Category Archives: blog

Searching

An endless stream of resumes and cover letters and company values. A million different words for teamwork. 

In my sleep, I mumble introductions and elevator pitches. 

Each time pen hits page it’s “since graduation…” and another unprolific declaration of my love for crafting experiences with words. 

The worst of all of this is the fact that it is all true. I do love spilling myself over empty pages; it’s as easy and thoughtless as my hand hitting the wobbling plastic of my environmentally-friendly coffee cup and watching the caffeine river soak and stain. It is becoming just as frustrating, too, in the way I could spill a thousand cups and remain the only witness. 

These one-sided conversations with recruiter’s email addresses and LinkedIn application portals are enough to sink my soul, but it is in these sinking moments I have to hold on to the elusive and exciting future I know must be lying just a number of months away. 

I have to picture it. I have to believe in it. 

What choice do I have? 

Second Chance

Ikea furniture

and all those tiny metal Ls

the ones they give as tools for building your couch,

the same ones straightening your bedframe,

responsible for the creak your dresser drawer makes

when you lift it up an inch and open.

Maybe there will be a black plastic coffee maker too,

next to the reusable cup you clean every other use,

it holds the same caffeine and splash of milk every time.

A stack of books, half-read

a big one lying open on a coffee table,

one small enough to frame your bedside,

but you place it here, 

propping up your four-dollar glass of wine

just between your arm and the TV.

Your sheets, yellow or orange, or some other bright color

open and brilliant, showing up the whole room

in the way it folds, showing the dent you leave in the shape of you,

under your burrowed pillow and twisted comforter

and that’s the perfect word: comfort.

An apartment of Chicago comfort

this second time around joy. 

No car. No school. No language barrier. 

But is it enough? Or will it turn into another countdown?

A brief comfort that stifles by spelling out the rest of your life. 

Another small box full of everything you already know.

You know these things breathe too, 

and if you let them, they will take your air

until you huff hot attic breath,

soul stored with your dreams as a relic

of everything you once could be. 

A Day in the Life

The morning birds sing sweetly into four ears, their owners my charge and me, listening together with two words to describe the artists. I say bird, and Victoire says oisseau, but we both agree that we love their sound. “J’adore le chanson de la matin.”

Her tiny legs wrap around my waist as she takes her perch, and I take us through the slow-swung gate to school. Here, she greets her friends, Brune, Leon-Paul, et Margot, as they hold their parent’s hands and greet me with “salut la nunu de Victoire.” 

“Bonjour,” I say, “vous etes pret pour l’ecole?” 

“Oui oui,” they say reluctantly, slipping out of their jackets and reaching high enough to stuff their scarves into their cubbies. 

I give Victoire a hug and an “au revoir, I’ll see you later,” before I leave her, waving once more through the window, then I am all mine again. At least for the next six hours. 

At this nearly nine am moment, I always debate my immediate future. The promise I made myself at seven to return to sleep seems less important now that the sun has risen. Perhaps yoga, a happy medium between the meditation of sleep and the rising crack of tired bones saluting the sun, will take its place. 

It is this peace that I missed during my time in America. This soft entrance of sun passes through my window and yellows the wooden floor under my pink-striped mat. 

Downward facing dog folds me into two sides of a triangle, then a chaturanga into an upward-facing dog pulls my heart through my planted hands. 

A few warrior flows later, I bend over my folded knees and press flat hands into each other for a namaste. 

Now it is time to check the bus intervals, which one arrives in which ten minutes, and I pack my ambitions into the yellow side bag my mom gifted me for Christmas. I choose my French workbook, throw in my Virginia Woolf, laptop, and notebook.

Trust Issues

Arriving in five minutes

and the station is a three-minute walk

but does that mean from my room and down the stairs

or from these floating coordinates to the next

and by that time, will the bus be passing or stopping

in this delicate interval.

Like the negotiations of a love affair

I don’t want to be too early, too desperate, 

left in the cold, waiting.

And what if it doesn’t come?

Or it stops too long at a different stop, 

and I look a fool for counting 

on the virtual promise it tells my phone.

I can’t trust anything behind a screen.

What lies my apps believe.

What time stamps pass with minutes ago that never came. 

So when I dress and bundle and pose, 

and the wide window winds the corner

I sign in my cold relief

and raise my hand to say- take me!
Yet my chest still tightens 

until the doors stop rolling and open

just for me.

I flow through a dozen or so pages of Mrs. Dalloway as the bus rolls through the twenty-minute ride, and as always, I jolt up at the last moment when I realize the mass of people descending past me. 

Republique, the center stop of Rennes, swells with the crowd and observes bursting flocks of birds that fan out like open arms and circle above.

While this crowd walks in universal black jackets, I miss the bright orange puffer I left in San Diego. Today I don my yellow race jacket, the left breast labeling me correctly with “Maxwell” under a yellow car patched over a neon orange stripe as a callback. 

It may be conceited, but I cannot help but derive pleasure from the clinging looks of passers-by. I suppose that is my downfall, wanting to be seen in a crowd, yet I also believe it is my power. Without this desire, my life across seas would be exponentially more frustrating. 

There are plenty of people looking when I settle in and open my French workbook.

They say that when you begin to speak another language, you start to develop an alternate personality. Not entirely, of course, but you are not quite at ease as you are in your mother tongue. Thus, you pay more attention to what you say and what others say; you don’t act and react with nothing but that single and between them. You pause, think, digest. You speak, however incorrectly, with more intention.

A friend of mine tells me she likes her English personality more; she feels sweeter, more endearing with her words. For me, speaking French means experiencing social anxiety for quite nearly the first time. 

This foreign feeling hovers around my lips as I speak a word, and worry I will not be understood or seen as rude for the words I blurt out unexpectedly. It is a strange one, this feeling, and one that I am grateful for experiencing. 

Before entering France and trying to live among the French comme ca, of course, I was sympathetic to the plight of immigrants and foreigners, but it was the type of sympathy that hollows without understanding. Not forming into arrogance or disdain, but in a dismal overlooking of the intricacies and everyday difficulties that face those living in a country that speaks their second language (or third, or fourth).

Since arriving here, I feel the gravity of every interaction. I notice conversations in a way I never have before. I appreciate everyone who speaks with me with love akin to that I feel for my friends, even if it is simply the girl at the bus stop asking me if her bus has passed or the person sitting next to me with a tattoo I can compliment. 

I feel like a child, and everything is brilliant and bright; it can be glaring sometimes, but it fills me with an unquantifiable wonder. The whole world extends beyond my fingertip in colors I have forgotten vibrancy in.

It is a new world, unlocked inside me just as much as it is out. 

