Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Hey.  I was just calling because I need some words of inspiration before class [Please tell me that you love me still].

Well due to my night last night, I have a ton of that holy-shit-I’m-doing-homework-in-between-classes type of work [I don’t want to be in college].

No, nothing like that I just ended up procrastinating all night [I couldn’t find any Ritalin to steal].


Over the phone, through the towers and satellites, she says:

Well I saw the first purple crocuses of Spring.  And the sun is shining so  isn’t that nice?

Promise me you’ll do something—if you’re still feeling sick tomorrow go to health services and see a doctor.

Take care of yourself baby. 

I love you.


No.  I don’t have time to see a doctor [I like being sick because I desperately seek more closeness with things that are dead.]. 

But I love you too [I don’t know if I can feel that still] and I have to go to class. 


I put out my cigarette.  My eyes feel swollen.

Nail-Biting Bed-Wetter

I’ve started to bite my nails like I did when I was little.  I can’t remember when I stopped, but I did a long time ago.  I began to let them grow.  Then, I began to paint them.  And now, full circle at age 18, I bite again.  I chew and I eat and I maim the ends of my fingers.  I drag my teeth across the undersides and swallow all the dirt.  And I don’t know how else to explain it save the fact that I am growing young gain.  I’ve wished so long and hard to be five again, to forget the feel of dead nose under my fingers and the stones I carried in my dress pocket to mark his grave.  I’ve wished so long that, finally, it’s happening.  And I’m being laughed at: 

“We’ll show you.  You want five?  Oh, we’ll give you five.  It comes complete with a broken elbow, push-pops, Happy Meals, pissy sheets, Swamp Thing, and bloody fingertips.  Are you happy now?” 


I am.

I am!

Liz Does Some Guessing

“Fuck.  My lungs are beat.”

“Quit smoking.”

“Weed is worse for you than cigarettes.”

“Which makes cigarettes better by the transitive property of you’re a douche bag?”

“Shut up.  When you stop getting high every day, I’ll stop smoking my Lights.”

“Guess it’ll be a while then."

“I don’t want to live forever anyway.  Pass it.”

“Here.  How old do you want to be when you die?”

“I don’t want to be old.”

“You know what I mean.  How many birthdays do you want to have?”

“But, what does that mean?  I can’t decide off of that.  After I do everything I want to do.  That’s when I want to die.”

“Wow.  I want to do so many things.”

“Not me.  I’d say there are ten left.  Then, goodbye.”

“How can you know that now?  How can you possibly make a count?”

“Easily.  I know what I want.”

“Tell me."

“You sure you want to know?”

“I am.  I mean, yeah.”


“And you said ten.”

“No, nine.”

“You just said ten.”

“I changed my mind.  Okay.  One is that I want to spend a day at every beach on the east coast.  Two, I want someone to love me who I don’t love back.  I want to, like, break someone's heart.  Three, I want to learn Tom’s guitar part for Mic Check.  I want to live outside for a month, is four.  I want to go in a hot air balloon.  I mean, I want to touch a cloud and I feel like that would be a good way to do it.  So that’s five.  I want to save someone’s life, is six.  Seven is I want to write down every lie I can remember telling and give the list to my brother.  Getting an abortion, is eight.  And nine is to tell all of my secrets to one person.  Nine’s got to be the last one.  And then I’m done.”

“You could do all of that in less than a year if you timed it right.” 

“Yes, I know.  But it’s not about timing.”


“I mean, it’s about doing them when they feel like they should happen.  You can’t time it or its suicide.”

“I mean, that’s what’s at the end though.  That’s what’s after nine.”

“No.  After nine, if you do it right, is just, well, kind of ten, I guess.  And ten is to know that you’ve done what you wanted.  Kind of like quitting while you’re ahead.  You see less death that way, I guess.”

“What is wrong with seeing death?  I don’t get it.”

“Don’t worry about it.  I’m so high.  I can’t really explain it.”

