JumpThe sky was blue and unbroken, except for the small girl-shaped hole, a paper doll standing on the edge of the roof. Stopping in my tracks, I squinted toward the top of the office building at the cut-out. She was like a shadow on the sky staring at the sidewalk beneath her. Her whole body was leaning toward the drop, almost as if she wanted to fall. As if she wanted to jump. Oh my God...
She took a step forward.
I sprinted across the empty parking lot, empty as it always was on Sundays in this office building maze, this industrial island in the center of an otherwise overcrowded city. My arms buzzed around my head like a starved mosquito until the girl turned in my direction. She froze. I bent over, trying to catch my breath.
“Hi, um,” I said between gasps. I craned my neck to look up at her. “Are—are you okay?”
The girl was silent, but made no move. She was so near the edge; one little shove and she would plummet down...
I could almost
The End of Our StoryYou don’t know this, but
I hate punctuation,
even though I’m 146 pounds of storyteller
and suicidal, by design.
What I know about love is that
what-on-earth girls get too attached
to the good man and the length of rope,
but I don’t think I’m alive enough to die yet.
They say I’m guilty,
but that you exist through
coffee and sugar and rain
calling me home
from a journey, my journey,
but that’s not the way I see it.
Or maybe it actually is.
Sometimes I lose things,
things like crayon soulmates,
promises for a fool,
and colours I never tasted,
things like you.
Once upon a carcass,
a hospital bird with soot in her lungs
belonged to you,
but I didn’t mean to resonate
through your pocket universe
six years ago.
EntropyI’ve got this personal theory that all couples tend toward a breakup. It’s science, you know; not that I ever paid much attention in that class. I did learn about entropy, though, how everything is in a gradual decline toward chaos. Well, if being in a relationship represents order, being single is most chaotic.
Take my parents, for example: they were happily married for thirteen years until my mom stopped talking to my dad, started sleeping on the couch, and finally left him. And then, chaos: angry phone calls, fights, lawyers, all while I switched between parents like a disoriented particle.
It all turned out okay, though; a few years later, my mom even found someone new, and I believe that my parents are much happier apart than they ever were together. She and her new boyfriend have a lot more in common: they both like living in the city, TV dramas, and Steinbeck novels, whereas my dad is more of an action movie-watching, suburbs-living kind of a guy.
Only, my mom has re
The Great RaceI crack my knuckles and touch the ground, stretching my calves the way Olympic runners do before a race. The gravel spikes at my palms; my muscles burn from the stretching. Jogging in place, I breathe in short bursts that form into clouds in the chilly air.
Max paces back and forth next to me, holding a clipboard and waving his pen like a conductor. My body is so full of electricity from the anticipation that I want to slap him as hard as I can just for the sake of letting go of the tension. Instead, I crack my knuckles again, making Max cringe in a satisfying way.
Shaking it off, Max checks his watch before pushing his glasses to the top of his head. “Four minutes,” he says, reading off the clipboard. “The race starts at the fifth period bell. That way, you won’t meet any teachers in the hallways who are running late, but there might be some girls still rushing to class after lunch.” He looks up, scrunching his eyebrows together. “Although I really
NiagaraThe water rushing beneath us, we stood on the bridge overlooking the waterfall. The droplets floated away at our feet, waving like a curtain in the wind and breaking up into a thousand pin-sized rainbows. The sky was gray, but the colours beneath it made up for its blandness. The air tasted like the popcorn and hot dogs being sold at a nearby stand, and our faces were pricked by the mist.
Standing next to me in her red coat, her short, dark hair flying around her face like it had a mind of its own, she reached out her arms and leaned over the railing of the bridge. I could still hear her small, very distinctly French laugh over the roaring of the Falls filling up my ears. Her eyes were as blue as the water and just as sparkling.
And as we stood there on the bridge—wet and shivering and one hundred and sixty-seven feet up from the rocks being crushed by two million, two hundred and seventy-one thousand, two hundred and forty liters of Lake Erie every second—I knew we were at
Eyelash BrushesHe was
the first boy to ever wink at me,
and I remember thinking that a wink
was profoundly intimate,
like a lightly-brushed hand
or soft-spoken words.
I remember painting myself
a portrait with a palette of
the shy romantic,
the blue-eyed pop star,
the broken-hearted bad boy,
and the winker,
the winker with
ears of techno music
and eyes of almonds
who sat next to me in the bus
and told me bad jokes
while I rolled my peanut-pupils
and tried not to laugh.
And when his exit caught
on the spokes of one bad joke,
on the loose strings of a snide comeback,
when he turned back to me and winked,
I remember thinking
that his colours were the brightest of them all.
Versions“Jesus, how long does it take to put on a tux?”