I only wish my love for the language meant I could learn it faster, but alas, the world is still the world, and my intelligence measures the same in France as in America.

The World our Mind Conceives.

Are we infinite in quantity, and

is it in quality that we deplete?

Are we thus lessened by our lessons

the lectures we copy through eyelids, and 

do the synapses snap ancient electricity

trading the colors of that one unimportant Fall,

for the words that make this one

in parallel life. 

Tell me if it is true, 

that memories pixel from HD to SD

each time we take a new face

and hold its picture inside.

And if this is true, are we different models?

Do some of us come with more storage?

And as babies, we lie there,

crying because all we have is empty space

and we are hungry to have enough to choose what we keep.

But then, do we have a choice 

what has and holds us?

What haunts us in new dreams we remember

in faces that burn into our brains?

Does it take us til 80 to run out of space? And for some

is it earlier? And only then there is too much

and we record over parts of ourselves,

sacrificing our grandchildren’s names 

for our father’s smile, but starting 

with an x over yesterday

and a perfect transcript of prom. 

Or, somehow, is the mind simply a home 

filled with furniture we’ve built or inherited,

creaking frames that sound but remain soft,

warm and known as we sink deeper.

A cafe, latte, and croissant later, I have scrawled my mind through more than my diary and close my eyes to the headache my French practice invites. 

Before long, it is time to return to school and my Victoire. The 3h35 gate opens with a hum, spilling forth with children hungry and excited to return home. 

Victoire asks me again to carry her home, and I say yes because she is a free weight at the gym I conceive through my day. 

We walk through her day, coloring between stenciled animals, carrots at the cantine, and cache-cache with Leon-Paul while I pair her sentences with their English counterparts.

She asks what I have done, and I continue this balancing game, finding the quality of English she will learn without crying and nodding through the exchanges we have that live on one side. 

Thoughts Over the Atlantic

Here I am, post-Christmas, post-New Years, post-America. All over again.

The complimentary Cabernet Sauvignon bitterly minces with the dry American Airlines pretzels that are currently clinging to my gums. Dégoûtant- Je sais. 

I am always so ambitious on airplanes. I am going to write a blog post, finish my french workbook, crochet a sweater or arm warmers, read a few chapters of L’Age de Raison (a translated version of Bridget Jones Diary)- but god are these pretzels stale, and all I am doing is rambling over a page. 

So, if I am not to unfurl from seat 14B some gorgeous musing on my time in America and my gracious return to France, I’ll simply line my thoughts for you. I’ll cue my (surely devout) audience into 2023’s perspective. 

So here I go.

I am ready to re-embrace the city that I grew so used to calling home. It is strange how much it feels like I am flying home right now, hands itching to retrace the corners and crannies of the attic sanctuary I have learned like another limb. 

I miss leaning backward out of my slanted and screenless window, the sharp breeze that used to crisp my cheeks pink. Angled lines and the swelling sound of ambient words too far away to understand. 

Cesson-Sevigne has oxidized into my heart, and Rennes has seeped into my skin. Tight runs over bare knees peaking from side-swept skirts. A pause before placing my order. Spilled coffee on tote bags. Home. 

It is home. I have lived here for three months and I will for another three. Though undeniably exciting, my life no longer feels like a free-for-all adventure, which means nothing more than I am comfortable. This time, this comfort does not coincide with an excess of funds. 

Thus, my next adventure lies in the discovery of a job. It’s time for me to put all this practice to good use and actually get paid for my writing. 

Whether I start working freelance, tie myself to a marketing firm as I have in the past, or find some new box to fit in will all be made clear in the next few months. Unfortunately, this needs to be my priority. 

That is not to say that I will not continue my posts and collections, for writing is the same as breathing. However, I can no longer tackle NomadicThread as the main project in my schedule.

It is with great sadness that I admit this change, but still, I look forward to the posts I will inevitably discover in my last few months in France. 

Much love to those who are reading this, and don’t worry, you’ll still read me around:)

A tout a l’heure: Nuit à Paris

C’est le dernier jour de mon grand voyage depuis que j’ai tout laissé derrière moi. Je suis tellement heureux que cela ait été possible et je suis toujours excité pour mon retour à Rennes dans la nouvelle année.

Ces derniers mois, j’étais en Allemagne, en Autriche et évidemment en France. J’ai appris le français au lycée, mais vraiment je n’aurais jamais pensé que je serais ici. C’est un rêve incroyable à réaliser. Malgré les montagnes difficiles des barrières linguistiques et la communication avec la famille et les amis, je suis ici et je poursuivrai mes études de français au-delà de l’école. J’aimerais être parfaite dans la langue mais je sais que j’ai un long chemin à parcourir.

Aujourd’hui, j’ai dit <<au revoir>> à ma famille française, et elle va me manquer. Ça va parce que je vais voir ma vraie famille et ensuite je vais rentrer en France. Il me reste trois mois dans la nouvelle année.

Je ne sais pas ce que je vais faire à la fin de l’année prochaine mais je sais avec confiance que je serai bon.

L’Allemagne me manque, c’est vrai, mais je pense que je préfère la France maintenant. C’est peut-être parce que la langue est plus facile pour moi. Quoi qu’il en soit, je suis en France et j’ai tous mes rêves.

A Paris, c’est trop cher comme toutes les autres grandes villes. J’ai trouvé un bar qui s’appelle <<La Robe et La Mousse>> et je viens de m’asseoir. Les murs sont turquoises sur des morceaux de vieilles pierres. Les lampes sont circulaires et montrent leur éclat dans de petits mondes de lumière.

Je suis content de la vie que j’ai dessinée ici. Tout dépend de moi, et calme quand je le veux. Mais d’un autre côté, c’est excitant quand je le veux.

C’est parfait pour moi, mais quand même, je n’ai jamais de contentement longtemps. Je ne l’ai jamais fait.

Je suis allé à Paris plus de cinq fois cette année mais je n’ai jamais eu le temps de voir la ville sereinement depuis 2019 où j’y suis allé avec mes parents. C’est très différent maintenant et plus libre, mais je suis hanté par les ombres des souvenirs de notre temps ici. Je vois encore et encore le même restaurant.

 A ce bar maintenant, je peux voir que le serveur n’est pas francais. C’est très bizarre quand je sais les différences de parler tandis que je ne suis pas française non plus et que ma française n’est pas bien. Mais je remarque et je pense que c’est un bon signe pour mes études. 

Ce restaurant est bon, il n’y a pas beaucoup de gens et le serveur est gentil. La seule chose que je n’aime pas est mon chapeau rose. Je ne suis pas confortable comme ça mais il n’y en a pas beaucoup pour moi a fait. 