‘Then it doesn’t mean anything.  If you can’t even explain it to at least one other person what is it worth?  Don’t say that shit then, Liz, it freaks me out.  I don’t want to hear you talk like that.  You want to get an abortion?  You’ve got to remember all the lies you’ve told?  Do you lie to me?  What the fuck Liz?”

“That’s everyone’s reaction when you tell them you lie.  ‘Have you ever lied to me?’  And the answer is always no.  Which either means, 'Not yet, but I've lied to everyone you love,' or, 'Yes.'  And having a kid isn’t on the list.  Being pregnant is.  Thus, an abortion.”

“It’s fucked to have a list, Liz.  It’s fucked up to check things off and, and, and it’s fucked to get pregnant so you can get an abortion.  You sound crazy, man.  You’re fucked.”

“I know.  Just hit this.”    

Ralph and Stu

“I feel pretty bad about this one, Ralph.”

“Why?  Are you gonna pussy out?

“No, no.  Chill.  I just, I just feel like it’s wrong or something.  Don’t you?”

“What, you don’t ever do shit that’s wrong?  Don’t give me that shit, Stu.  Where was your conscience when you were fucking Stacy?”

“She was 14, man.  Drop it.”

“What’s the legal age of consent according to the law?  And Mrs.  Johnson?”

“If you’d been there… Man, she consented.  She might have been short a couple birthdays, but she consented alright.”

“You’re a fucking pig.  Hand me that?”

“Yeah.  But, you know, Stacy wasn’t just a fuck or whatever.”

“On, no, totally.  I’m sure you loved her.  My mom’s coming home soon, so, can we finish this?”

“Yeah.  But, you know, I did love her.  I mean, I did.”

“You can’t love a 14 year old, Stu.”

“I could.  I did.  And if she hadn’t moved to Georgia, she would have taken me to Freshman Formal.”

“No, no, no.  Stop right there.  You’re about to make me sick.  How’s this look though?  Can you tell?”

“No, it’s good.  Your mom’s gonna freak.  You better know how to change them back.”

“Fucking chill.  She’s down for a prank every now and then.  She won’t be too mad.”

“Yeah.  Ralph?”


“You think things get easier after eighth grade?”

“No.  What do you think when your acne clears up you’ll turn into fucking Zack Efron?  Doesn’t work that way.  I don’t know how you got a freshman to fuck you, but the rest of our lives we’ll be chasing girls like that.  Chasing, chasing, chasing and they’ll always get away.”

“That’s not fair.  No, I don’t believe that.  You’re just bitter.  You’re—“

“What?  Why shouldn’t I be bitter?  We have what to look forward to?  High school?  College?  No.  ‘Junior high sucks,’ you think, ‘shit must get better,’ and you’re wrong.  You’re fucking dumb.  And the world’s going to eat you alive.”

“ What the fuck, Ralph?  What about adolescent optimism?  Why are you such a dick?”

“Because, Stewart, I know.  I see it.  Charlie graduated three years ago.  Do you think he uses Pre-Algebra to live in the fucking basement?  We’re changing locks on my mom.  That’s our big hoorah.  We’re an eye-blink away from our futures.”

“You sound like your dad.  I’m over this.”

“I don’t know man.  We should probably just off ourselves.  Together.  Best buds.”

“I’d rather just continue fucking with your mom, if that’s alright with you.”

“Yeah.  I wouldn’t.  Maybe I’ll go find Stacy for you.  Tell her you love her.  Tell her you want to go to the formal with her.  All the way in Georgia.”

“Man, that would be great.  What time’s your mom get home?”

“Soon, I said.  Put the screws away.  And go by the window.  By the fucking window, Stu!”

“Damn, you need to get laid.  Chill out.  Stop cursing at me all the time.”

“I don’t like girls.  And I’m not a homo.  I just don’t like anyone.  I barely tolerate you. “

“You love me, you asshole, admit it.”

“I love you man.”

“Right back at you.”

