to other worlds than this

Isabellas Castle (Confessional Series #3)

Confession: “I struggle with my sobriety.”

To love an addict

Whose sobriety never clicked

Is to crush your own ribs

Sternum caving in

Seperate the sinner from the sin

Don’t fit in her own skin

Four months sober

Shut your eyes and it’s over

Daddy drinks bleach at night

Momma can’t think quite right

In her home- destitution

But she found absolution

In arms covered with aged track marks

Before she chose the dark

This is her home

She was never alone

Holds the bottle like a lover

When I love her like no other

The promises came true

But her relapse was overdue

Xanax infused dreams

Came apart at the seams

I had to stand by as she just let go

A junkie dynamo

But there’s another side, another side

Not suicide

Flush the pills down the drain

Swirls away with the pain

As she passes to the other side

One where she never died


Walk Past

Do not glance over cold shoulder when shutting the door

Best left that way

Risk perish to ash

Sifting through old photographs, aflame

As if memories can ignite gasoline rather than pain


Do not sneak in through the back when

The tickets to a show you have seen before

Sell out before you’ve reached the booth

Already know how it ends

He’s on stage but you’re the one that gets



Rehearsed lines like perfect lies that

Fall off the edge of a first kiss

Do not get caught in the revolving doors

Or kaleidoscope vision of what this is

Like it is a waltz for one– a wild goose chase


Madness is falling in love again and again

Expecting a different result

You’ve seen the end–

Don’t need a replay

Get in the car and drive away

you dumped me on a sunday afternoon, you stupid asshole. i miss you.


the presence of absence

what it means to feel you not here

used quilt on wet grass on summer night

hard lemonade and cicada symphony

as we made up names for constellations

that twisted the sky like

a hand curved around spine,

lips surround collar bone

i waited for you to kiss me


you took up residence in

what used to be part of my heart

was it the attic or the basement,

the atrium or the ventricle

either way, it lies vacant

a murmur where the wind whistles

through open windows

this space was never for rent

i thought i locked the doors

you didn’t even sweep the floors

on your way out


or perhaps it was frontal lobe of my brain

you leased

knowing i had beasts for tenants

thought you could slay them

but they hold me at night

pull your hair out, starve if your food touches,

nightmares, repeat your words over and over over over over over over over over over

and so you left when i cradled said creature

like a mother loves her psychopathic child

remembers the teddy bear he loved when he was six

and not the blood in the sink


but it is the same customer that

causes rumination of you

an obsessive thought pattern

that has gotten worse since your return:

fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck does he want to touch me again