Bientôt, je vais aller à San Diego et le froid sera derrière moi. 

j’ai peur de perdre mes progrès en français mais j’ai décidé de continuer à lire, écrire, et étudier pendant que je suis là. Une des choses qui m’excitent pour les Etats Unis est le changement de mes vêtements. Le style est important pour moi, la mode est tout. 

Pendant que je suis en Europe, j’ai choisi mes tenues dans mes deux valises. C’était terrible, mais ce n’est pas la fin du monde. Quoi qu’il en soit, j’ai hâte de choisir parmi un placard agrandi. Ce sera une sensation incroyable après tout ce temps.

De même, j’ai hâte de manger de la nourriture mexicaine. Cette cuisine se sent toujours comme à la maison. C’est vrai que j’adore la cuisine française, mais vraiment mexicaine c’est mieux.

Ma famille et mes amis m’attendent à l’autre bout du monde, mais je serai là tout de suite.

Après tous mes voyages, je ne suis pas prêt de dire <<au revoir>> aux autres pays. Je vais dire <<à plus tard>> mais je reviendrai. C’est une promesse.

A plus tard France, tu vas me manquer ainsi que toutes les personnes que j’ai rencontrées. (Et désolé pour les mots que j’ai mal compris, je vais réessayer.)

Tout mon amour,

Caroline

Marche De Noel

The crowds swallow the street in tufted beanies and wound scarves, hands plunging deep in puffer pockets while chins tuck into the wrap of their necks. It is cold, but there are presents to purchase.

Wooden stands make two wide isles in front of the white-painted Ferris Wheel and mingle pottery and jewelry with sugar-stuffed churros and vin chaud. I look over the artisan spreads next to everyone else with an open mind and a closed wallet. I have neither the space nor spare change to pick up stray beauty, but it’s fun to hold rings and ceramics to the sky and play into pretend consideration, isn’t it?

(I won’t lie to you; I did give into a bright pink beanie. Though, in my defense, it was cold, cheap, and cute; a kryptonic trio.)

My crew shuffles through the wide eyes flitting between passing fancies on our way to the imposing wheel. Five euros each buys us a place in a small box car rotating three times slowly before the inevitable dismount. 

From this angle, the city expands, but away from Rennes’ central buildings, there is not much to see beyond the bustling market immediately below us. The nearest intersection sighs with the crude exchange of cars and exhaust, hot tufts in the air. Clashing against the cold, a shade or two denser than the warm breath that escapes us. 

Feet on the ground once more, we take ourselves to L’Arts de Fou Marche in front of the Rennes’ Opera Theater. Here, artisans of tactile art line a long loop of sculptures, jewelry, bowls and cups, and installation pieces. All these leading softly into a tented pavilion for the quiet consumption of wine and beer. The art relies heavily on animal shapes and nature’s form broken from the canvas of raw rock. 

Impressive in every sense of the word, but expensive and regrettably reserved for the high class. The only place I can picture these pieces is in the grand and cold entryway of a mansion inhabited by whisps of white. To be looked upon and appreciated by everyone but its owners. 

Just another three minutes away takes us to the most Christmas-heavy marche in front of Rennes’ parliament building. 

A larger-than-life Christmas tree stands, somehow, dressed decadently in red bows and reflective globes. This pop-up center sticks to the food side, selling crepes, churros, and pastries alongside metal pots of vin chaud and hot cider. 

With my hot cider in hand, we crowd around the handmade tables of stumps and logs that surround the larger sapin. It tastes of cinnamon and closed-eye inhales on Christmas. Gloves are replaced by the heat of our paper cups, and we look at each other through the steady wisps of steam that rise from the rim. 

The cider settles over the lunch we shared before exploring these marches. This morning we met at a restaurant called Avec, a fairly unassuming name though it still subtly begs the question, with what? 

As I entered the surprisingly American warehouse structure, I realized they worked with every auxiliary business they could fit into their overwhelming hipster aesthetic. Don’t get me wrong, the turquoise and burnt-yellow shaped furniture and displayed motorcycles cradled an atmosphere that was anything but tacky. 

Yet, including a tattoo parlor, barbershop, merchandise shop, and auto-moto workshop in their bare metal restaurant undeniably draws the image of a 2014 man sketching graphite over his black notebooks, sipping teaspoons from small cortados. I could almost see him among the crowd with his nondescript face, which did nothing but bring an amused smile to mine. 

Avec’s food and beverage side mixes cocktails and burgers for brunch before offering an ice cream bar for dessert. I inhaled my homemade fries and burger without guilt; it is the holiday season after all. Besides, I might as well take that first step back into American culture. 

I’ll Be Back Tomorrow.

There are the smart ones.

The ones who know themselves enough 

to choose the longterm

the inevitable. But 

there are also the ones like me

who’ve woven enough lies inside,

who’ve wound their lines so small,

who say- just that.

I only do it like this. Just a little bit.

You see, I don’t know how to enjoy it.

So I’ll be back tomorrow.

Cesson Saturday Marche

and the beauty of saying goodbye.

No Feelings Involved.

As soon as it touches my tips

I’d do anything for it.

Just another wisp of that feeling.

Not feeling- that flavor of feeling.

The nudging more

unfurling blank white maps

under the nearest pen. 

That embrace, embrace me,

push more of that cyclical urge

give me more of my closest vice.

Crash whichever wave can burrow a rabbit hole,

dealer’s choice.

Drink on that beating music,

that bass that thinks 

“Am I only two letters to you?”

Fall into the fragile and feminine feeling.

The simple word

I’ll say it a million times

because it never stays that same shade of same.

Close, but no cigar.

I don’t see lingering smoke

not quite like the fresh puff

the starting spark

the way I drag my hand across the page.

Red pen, bleeding, even though you prefer blue.

Maybe because you like to keep it inside,

so do it again,

oxidize it. 

Each Saturday, vendors by the dozen drive their trucks and trailers to Cesson’s old town center. They open their pop-ups to the waiting crowd of weekend shoppers that disperse, filling each row in the Church parking lot. 

Families stride along the older generation’s wheeled sacks with paper cups of espresso and the tin foil that rounds galettes. This Brittany staple is my first objective upon entering the colored maze. 

The rye flour crepe is flipped and wrapped around a saucisse with your choice of mustard or ketchup. I opted for mustard, obviously, and exchanged two euros eighty for my breakfast. 

It only took a few minutes before my gloved hand was unwrapped and replaced by the warmth of my galette saucisse. 

Biting through the layers, I wandered shop to shop, quickly realizing that though the market certainly covers the expected assortment of vegetables, fruit, bread, coffee, meat, and your other weekly necessities, it also hosts a vast array of ulterior vendors. 

