Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On being the ugly duckling and never turning into a swan.

The problem with being an ugly girl
in love with pretty boys
is that every time they talk to you,
it turns out to be a joke.
By the time you’re eleven you know they’re the comedians
and you’re the punchline.

The problem is that at twelve you
are not suave enough to be one of the boys
but not pretty enough
to be someone they lust after.
The problem is that at thirteen you date a beautiful girl
and you’re still worried about what the pretty boys think of your hair.

It’s that at seventeen you give yourself up to a man
who is twenty-three and more gorgeous than anyone you’ve ever dated
and at eighteen he tells you
you’re not pretty enough to keep
and that’s what’s keeping you apart--not
the thousand miles between you
and Boston.
The problem with being the ugly girl is that you believe him.

The problem
with being an ugly girl and loving pretty boys
and pretty girls
is that when they treat you wrong
you let them
because they remind you how hard it is to find someone who will keep you.
It’s that the pretty boys will sleep with you now
and won’t meet your eyes the next morning.
It’s that you spend the night with a beautiful fool
and still can’t figure out why he chose to sleep in your bed
and the idea that maybe he likes you
for you
never enters your mind.

The problem is at twenty you have more notches in your bedpost
than years on the Earth, and your lovers
tell you they love you and you
They tell you you’re beautiful
and you tell them to hush.
You still expect to hear laughter.

The problem
with being the ugly girl and loving pretty boys
is that somewhere you think you became a pretty girl
and you’re not sure how.
The problem is you spent so long loving pretty boys
that you never stopped to love yourself. The problem
is that maybe you loved too many pretty boys
who called you ugly
and now the word “pretty” tastes funny on your tongue.

The problem
with ugly boys who look pretty
is the way they make you think you’re not. The problem
with ugly boys is the way their words scar.
The problem with pretty boys with ugly hearts
is that they don’t see the way your smile blooms like flowers,
the way your laugh fills a room. They don’t see you
bursting at the seams with light.

The problem with being an ugly girl in love with pretty boys is that
you are not
an ugly girl.
You are a warrior
full of battle scars where they touched you.
You are a lion,
and gazelles are pretty, too.
You are an earthquake,
a firework, a
lightning bolt.

Now strike.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Falling in Love with a Vagabond

I once traced the freckles on your arms at two in the morning. I said,
You are the sky, and apologized
for covering you in black lines. You said
not be sorry. You said
that you liked it.
When you fell on your longboard and lost
half the skin on your left arm,
I could still see the constellations underneath.

Every time I said fuck you for three months, you said
We already played that game, and you
The night you left you never said goodbye,
only looked up at me from that rock in the parking lot
where we'd spent so much time avoiding work
and other people,
and said, oh, fuck you,
and I think maybe that meant I made you feel something
other than the emptiness you try to fill.
So I said that we already played that game
and you hugged me
and as I walked away, you shouted out,
rematch, next year! and all I could think was, oh,
fuck you,

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"These, our bodies, possessed by light..."

Title by Richard Siken. Written the night of, posted late due to lack of internet.

You bring in the summer solstice in style without even trying.

Every time you go into the middle of the woods and your lovers make you shout, you leave another piece of yourself in the bark of the trees. When you're shaking and cold and exhausted, and the girl with the waterfall laugh is screaming and you don't know why, you feel like you are a superhero and then like you're an earthquake. You shake like cottonwood leaves without the shimmer to redeem you and the boy with the lakefront smile sits with you as you cry and cry and cry. He tells you to sleep and you tell him no. He tells you to sleep and suddenly you are burrowed against his chest, drifting in an out. I'm sorry, you try to tell him every time you break the surface of awake-asleep-awake. I'm sorry.

Shh, he says. You're okay. Sleep. Maybe I'll sleep, too.

You are sleeping in fits and starts, sitting up and hiding in his heat. When the sun is finally up and the trees don't look like Disney villains anymore, he brings you back to bed, such as it is. You curl close to him and revel in the scent of his skin. His arms around you feel much like home, and you wonder if it's because your roots and his have grown I the same place. You wonder if they are tangling. You wonder what that means.

In the morning, the man with the ember heart leaves before the rest of you are awake. You wake up just long enough to feel a pang of wishful thinking. You want him to stay, to touch him in the early morning light, to watch the sparks in his wide green eyes. You mutter a sleepy goodmorninggoodbye and move closer to the boy with the lakefront smile.

You all wake up later than planned, and you fuck the boy with the lakefront smile as the girl with the waterfall laugh has another cigarette. There are moments as he fills you that his face lights up and you think again, as you always do when confronted with his smile, of bright golden sunlight; of midsummer breeze; of a perfect moment cast in glass, a cottonwood puff caught in resin.

You wonder what he thinks of when he looks at you. You wonder if it matters. You wonder why everything needs to matter or to not, but no answer comes to you.

Later, when you find out you are bleeding, you are not surprised. They have entered you and something has shifted, as it always does. As you slept against old logs and cold dirt and the boy with the lakefront smile's chest, something broke, just like it always does. Your blood does not surprise you.

You have been hemorrhaging emotions for years.