Poems through the ages

My house is for the smokers.

My house is for the buried seeds,
for every trauma gardener rubbing compost in their wounds
just to make something grow there:

Come home.

My house is for the nose pickers,
and the scab eaters,
and the nail biters,
for the wisdom teeth advice you always grind up in your sleep,
for little wisps of hope you tried to sniff off of the plate,
and the words that cut too deep.

My house is for the restless,
for the mouth breathers left hanging by the neck,
for the things you couldn’t pass for
and the boxes left unchecked:

Come home.

My house is for the acid flashbacks,
for the heroin cocoons and the butterfly bandaids,
for the gurus without answers
and the activists without hope,
for the rebels
and the rabbit holes
and the ones who fall down them.

My house is for the prayers stuck in your head,
for the spray paint manifestos
and the love notes left on Read.

My house is for the backpackers,
for the world Atlas shrugged off,
for every other person who died hanging on a cross
but never got a gospel:

Come home.

Give me your souls cutting holes in their borders,
your broken huffing glue to feel connected.
Give me every shoe you couldn’t fill
and the shackles of your shame
and a telephone wire and an arm with good aim.

Give me the slow-dying fire of a mind aching to meld.
Give me every shot you missed,
and the scars on your wrist
running rivers to the hands that never get held:

Come home.

Because my house
was built the day enough was finally enough.

There’s a minibar fridge full of Molotov cocktails
and the sign above the toaster says:
Light my fuse.

Come sit down beside me
and take off both your shoes.
Set your baggage in the fireplace.
We’ve got some gasoline.
It’s bottled from the dreams you’d still kill yourself to catch.
It’s spiked with every itch you couldn’t scratch.

Here’s a match.

In my house,
you can fuck in the shower.
In my house,
you can piss in the sink.

The mirror in the bathroom is a shattered funhouse reject.
The hole in the backyard leads to the moon.
The sun rises from the crack under our door
and our shit smells like tomorrow morning.

In my house, you can walk on the ceiling.
In my house, you can fly.

Because my house was built inside out.
The walls are open windows,
the front door leads to everywhere,
the welcome mat is nothing but your socks.

Everyone’s invited.

You hold the only lock.

But all you ever have to do
is knock.

/
TW: suicide, addiction.

Life lessons from a dead girl

Two.
There’s a reason you weren’t born with armor.
Skin is supposed to be soft.
Uncover your veins.
Leave your throat open.
Close your eyes on the freeway.
You weren’t built to be permanent.

Three.
When it happens
The papers will say, She died in her sleep.
They’ll talk about the people you left behind.
Left,
like children you forgot on a train platform.

You will be old, no matter how young you were.
Your name will close around them like a mist they can’t shake.

When they think of you,
they will think of headstones and flowers
and the things people might say at their funerals.

Four.
They will make you an attraction.
Everyone’s favorite dinner conversation.
Did you hear what happened?
Did you know her?

They’ll list off all the facts:
She was blonde,
she was smart,
she loved music.

Everyone loves music.

People die every day who love music.

Five.
You cannot outrun darkness.
Everything has to sleep sometime.

Six.
The papers will just say, She died in her sleep.
They won’t mention
the track marks
and the needles
and the time you said This was exactly how you’d do it.

No one wants to ask those questions.

They’ll say that Ophelia just fell into the river,
like gravity goes more than one way.

Seven.
Don’t imagine anyone will fight for you.
If you want to keep your head up
learn to swim.

Don’t you realize
no one wants to mourn for you?
They will read your name in the paper like nostalgia.
The first on a list of things no one wants to think about
but still can’t forget
I’m asking you to remember:

You can leave at any moment.

This is a branch that will break if you shake it.
No one will stop you from jumping.
No one will take the syringe out of your hand.
No one will love you just because you want them to.

Eight.
Waking up is a choice you made this morning.
Tomorrow you will get to choose again.

Nine.
The papers say I died in my sleep.

