Try Again

Heart beating. Music shaking your bones, your mind. Inhibitions flying off into the dark night, tiny glowing airplanes, you reach out and crush them between your fingertips. His hot breath on your neck, your skirt is riding up but you don’t care, you don’t give it a second thought, you are a free woman. His hands hold you like you’ve known each other for longer than two hours like your lips didn’t just relearn their technique so as to fit together with his a little bit better. So as to pretend just for this one night that there’s something real here, that it won’t just be another notch in your headboard, just another name that rolls off your lips with the last kiss of the night never to return. Fingers trembling, eyes darting, bouncing, searching for a sight to land on that isn’t his face. Because memorizing what he looks like would defeat the whole purpose. You don’t say goodbye, just reach your arm out for that hovering safety blanket of friends to pull you away. You laugh and keep an eye out to make sure he’s watching you leave. You run your tongue over your lips and taste sweat, blood, and strangers. You let yourself linger in the last remaining warmth of his arms. When your friends ask you about it you tell them that he was nice. But what you fail to mention is how you shut your eyes tight and pictured someone else. You smile and recount the juicy details as you try to convince yourself that it won’t be the thought of somebody else’s arms that will eventually lull you into a drunken sleep later that night. Those few hours in the spectacle of flashing lights and deliberate, slutty choices, they were blissful. But the liquor and the tangled lips weren’t quite enough to stop making you want someone else. Someone who is just taking his sweet fucking time in your memory, and dare I say it, in your heart. So you’ll go back out and try it all again, look for another pair of arms to hold you, another set of lips to tell you that at least for tonight, you don’t have to be alone with your thoughts and the longing that you despise just as fiercely as it consumes you.

Knees, Bees, and Climbing Trees

Careful, boy.
Be careful,
or she’ll look at you with those honey eyes,
she’ll look at you in fake surprise
with honey eyes,
they’re sticky sweet,
honey eyes that say “stick with me.”
And her knees,
those blotchy knees that send
even the bees running
straight up, straight up
and wondering what’s under her skirt.
Be careful with those skirting looks,
looks straight out of fairy-tale books
she won’t even see what’s coming.
What’s coming is a war,
you’ll have to protect yourself
from the next scar,
the next wound,
I can tell you’re too wound up
to slide by unscathed.
This is the type of war
where your weapons are your weakness
and nobody ever told you
how much it hurts
to feel week in the knees.
Knees, knees, who needs knees?
Hers are like perfect knobbly dimples
on your hasty path up to the end of innocence.
And since you’ll be staying there awhile,
heed my advice.
Nobody needs knees,
it’s just a need that we breed
out of fast cars and bent trees
that we tried to climb
the peak of adolescence.
No matter how many times you
reach out
and knead her soft,
forgiving flesh,
you won’t make her smile.
Just a grimace and a laugh
that barks out how many
hundred times
better than you she thinks she is.
So careful, boy.
You just stand up
on your shaky legs
and stay there strong,
stay there until her laughter has faded,
stay there until the cold winds come
and the summer sun
starts to whisper goodbye.
Stay there,
because I’m coming home soon. 

