13 December 2016

I Want You

I want you
to be proud of me
and have me as
your noble girl.
I want to laugh with you
and cry with you.
Can you hold my face
and wipe my tears?
I will fill your belly
and wrap your shivering body.
I will trace your features
and kiss your chin.
When the lights burn out
I will look to your eyes
and hope they will
carry me softly
to your side, where I belong.

20 November 2016

The Collector

When you loved me,
you told me secrets,
and I carefully wrapped each one
and stored them where even you
forget, under leaves and snow,
under traditions and inside jokes.
I recall the location of every truth,
hardened, even though you
are long gone, your footprints trailing.
These treasures
were not enough to keep you.
Surely, I will collect others,
squirrel them away
for a time when I am useful.

12 November 2016

More Than

I am more than
a nasty woman.
I am a bad bitch.
Get the fuck
out of my way.

10 November 2016


Maybe there will be
buyer's remorse,
or maybe we will adapt
to the taste of blood.
I hope not,
but my brain fires
my brain is fire.
Maybe we deserve it.
This is what happens
when we find
our nooses decorative.

04 November 2016

Worth Keeping

I wanted the chance
to love you through it,
the thick of it,
the rose bush you
threw yourself into.
I wanted the chance
to rise together,
you softly holding me
when I show you I am
a rose worth keeping.
But I am not who you want.
I am a tired ache
and a delicate reminder
of who you can't be
and what you can't do,
and I am left in the bushes,
red and swollen
but unplucked.

02 November 2016


I'm dark like Nick Cave.
I'm sad like Morrissey.
I'm tired like Ian Curtis.
I'm mad like Black Francis.
I'm pompous like Bono.

31 October 2016

Like the Jellyfish

Like a jellyfish washed up on the shore,
that girl is too scary to help.
Compassion mostly extends to cute things
or things that look most like us,
small noses and big eyes,
too safe to be careful.

You either make meaning
or you find meaning

and that can be good or bad.

26 October 2016

Finally Gone

"i need help,"
she said.
and i pictured
the raccoon we saw,
its insides exposed,
leaving a trail
where tires carelessly
drew rushed lines.
i drew a rushed line
from my mouth:
"i am so sorry."
i grabbed her hand,
fumbled with it,
wet clay in my palm.
"let's go.
let's get you what you need."
we flew above the scene
as shapeless ghosts.
below, we saw the raccoon,
running away
from its shell,
safe for the moment,
and everything became
smaller and smaller
until it was finally gone.

23 October 2016

A Freshly-paved Parking Lot

Heaven is a freshly-paved parking lot,
tar burning
our nostrils when we breathe,
and I am the child
in the carpeted van,
looking out of the blue-tinted window
(cracked only just):
some small angel,
yellow wings,
carries a fluffy dog in a handbag.
The dog's eyes are covered
(but I look for them anyway).
The angel hurries along,
her bare feet pattering.
The surprisingly fleshy soles
clap against uneven pavement.
"Look here," says a voice
(and I am reminded that I'm not alone).
"Look to me."
And he cradles my round face in his hands.
And I am fresh,
secure in my seat
as we finish loading the car and leave.

21 October 2016


You break
into my house
and complain
to me
that there's nothing
here to steal.

18 October 2016

the last thing I said

It was April
and I asked
"Is it OK
to still tell you
that I love you?"
You never replied.

17 October 2016

Another Brief Open Letter About My Public Fatness

                  Artist: Marelly

No one is introducing new information to me by calling me fat, and despite reclaiming the label for myself, it does still sting to hear it over and over from people who are not fat.

Today, I was reminded of why I rarely post full-body pictures of myself on social media. I worry about the comments. And, sure enough, after posting some photos from my recent travels, I received some comments about my large body, that I look "swollen," as if many bees had stung me and "left me to die."

Existing while fat is obnoxious. I am regularly made to feel undesirable, stupid, and inferior because of my size. I want to love and respect myself, but there have been many obstacles in my way. Some of those obstacles have been misconceptions about fat folks, etc, but some of those obstacles have been actual people in my life, saying things to me that replay in my mind.

