Friday 7 June 2019

on fire, and who we've become.


i called you an old flame
to a new friend
who has never heard your name out of my lips

an old flame

it makes you sound like a candlestick affair

simple, small
a dinner for two
glowing dimly on
the outline of a person i could love
or did you just flicker away?

i should have called you a furnace

deep in the belly of the beast
heating everything up from the inside
thawing out the winter of my bones
defrosting a human heart
we weren't sure was there
until it started beating

i should have called you a bonfire

fueling the drunken nights
the summer nights
when everything was good
but your warmth made it better
more alive

i should have called you a wildfire

taking out everything in your path
swallowing up all the cities we dreamed for ourselves
in one great gulp
raging, as one does, until everything you touch

(i lived through the night
for better or for worse, i'm not the same).


{Photo: Rita Ji Flickr}

Tuesday 1 January 2019

relapse .

you've been seeping back in
spreading through my veins
a sickness

first in dreams
then in faces i let myself forget
then calls, too blurry-eyed to see the screen
           yet somehow typing out your number
                                                                       muscle memory
old texts dug up from centuries past
a graveyard of memories, excavated — they should be dead
                                                                           but somehow


it's you again.

you're back.


Saturday 29 September 2018

the intricacies of breaking .

in trying to say goodbye,
i do not know where to put my hands.

                 if i went with what my body said,
i would hold yours close to mine
                                (wondering, always,
                                 where did the distance first creep in)


i don't think that is what a clean
                                                           break looks like.

it is easy to let go of the reality of us
there is freedom in the        
                                 of one person
                                                         from another


i don't know where to put down this
                                                           (long before we even touched)

i have a
                     suspicion that unfinished ideas
         into something they ought not to be

                                      and nostalgia is a dirty bitch
that eats people alive from the inside out
                                      if left unchecked

so i've been holding my breath when i hear your name

i've been
                  (and it's as easy as i remember it)

i've been letting the distance expand between your body and mine

i've been filling the space with things that do not remind me of what we should have been

                                                  i'm trying to say goodbye to you
                                                 in a way where both of us survive

                                   and i think it's working
(i'll let you know when i let out the air).

{Photo by: Codrina Cazacu}

Friday 24 August 2018

The Dust On This Poem Could Choke You | by Lora Mathis

September 18, 2014

I am throwing out all of the clothes you touched me in.
I am burning every poem with your name in it.
But I am still holding onto some of the letters you wrote me.
I tell myself it’s to remember.
I tell myself it’s because I am afraid
of forgetting the early warning signs.
I tell myself I’m not sentimental.

I’m not sentimental.
I’m just afraid of throwing every burning thought
I have about you into the trash
and starting a wildfire.

I am shaking on the ground in my bedroom,
realizing that it is two years until I turn the age
you wanted to marry me at.
I am using the candles on my
twenty-first birthday cake
to burn “grow up” into my knees.
I am in the front row at a show,
realizing that if I heard this song two years ago,
I would have thought about you.

Thinking about you takes effort now.
You no longer pour out when I open my mouth.
These days, if I want to bleed you out,
I have to grab a knife.

I am in the waiting room checking off “suicidal thoughts”
on the general form. I am figuring out
which parts of my personality are mine
and which ones I created to please you.
I am in the doctor’s office, holding my head high and not
quivering when she asks me if I’m okay.
I am biting down on my lip until I taste rust when she
mentions putting me on antidepressants.
I am getting better, I swear.

I am feeling the tears well up and not letting them fall.
This is a form of self-abuse.
This is a form of reliving my youth.
This is a form of remembering what it felt like to be near you.


by Lora Mathis

Thursday 2 November 2017

where i've been -

You see, we’re tired, my heart and I,
We dealt with books, we trusted men, 
And in our own blood drenched the pen.