His voice came to me muffled by the heavy curtain in front of the changing room. “I — appreciate — it,” he said as he struggled with the garment, “but — my name’s — Ethan.”
I laughed, my bangs swinging to the side of my face. Curling my legs up on the leather armchair, my eyes wandered over the dark, musty tailor shop. “That joke has been way overdone. Like, so overdone, it’s burnt to a crisp.”
“Why’d you laugh at it, then?” I could hear him grinning through the curtain. His feet were thumping on the hardwood floor, and I could imagine him almost falling over as he slipped in his socks. I giggled into my hand.
All was quiet for a minute, the only sounds coming from the cash register at the other end of the store. Drawing my eyebrows together, I asked, “Everything okay? You didn’t have a heart attack or something?”
what to do when he doesn't say it backa)
you will give all of yourself to a boy who won't know you at all.
he will recycle your parts, make you stationary, bind you into
paper that he will gift back so you can write poetry about him.
you, too, say i love you quickly.
when he doesn't say it back, evaporate.
he will kiss you in places you didn't know existed.
until him, you were a peasant in your body's palace.
he crowned you princess, broke the lock of your castle's gates.
when he doesn't say it back, load your cannons.
you are a fountain pen.
look him in the eye when you write him letters on your skin.
when he asks to read them, surrender.
you have always been this way: too eager
to make wildflowers bloom inside of him.
when he doesn't say it back, trim the stems.
when he tells you that your eyes remind him of tree bark,
show him that your gaze is sturdier than nature's limbs.
without breaking eye contact, slowly back him into a wall.
when he expresses discomfort,
ask if he knows what choking is like.
FFM 2014, July 5 - BoxesThe answering machine was blinking red. Elaine stared at it. Aside from the streetlight through the blinds, it was the only thing with a light on in the apartment. There was nothing to turn on. Everything was in boxes. Her sofa, her bed, all covered in boxes. She’d tried to unpack, after her brother had left with the rental van, but somehow every thing she pulled out of the damned boxes reminded her of him. Of them. The worst was the box with all the framed pictures – why had she even packed them? Elaine felt the tears well up again. For the last week all she’d done was cry, until her migraines became pre-emptive.
No. No. This was not how she’d spend her first night away from that cheating, no good piece of shit. She’d broken free now, and even though she had no job or prospects, and a family two states away (her brother, bless his soul, was probably halfway through Washington by now), she wasn’t going to just lie around and cry. Elaine got up
heaving on the bathroom
floor on sunday nights like
it's in style to have rotten teeth
and bloodshot eyes
and all 206 bones on display like
a natural history exhibit
(in fifty years they will line
up before your corpse to see
the girl who had to ring
Death's doorbell exactly seven
times before he opened the door)
trees shiver in winter
until all the snow scatters
to the ground and they are left
bare and naked like skinny
children left on the side of the road.
snow crystallizes in my hair until
it is stiff and white. i miss the days
when the sky was black at night
instead of faded grey and when
i didn't face nightmares of
carving your sarcophagus.
The Real-Life Stats on Spontaneous RomanceShe singled him out of the rest of the people in the waiting room, because he was wearing an ascot as a scarf like he didn’t know the difference. Maybe he didn’t. His shoes didn’t match; one was red and the other was black, though they were both chucks. Behind his glasses, his eyes peered out a pallid, self reflective grey.
An image of him smiling came to her, and made her smile in turn. Then she decided to notice the empty seat beside him and got up. She sat beside him with a whump sound and he didn’t look up. This one looked promising.
“So...” she said, “have you noticed that the lady over there, the one wringing her hands like that, is twisting a ring, but it’s on the wrong finger to be a wedding ring?”
“Uh...” he looked up at her, “no?”
“There, she’s the one in the only cushioned chair in here. The one with the hat.”
He looked over, and then down again.
“Yeah, I guess she is.
Ten Reasons Why...1. When you couldn’t sleep the night before because you were too busy thinking about her, but you don’t even mind.
2. When you can’t find your car keys to leave his house and he says, “Well, sweetheart, I guess you’re stuck with me.”
3. When you get in a fight with her but can’t stay mad ‘cause she’s just too damn cute.
4. When he kisses you on the forehead and you remember why you fell in love with him in the first place.
5. When you’re holding hands with her and your friends are around, laughing at you—but it doesn’t matter anymore because, hell, you’re in love!
6. When you watch him tickle his little sister and think how he’d make a great father one day.
7. When you wish you could wake up every morning beside her and realize you’re already there.
8. When he smiles at the world with a cute, cocky grin like he knows as long as you’re together, nothing else matters, and you can’
AerosolIt has been a day and a half since the crash, and I have found a cabin. In some ways, this is a relief. I don’t know if I could face another night on the mountain without shelter. Outside, a fire does no good: the heat simply travels upwards. However, this place also raises some difficult questions. I estimate that I’ve put eight miles between myself and the crash site. I don’t know if this will be enough. It occurs to me that I don’t really know anything.