or will he flinch away from my outstretched hands like a burning poker

to exposed skin

exposed exposed exposed exposed exposed skin

please leave me or love me

this body can’t handle in betweens


The plateaus of your heart

scrape the horizon like

manducated fingernails

Unmoving in the sand storms

of your mind- blinding and abrupt

Beautiful until it was my eyes

the grit stung


You were the result

of an immovable object and an unstoppable force

colliding like gnashed teeth and bruised knuckles

two lovers at odds

the last breath before death

and I was content to watch the

tectonic plates thunder underneath skin

until you reached behind already broken ribs

and swallowed my lungs


I listened until your name became ambulance sirens screeching

in a natural disaster- a tempest of anxiety and a whirlwind of medication

that you said worked about as well as the bible did

And the rain and wind wore your plateaus into mesas

Fuck you


You think that it is something above you,

indestructible, but

You are standing on the glass ceiling- the flat caprock

of your making

And the only thing left is sky

cloudless as the day you were formed


She appears in sleep thoughts sometimes

Seventh grade teacher who asked to be called Coach

But never taught a sport

Just swing danced with his girlfriend on Saturday nights


She stood in the corner during class

Always faced towards the windows

Gangly girl shifted weight side to side

We all thought ADHD but in reality it was

It hurts to sit down


She had the kind of blonde flutters

I thought belonged on magazine covers

So full and weightless

Bragged about her mom, the hairdresser


The last time I talked to her was

After she discovered the cancer

Almost five years ago, eighth grade English

And a sub who couldn’t teach

So she braided my hair and talked about her mom,

The hairdresser


Commented on how thin my hair was

And anger burned underneath embarrassed cheeks

I couldn’t tell her it was because I couldn’t

Stop ripping it from the roots with nimble piano-fingers

It felt wrong to say when hers leapt from her scalp

Of its own accord

I swallowed my shame and let her finish the plait

When she said she was jealous I had hair


Her hair was melted marigold before departure

Soft waves of leaf-dappled sunlight

And even though we weren’t really friends

We were twelve when she told me in math class

That she was jealous of my height because

Boys didn’t like tall girls

But I wished I saw eye to eye with her

Because she could reach the shelf where

The teacher kept the textbooks

Just out of my reach


She had just turned fifteen but

I hadn’t seen her for many weeks

Except quick glimpses when she was well enough

To make it to class

A wisp of a girl

And the last time I saw her

I felt like I should say something but

I didn’t know what

I was thinking of her when they made the announcement

Over the speakers

And all I could think was that

I hoped her older brother was with her and

Not at school

So he wouldn’t have to cry in class


I didn’t go to her memorial service

Because I didn’t know what I would’ve said


Thank you for braiding my hair

I See You

Cigarette man speaks broken english

Ask for a pack of smokes

Grabs a pack of menthols from behind the counter

Ask how his days going while he rings it up


He says long and tired

Cigarette man is just trying to get through the long day

With nickels and tobacco falling through holes in his pockets

So he can go home to a house

That doesn’t smell like cigarettes


Front man’s dealer isn’t picking up

Leave a message after the tone

He just needs the right drugs

To stop the panic in his palms

From metastasizing

A growth that starts in his fingertips

And circulates to his chest

Sternum shivers with veiled weight

Front man spends his day job shift

Waiting for the phone to ring


It didn’t feel the same

When he touched me as when you used to

He was all hard-flat-palms and please-fuck-me

But I couldn’t do it

Even though he had loved me for five years,

Waited for the right heartbreak to make me

Malleable as clay

But I was more like sand the ocean leaves behind

Wet enough to mold but never stayed together for too long

He wasn’t you,

Soft-caress, lips-in-crook-of-neck, never-push

And I wanted so badly for him to fuck your name from my memory

As if your names weren’t just letters off

But I couldn’t and I didn’t

Because even though I had known him for six years

And he had loved me for five

My heart beat faster when he touched me and I thought it was lust

But it was the kind of uneven–fast that precedes panic

Instead of the pitter patter of mice on squeaky floorboards

Instead of the buzz of hummingbirds near sugar water

Instead of the thrum of cicadas when you first kissed me

Asked is this ok and I cried

Because no man had ever asked me that before
He didn’t ask me if it was ok

Please come back

Room 302 (B)

Such malleable beings we are learning to love

No stranger in my dreams

Sad cowboy man feeds stray dog outside saloon

I kiss him just so I can sate the cravings with a taste

I’ve always hated rum but it’s easy to pretend I don’t

It’s harder to drink less



I shot up

As shame splintered fingernails



i. fuck modern art / my mind is a splattered like acrylic paint / peeling on the edges of a window pane / my voice weaves between sweeping willow trees and the sharp edges of horizon / to find a place where I can be / and you watch from leather cushioned benches as I become / this tempest of low serotonin and childhood trauma / a tropical depression, gale of an addict / lightning in my veins so I can feel sane / i love you i love you i love you / but i can’t stop snorting the stars / until the moon melts away / im sorry you have to see me this way 
ii. small smaller smallest / i make myself so tiny i can spiral down the drain / don’t notice me don’t notice me don’t notice me breaking inside / until i detonate with a rage so hot / i’ll burn too much to be worth holding / i will cheat on you with my suffering / hold it like a lover to the light / whisper to it like a child about the waltz off the edge i could take / can’t be a burden can’t be a burden can’t be a burden to you / swallow swallow swallow the pain / pull my hair out out out / tell me already that im not needed and i will go / i don’t want to be alone but / im a used canvas / and you can’t paint a home 

iii. fuck modern art / leave me before i ruin you / black thumb bitch / everything living withers beneath her touch / don’t stay don’t stay don’t stay / i love you but i’ll never say / i’ll paint you with my blood / water color fears / click click clack of his shoes at my door / at my bed / i don’t feel so scared in your hands / but i’ll never be good enough for someone like you 

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