SUMMER SO FAR

Lipstick pressed onto the rim of a glass,

the crackle of the record player, the first sip of lemonade,

two cups of tea in the morning, allowing myself time to exhale,

crying on the interstate,  folding papers, sifting through old letters of a woman i will

never know,

the last line from books you aren’t sure you enjoyed,

a kettle without water, the first lines of a movie,

salt water, blueberry, sand slipping beneath your feet,

sunlight as you tip your face towards the sky.

 

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2.17.17

There is a boy who sits across from me,

I like to watch him.

His round face, flushed cheeks,

The mop of tousled hair.

He looks like I portrait I saw once in the

Museum of Modern Art, of a boy during the American revolution.

Beside him sits a girl whose ears remind me of raphaelites painting, and the delicate pink shells of her ears are Aphrodite rising

Everywhere there are echoes of eternity in the curve of your lips.

it is like watching

infinity

birthing itself.

 

 

Joan and Johnny in the Garden of Heaven

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Last night the fan went round and round. The night had cooled the days desert heat, sticky and relentless against the concrete. Outside the fountain burbled, the girl next door having a conversation with her boyfriend bleeding through the walls. I tell myself a story

A rusted sword propped outside an old western house, next to an old Martin D-35. Joan of Arc and Johnny Cash, sitting in the garden of heaven talking quietly. They call each other Jean.

His hands do not hurt when he plays the guitar. Joan learns to play the opening bars to Daddy Sang Bass. She sings the chorus again and again. He talks about Folsom and the real prison, and she does not speak of Rouen. She does not need to. There are flowers in her hair. The circle goes

Unbroken. God’s word is close now, and it does not burn. They harmonize with Jack right next door. Joan speaks not of war, but the sunshine of Domrémy. Johnny teaches the rolling rhythm of walking the line. Every Monday June Carter comes over. There is always a freshly baked apple pie. Joan’s banner waves gently in the summer breeze.

Last night the fan went round and round, the fountain burbled, and a girl yelled at her boyfriend through the paper thing walls. I like the idea of a country boy from Arkansas singing to a country girl from France in a deep bass baritone.  I dream of

Two Jeans, sitting together in the garden of heaven in the shade of a fig tree.

Slumps

Been working on several short stories and trying to get into the mindset of sharing my writing. Recently finished polishing this piece (or at least it’s in a place where I feel ok sharing it). XX

Slumps

Today it is raining, and I am in a slump. I know I am in a slump because that is when I cannot look away from my flaws, and I pick at the ugly sensation hiding behind my collarbone until I feel raw and sadder than before. I have put on seven different outfits, and my cheeks are flushed from exertion. I pick until I don’t like what I see in the mirror. I pick at myself until I forget that I actually love my body, I pick until I cannot anymore because I need to go to class.

It is hard, because I am a rational person, so I say ‘You know that’s not right. This isn’t what you really think. Be kind to yourself’. But I don’t want to be kind to myself, or love my body, or do what all my caring friends tell me to do. I want to nap and be left alone.

I cannot look in mirrors, or be around people, or be left alone. Looking in mirrors will only mean I see more flaws. Being around people means having to pretend I’m not in a slump. Being left alone only lets me fall deeper into it. Slumping is hard.

I am in a slump and feel chubbier than I deserve to think of myself. I chastise myself for not exercising, for going for the extra fry that I didn’t really want to eat. In the mirror, my shirt doesn’t fit right. I eat a salad – not because I think it’s delicious, but because I’ve been taught that lettuce will make me thin. Later I will eat three cookies to quell my hungry stomach, and feel even worse.

Slumps happen regardless of rain, of time, of work and rest. I am always working. I’m working on class assignments, I’m working on my friendships, I’m working on becoming gentler with myself. But on slump days there is also anger. I am angry because I cannot do enough – because I am not as talented, or beautiful, or smart as my classmates. I am not as nice as I want to be. I do not like myself in a slump; my personality, my soft stomach, my laugh.

When I am in a slump, it feels like a day destroys a lifetime’s work of loving myself.

The thing is, it doesn’t.

I am not writing about my slump because it is a cry for help. I am not scared of my slump. This is a bad day, and I am a person who feels bruised on the inside. But I am better than I was a year ago. That helps, the knowledge that I can be flawed and feel bad, but know that I have made changes to move forward. The nice thing about slumps is that they remind you that you are human, and imperfect.

“I will be okay,” I think as I eat my third cookie and wish that I didn’t have to go to class “Bad is ok.” Maybe tomorrow I will like my laugh again.

Today it is raining, and I am in a slump. I feel bad today, and that is alright.

A Message from the Future.

Alternatively: Advice I’d give to 16 year old me.

  1. Red lipstick is both a shield and a weapon. Use it judiciously, and wear it proudly.
  2. Not everyone will like you.
  3. And that’s fine.
  4. Go outside and stand in the sun, plant your feet in the grass and look up.
  5. Laugh as loud as you want. There’s nothing better than happiness, and there isn’t any reason to hide that.
  6. High heels, while they may make you feel powerful, are also very bad for your knees. Use with caution.
  7. This too will pass.
  8. Going to the bank is incredibly adult, as is rewarding yourself with ice cream afterwards.
  9. Friends are the family you make. Surround yourself with love, but don’t forget to give it back.
  10. For that matter, love yourself the way you love others. You are just as worthy of your own love as they are.
  11. Learn how to cut your own hair.
  12. Additionally: figure out how stocks work.
  13. You are braver than you think, smarter than you believe and kinder than you know. Who you are now is not who you will be in two weeks. Do not be afraid.
  14. Reach out to the people in your life. This is not something you have to do alone.
  15. Buy the song you’ve been humming underneath your breath for the last two days. You’ll still be listening to it in two years.
  16. Driving isn’t as scary as you think.
  17. You are burned and battered, but still unbroken. Hold your head up, and keep walking.
  18. There will come a moment when you are driving down the highway. You crest the hill and then you see the sea. Light flashing off it, the salt wind stinging your face. The wind is in your hair and you are singing along to a song you haven’t listened to in years. The world will seem infinite, cresting the top of that hill.
  19. Don’t forget to care about the bees.

An Open Letter from Helen of Troy

 

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i am no whore with a heart of gold,

nor patchwork of sinew and sorrow,

my words sting and my hands are cold,

Cassandra will spend her days in the trenches,

crying out for wounds no man will know come tomorrow.

 

 

They called me Helen, who destroyed the mighty Troy,

veiled and heartless as the world screamed high,

an overthrown a husband in favor of a white-handed boy,

stained ichor on the ground below,

the feed a hunger the gods will never satisfy.

 

One day i will leave a prayer to faithless Zeus,

on behalf those who were struck down without a choice,

those who loved the wrong way, or died in vain of bitter truth

those who fought against the silencing of our voice.

 

The war won,

and the gods watched from afar.