Stitch by Stitch

Somehow I think you’re saving me. Somehow I think there is water in my lungs and I’m shimmeringly dizzy, lost, and so alone now. I’m the type of heartsick that reaches to your ankles and takes ahold so tightly that each step you take feels as if you are plunging off a cliff into vast nothingness; just until that half-a-second later when your feet touch ground and you realize there’s still a chance that it all might be okay.
Somehow I think I’m the first crackling signal of a bushfire, glowing in a melancholy sort of way that predicts colossal loss. Where the last disaster of a boy was all the dried out branches left scattered across the path, fuelling this growing heat, rowing rage, you are something new. You are the cool rain, starting out as just a patter while I just imagine you next to me but it’s enough, it’s enough to set the skies in motion and spark a thunderstorm that can only mean that this wayward hope is grounded in something real. The rains come and that fire goes out, that anger dispersed, those shattered branches piercing at my ribcage swept up and away with the winds, gone forever.
Somehow I think you’ve already saved me, so many times. In the arms of raw frustration, kisses that burned my lips, a touch that left both goosebumps and battle wounds, I don’t know why I didn’t shy away from something so terrifyingly beautiful, because didn’t you know that beauty isn’t always a good thing? I don’t know why I didn’t run from the poorly laid trap that was a boy with fairy dust freckles and feather lashes. I couldn’t escape then but all I know is that it was the thought of someone else that eventually picked my knees up off the ground. I think it was the ruse of another choice, another hope, another wish, another anything more than what I had nevertheless failed to possess.
I’ve had nights that are so inky black, staining my fingers and my heavy eyelids despite the presence of someone beside me, and I’ve had nights spent staring at the moon and yet wrapped in a distant warmth, the phantom of an embrace that haunts me in the sweetest way. My innocently woven daydreams fall as a soft blanket over my weary arms left outstretched for him to come back, and over my rusty heart, turning that familiar red-brown from the oceans I’ve been swimming in. I’ve never regarded you as something I’d ever be able to possess, just as someone that I know has planted two hands around my heart and has a gentle grip. 
Gather me into your arms as you would gather a bundle of flowers, gently, with sufficient regard for the delicacy of the thing. Keep me there and lay your nets, fishing for the butterflies in my stomach. As you breathe, heavily out and softly in, I’ll become higher and higher on you and your easy charade. I’ve never built sandcastles so easily as I did that day, out of the flecks of gold in your hair, resting on the mortar of your shoulders. 
Somehow I think you’re saving me, you’re sewing my frayed nerves into a patchwork that spells out hope, another careful stitch for each thought I spend on you, each wish I’ve gathered in a glass jar on the mantle, glimmering in the sunlight, just perfect. Each time I think of sun-kissed skin instead of pale shoulders, each time I see a broad smile where there would have been pursed lips and more silence. Each instant that is no longer wasted on him is another piece in the jar, another stitch of what will one day be our masterpiece. I’m still waiting for you but I can be patient.

Girl of Autumn

She’s the girl who sits in staircases. The one combing her hair with her fingers, she’s all elbows and ankles and heartbreak. She’s the girls you’ll never catch crying, but when she does, in the dark dark of the night, it isn’t pretty or graceful. It’s great heaving sighs that sag with the weight of all the problems in the world that she obsesses over, the hidden stories that she knows are there and just can’t help wondering about. She thinks about bruised mothers and persistently muddy tiny feet. She thinks about what it would feel like to be caught in a hurricane. But most of all she thinks about all the pockets of loneliness. She sees them from miles away as if they were tinged slightly blue, surrounding those that you would least expect. She sees loneliness like a great quivering cloud dispersed throughout the world, and she watches as it grows and grows over her own head. She’s the kind of girl who drinks only beer, or coffee, black. She watches the wind and is appreciative, she watches the wind and knows it to bring change. 
She gambles in kisses and fairy-like touch. She takes long drags of a cigarette, grimacing in that way that smokers do that’s one part misery and three parts satisfaction. She rolls it between her two fingers and thinks about all the people she’s broken. She thinks about the sweet one, with the too-bright stare and expensive shoes. How she led him into the forest and made him dance for her, his eyes closed and his shoes getting tarnished with the soil. She thinks about how he smiled for her, how he lay there, still smiling, even after she had escaped through the window, and sat perched on the roof, just watching to see how long he would wait for her.  She thinks about the one with so many words and not enough courage. How he breathed in rhymes and verses but in the end he didn’t have enough air left over to kiss her. How he had been rendered speechless just at the moment when she thought she might have wanted him to tell her something true. 
She’s the girl wearing high-waisted jeans and thickly laid armour. Her lipstick is smudged, just the tiniest bit, making her lips seem larger than they are in reality, showing her fragility in the smallest way. She’s the one who broke all of us, she tore us apart just like paper. We were a creased, worn map of a city that was teaming with mistrust and barely-hidden hostility. She threw a stone at her own desperate reflection in the mirror and it was only afterwards that we realized we were the pieces. We were the shards laying desolate on the floor, so far away from one another. 
She’s the one who sat perched in her nest, a rare bird, or a hawk of some sort, watching us with one eye on the sky, constantly calculating her next move, and the moment she’d choose to fly away. She spoke only in riddles and gave bouquets of roses without the bloom, so that all that was left were the thorns. She never hid her blatant distaste for love, her bitter opinion. I think at first we wondered if someone had once touched her heart, someone stronger and more powerful than even she, someone who could play her emotions as she played ours. I stopped wondering after she broke me too, I wasn’t anywhere near dark enough to attempt her twisted desires, to bend myself into the tiny box she placed on her mantle with each one of her conquests. My hands weren’t large enough to sooth her, she yearned for someone that would hold her down. But I knew how she looked at the sky and I couldn’t do that. 
She was more autumn than winter, despite what it seems. She was the colours of fire and she left tiny pieces of her scattered on the street as she walked, just like leaves. I spent a long time following them before I learnt that a mortal man would never be enough for her. She broke me but not in such a permanent way as some of the others, not in the way that would leave scars. She’s the girl that left me behind, but the first girl that I stopped running after. She’s just a speck of perfect agony that will litter the pages of many hearts. She is the wish that came true before you realized it wasn’t really what you wanted. 
I think that if she had ever shown me her full humanity, if she had shouted instead of whisper, if she had spoke of all those distant problems that she had on her mind every moment, I would have been able to understand the desolate looks and the way she stared right through me. If she had shown me a weak side I might have been able to love her. I might have been able to fall for her. But how lucky I am that I didn’t. 

