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L'appel de la Mer I am 17 the first time I see him. I am spending the summer with my dad in San Diego, a tradition I can't remember actually starting. My days are mostly work and seeing summer friends, but every night, I run down to the beach after hours to listen to the ocean. I love it because it's always empty, the tourists all comfortably in their hotel rooms and the local teenagers gone home to smoke weed and pop pills they stole from their too-busy-to-notice parents.
I hate running, but I make it a point to run every night. I'm not trying to run away from the past or anything so metaphorical, I just do it because I'm restless. I always have been. Dad says I get it from him, and that his restlessness is why he had to leave my mom and move to California. Maybe that's why I'm not bitter about the divorce; I understand his need to leave because I've been trying to get away too.
I'm so immersed in psychoanalyzing myself that I get to my favorite stretch of beac
sa'hibi in five parts.i. there are a thousand truths i never told:
i am incapable of happiness,
in the tenth grade i had an eating disorder,
and six years ago i fell in love all wrong.
i got over it,
i've done better since.)
i imagine branding
a thousand tiny secrets on
a thousand paper sailboats
and setting myself free.
i am ready.
ii. you came in faster
than i could keep control of.
you midnight whispered
in three languages
and there was that one time you
laid on a dirty, empty dc street
just to kiss me.
i remember you
for when i turned away in my sleep
and you kissed the back of my neck.
i remember you
the way your scruff tickled
the parts of me i hid away,
and all of the times
but loved me anyway.
i could have watched you play piano forever.
iii. you left just as fast,
before i ever had a chance to pull you back.
i suppose it had to be this way.
i realized today that
the only thing i have of yours
is your virginity.
iv. the truth is
written, stamped, but i never sent the letters.i don't remember
why we stopped talking,
what that last fight was about,
(it was probably my fault)
and i'm sorry about your mom
and the cancer
and i'm so sorry
that i can't fix you.
in my mind
you are still 17,
in your kmart red polo,
laughing way too hard
at some stupid joke
you made yourself.
you are unhardened
by the colorado mountains
and let go of.
what i mean to say is
i miss you,
but the words
never come out right
and i am too afraid
to do anything about it
so i won't.
won't you save me, san francisco?i have always said
there are only two things
that can fix me:
a good book and
some people have God,
i believe in route 66.
i believe in
and circle, alaska.
and why stop there?
i believe in
and everywhere in between.
i am restless because
i have never found anything
worth staying for.
saudade.there is no such thing as a good day anymore.
there are bad days
and there is numbness.
some days there is
toska saudade empty.
some days the bills go unpaid.
some days they make me eat but
it's okay, i just throw it all up later
like some sort of
some days the sky is blue,
sometimes i can't tell.
sometimes i just can't tell, okay?
i don't have all the fucking answers.
i dream about
and it doesn't hurt so bad anymore.
sometimes it's just
november starry.her nana calls her "raater-mey,"
(maiden of the night.)
he can barely stay awake long enough to
talk to the doctors that come by weekly,
but he weaves her hair into braids with his weathered hands
every day, and he tucks her into bed with secrets and
"tomaar moton keo nai, amar kolija."
she repays him in popsicle stick birdhouses,
hand drawn flowers, and shy smiles meant for no one else.
she doesn't understand why everyone stops
talking when she walks into the room, or why her
ammu cries in the middle of the night.
all she knows is that her old nana
has always been there, will always be there
to braid her hair and tell her stories of
what it was like before bangladesh was called
she writes him a poem
about starry november nights on the
sloping tin roof and all the places she
will take him when she is grown up,
all the t
esperanza-i. you catch her eye on your first day working at the local movie theater
and you fall for her immediately, without even realizing-
for the subtle catch of her shirt on her hips,
for the way she tucks her hair away while talking,
for her eyes like the ocean and her laugh like windchimes.
ii. you teach yourself to belong to her.
you wear her favorite color on her birthday
and you play with your hair the way she likes,
even on those days you don't see her.
you draw rocketships on your spanish notes
and learn to love edgar allen poe and
you call her
i was a child and she was a child,
in this kingdom by the sea;
but we loved with a love that was more than love-
i and my annabel lee.
you miss her when she's around
and tell her you will never stop loving her.
you believe in her future.
you forgive her for showing up to dinner half an hour late
and for breaking the strings on your favorite guitar.
iii. and then one day, she stops
kissing back and wanti
and i let him."do you still know all the constellations by heart?" he asks.
"of course." i point to a spot over his head, "see that really bright one over there by the line of three? that's apollo, the sun god. and that little one next to him is cassandra; she's my favorite."
i look at him. "i told you the story of cassandra, didn't i?"
"yeah," he allows, "but i like hearing you tell it."
i turn back to the sky, fixing my gaze on the little star and dropping my voice. "cassandra was a mortal. a princess, actually- daughter of king priam, and she was gorgeous. she was so beautiful that apollo fell in love with her. being a god, he gave her the gift of prophecy. eventually though, cassandra fell in love with a mortal man. he was handsome and loyal and he loved her, too. they were happy together, but apollo was jealous, so he put a curse of her. she would still be able to see the future, but no one would ever believe her. cassandra saw the destruction of troy, but they called her a liar. it ruin
listen:you ever think about that night
you tried to kill yourself?
does it ever scare
you how much has changed?
do you care?
listen: it's like this.
it's like the way he never just says he loves you.
it's like his left shoulder blade is your favorite place in the world.
it's like celebrating christmas a day late just because you're both jewish.
it's like stretching in bed and "good morning, scruffy."
it's like the way he has to tilt his head down to kiss you
and using late nights as currency and he makes you believe in god,
even if he doesn't.
it's like he needed you
and you can be sorry all your goddamn life but
all you've got now is a sinking feeling,
a letter, and three years worth of memories.
postscript: i have never been more sorry.