Ugly comments make me feel ugly. And when ugly comments are abundant, they feel truthful. And it's hard to love myself and have something else, something positive, be truthful when I'm overwhelmed by discouragement.

So, there are outside factors that determine low self-esteem, and all the positive self-talk in the world can only do so much to reframe and resituate one's perceptions. If you are someone who hates fat people, maybe take a moment to consider how you may be impacting someone else's life and well being.

To be clear, I and others like me aren't asking to be coddled, but laying off the online and offline comments about someone's weight might be cool, because our bodies are our business, and many of us are doing a lot to try to keep said business open and (quasi) flourishing. Patronize us if you want, but fuck you.

14 October 2016

Sallow Colorado

I am in a place I'd never been, tired as hell, and I still can't get out of bed. It is lunchtime where I'm from, but not here, not where the buildings hug the center of where I am, where I am pocket-sized and fragile.

Instead of preparing for "professional activities," I am thinking about boys and being rejected by them. Each little heartache is a reminder that I believe lies too easily. I thought of my self-pity and looked out of my hotel room window at some birds. They aren't pathetic. Perhaps they don't ever feel sorry for themselves. I'm a weighted, flightless bird (or broad, or dame, or girl) who can't help but get in my own way.

The light found meaning in my path just then, and I'm reminded that it is still morning here. While hope is futile and fickle and only latches on when it wants something, light is eternal and judgment-free. It framed some perfect wisdom about having feelings I no longer want to have.

13 October 2016

Girl Dreams

One day
I will be beautiful
to love.

09 October 2016

Radio Edit (Part 2)

"Oh, Diane," I said, looking at her orange face, "she told me why she was a bad person, and I'm besides myself."

Diane was intrigued. She showed it by raising her carefully-caterpillared brows. Both of them, at the same time.

"Why, Tony?" She finally whispered.

I leaned in.

"She thinks the Bauhaus version of 'Ziggy Stardust' is better than the original."

"Oh," she replied. "Oh my god."

"And that's not all," I said, my eyes wide with horror. "She loves Bob Evans, Diane. Bob Evans!"

"Wait, don't they have that unlimited pasta bowl?"

"No, Diane," I sighed, frustrated. "They're the ones with the turkey and dressing year-round."

"Oh," she replied. "Oh my god."

07 October 2016

For Lowell

The wind breathes
through the reeds
and the spaces in branches
between delicate leaves,
and the frail ones dance,
fleeting grace,
and land softly
where you are,
where I can no longer find you,
where I can only feel
where you once were.

06 October 2016


I am (woefully) constant
but not enough to be a habit,
not enough to be good or bad,
just around:
a dull headache,
a florescent hum,
a period instead
of a question mark.
I am just
unexciting but
and I want so much to be missed.

05 October 2016

Everything You Need

I finish my makeup in the car, where the light is better, and I can see what I'm doing. I sit in the parking lot for about twenty minutes, before I am officially early somewhere. The trick is to leave everything you need in various compartments: tweezers in the sunglasses spot, hairbrush in the arm rest, powder in one of the cup holders. I did not learn this from anyone. I took it up as someone who always felt the need to be somewhere, wanted by someone else, who could look fairly pretty at a moment's notice.

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03 October 2016


I am not wonderful,
but I am trying
to fall in love
with myself
instead of you,
and hold my own face
towards a light,
as any light will do.

01 October 2016

Just a Little Bit

You expect to grow older
so you get just a little bit older.

You expect to feel each word
like a cobweb tickling
and it startles you
and you want it
to be over quickly.

You keep this room
and warm
in hopes someone will
traipse in soon
and call it home.

You expect them to use you
so you get comfortable
just a little bit
just enough for them to tell you
they will stay.