"She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape."
Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (via victoriousvocabulary)

Swim in my lungs, swallow my air, and it still won’t be enough.

People like to say things like “I’ll never let anyone hurt you.” But that’s not true, is it. Because whether you’re a friend or a lover or a parent, there’s nothing anyone can do to prevent the pain from reaching that person that you love, that person that you want to protect. And I know we would all do it, we would all put ourselves in their shoes if we could, we would take on every ounce of hurt and inject it into our own skin and live with it every day until it was gone just so that they wouldn’t have to, so that he wouldn’t have to, so that she wouldn’t have to. But we can’t. It is a flaw of the human condition, this inability to share our grievances. Because although we can empathize deeply and we can feel as strongly as if we were experiencing the same thing, in the end, we can not take it away. In the end, our heartbreak and our devastation is ours alone to bear. We may lean on one another in order to stand and we may pick each other up once we fall but the heaviness in our heart is one of the true possessions that we solely command. 

"It’s hard to tell if I’m praying harder
For you to stay away
Or for you to crash through my walls
And make me yours"
me~make me yours (via predicting-the-past)

And It All Becomes Quiet

I think I like being confused. I think I like looking around me and not knowing what I want, looking at you and knowing you’re a taunt, a tease, a mid-afternoon breeze sweeping through the trees; you only come around once in a while so I don’t know why I keep trying to hold on to you. It keeps being an experiment in the least scientific way; day after day there isn’t any reason other than I miss the taste of your bottom lip. And I know that it’s a waste, all these words spent in haste trying so desperately to write you back into my life. But you were never mine to begin with and it’s always going to be that way, it’s always going to be an equation with no solving for x. It’s always going to be the pattern of silence-anger-silence-kissing-silence-tearing-ripping-breaking-silence. Until one day it will stop and the silence will take over with one last burst of lonely heartbroken energy, the tears will fall into the sink and mingle with the soap and water and my scalded hands. I’ll always have blisters on the tops of my fingers from your touch. I’ll always have an imprint of freckles etched into my ribcage, if you look closely you can see they make up an entire constellation, just like all the stars that fell, dying, to the soundtrack of my wishes. And I wish I had seen that there’s a symmetry to that, to the fact that the only moments that held true hope for me were in the wake of something ending, in the impending darkness. I’m slowly mending but it wasn’t my heart that shattered, it was my waist and my thighs and the nape of my neck. It was the palest parts of me; it was my capability to believe. I’ve rewritten this story so many times that I’ve barely stopped to notice how little of a story there really is, this silence-confusion-silence-kissing-silence-wishing-hoping-wondering-silence-more kissing-regretting-silence-silence-silence. And that’s what I’m left with. Just silence.