How to love a girl who can't love herself.one.
When she cries herself to sleep
six out of seven nights a week you must
say nothing. You must simply take
her in your arms and kiss her gaunt,
pale cheeks and wait for her to
slumber at the sound of your heart.
On the days where she wishes she
were part of the stars, tell her
no. Tell her that there are too many
lights in the sky and that just one
would be forgotten the moment you looked
away from it. Tell her that she is perfect
the way she is: completely human.
Don't let her think about the scars
that no one but her can see. If she
says "I think I'm broken" smile like you
know a secret and say, "No, you're mending."
But do not be the one to fix her - no, she
Skin.I love the way life leaves its mark on our bodies.
Every laugh and smile etched in the crinkles around your eyes and mouth;
Those tan-lines the time you forgot about sunscreen
Because you were so hell-bent on reaching that mountain peak
Or when you just became lost in the gentle lap of waves at the shore;
The scars you got skateboarding in the park at summer dusk
Or when life became pain and it was your only release.
Our bodies are a record of our memories and experiences
They are our travel journals and emotional diaries
Our delicate armour to the elements.
And no matter its colour, its stature, if it's not quite intact
If you sometimes think it takes up too much space, or if it has pointy corners
Your body is the vessel for your soul, and every wonderful facet of who you are
Sparkles from the surface of your skin.
Skin that may grow to be wrinkled, tanned, scarred, well lived-in
Although not always embraced by you the way that others embrace it.
Take the time to explore the s
The scarsLife hurts us
It causes us to bleed
Time can heal the wounds
And stop the pain
But the scars remain
For the rest of our lives....
the only letter I've ever wanted to burni.
if you want to give someone the silent treatment,
the first step is shutting up.
things made much more sense
when I was younger.
I thought there was one path,
each choice a stepping stone upon it.
in reality there are a million roads
intertwined like rope.
I got lost
I chose you.
promises are easily broken.
I knew that,
but it still hurt
spending friday night
shivering in the rain,
choking on cannabis perfume
in a dirt parking lot
your face never graced.
and I hoped against hope
you might appear,
but I wasted my wishing
on ungrateful you.
you died before taking your first breath.
I took a chance
and I should've known better.
you can give somebody all you have
and nothing can stop them from
throwing it away.
you've made this bed,
now lie in it.
you slit this suture,
you're the goddamn reason
I gave up on the month of april,
and soon enough you'll fall on your own blade
like some drunken samurai.
if you want
things i don't rememberi.
what you sounded like
as my ears were forming
what dreams or secrets
you confided in me
what pressures sunk
your proud shoulders
or the first time
i caused you
where i was when i decided
that your footsteps
should be followed
that your ideals
should be made my own
on my body
as i learned the world's ways
do not align
with our hopes
when i first
how my feet dangled
every time i wasn't strong enough and
how you made the world
how you were
figuring it all out
thought that life
To the BeautifulYou say we're beautiful,
Us who have been bullied...
But where were you while it was happening?
-I was watching-
You who say "This has to stop!",
There needs to be an end to this...
What are you doing to stop it?
-I did nothing-
It's too late now...
-I failed you-
of me and youthe day you stopped touching me was the day i
stopped speaking to myself. and the silence nearly killed me
LuckyYou talk like you always have a grain of salt,
to throw over your shoulder.
Every word is that hard cheese,
and they swing those whimsical wishbones much like carousels.
You're wasted on your self-image,
staggering down with rigorousness you don't own.
They're taking that steed and throwing horseshoes,
as if one of them might ring 'round your neck;
and save you from yourself.
You'll need a necropolis filled with pennies to barter,
and we won't lend a cent to save your sorry soul.
Your demons count clovers to kiss you,
gluing that fourth leaf to camouflage the truth.
They'd promise you an elephant to watch you die,
sucking sevens to keep you from entering Heaven.
And you can sing your superstitions into space,
but it's dead and empty.
Somewhat like the hollow shell you lounge in,
as the charms make you see spirits.
You say somewhere there's a rabbit dying to give its foot in your favor...
...but don't bet on it unless you can see that whites of its eyes.
kitestrings and catastrophes.i've figured myself out-
i am a catastrophe at best and at worst
i am yours.
you once told me i was a disaster
just waiting to happen. i would like to be
a hurricane or maybe a thunderstorm.
i would like to be so many things,
(mostly happy and yours.)
you never really liked thunderstorms
and hurricanes wreck lives.
maybe i wasn't so wrong about that one.
"do you believe in magic?"
i believe in miracles and meteorites.
i believe in you and me
and insignificance and disasters.
i believe in paper cranes and kitestrings
and maybe we're not right
but what's so wrong with trying?
fairytales are for princesses;
catastrophes don't get happy endings.
Abandoned ChapelThe parish waits now,
the loneliness of corners
crawling outward on walls--
chipped away by the wind,
and held together
by silk spindles;
cobwebs align them like the membranes of memories,
the cut of a jewel in an broken window
against the sun
where beads of rain
gather in a mesh of strands
a new Mosaic
against the backdrop of a cemetery;
My eyes seek out the sermon
in close proximity,
paint no distance
between headstone and cloud;
elegies topple each other
in their climb to heaven
as light trickles
over the shade,
breathes a new glow over snuffed candles.
I feel the weight in these empty rows,
how a breath couldn't cease to be breath
in the midst of prayer.
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