The Good News

where is the good news

a temporary placement
on your kitchen table,
flowers need you every day,
but they are temporary

so, where is the good news

is it there in your dreams,
where your loved ones visit you
with their childhood stories,
with their smiles

and attention just for you

each embrace feels
like forgiveness, like the swift
peeling away of loneliness,
until the morning comes

each night,
a temporary placement,
and you are a child,
a fucking child

swathed in myths and softness,

like the world

wants to break you

18 September 2016


I am hollowed out and the shell
of me is filled with sugared strawberries
and thorny patience.
Scoop me out and replace
who I am
with what you like instead:
maybe brown sugar and pecans,
maybe peaches warmed in the sun.
Or maybe once my insides
are missing,
you won't
fill me up again.
Maybe you'll just leave me empty.
You forgot to put sugar
with the flour,
and I am only
butter and salt.
Maybe you won't finish
what you started.
Maybe you prefer
a bitter woman to a sweet girl,
dough hardening
in the fridge.

16 September 2016


I am crushed
under the weight
of my transgressions,
and a blue Buick
with soft insides
carries me home,
bones and fat
and humility.
Because it's all true.
I am all hormones
and dangling modifiers
and sleepy memories.
And I am a tired someone.
I am someone's dream girl,
latched onto the arm
of a smiling friend,
warm and tired and simple.
The Buick cradles me
and for once
I am tiny somewhere,
a plush thing,
rattling around behind
heavy doors.
I am carried off
into a large city
or a small town,
some place
with a funny name,
some place where
I am a welcome witch,
where my spells are blessings
and the blue Buick
can be parked undisturbed.

15 September 2016

On Romance

Fall into someone,
whitehot fire
Fall into me
I am your bed,
your dream.
Catch me
before I catch cold,
the sun is gone.
Be my journey,
your lesson,
your chest
falling into me.
Be difficult,
my lesson.
Fall into someone.
Fall into me.

14 September 2016


"Take the light
from this empty house,"
I said, and you complain.
"There you go
with that house imagery
again," you said
through gritted teeth.

I devolve into a child,
or a fiery swarm,
or whatever else you see me as,
and I am left looking upward
toward the candle
in the far window.

fucking take it,"
I spit, a stereotype in
every film you've seen,
every song you listen to
while angry with me.

"I left for a reason,"
you said, and I armed myself.
"You are too sick
and I am too tired."
I looked away from the candle
for the first time.
"Light is all I have.
Warmth is all I have."

09 September 2016

The Shadow at the Bottom of the Lake

"They told us our gods would outlive us, but they lied."
- Nick Cave, "Distant Sky"

Through false lashes,
she bears false witness,
talks of false prophets,
shares false memories.
Don't dare dream,
she says, and don't dare outwit me.
The shadow at the bottom
of the lake, lined in gray,
some impossible darkness,
swallowed every truth
until there was nothing.
Don't dare dream,
she says, and don't dare outwit me.
Until the falsetto of his voice
carries the ash of her fears
away from the fire that created her,
the water can't help her.
Every dream is false, she says.
Every secret is dust.

02 September 2016

A Running Start

I could not understand whether you were saying, "I'm fine" or "I'm flying," and so I assumed that you aspired to do the latter. That was before I kissed you, before you left me.

I slept with my fingers wrapped around your ideas, and so, in a sense, I hoped to fly. The scenery on the television matched my dreams. That was before.

Later, I could not understand whether you were interrupting yourself, your sweet mouth deciphering the best shapes, or whether a thought punched through, the meat of its fists more important than finishing what you started.

So I decided that your specialty was grabbing at the air, a fine display, posturing from the ground to get a running start, and I tried to give you enough room for your wings.

30 August 2016


Leave a little light on
in the smallest room
so that I can find my way
through capillaries,
through the wisdom
of my undoing.
I grab a jacket
that is too small,
but the zipper closes me off
from truths I try
to protect myself from,
the wisdom of my undoing.
And through the corridor
I cannot pass,
because I am too large
and too proud and too much.
The light burns wildly
but it isn't blinding.
It is flickering in the past,
offering a code
with each movement.
"Stay there," it says.

29 August 2016


Once a year a dream says that
apologies will come, arsonists
backlit by promises,
and once a year
the house burns down
with all of our memories inside.

Each day she wants to learn
about you and how to best
comfort you, and each day
you let her listen
and trap witnesses
in her eye lashes,
wishes for more dreams.