These sellers propagate their stands with everything from locks to scarves and a/c units to handmade cutlery. 

I walked, in wonder, thinking about the assortment of lives that must exist behind each tent and trailer. 

Each Week

We do the same.

See the same,

Talk the same,

Breathe the same.

The same people greet us, don’t they?

With the same assortment of coins. 

I wind violet scarves around dainty necks

and these pale-faced women reflect

pretending like they want to take them home

this week, or maybe next, though really, they shouldn’t.

I stuff their husbands with stuffed sausage,

stabbed samples in not-quite-the-same size,

and they act like an absence of splinters would change their mind. 

We do the same.

Stop breathing the same.

Choke sounds the same,

The same eyes fade before mine, don’t they?

When I’ve sufficiently stalked the most interesting perimeters of these pop-up shops, I cross the slow-moving street. Opposite the market’s occupation of the old church parking lot grows a lush garden of flowers, even in this Winter’s early days. 

Pink bursts in roses and green vines wind their way down the manicured maze that tracks visitors through each end of the garden. I let my eyes wander this landscape, pausing on purple and fluttering over yellow flowers. I found my favorite space nestled in the marriage of two stone walls, just beyond a row of trees that break for a full view of the garden’s expanse. 

The wind’s lagging gusts set the pace, and I finish my saucisse slowly. Despite the cold, I am in no rush. I only have one more Saturday market before I break from this French alternate life and return to my America for nearly a month. 

It is bittersweet, splitting my heart between what I know and what I’ve come to know. I don’t know how it will feel, but I do know part of me will stay here—nestled among the fleurs and arching arbres of this French fantasy. 

Coming Home.

It’s so exciting, isn’t it?

Laying your new silhouette over your old outline. 

Seeing what parts of you still fit.

Maybe you will feel the same as you always have. 

Too big here, too small there.

To everyone else, you look the same. Beautiful, even.

But you’ve outgrown this box of beauty. 

The word means something else now. 

You know too much about yourself,

because now you know nothing. 

You know too much about this place,

because each minute change slaps your skin

like a new floater on the glass of your eye. 

Everything hovers, holding same 

by holding the nature it never quite stays.

Like a city can get botox, 

self-tanner on the same performative parts,

Angelina’s leg buffed and bold. 

You see this now, as you saw it before

and the same sad sticks to your wave-washed feet

salt for the wounds of constant summer. 

The sun reds your nose rather than the burn of snow

and there is just something about the way

you could change forever

and still come home. 

Walking the Line

Not unlike Johnny Cash, as he sings, “ I keep the ends out for the tie that binds… I walk the line,” I walk this tightrope without slack. I’ve already cranked the dial, bit by bit, consuming everything untaught in the years of weeknight poetry groups and the tight art circles of strangers. 

Hung low in these rooms was the kind of cigarette smoke embedded in the fabric of suburban kids’ trench coats as they all sing their hymns of too much and too little in the wrong categories. 

Here, in the anonymity of a crowded room of the like-minded, I shed the last scales of self-loathing and read it into the past tense. 

There are so many ways we are ourselves with the people we love. They are all true and carried and backed by watchful eyes that back your own out of authority. How many times can you break bones and find something different in front of the same people? 

In the 2019 first freedom of dorm room homes and month-long family, I broke into new poses of myself countless times. My roommates heard “you know what I just realized?” more times than they heard the word “sick” tumble from my mouth. It was just as automatic. 

This constant phrase changed its ending every time, contradicting its predecessors and followers with the kind of truth borne from this second’s reality. Each break in my brittle bones offered a new way to look at what makes marrow. 

Every observation is true, even existing in opposition. That is the value of poetry. 

These moments of clarity, spurred thought from another person’s words, or the sight of water dripping that begs a reality from inside you, can be immortalized as any emotion in art. 

So as my friends tired of my repeated self-realizations, I spun them into ballads of wavering woe. 

These first months of poetry classes, and the new opportunity for spoken word Wednesdays in the 7 pm writing center room, allowed me to pull a new authenticity from myself. 

I didn’t have to be the blonde, suburban kid with too much privilege to divert her attention from issues of self-image and intimacy. With these same materials, I could be a voice that walks directly over human metaphors and recognizes the quiet thoughts that whisper in each person’s ear. 

I fell in love with metaphors, allusions, hyperboles, conceits, just lyric. Words that can be read in an infinite amount of ways, each time plucking a chord of truth. Like humans, poems can mean a million different things to a million different people. 

I became a voice, a speaker, separated from myself, my name, and anything about me except the immovable fact that my mind made these words. 

It’s true, what some people say, that most of the time, strangers are the only people you can be completely honest with. I took this expression to heart and wrote from each crevice of my ever-changing understanding of my world. 

We try on many different selves, don’t we, when we realize that first permission to make ourselves what we want. When we remember that people only know what we tell them, people only see what we show them.

So I dyed my hair purple. I pierced third holes in my ears with only half the materials required. I stabbed my wrist with stick n poke mistakes that are all mine. I ate the dining hall’s macaroni n cheese pizza for breakfast and drank their black coffee for dinner. I kissed boys and girls and left the party. I apologized and said “I wish” to people who asked me for cigarettes even though I never smoked them myself. I painted blue around my eyes, debuted them at the campus underage bar, and gave them an encore in COM 103 the next morning. 

I followed through on every thought that hung around my head for longer than a class period, and then I read the email, and everything changed because I felt I couldn’t anymore. 

Covid stole my dorm room home and new-friend-family. It stole my unencumbered realizations and my poetry evenings and everything new I had begun to call myself. 

But, in the shelter of my old room, I continued to write with the self that now dominated me, and I hurt people. 

Instead of calling strangers closer in rooms that called words home, I tugged on the heartstrings of my original home with words that family felt rejected every good thing they ever gave me. Still, I selfishly refused to give up the part of myself that reveled in the honesty that poetry allowed me without focusing on the facts that surrounded me. 

Emotional truth is real, without needing physical fact to bolster the feeling. 

Time here passed, somehow, and we can still debate whether or not it’s over. Both are true. 

I wrote myself through another two years of English classes, poured my soul into poetry workshops, and earned practical credit in marketing courses. I presented a thesis collection based on an ancient religious poet and my conflicted feelings for my ex-boyfriend. I heard enough praise that I held no hesitation in creating this blog space for my self-indulgent travels and self-promoted poems. 

I love it. Having a place to post thoughts I can no longer subject to whatever unfortunate group is trying to relax in my living room. But with this kind of platform, I have lost the complete anonymity I am used to. 

