heart cut out, looped together. paper chain, rip and unfold me into a snowflake. i really do feel like some geometric mess. i really do feel like i am melting back into water now. jumping the high dive into a tiny glass. some mornings that’s just what my lonely looks like. total impossibility. but then there are people that hold out their hands to catch you at the bottom. these are the parachutes. you were so afraid of broken fingers.
I’m happy for you. I miss you.
you’re good to me. I want to thank you.
sometimes I miss you so much, it’s like a big hole in my life.
smoke a cigarette, it’ll go away.
Hey daisy chain hey
stolen can of soda hey
last on the batting order
hey liar, you don’t look older
because you aren’t
so stop sneaking out your window
stop pretending this is freedom
stop thinking this is what your name means
stop spitting through your teeth stop
choking on your braces
bra-stuffer stop snapping your rubberband wrists
knuckles cracking like his voice stop
counting all of his steps
just wait for the bus alone and
take it somewhere farther
you are skinny dipping in cheap vodka
you are drowning so hard in nineteen year old eyes
trying to forget
those thirteen year old green ones
trying to forget
two month chicken death cab katsu
trying to forget
friendship built from bloody keys
trying to forget, trying to swim but you can’t pull your own weight
when you always feel this heavy
when he is grabbing at your ankles
six years more stuck-here and pulling himself up
up up up your skirt all the way to the collarbone
and everywhere in between
and he makes you feel like a 6 o clock deli counter
like you’re fucking disposable
but you are not an exhaustible resource
and I know you are unfurling
I know that you don’t need to feel old to hear your bones creak
and I can see you
How you used to press flowers between pages before he held you down
all gumball glued between the broken mothball mattress and too much of his
How the smell of his sweat felt trapped under your fingernails for months
How you’d close your eyes past Oka Rd for weeks
How you’d dream of breathmints and gunshots for five more years
It’s not your fault you didn’t pick up the phone
It’s not your fault that six months later you picked it up for someone else
you are not the sweat on his back
you are not these skin ripped legs
you are not lost friends and funerals
you are not the only fourteen year old who feels this desperate
It’s been one month since I moved up here
San Francisco doesn’t get too crowded in these Sunset streets but I’ve never felt more bulldozed
I’ve never felt so shirtless exposed in five layers of sweaters and state school social cues
and I’m wondering if any of these pretty people I find myself walking past ever felt this cold in the beginning
like how sometimes I want to hold hands with strangers on the bus when our thighs accidentally touch because this place is freezing strange and calling it home hasn’t even entered my vocabulary’s mind yet
I haven’t made a friend yet.
I’m still picking these small town barnacles off of my back in my room
like little terrified
only making connections in the form of trains
and the awful men that sit next to me on them
and I miss you
You told me before I left that scorpions with bigger claws have less poison in their venom, and I guess that’s good because I have never felt this small before
and now I’m on a train to a completely different universe than yours
and my jacket and the inside of my mouth still tastes ike your cigarettes but I still stuck my tongue in your mouth because I won’t be able to for a week
We exist on Thursdays, grabbing at each other’s fingers
fucking like being inside each other will let us mind read
I want to believe all the beautiful things we tell each other in half-asleep lavender darkness
i want to believe my hands can someday be brave or at least venomous
I want to to believe that I’m holding on out of strength and not because I feel alone in the places I call home and cry in the dining halls of weird college dormitories
I am spilling sideways with cheap beer and stamped with illegible phone numbers
I am packed full to the brim with old violets.
I am missing you misdirected
in someone else’s zip code.
you have sagittarius tendons, you hold all of your anxiety in the muscles holding your neck together and it gives you backaches. this week i’ve been living in the smoking section, i like to surround myself with the mutual understanding that we’re making choices to die a little earlier. i chain smoke when i’m sad and i chain smoke when i’m with my friends but you are my best friend and i smoke the most with you. this makes sense. most of the life experience i accumulate comes in the form of lung damage. summer is ending and my esophagus feels like tissue paper, i feel hogtied to old towns, wrapped in twine and covered in sea salt but the apple in my mouth is a cigarette and you are consuming me. i am lavender bruises and lunchmeat. i am scraping the edges with my fingernails. you are a chalkboard. you are covered in white dust. you are streaked with eraser burns. i am carving your name into my shins.