When you've been told
that you may not live,
you try not to waste your time,
and you try to be precise
with every word
and mean every laugh.

When you've been told
that you are a broken person,
you try not to waste your energy
on cracks you can't mend.

You try to hold yourself
when no one else will hold you,
and every slow dance is a wound,
and all the pretty dresses
carry thirsty flowers.

22 August 2016

Amazon Wish List

I want to be with someone
who slow dances with me,
who calls me beautiful,
who gently touches my hair.
I want to be with someone
who sees my body as strong,
whose eyes linger longer
over my smile,
whose lips share compliments
and occasional constructive criticisms.
I want to switch-up my language,
twist my own words around
to tell a story with fewer clichés,
more showing, less telling.
So, I want to be with someone
publicly and privately,
in small, fevered dreams.
I want to make love,
fumbling awkwardly,
giggling through pushing
masses of hair away
from excited eyes,
wanting mouths.
I want to be held in a spell
like a long drag off a cigarette.
I want someone's hand
on the small of my back
as he [thinks he] allows me to lead,
and when I get lipstick
on his collar
I want him
to know
that he is mine.

21 August 2016

Radio Edit (Part 1)

"So," she started with a small sigh. "What happened between you and Steph?" This was the first time she said her name without rolling her eyes afterward, so I could tell she cared.

"Well, she was the type of woman who preferred P.I.L. to Sex Pistols, Big Audio Dynamite to The Clash. So, she had big problems."

"Oh, wow. I had no clue, Tony. I'm so sorry," she choked, holding back tears. "I really had no idea. You think you know someone..."

"Yeah," I said. "And to think we made out... And I introduced her to all of my friends..."

I let the tears flow from me. Holding them back would be inauthentic. I used my shirt to wipe my cheeks.

"Come here," she cooed, and she held me close to her, her heartbeat like a song by O.M.D.

05 August 2016

Imaginary Boys

I wrap my arms around
imaginary boys because
ghosts don't hurt me.
Pretending never hurt me.
The signs were aflame,
scorching reality.
My loving imagined
the harshest:
Oh, he's frightened.
Oh, he has innocent secrets.
In reality, he took secrets
from the innocent,
shaped them into proud armor,
and I threw up,
coughed up bile
until I imagined
myself a child,
fingers shining and bubbling
from a hot stove.
Pretending never hurt me.
The elegance of lost frames,
lost information,
that's what hurts me:
the missing threads,
and I am no tapestry maker.
He had kissed my forehead
as if I were a child
and it should have been
a warning.
All of this, I confide in you,
and you make it
about yourself.
Your anger, the stove I touch.
This is why I must stick to
imaginary boys,
with smiles and warm arms,
warm in my dreams,
warm from the fire
of my nightmares.

03 August 2016

A Keeping

And he held her because she asked him to, and he told her she was a beautiful and wanted woman, because he knew it had been years since those things were true.

On the other side of the shadowed room, a small music box sat alone. He gingerly opened it to hear the promise he tried to make.

Once the melody clicked incomplete, he didn't bother turning the box over. He didn't wind the key, as if it were too much trouble, as if it were too slow a release for a pleasure that should be instant. He closed the box shut a little too forcefully, a little too quickly.

He turned to the woman, now a frightened girl, and tried to promise her a future of music and beauty, but she knew the melody was over.

31 July 2016

With Age

Yellow dreams,
shapes of curtains
holding small arguments.
Cradle large, sad eyes.
Cradle large, sad mouth.
Whisper public knowledge,
and scream every secret,
a tickle in the throat,
a daring charge,
static in the heart.
If this is the death knell,
if this is the bed my
fullness will know,
then I am ready.
Cradle complex shoulders,
with the weight of broken things,
lies yellow around the edges with age.

22 July 2016

Watch and Wait

I have cereal, but no milk--
a heart, but no brain.
I have empty boxes
and a lonely mattress
on the floor.

When the watchmaker asked me
how long I wanted to wait,
I responded, out of breath,
I would wait forever,"

but these calloused hands
make no bread.
These fingers press buttons
and document "self-
care, self-

I have cereal, but no milk--
nothing left over
for my cat to quietly drink,
to quietly meditate over.