I write for no audience, then send my words into the ether that is truly, if we want to talk about objective facts, made of friends, family, and followers who know my real name. 

I want to be completely honest, but I am not used to hurting anyone but myself with my words. 

So I guess what I am trying to say is this.

“I find it very, very easy to be true. 

I find myself alone when each day is through.

You give me cause to love that I can’t hide. 

Because you’re mine, I walk the line.” 

Courting Cambridge

I am running. Face twisted with concern, yet with each step the muscles find slack. I thank the border control woman in every language I know.

I showed her my train ticket fifteen minutes ago, and without her kind decision, I would still be standing deep in the inching queue, sweating inside instead of out.

The officer who stamped my passport didn’t even meet my eye, pressing ink over my niceties, and I didn’t mind, not if he let me go.

I slide through the train’s chomping portal with mere seconds to spare and swear I can feel the metallic bite of air behind me.

I have been traveling since 3:30 am this morning, and my day’s journey is not yet over. Planes, trains, and automobiles, so the story goes, have carried me across the kiss of Anglo-French air. Now, my body can rest beyond another transfer as I sail over iron tracks on my way to the next station.

I have not slept, but the weekend was worth it.

Tracing Tracks

Can you still miss your train if you can see it leaving?
You can’t miss something you never truly had.
You can hold this idea of a train ride,
this ticket stub of intention,
but reality was all too real for a dream.
Your real steps couldn’t keep up,
not with the way your fingers flicked through each screen.
You don’t have to slide plastic
through its arrowed cousin anymore.
Memorize the numbers on your credit card,
so you can keep charging yourself
for things without touching them.
You can toss your money to the wind
without rouging with the sting of scattered coins.
You don’t have to feel something
to wish it was yours.
But typing a thing and doing it
are not the same.
I would know,
I miss your train every time.

My long weekend in Cambridge came unexpected; an Instagram message from an old friend turned into a real plane ticket, crossing our ironic European proximity.

It must have been four or five years since we had last seen each other, and never without the family context of PC childishness and parental supervision. But we aren’t children anymore.

Seeing her was melting a younger (older) version of myself into my skin, rediscovering a girl with stories and jokes long forgotten.

The two-hour drive from Heathrow to her home just out of Cambridge was filled with endless chatter and a spinning web of memory. We tied 2010s trips through the California-Nevada desert, filling in each other’s gaps and planning our next-day hello to the larger city.

Saturday drove us on the wrong side of the road to Cambridge’s center. We walked the outline of the Grand Arcade mall, took lattes for takeaway, and indulged in Nando’s peri-peri before meandering our way to the city’s botanical garden.

Fall had crisped green into orange-yellow and scattered this over evergreen grass in nature’s layers.

We abandoned the map’s predetermined path for our own, dipping into the damp greenhouse to see tropical plants wind around each other in humid reflections. Baked by the focus of sun-lit windows, we traced plants from each part of the world until the archway released us. Outside, the simple grounds of the garden’s deepest boundaries came in shallow hills swelling in slight curves as the dirt-carved path snaked through trees and around flower beds.

The mild day cooled us enough to pull jackets back around our bodies, and by 3 pm, we had finished our tour. While we departed, time set fire’s arch, keeping it until the next morning.

This time a friend of a friend was behind the wheel, and we parked at the Grand Arcade, over-indulging in tights and knit sweaters. Soon my caffeine headache dragged us to the TikTok (and city) famous Fitzbilles for their highly-praised Chelsea buns and the cold coffee ordered only by Americans.

We unboxed our buns on the way back and stickied our fingers with the maple syrup that replaced creamed icing on the classic cinnamon rolls we were used to.

Still good, but different. Not as sticky sweet, but coating us in sugar just the same.

Edits.


You can’t unlove a city
unlove the swarm that rounds out its voices
different from yours. You can’t
unknow the train lines, the rusted bus stops,
rain-soaked metal awnings.
Cities have veins
and we are white blood cells;
there are too many of us bleeding onto the street,
running out of ways to heal ourselves.
It’s not healthy to erase memory,
to erase this metro matrix other fingers
have lined on your body.
Abandoned buildings are still buildings,
even when they’ve lost life.
You can’t untangle the strands
she left on your pillow,
not without smelling me.
Just as I can’t smell my own sweater,
without the threads reminding me
I used to love you.
I can’t unlove the way it felt to love,
even if I don’t love you anymore.

Meg, Margot, and St. Michel

I think about Maleficent’s thorny throne, Phillip chopping through hardened stems, severing rose bud necks, and drawing shallow red rivulets over his cheek, but as we conquer these steep steps, it is clear that here, the vines are nuns and monks, rose buds are stone busts, and their thorns are Christian judgment. 

Le Mont St. Michel stands impressive and imposing. Man’s stone on nature’s rock, here, predates the middle ages. It is said that in 708, Saint Aubert, bishop of Avranches, built the first religious sanctuary on the former Mont Tombe. 

Ever the saint, he believed that this vision did not come from his mind but from a divine decree, and he was simply fulfilling the wishes of the archangel Michael. Saint Aubert claimed the angel had appeared to him thrice in his dreams, enlightening him to Mont Tombe’s future. This initial sanctuary remained atop the rock for over 200 years until a community of Benedicts built its first church in 966. 

It was in the 10th century that construction began on the still-standing abbey of Mont St. Michel, but this period of construction was not completed until the 19th century. Over its 1300 years of history, St. Michel endured the passage of religious pilgrims, a long stint as a prison, an impregnable fortress during France’s Hundred Years War with England, and a return to its initial purpose as an Abbey. 

Though Le Mont has held fast to its French authority throughout these conflicts, discourse remains as to which region Le Mont belongs to. Situated between the border of Normandy and Brittany, the island technically lies within Normandy’s domain, but that does not stop Brittany loyals from claiming the island. 

What they are having.

I’ll take a toke,

a drink or a puff,

a bump or a smoke. 

What is it this time?

What Gods live here?

Are we visiting or being visited

by the angels that lie between tabs of acid?

They must be real

if we can see them in mushroom meals

or drink them in the nature of peyote. 

Should we tell them? The others? The ones who believe us?

Or should we keep this divinity for ourselves?

Roll Jesus in a joint and tell them what we remember.

Crush Abraham with the flat of our fist,

he coats our nostrils with his heavenly fire. 

I won’t tell, as long as you give me a line. 

They can think angels live in the sky,

and we can sit in chapel circles, 

passing our God,

telling each other what we see,

denying the reality of darkness,

and calming overdoses of thought with stories.