Sunday, February 10, 2008


  1. In my dream last night, you kissed me. My arms were winding all they way around you (I was holding my own elbows) and then my hands were on your sides and I could feel the cotton of your t-shirt sliding like silk against the pale skin underneath.
  2. Your hands were on my back and I couldn’t stop feeling the way I felt through your hands. I didn’t want you not to like it, so I held my breath and tried not to move. Your hands continued to wander like you were memorizing my topography.
  3. I tried not to touch your hair; I know you don’t like that. You were kissing me in a corner—good kisses. Slow ones that tease and leave other kisses to the imagination (for now).
  4. We were both smiling so wide that it was hard not to laugh at each other. And I held you with my hands clasped behind your back. And we whispered and giggled into each other’s mouths, drunk on wine and affection.
  5. I hooked my fingers through your belt loops as though the only way you could ever be close enough would be for you to melt with me (and I was melting).
  6. You tried to do the same, but I inched away because feeling is believing and I wanted you to believe that my stomach was smaller than it was. And then I knew it could never work.
  7. I could never love me so neither could you. But that wasn’t what this was about.
  8. This wasn’t about anything.
  9. You saw that I was scared of me and you whispered to my teeth, “I know who you are.” And I thought of a line from a poem I love: I did not want her for her body. And I tried my best to believe that that was what you meant to say. To believe that the author meant it about whomever he wrote it for. To believe that it was possible for anyone to mean.
  10. So I pulled you closer still. My shoulder blades were bursting through the wall and the cinder blocks were crumbling around our feet.
  11. I touched your hair (sorry, I couldn’t help it) and you kissed my neck and I opened my eyes as wide as I could to vacuum up the view—the opposite wall, the door, the ceiling. And I started to cry.
  12. You kissed my cheek, tasted salt and drew back.
  13. “What’s wrong?”
  14. “Nothing.”
  15. “Why are you crying?” your hands moved down my shoulders.
  16. “Because nothing has ever not been wrong before.”
  17. “Everything is right then?”
  18. “No. Everything is just you and me.”
  19. And then you cried too, I think, touching your lips to mine, breathing into me and nothing else and we held each other and I felt your breaths leaving and I felt you puling in new ones.
  20. I woke up.
  21. And when I woke up I thought it was real.
  22. And when I realized it wasn’t, I thought maybe I wasn’t either.
  23. And when I realized that I most certainly was, it dawned on me. I began to understand that it was indeed happening: I was going to break. I was going to destroy myself in reality to make my dreams the only escape.
  24. I took a blue pill and I grabbed a red pen and I wrote all of this down on white paper with blue and red lines and I had to smile at what was left of my youth. How turning time and fresh starts bore no importance to me.
  25. Then I think to myself, “Now’s as good a time as any to start dying."
  26. Then I say out loud, “Dreams are for the dead."
  27. And I will start to look for affection wherever I can find it. And each person I touch will take a piece of me until there is absolutely nothing left.
  28. And I will tell myself, “This is what you wanted all along.”

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Waste Your Time With Me

"Could we talk about something else? How is the cat?"

"The cat is doing so much better. His eyeball is looking beautiful."

"Good. Good."

"Baby, stop crying. Everything is going to be fine. It's normal to get sad around your birthday."

"I know everything will be fine. And no it's not."

"You're father would like in on this."

"Well, I don't want to talk to Dad right now. I called to talk to you."

"Okay, okay. Well what do you want to talk about?"

"Nothing anymore."

"How are your classes?"

"I just can't talk about anything right now, okay?"

"Okay. Have you been getting enough rest?"

"Yeah. Jesus Christ."

"Don't say that."

"We don't believe in him anyway."

"It shouldn't matter."

"Should I say G-ddamnit instead?"

"No. Christ, baby. Now stop it."

"I don't believe in him either."

"Oh really? Why do you still not write it out?"

"I figure not believing in him is offensive enough."