Killed by gravity
like Ophelia
when I lived at the end of a branch so thin it only took a sigh to break it.

Don’t judge me because the water looked calmer than the wind.

Ten.
Someday you will find yourself dangling
and I hope you don’t look down
or you will see my hands reaching.

There’s a map to me written on your wrists
I can show you a shortcut.
No one will take the blade out of your hand.
No one will love you just because you need it.

They’ll have the headline ready:
She died in her sleep.

Everything has to sleep sometime.

They’ll tell themselves all kinds of stories.
String lights in the gap where your smile used to be.
They won’t know where you went,
but they know how you got there.
They’ll hold each other and cry and say:

When things like this happen, it’s no one’s fault.

/

A Love Letter to New York, from California

He said:
I like the way your hem
is always six inches deep in seawater.
I like the way you don’t wear shoes.
Your hands are small.
You smile more than I do.
Maybe that’s because
there’s sand between your toes.

She said:
You are a penny dropped from a skyscraper
to make the sidewalk lucky.

He said:
You are a sunset
catching sight of itself in the ocean.

They said:
You are beautiful,
but it could never work.

He said:
You are the mornings I never wake up for.
You are the air I never stop to breathe.
Your hair is the color of the sun.
My eyes are the color of a drainpipe.
I’m too afraid to touch you
for fear I’d pollute you.

She said:
You are the risks I never take.
You are the drums I never dance to.
My body is a sand lot
but you are a sailboat.
I’m afraid if I hold you
my hands will turn to anchors.

He said:
Your smile is a sea I want to swim in.

She said:
Your hands are streets I want to get lost on.

He said:
I walk too fast.

She said:
I talk too much.

He said:
Your voice is like the first day of summer.
Tell me what it’s like to be warm.

She said:
Hold me through the winter.
Show me what you do when it’s cold.

He said:
You are clearer than July afternoons,
I would only scrape your sky.
My lips are sandpaper.

She said:
Kiss my feet.
I like having sand between my toes.

/

Light Pollution

On the plane, I bite my nails
to clean you out from under them.
Suck the poison out, they say.
The thing is, I recycle,
and my heart is never quick to shed its skin.

I sleep on one side of the bed.
I make two cups of coffee.
I listen for a howl outside the door,
forgetting we don’t live here anymore.

I keep a book of love letters.
I don’t remember who
wrote them to who.
My very favorite one, it says:
You are me, and I love you too.

I just want proof I did something
I’m not sure I did.

Did you know?
Narcissus never cared for his reflection
He was just in love with the mirror.

Did you know?
You can destroy God if you strike where he is fragile.
You and I are the same.
Like Goliath,
I would not fall to a lesser man with worse aim.

Did you know
You are a splinter?
You’re a sickness.
You’re a war wound.
You make me limp.

I didn’t always talk like this.

The lines got blurred,
(your skin still under my nails)
my borders have been broken
(I don’t lock the door)
like levies
falling back into the sea.
(is this the wolf inside me?)

Shoot your star back into the sky.
Take your hurricane home.
I miss the way I felt under that sun.
(two cups of coffee taste different than one)

What do they call this feeling?
Where do they sell the smell?
Where is the line between heaven
and purgatory?

It’s electric, like power lines stretching
to wherever you are.

Give me back my darkness, and my wonder, and my spine.
Give me back my North Star.
Tell me why nothing nice
leaves a scar.

/

If, for Bella

Then, maybe nothing,
but also, maybe, everything.

/

To too many men

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I asked for help.
you resented me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I wanted to understand.
you ignored me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I cared.
you gaslit me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I trusted you.
you used me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I trusted you.
you used me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I trusted you.
you used me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I was in pain, and I loved you.
you hated me for it.

Why did you give me hell?
When I shook free, and I unlocked you.
you chained us back.

Is this your way of giving me the world?
Is this the only home you’ve ever known?
There is another just upstairs —
but I have never liked to live alone.

Conviviologist, disorderly organizer, writing for a world where many worlds fit || www.allgodsnomasters.com