Bundled in borrowed green and crocheted yellow, I wove my gaze between bus seats as Le Mont St. Michel came into view. Pointed, the Abbey invites the imagination to see stone join sky as the steeple pierces the clouds. 

Our first order of business, braving the chill that exits the bus, was lunch. We followed the upward trend of foot traffic, the path that passed gift shops and tourist traps between overpriced restaurants. 

After passing on a few 36 euro meals, we found a cute creperie with everything we needed. 

The small eatery, Le Chapeau Rouge, fell back from the street and the tight-knit tables allowed for only a narrow squeeze to our corner. 

Filling into our seats, it wasn’t long before we were ordering galettes complet to quell the rumble of our hunger. Ham, egg, and rye crepe came quickly, and we ate just as fast, ordering a second crepe for dessert. These crepes au citron shortly followed, and we rolled the bittersweet lemon over our tongues. 

Plier

the french word for fold is plier. 

like a ballerina

they make halves.

gentle fingers crease gentler messages,

papers plie for their envelopes

& flattened batter folds around a metal spatula

in fourths.

i try to bend with this elegance too,

but my hands don’t move with the same grace.

mine graze over sloping beauty

cursive intentions crease pages with an alibi.

my body curls in on itself,

in a c, not a plie,

& all these french faces know

i am not one of their own.

Braving the sea-breeze outside of the creperie, we renewed our hike to the Abbey carved into the mount of Mont St. Michel. Staccato steps faltered over cracks and traipsed through the stoney wonderland of souvenir shops and medieval tourist traps. 

Joan, the one of the Arc, stands as a statue halfway up the island in all her romantic and religious armor. 

The sole woman among thousands of men, immortalized in this same fashion. The only indication of her feminine figure was the two rounded plates bonded to her chest plate. 

Gift shops boast this same Joan in plastic figurines for children, but most flock to the crowded walls of synthetic swords and painted gold shields. Toddlers point with sticky fingers, and parents fall prey to the out-of-town prices. 

At last, through the sea of open doors, we reached the Abbey in all its gray and godly glory. 

I expected this catholic monument to come colorful and adorned in stained glass light and devoted strokes of paint. St. Michel did not deliver on this front, but as we followed the preconceived order of rooms, I was overwhelmed by the dull gray of its stone. It was rare for color to peak through rudimentary windows, and the bleak ceilings hung heavy without the lift of paint. 

The immense building, anywhere else, would be a complete disappointment. Its size and echoed halls are nothing without its perfect placement on the mont’s original rock. 

That is the point. 

Constructed under the supervision of monks and nuns of the Catholic faith, the abbey lets the island’s natural beauty speak for itself. Unadorned windows are blown open by the ocean’s breath, the payoff of seemingly endless steps and steep cliffs. 

Our legs continued to climb, pulling muscle tight with each step and loose behind our eyes as we adjusted to this brand of beauty. Sand, tan and damp, extends infinitely from the circumference of the mont. Waves kiss this intersection and draw their body back out to sea. 

Close your eyes and breathe salt, learn what beauty can exist behind shut lids, and smell the simplicity of what the monks call “god’s work.”

Muddy Water

Another poetry collection I have been working on for a while, this one is full of half-truths, momentary backtracks, and muted confessions. Trying to love again, in some watered-down way, I write out of that valley in my mind. The dip that cradles new hearts and breaks them, as I continue to patch myself together.

(disclaimer: if you are my family, you may want to skip this one ;))

Proof.

I feel my figure tracked along the road
and I know I am there.
Breathing in front of other bodies.
When I write, it is for me,
my truth & I don’t care to offend other eyes,
but still, the thought of others weighs heavy on my hands.
Inked words given an end stop,
a pause,
where I imagine a read receipt
at each indent.

You know.

You hold this power over me.
You know you do
that’s why you loved me.
Thats why I can’t be around you.
I dream of the day you’ll cry
and I’ll feel nothing.
No pulse will slow and quick.
No drawn heart will ricochet in my soul.
I dream of this day with my eyes closed,
pressed shut so that one day
I can see you,
and see nothing.

What do I call you?

You go by many names,
and baby, so do I.
I snake like a poison
around my own ears
and listen to the city’s heartbeat
from an open window.
Costar reminds me to “notice everything”
and darling, I do.
Someone drips their words onto my skin
makes love to my lips
and touches me with sweetness
unmatched by any second-day sugar.
I dream of someone in sliding photographs,
because I am not comfortable in still frames.
Hovering, always writing,
over any page.

White lies are only white if the truth doesn’t matter.

Why can’t I stop biting my cheeks?
Like flesh pealing from raw lips
will silence your circular swarm.
All midnight thoughts pull back
to what I should have said
and what you shouldn’t have.
There is no one I love more and trust less
than you.
The pink skin inside lips and tongue are meant to heal the fastest.
So I am always ready to bleed,
each time you chew my mind.
With
every 2am earache,
every 3am tear,
every 4am conversation between teeth,
comes severed skin.
You don’t hear the words I scream at you
they are in my head
but I bear my teeth anyways.
Cannines into wet scabs
blood until breakfast.

melody.

there is another face pulling me when i listen to music
a new theme in my soundtrack
written away from the name that held too much
for too long.
but there are too many lyrics about someone else now
there is a sweet song sliding through my ears and
it builds something new inside me
stacking tracks in a direction i forgot was possible.
youth has a second coming,
i knew it was far from over
those vibrating notes were just the prelude.
i have albums in me
countless plastic photographs to gloss over
with greasy fingertips that lie
in whatever future waits for me.
songs come a few times a week
and they aren’t repeats anymore,
though the artist remains the same.
dark eyes pull me into the present,
into this morning city in front of us.

A-

I thought you could be toxic
while he seeped into my brain with his own poison,
but maybe both can be true.
Could your love for me just be a little too much?
Enough to see through his bullshit when I was blind.
And I need you,
toxins and all,
to erode all these ill intentions.
You are the only one I trust to love me
when everything goes up in smoke.
I wait for your text,
so I can divulge my soul to you.
So I can tell you everything I don’t know how to say to myself.
I can’t stand it when you are quiet.
You sleep, or work, or dance
while I roam another city
and reach for your love with the stars.

True Stories.

How can we be reduced to a grain of our sand?
How do we become defined by our final moments?
Like all true stories, there was always going to be an end to your sweet.
Your bittersweet cavity moaned loud through painkillers
and I sink into that feeling again.
It swells, the molasses you left me to drown in,
this stick of you to my skin.
Sugared sick covering every crevice
filling all empty flesh.
Then I know this quicksand sweet will become a grain.
It must, in time, despite the residue.
You- we are a part of me.
Still, you & I & we are only a moment of everything.