He is content watching a bird
through a closed window,
never knowing how to hunt,
only how to watch and wait

and wait.

30 June 2016

Radio Silence

You deserve better.
That's what they always say,
your friends
and those other friends
on the other side of the bridge
(the part that's not on fire).
I always wanted those
Technicolor dreams,
those sharp clichés
that click off the tongue
in quick succession,
like little bullets.
I fucking hate what they say.
I hate it because
they don't actually know.
I want them to actually know.
Are you better for me?
Do you know who is?
Will I meet him at Acme
next to the asparagus?
Will we get high together
at a tiny party?
Will he tease me for how I hold
my cigarette
(a little too close to others)?
Will he help me color my hair
to match my frustration,
all Technicolor and everyday?
I don't want to hurt
but I hurt everyday.
I want a love that pauses
between breaths
to admire a fragile moment.
Because I am fragile.
Because I deserve to be seen.
I deserve better.

19 June 2016

Steal Everything

I can be found
where the burglar
and copy cat break bread.
I can be found
once the plates are thrown,
where flinching
is a personality trait
and not a reaction.
Each measure of
is not enough,
and houses are not homes
when you don't feel safe.
"But if you value safety
so much
you will close everyone off,"
he said.
"No one believes you."
The sun warms the kitchen--
the knives, all glittering
in the sink.
Compassion is competitive
and everyone just talks 
about themselves.
The burglar and the copy cat
steal everything I love.
Steal everything
until I am a shell 
and not a muse.

02 June 2016

Running Late

Tiny red spiders
explore freckled
ground like any other,
and I shake like the earth.
Upon closer inspection,
I discover dozens.
They get tangled up
in peachfuzz
and roses
and bite when
the wind of my breath
throws them off.
I feel guilty, so I stop.
I no longer
recognize my skin
so I let them have it.
They can have it,
running late,
running nowhere.

23 May 2016

Baggage Claim

I am choking down several Flintstone Vitamins
with my black coffee:
my scruff is caught between childhood and adulthood.

Always a late bloomer, always with this arrested development,
always with this pain in the neck--
I pay my bills and reuse the stamps you send me.

Maybe I have something to offer,
like good taste in music, decent casserole recipes,
a hearty laugh,

mental illness.
I promise my brain hurts me more
than it will hurt you.

I promise you will let me down.

I can draw you a bath or draw you a picture,
do research by the side of the road.
I can pamper and cater and
get my shit together.

I promise that I will hold you with these fleshy arms
and listen to your secrets and not tell anyone.
Even after we break up, I will not tell anyone.

(And somewhere, while we're talking,
my flaws are folded neatly
in a bright yellow bag,
and that bag is caught in an endless ride,
a carousel ride,
wishing it was home again, with me.)

21 May 2016

Some day

Some day before I'm done,
someone will hold me.
Someone will hold me and say,
"You are enough.
You are more than enough."
Maybe some day.

08 May 2016

Through the Shell

Just don't leave. Don't leave.
Radiohead, "True Love Waits"

A throbbing head
listens to another caller.
Even whispers rattle,
and I know I am annoying.
And I know that promises
are fragile eggs, but cradle this one.
Cradle this one a little longer.
I gifted myself.
I created myself in your image.
The sun knows you are lying.
It shows through the shell,
reveals my tiny organs
beating in rhythm to you.
Cradle this one a little longer.
I know it's difficult
when I keep shaking.
I will keep listening.
Just don't leave.

05 May 2016

Campfire Communism

Marx was a Taurus
which means he probably
left the toilet seat up
while giving a damn
about bigger things.
All winter hair,
all broken up
about arrogant assholes'
he probably would hate
today's twittering and
armchair diagnosing.
Maybe he would like The National,
but probably not.
Maybe, like other Tauruses,
he would keep his
grievances to himself
if they weren't shared,
if he could not band together
with kindred spirits
like sacred melted marshmallows
against the fire.
Because Tauruses
try to be practical
even when they are annoyed,
they prioritize others
over themselves
while grumbling about
soggy s'mores,
tempered dreams,
suffering to pay bills.
Everything is terrible,
and there are always,
always things to fight for.