"You're so young. You'll believe. You'll believe when you see a beautiful daughter of yours turn eighteen someday. You'll believe when you can close your eyes and see her when she was only six pounds."

"Well I'm sure not that anymore."

"Honey, honey, honey."


"Well, I can't make you love yourself."

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"Oh, I'm so powerless."

"You're pissing me off. You're not making sense."

"I just love you so much."

"I love you too. And I'm not eighteen yet."

"I know. Trust me I know. I don't even want to think about it. Let's talk about something else."

"Yeah. How's the cat?"

"Well, like I said, his eye is going to be beautiful. It's starting to look green again."

The Right Questions

They very next time I sit with you for two hours and some minutes at the top of a stairwell, crying alcoholic tears as you talk about your mother, you will find yourself kissed.  
Like the skin of a lady by the summertime sun.
Or my brother by my mother after every basketball game.  
Yes, the very next time, I will put my hand on your shoulder and kiss you with my eyes closed.
And you
will kiss
me back.

Because that's how I want it.

I was talking to my Dad once

"Do you ever wish you could see?"

"Yeah. I wish a lot of things."

"Sometimes I get so fixed on what it would be like to wake up and be able to see."


"The doctor says one day I'll be blind like you."

"I'm not blind, baby girl."

"But you almost are."


"What do you wish?"

"I wish I had some of my youth back."

"Like what parts? You seem pretty youthful to me."

"I don't know. I'm getting too close to a hundred."

"Me too."

He kissed me on the forehead and his lips were cold from the ice cream.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Am I doing this right?

She grew up snail slow in a too fast town. She wanted to watch leaves fall and inhale exhaust from the cars that drove by. She wanted the time to fixate, to burn holes in things just by staring at them.
And there were these things she'd get about her face. These feelings. These
she'd get, about her face. These allergic reactions to her adolescence, these blinding red assertions of insecurity. The bane of her physical existence, the reason boys wouldn't even look at her when she wore that purple push-up and tried extra hard to purse her chap-sticked lips.
And he grew up too fast in a super slow town. He wanted to write books and build rockets that would launch the pages into outerspace. Whatever was out there could read them, too.
But he'd get these things about his shoulders. These

about his shoulders that went straight down instead of out like he thought they should have. The things he stared at most in the mirror after a shower, the reason he would never take his shirt off in public, or go shopping with his mom who offered to sew padding into all of his shirts.
And together, they would silently agree not to the notice the doubt in each other's eyes. They'd hold hands and buy each other presents when it wasn't any kind of holiday. They'd kiss and wonder if they were doing it right. They'd kiss and wonder why anyone would ever want to touch those cheeks with the scabs and scars, or those bony shoulders that no real man would have.

"Do you love me?" he asked.
"No," she said.
"I don't believe you."
"Do you love me?" she said.
"Yes," he answered.
"Well I'm dying. I've got cancer."
"No you don't."
"Would you love me if I did?"
"No. I don't think so."
"What a terrible thing to say."
"Okay, it's not that I necessarily wouldn't. I just can't imagine a time and place when I'd have to decide."
"I don't love you," she whispered.
"I don't believe you."

They'd lie in each other's arms and talk as though there were an audience.
But there were these things she'd get about his shoulders. These feelings about how they went straight down instead of out like she knew they should. He would never take off his shirt unless the lights were off and all of his clothes had pads stitched into the shoulders.
And there were these things he'd get about her face. He'd get feelings about the bumps that only seemed to multiply. All the make-up she wore and that ever present purple bra that somehow made her boobs look bigger, and closer together than they actually were, or something.
But when together, they would silently agree to live like question marks, sympathizing with each other's incomprehensible need for reassurance.

You're Just Like Your Mother

"I always thought that if you had all the right thoughts and did all the right things you'd be okay."

"No, you've got to do more than that."

"Tell me."

"You've got to try as hard as you can to be like other people."

"It can't be that simple."

"It can. Because it is."

"Then why aren't you okay?"