there must be some sign in
the way these trees keep
hitting me starstruck, hopeless
when i walk home alone.
the way i keep picking flowers even after
they fall out from
behind my ears
this couple behind the coffee shop
are fighting in the parking lot
all three of us have restlessness
and daisies in common but
i walk away
it’s so easy to get lost in bedroom eyes
I think falling asleep on ten missed calls is my real vice
(play nice) (play nice) (play nice)
resting facedown is how
glasses get scratched
I want to scrub this
sharpie ink clean off
but we’ve tattooed ourselves
bloodstained our vessels blue.
walking with fingers scotch-taped to our sides
tape-measured our feet to cruise control two feet apart
your size elevens parallel-parked to my size sevens
never crossing, intersecting at intersections-
have you taken time off in June?
are you driving to Pomona?
are you leaving so soon?
And when i’m slipping into ditches
all panic-drenched when someone
heart-wrenches me turquoise blue
you are the calm after the storm
you are frozen tamales and phone calls
when I’m cut off too green
too early before spring
when i think that my roots can’t handle
this detachment you brave through me
in my broken-dam tearjerk state
for a couple of imbued months
and send me back
backpack-full of humanity and
talking in the dark in your dusty room and
eight different kinds of tofu.
Mr. Smith says I do my best when I’m not over-thinking things. When I don’t hesitate between my tongue and the envelope, dye everyone’s faults yellow, inkwash my feet cold.
I am seventeen years of mess and bones and I am sorry. I am my mother’s insecurities and mania passed on like an explosive heirloom, a time bomb, a wristwatch, an hourglass. Something glass- I am my father when I get angry. I’m sorry that I’ve been so angry. That lately there’s been so much to try to condense into one small body. I’m sorry that I have too small of a body to hold all of me inside of it, let alone all of you, and all of her, and all of the people that have walked through me before both of you. I’m sorry that I try anyway and I’m sorry that it unravels me sometimes.
I’m sorry that the sun keeps coming out every morning and that sometimes the light hurts you. Because I know how it feels when the universe hasn’t let you catch up to its planets and their orbits and all of these gusts of wind and I’m sorry that you feel wind-gusted behind the sun in the first place. I’m sorry that there are days when I vacillate wildly between wanting to nail you down so the breeze won’t blow you over and pushing you further into a current, forcing you to swim. I realize now that I am struggling to walk through air too. I realize that some days I am also barely floating. That you are my waterwings as much as I am your parachute.
Yesterday you floated back through me, easily, like walking backwards uphill. Not being able to see where you’re going really takes the strain off of your legs.
Your face is the same (pink lipped freckled) underneath someone else’s new beard. You are just as unkempt as before but now it is calculated- unshaved hair orchestrated.
I remember the first time that I thought you were beautiful, driving your car in Capitola under big steel bridges while listening to your favorite band, half-soaked in summertime sweat and thighs stuck to the seats.
I remember the way your face scrunches when you laugh, how it hit me hard and pulled me under. I remember how strong the tide was that dragged me in, closer to you.
Yesterday your face broke my shore the same way (crushed me like sea salt) but we were on some roof, and not in Capitola- nowhere near the ocean, in fact. I couldn’t touch your face. I didn’t need to. There is nothing left in my fingers with your name attached; my prints wouldn’t register on your skin because the sun is too bright now and the paint has faded red to pink; dark to pale.
(you have gotten so pale)
San Francisco clouds overhead instead of bridges and thoughts of me.
So yesterday I am just past leaving six months of wondering what her voice sounds like when I see you in that coffee shop.
Our old bench outside, the one where we used to drink pots of tea, smoking in the rain. How do I catch you up when we’re so used to running at different paces? Our voices tangle together, straining against throats, a balancing act of missing each other without allowing ourselves the clarity of acknowledging it.
You tell me that I haven’t changed. That I cut off my hair and my eyes have gotten weaker but you can still see the me from two summers ago. I wonder objectively if the way you look right through me means that you want to time travel. It wouldn’t change anything.
We’re on the roof both cross-legged and it’s noon. The sun is directly above us, making the air too warm, but you just squint your eyes. I don’t offer to share the shade.