You aren’t the “he” my diary knows without context, and nothing is life or death anymore.

Knowledge.

What would he do if he knew I was writing about him?
Would he be colored in red?
Or know the impact of his stroke,
Know how he lands on me,
And how his fingers curl me inside.
He wants a playlist, and I want him,
Right now,
Even if I don’t know for how long.
He’ll always be alive in my memory.
Exist as a sexy patch of light
Illuminating the French ridges of my mind.
Filling the space I thought would stay empty here.
And am I scared of him or how he makes me feel?
Who am I to know.

Dear,

I would be lying if I said that your affection doesn’t draw me to you or that your free-flowing nights out don’t buy out the fifty percent of my brain that says- stupid girl, run.
I don’t know if I’ve ever known I was making a mistake while I made it before. Not like this, not for this long.
You are dangerous.
But are you really? Now that I think I know you?
Do your gentle friends excuse the sharp edge below your steering wheel like I do?
Does the sweetness of your thumb on my chin excuse what it does to faces that aren’t mine?
I know it is wrong when you throw the first punch, and it makes me want you.
You broke your hand because you are too hard, but with me, you are softer than butter. I don’t have to touch you to melt you. Just the heat of my hand begins to break you, but still, you touch me.

Grass.

You were supposed to be grass under my shoe,
Nothing.
Nothing but a blade,
Fresh-faced and green.
Climbing up my boot
Caressing my leather until I crush you.
But now I’m crushing on you,
Looking at the space below my platformed heel,
Hesitating.
You were supposed to be grass.
Beautiful and temporary,
Just for the season
Then gone.
Your last pleasure, the crunch
Underfoot.

Read Receipts.

19 seconds on the clock, and this beer falls down my throat easy.
How else are we meant to walk but hand in hand?
If I text you twice, will you smile,
or cringe away from my name?
You make me feel safe, somehow,
as I scroll and react.
So shallow against your words.
I love you.
No, I didn’t say that.
I just think about you often.
You live and lie in my brain now.
Just a tiny version of everything I know about you.
I am tempted to know you,
I hesitate, and want you.
Oh, I really do,
I want you.
I just don’t know about forever.

Again.

How many times will I let you feed me lines,
and gift you any semblance of belief?
You haven’t meant what you said in a year.
I dont believe a word from the forked tongue
you tearfully split, and for the first time
I know it’s true. I dont want to be with you.
It took one picture, and in that moment
something in me shifted.
I grew white hot
at the switches flip and here I am
finally angry with you.
It is all your fault,
this hurt. I know it is your fault,
because I looked inside myself
I scraped every hallow with responsibility,
and all I can find of mine is softness.
I am too soft.
I’ve always been too sweet.
I should have screamed at you while I had the chance.
It took a while, but I have found my sharpness.
The part of me that cuts,
and how dare you sharpen me out of understanding.
How dare you make me cry on my birthday
because you were too weak to bite your lip for one day.
How dare you decide for me what I deserve,
from everyone and you.
How dare you tell me constantly that one day
you would come back after you severed us,
because you were too scared to imagine us in a straight line.
How dare you cut down your own promises,
like they were crops only rooted in this season’s reality.
How dare you never tell me the whole fucking truth.
How dare you swear to me you’ll follow through, this time,
and convince me with drunk words that you love me.
You told me to wait for you. Not to cry because you couldn’t handle it.
And these are things I will never do for you. Not if you ask.

Ahead of Myself.

I don’t think I’ll miss you when I’m gone
but what if that’s a lie?
What if I’m the one who is falling
and your arms just happen to be there to catch me?
I keep tracing back to the time you held me.
naked and sweaty from our nightly activities,
and you just held me.
At the time, all that ran through my head was fuck.
What the fuck am I doing leading you on like this?
It’s cruel.
If you just want to be held.
But now it’s me who is thinking about it.
Why am I thinking about it?
On the street, I’ll start smiling,
because of something you said.
This is wrong,
I’m not supposed to think about you if you are not inside me.
But I see you,
The next day,
and the day after that.
And I’m okay with that.
If I never ran into you at that bar,
met you for a second time at Rennes’ universal rendezvous,
I would have never said yes again.
I was planning on fading,
a fond memory,
and now I hope to remember you for myself.
The man is supposed to miss me,
I am supposed to feel a bit guilty, shrug it off, and become a ghost.

Hurt Me.

When he warned me, i almost died
as I soaked cotton
crossed and uncrossed my legs,
one strewn across his knee now.
His hands like my hair,
they like drawing loose strands around my ear,
and turning my eyes to his.
He says he is trying to be good for me,
and after our first round romp
he stopped me still in the back of his car and held me.
He rested my head on his shoulder
and did the same.
Simple, but not what I was expecting.
Soothing our skin with forward fingertips
unafraid and unencumbered
no thought.
On his shoulder lines a dragon
inked and ridged as I feel it,
and with another kiss, we are all fire again.
His hand grips my throat, and I wish I had the words to say
harder.
Plus fort, I guess, but instead,
I place my hand over his and squeeze.
He doesn’t want to hurt me
but he should
I will hurt him.

Storylines.

Do we start our story at the beginning or the end?
I write in my pink notebook
Like it’s normal at the bar
Because it is, isn’t it?
Doesn’t everyone write while they want a cigarette?
Doesn’t everyone dance this dance?
Tongues dance a million languages between us
And I don’t know which is yours.
Between these and a thousand other tongues
I will choose you.
I choose you.
For now and as far as I can see into the future,
Which is never longer than a week.
Isn’t that enough?
I make enough mistakes in my French to speak to others with assistance
But with you I use nothing.
I am raw with you, and you try to understand me.
C’est pas nécessaire, mais pour toi c’est vrai.
C’est nécessaire.
Je suis nécessaire.

Danger.

But is it even that simple?
Or is it that feeling,
Between my legs
Between my eyes and his
Between the made beds we untuck
And ruin.
It’s his job,
To be in the dark and on the run
And maybe I’m okay with that
Because one foot props the door.
But then my stomach clenches
With each minute he waits to speak
And I want him to keep on wanting me
Like he does
Even if that means breaking him.
I cool my conscience by telling him small things,
With words he may not understand.
Maybe I let this go on,
Because I like the way he feels
With his hand on my back
With my fingers tracing secrets on his thigh.
Of course, I like how he feels,
I like our franglish jokes with their belated punchlines.
The way I talk around the right word
And his lips move slowly to teach me the sound.
Those lips curl around our words then my lips
And he is disarmed in translation.
He cannot lie,
Or maneuver his words to serve him.
There is no mincing between us.
He says what he means, and I say it again,
Because when do we understand the first time?
Our mouths take time to know each other,
And our tongues know what to say without words.
We are high on his work and my American deprivation,
Learning new ways to say it.
Exchanging expressions like currency though it’s him who pays for everything.
He wants to buy me everything,
But I can’t tell if I believe him.
I’ve been trained to discredit sincerity,
To write off promises,
To add disbelief to anything said in love.
But why would he pretend when I have given him nothing?
I tell him not to pay,
Because every coin is charged to my guilty conscience.
Because I will leave, you can bet on it.

