
Float on clouds of fantasy and write.
You pulled me in your dry cracked skin
with callouses so big they needed a glove-
compartment. Filled the cup with cherry wine. It was
my PICC line. And I laid there with nothing

to do. I barely could move because I was
attached to it. It was inserted in my veins. You thought
this was required, for my benefit. I was sent home
still attached to it. But it made me sick. It left

me cold. I needed a person to hold,
not a line. A line was words that I wrote. It was
a sheet of music for me to share. It
wasn’t meant for sole distribution You took on that,

with your circus flare and body works, even when
I wasn’t there. You did it through the line. And when
I ripped if off the blood shot out. I was drained and ghastly. Look
at how much it cost me. The bruise is still there

reupholstered as a chair. But I’m not. The umbilical cord
is tossed. I’m still writing lines, yet not attached to one. I said
I was done with it. I’m free. I’ve movement. I still miss
being hooked-up. But I’m better off
Xallan Jan 28
let my entire purpose be this essay
let my words have wings that lift my mood
let my thoughts tie themselves into knots
so complicated that they restrict them too

let my mind eat itself like a snake
unhinging its jaw to gulp down an egg
let me find the nest of true meaning
let this essay buoy me up with purpose
let it drive me to share rather than destroy
let my words become art and truth
rather than wither away into unmeaning

**** am I inspired to write
but certainly not anything with meaning
I want to dump my whole person
into these empty words and watch
from above as the carcass floats downstream
having drowned in a bucket, in a puddle
of my own impetuous laziness then

I want them to see the callouses
and know that I tried my best- but
I want them to scan my wordlogged brain
and know that the whole ordeal was
pointless anyhow, at least with that
great blockage up there I mustve known
I was toast

I want to bang my head against a wall
the bruises will run to the floor and stain
empowering me to leave a mark
I want to think think think get them gears
turning by figuring out how to crack
my coconut, like a dumb monkey
let my mind meet my thick dumb skull

we dont think too much, just incorrectly
I want to **** it, to ponder less and live more
we think less and therefore live at all
It seems I never stop thinking, just like
it seems I never stop breathing
both essential for life, and death
and ever so slowly I burn and melt away

yeah this is some therapeutic torture

— The End —