"Man, how can I be like other people when I can't even look at them?"

"I think I know what you mean."

"You think you know?"


"You don't know."

"I do. People are hard to look at. Not like they're scary, but like their insides are so ugly."

"You can see their insides?"

"Can't you?"

"I guess. But that would make us ugly, too."

"No. That would make us aliens."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Like magic, or something

In his world transition lenses were the coolest thing
Smiling and laughing only when others did
Not knowing at what
But in the sunshine, the lenses got darker
Nails eaten down to nothing
Teeth only brushed when it's convenient
Clothes aren't dirty until he can smell them
Content to relent to the television remote
Friends are anyone who will talk to him
Without him talking to them first
School is a way to occupy time better spent than sitting alone
Transition lenses for a birthday surprise
Time better spent than sitting alone
And in the sunshine?
The lenses
got darker

Ready Set to Go for it.

"Miraculously, our friendship is perfection. I want nothing more from you than what you give me."


Johnny, tell me what it's like to die.

"How about I tell you something? I used to bleed and then rub it into my skin until I was red. Like an apple. I used to obsessively slice away in compulsive threes and watch the blood bead up and trickle down. Like fucking economics. I would touch it--taste it, even--just to see what was keeping me together. This precious liquid of life that kept it all in motion.
I was apple red with some kind of something. Where am I now? I would push as hard as my anger would allow and listen to the fabric of my brownberry skin rip like canvas. First I'd see the white, followed by styptic red.
Constantly expanding like a universe of worth, of uniqueness.
Are you scared now?
And then there was the night in my parent's bathroom when it happened all at once. No slow escape, but a rush instead. No rip, but an
A moan, a fall, a discovery, a memory, now. Then what goes on? All the wrong things in my head, in the room, in the whole wide world oozed onto the floor. I had to yell. I had to bear down with everything left inside of me. I had to collapse, and stare, and cry. I had to."

"Did that really happen?"

"I don't know."

Poem Counselors

"Everything is a poem
The tar:
Pregnant and swollen with liquid
It bursts and breaks
This crumbling black
The fragility of this all-knowing ground"

"You want honest?"

"As per usual."

"I hate it. You are trying way too hard, man."

"What do you mean? It's about potholes."


California Calling

"I miss your overwhelming ability to stimulate my mind."

A text. How appropriate.

"I miss your overwhelming ability to make me think I exist," she replied with three parts sarcasm and one part too afraid to wonder if she could be serious.

"Glad to hear it. Non-existence is an epidemic these days," he sent.

Then she began to think about it. "It" was whether or not she felt like she did in fact exist. Sometimes she was sure. Sometimes she was so sure she would chew it and swallow it down and regurgitate it looking like a rose. Her existence--neatly packaged and not only tangible, but soft to the touch and fragrant. Other times she second guessed. She third, fourth, and fifthguessed, thinking endlessly about how real she felt.
Thumbs poised over the keys, she pressed, "Are you going to call me tonight?" She bit her lip, begging to know why she was even participating in this twenty-first century microwave conversation.

Message recieved.

"You know it."

She knew what it would mean--the exchange that would come that night. He would to tell her stories about the stars she couldn't see anymore. Stories that would make her want to fall in love, or go to the movies, or just shut her eyes. He would talk about himself and make her listen to how human he was, and then he would say things like I'm proud of you and You deserve it and I always knew this would happen for you. Then he would ask her to touch herself while he listened from 3,000 miles away. And sometimes, even, she would. She would vacantly rub some soulless fingers on her down-below and she would breathe heavily and not know why. And he would breathe too, into t he other end of the distance, and she would know then that she was real.
She'd chew up his panting
and swallow his moans
and cough up the most perfect red rose. And it all would end.

"Damn, I'll talk to you later, alright?" he would whisper. And she'd say, "Yeah, okay." Then she'd lay awake touching petals to her face until she stumbled into sleep.

She waited, eager, for the phone to sing her a polyphonic song.