― Elizabeth Barrett Browning, excerpt from My Heart And I

{Photo and Art: Lauren Muller/Instagram}

Tuesday 7 February 2017

a little bit too much alive

I know you would say 'you owe me nothing'
   But I know you think I owe you
                                                         just a little bit
You think you own a little bit of me

              Not enough to say it
                                       Or even think it out in

Enough though, to feel it in your hands      somedays
                                                        on the insides of your cheeks
                                              underneath the skin covering your ribcage that's stretched too thin
                                     You feel it
                             Mid-day when your back is turned but you can hear my voice
                  When I brush past and the hairs on your arm wake up
      On the cusp of sleep when your mind loosens up and dances on things you half-forgot

You feel 'I own you a little bit'
                                         'You owe me something of yourself'

But you are wrong there

I am a little bit too much alive for you
                                 I still have a vibrancy that you forgave yourself for never having fully
                                                                                                                                                    years ago
    I am still finding how far my arms                                              reach
                 and how tall I can stand when I'm standing up for something

                                          You forget how much I belong to myself

I want to tell you      (I want you to know)
                   that even though I make you feel something
                            in places you'd long forgot existed
                                     in places you didn't know about before
                            doesn't mean I owe you anything
                                                                           at all
                                                                           of me.

{Photo: via Thome Yorker Tumblr}

Wednesday 15 June 2016

untruth .

i'm trying to be honest
              for a change
but you look better when i say
      your hair smelled of lemons
 there was an aftershock when i kissed you
         so strong i needed to hold you
              with both hands
                   to steady the seismic tremor
that started in deep
                       and spread to all corners of myself

    and i look better when i
             tell you that i still wanted you
                            the night i took you to my unmade bed
               and let myself undress you
                    with my eyes closed

but i can't sleep with your head next to mine
                 and i've been pretending i don't know why
      but i think you know, already
                                    (you've been pretending too)

                                  it's funny —
being right after all this time
                 like some sick i-told-you-so
                           i've been playing with myself

and i see now that in this light
                          i don't look so good at all
                but your hair has never smelt of lemons
                                and you weren't there the night the ground
                                                 did shake beneath my feet
                                       help me god,
                             i still can't seem to tell the truth
                                              the way i need to:

you are not my sunlight                                                                  
and i will never be your clear night sky.                                                       


Friday 6 May 2016

haven .

good bye
there is a warm bed on the floor of a
cold room
but it is not a home
to me

i cannot feel safe
curled next to a man
who says he wears his heart outside himself—
like a badge
like a hand-stitched emblem on his shirt pocket—
but who maps out the quickest exits
as soon as he enters a room

who has already told me the ways
he will forget me —
the ways he has already forgotten me —
while i am still tangled up around him

you are a burner of bridges
of roads, of highways
you warm yourself
on all the endings you've ignited —
looking holy and alive
as the flames glow you a halo

and i've been trying to find a place
to hide
every time i'm with you
i smell smoke.


Wednesday 30 March 2016

because you asked me what's on my mind and i don't know how to answer like a normal person; here is a poem.

i've been thinking lately about

catching myself staring at the stranger
      on the café bench

wondering if
           the dimples in his cheeks would
                      feel the same as yours
           with my nose pressed into the crease

[if i could ever love him if they didn't
 if i could ever leave him if they did]

how the cab-mans callouses
    compare to yours
        held tight against my ribcage —
     that extra friction
                      sending me over the edge

if the workman's arms are also used
             to wrap themselves around someone
                               soft and breakable
         when he puts down his saws and hammers for the day.

i've been thinking lately about

whether you can find some for me
     when this all goes to shit

[if you can start storing it up now
 and slowly letting us go
 before we have to]

and whether i can find any for myself
         for taking it this far

knowing that this is going to
         break us both —


Monday 21 March 2016

unanswered —

questions for the woman i was last night 

how far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their laps?
how often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short?
why do you find the unavailable so alluring?
where did it begin, what went wrong, and who made you feel so worthless?
if they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you?
all this time, you were begging for love silently
thinking they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you
you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin
and what about the others that would do anything for you?
why did you make them love you until you could not stand it?
how are you both of these women, both flighty and needful?
where did you learn this, to want what does not want you?
where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?

by warsan shire

{Photo: Ennevia Flickr}