04 May 2016

May 4

Ask not what your country
can do for you,
or you risk
getting killed by it,
and yet challenging bloodshed,
the imperialist fist
from bludgeoning
foreign neighbors' faces
is met with the force
of a hundred fists
bruising and bloodying
our own faces.
If each life is a gift,
and we have the right
to protest when
each life is threatened,
please, please,
killing each child
who challenges your fist with a dream.

02 May 2016

I Try To

I do my own hair
and makeup.
I tie
my own noose
because that's what those
old phone chords
are for.

I am quite a catch
so tangle me up
in your nets
and trap me.

I am smart and funny
and a Hufflepuff
and I'll huff and puff
and blow
your fucking house down.

But I try to love.
I try to love you.
I try to.

02 March 2016

In like a lion

One spring breath, lilacs
and grass, would be
a happy ending--not a
wedding, sure, but
there is a knife in the gut,
the origin of the daily pain.
Oscillating like
a pendulum between
wanting to live and
wanting to die, I don't want
to disappoint anyone.
So I stay,
and the dirty names
leave grease marks
on my heart. Why do I
decide to disappoint myself
instead? Why am I
never my own muse?

16 February 2016

Hate Mail

It is easy to write hate mail, just as it is easy
to confess a secret to a stranger. It is just as easy
to keep your head down and not make
eye contact on the train.

I spend a lot of my time being unfair.
I spend a lot of my time not knowing the full story.

It is easy to wrap ribbons around the details,
place your finger in the middle and have someone else
tie the knot. It is easy to see things as black or white,
and it is easy to judge a sweater on a hanger
in your great aunt's closet.

Because she would regularly donate
her fat clothes to you,
it is easy to judge what you do not want.

It is easy to be human, in other words.
It is far easier to be right and narrow.
It is far easier to make mistakes
every day and blame someone else.

I blame myself for being a placeholder.
I blame myself for being a bookmark
in a novel you promised to finish.
You promised ten years ago,
and I promised to wait.

12 February 2016


I want to believe in your hypothetical gods and where they live, among lost socks

and found Tupperware lids and old keys to buildings that have been knocked down,

places in the pockets of history.

I want to believe in your flawed visions and muffled voices, echoes that cheat us

out of words and add vibrating blurs to our dreams,

places in the pockets of history.

One of these days, you will have to accept my sweaty palms and my shaky words.

One of these days, I will have to fall asleep on your shoulder and trust

that you know where you are driving, where land meets ocean, where we go to rest.

09 February 2016

To wait

I have to believe
in heaven
my childhood pets
have gone somewhere
to play and
wait for me.

Cookies (Reprise)

"I don't want cookies, even though they are delicious
and I want to be loved."
It is because I am a broken
cookie, someone else's token, with my crumbs
in a neat little pile.
My brokenness sees others who are broken
and maybe if I notice you,
you will get noticed by others
and someone will pick you up and love you.
And I will feel warm love knowing you are loved,
and it won't matter that we were crumbling before.
It won't matter because we are finally held and seen.
"We know better. We know that it will still matter,
but at least then we would be warm."

30 January 2016

January 30

When I am weak, I will draw from the sun, and the shadows of my self-consciousness will fall.

When I am a failure, I will draw from the moon, and the pattern of my tides will lull my anxieties.

When I am strong again, it will not be enough to be a good girl. I will have to be a powerful woman.

26 January 2016


focal vocal, by SRM

false start, false hope, false positive:
and when I turn my head, the light seems to smear,
instead of dart, like a false path, a blurry trick of the eye.
nearsightedness betrays me:
false vision, false ideas leading the way.
I pay my bills,
I ask permission,
I open doors,
I say "thank you,"
but each is a crumb
symmetrically placed
leading nowhere.
it's a thankless job, but someone has to
love you, breathe into your mouth:
the ghost of me filling the shell of you,
my falsehood becoming your truth.