I have nothing and everything to say to you.

Tears soak into gray on my violet sweatshirt.
You still have my favorite one,
you wanted it and told me it would be waiting for me,
with you
when I flew back to you. And I said okay.
Because I believed you when you said we would meet again.
I left clothes in drawers you cleared for me &
I wish I was colder to you.
I wish your face didn’t startle me with forgotten contours
burn-branded into me.
You took liberties, and I wish I screamed at you.
But I smiled & everything was your idea.
This was all your idea, from the beginning.
And I wasn’t angry for so long. For too long
my love for you burned so bright it charred
the split ends of my skin and clotted the flowing blood for me.
Love licked my wounds and understanding numbed the way
I never really stopped bleeding.
But this love was temporary, just like yours
and I still need stitches
& fuck you for that.
I can’t believe all the ways I let you fuck me.
Over & Over & Anyway you wanted.
Nothing was off limits for you.
I was blind. And so small. And crying.
But I loved you enough to choke down the tears
I drank them, so you didn’t have to see,
but now they are coming back up.
Soaked with bile & blood &
other indesgressions you asked me to swallow.
You’ve never seen me angry. Not really.
Its rare,
a shooting star,
burning through myself,
I go cold.
Tears fall like ice,
I speak slow,
through clenched teeth steam whistles like a kettle.
You’ve never seen me angry.
Not like this.

overwrought sunshine.

everyone calls me sunshine
it’s in my hair
lining my face
as the first thing out of their mouths,
once they run out of generics.
i’m sure there are many of us called sunshine,
can we get together,
start a club,
and talk about what our lovers say to us
what they call us and think is original?
can we hold each other,
bright and breaking
the stars of love burning,
and the gold that falls around my shoulders
can be too much.
because firing eyes can cool into ashes,
and they will understand this.
just for the minutes recorded by our sunshine secretary
can we bring a room to absolute darkness,
hang our tired arms at our sides
and we won’t have to smile.
no one has to smile,
we can laugh at the literal
our favorite color- yellow,
and the golden brows that tip the scale
of our overwrought imagery.
we are not sunny, we are the sun.
the burning ball that shows the ones who share our bed
the morning.

The Flipside.

It’s crazy to imagine someone trying to get over me.
Me?
Maybe its narcissistic,
but I crave to know what it is like
to know me,
to unknow me.
How do I look to the other eye?
How does this other mind think over me?
This other heart bleeding over my name.
I wonder what it is like to mourn me.
I used to hate the way I looked,
but I’ve never hated myself.
Because it’s me.
If I don’t like me, I can change myself.
Everything there is to hate is under my control.
Everyone else is the obstacle.
So I wonder what it is like to breathe in the wake of me,
and I ponder what must come after.

Close.

Am I scared of love again?
I don’t think so
but how can I tell?
I don’t want anyone,
but if I feel the spark,
that magic.
If I felt that familiar feeling
I think I would jump again.
Broken bones heal,
and broken hearts only have so much blood to bleed.

Uncaring.

I am sick to my stomach,
or at least that’s how my body is reacting to a lazy day with little food.
I know you like me. I can tell by the way you kiss places that aren’t my lips.
So I don’t know why I haven’t heard you today. Are you okay? Are you running? What plagues you?
Because you plague me today.
My eyes dart with every flash from my home screen.
I wish you would help me quiet you, before I realize I actually care.

I can’t lie, not to a blank page. Though I am an expert at lying without words.

Come to Class.

It astounds me,
How we all listen and understand
Words spoken and taken.
Paragraphs spell out everything
But I keep some for myself,
With you everything is half.
I half know you.
I give half of myself to you.
And you half understand this.

Games.

Is it worse for you to hurt,
or to ignore me?
I don’t know what to think.
I am sat outside a bar,
there are pool tables inside,
but I only want to play with you.
You are somewhere in the ethereal,
the dense cloud of ether,
connected, or not, to magnets in the sky.
But even if you were here,
I would still be floating,
wishing you were tuned to my skin.
You are a placeholder, not my anchor.
You aren’t heavy enough to ground my lips to the surface.

You trace your hand between swollen skin
and I feel nothing but the warm pulse of life.
No sparks fly from your fingertips,
its almost like I can’t feel you at all,
so I don’t need you to stop.
I like cosplaying as your girlfriend,
drinking your drinks,
smoking your splifs,
holding your hand in mine.
I rebuke guilt
with laughter and rejection,
don’t give me any gifts of permanence.
Don’t give me anything of permanence.

I tell you I am too young to think about staying,
but there are so many ways you don’t hear me.
I can see the hope you won’t let me crush.
Not completely.
I hear you stop yourself
from asking something too serious.
Something you will have to hear the answer to.
Declarations of union
earn you nothing but aversion,
disbelief and laughter
yet you re-itch to ask me for a reason.
I stare blankly
until you toss your feelings to the wind,
and there is fear in me that you will actually buy a ring.
Please don’t ask me anything,
I could never say yes.

Friends.

You touch our lips,
and it could be a hug.
I feel less than when I press
against best friends in dim parties.
Or the first time he broke skin,
and I asked if it was done.
Closing my eyes with the creak
wood platforms and stuffed feathers.
You push inside me and seek more,
stretching to touch iris to iris.
But when I meet your eyes like this,
it feels like lying.
Lying by acting out hope.
By inviting you to forget every rejection from my mouth,
because look how you make it gasp.

When I Grow Up.

Age comes and I believed it when it promised everything
I had ever wanted.
But the candles burned to their end without needing my permission.
With time’s abundant hands
the golden thread can be spun too long
or too short
as it carries you through
and moves, independent of our limbs.
Then and now is nothing.
An invisible wind on a clock
ticks a sleeping child older,
seeping time into bones.
Months can pass in seconds,
and seconds can be pulled into eons
and these are all just different types of waiting.
A lobby waiting room you don’t see around you,
until someone calls your name.

Stop fucking your friends.

I wish I could take back knowing you.
Because now you are a friend.
One who twists my hair around your finger,
looking at the contrast.
Smiling at my smile,
while your voice only queues this mantra I ignore.