The survival manual recommends staying with the plane. It explains that this affords the best chance of rescue. It explains that the wreckage offers warmth and shade. It explains that seventy percent of pilots who stay are located within three days, while seventy percent of those who leave are never recovered. It does not explain what to do if the payload begins to leak.
Jenkins shouted after me as I ran, said it was our duty to defend the aircraft. I tried to warn him about the spur of wood protrudin
The Gentlemen's Alliance #1Mr Sensible
Mr Sensible likes his coffee flat and dark, the same tongue-searing temperature every single morning. He gets up before the birds do to have his shower, and thus always smells of a mix between roasted coffee beans and that strange almond stuff he uses for his hair. He is clean shaven, and his hair doesn't flop down over his face. He looks his age and acts his age.
When you first meet him, you don't like Mr. Sensible much. But he can carry good conversation and he admits he has a smile he saves just for you. He never has to chase you because unlike most men he can keep up. You go out together without the company of others as friends at first. He shows no romantic interest in you for ages, until one day someone tries to ask you out and he slips his warm hand into yours.
Mr Sensible always has time for everything because he's always a little bit early. He has time to zip up your dress and compliment you on your looks. He doesn't shower you with affection because he knows it si
Iris's Runaways I remember the first day I met you. Third graders have a tendency to label everybody; I was the twin who wore blue, Iris was the twin who wore pink, and you were the boy with the light red casts on his left leg and right arm.
Third grade was the year we met. Fourth grade was when I fell in love with you. Fifth grade was when you stole Iris’s heart, and if there’s a god, I’m sure it would know when she stole yours.
In sixth grade, Iris confessed her love to you, as did you yours to her. By the seventh, you were bound to each other.
You, Ray, never knew how much I loved you, and you never would know. But Iris—the bitch—knew everything. Close though we were, I never spoke a word, but I’m certain that she knew.
I’m sorry, Iris, I would say, I know you didn’t mean to hurt me. The way I killed her would change
The Blame Game. The Blame Game
How about we play a game.
So we will know who is to blame.
We'll spin the dice and take a turn.
And hurt each other until it burns.
I can't believe what you have done.
Filled us with lies of Kingdom come.
You preached of a God oh so great.
Yet now it seems we are of different fates
There will be no hypocrites beyond His door.
Nor salvation for the wicked to their core.
No place for the deceitful with silver tongues
or those who have been lost since they were young.
For you who cant stand to see your mother.
Have only become a dreadful bother.
Spewing your hate from here to there.
You will one day face a life so bare.
You speak of a Kingdom and Father's love,
Yet when faced a problem; were the first to shove.
A coward hiding behind twisted lies.
Then questioned why we broke all ties.
Don't get me started on your transgressions.
Your problems you caused with pure aggression.
You fought, and screamed, and manipulated.
Your husbands left beaten and berated
your cupped hands
the grace of my ribcage
as we drift toward
the shelter of a quiet cove
my hair tangles
the valves of your heart
holding you at bay
for a moment
till I return your breath
the children we were
share ev'ry secret
rolling in the grass, always
laughing in our dreams
The Parlour IncidentOne day in July, I believe it was, I found myself sitting with several acquaintances in Christopher's parlour. It was one of those deliciously lazy afternoons which only the summer in her full glory can bring. The room had a wan, listless light to it, relaxing the other guests and myself as we languidly chatted over tea and crumpets. The air was also sluggishly heavy, dulling the senses to a slowly-blended calm engendered by the heat of St. Othniel's southerly climate.
At length, after much stimulating conversation, Christopher stood, producing a book of sheet music.
"What do you all say to a bit of music?" he asked.
"Certainly," I answered.
"Oh yes, please do darling!" Tabitha exclaimed, "he's quite the maestro."
Christopher laughed, shaking his head.
"Now, now love, I'd not go that far."
He strode over to the piano as the other guests urged him on. Ida entered the room bearing a merrily steaming teapot and more crumpets.
"More tea sirs?" she inquired, shooting sideways glances at her
our walls are too thinsitting together
you can hear my heart hitting
against my chest like a broom to the ceiling
& the neighbor upstairs
begins to scream
the wind breaks a hole in my skull
you can hear my thoughts:
words whispered in paper rooms
& you have a cup to my ear
i am 16 now
but sometimes we forget that
we are not teapots or socks in the wastebasket
& the holes in our heads are not signs of well-worn affection
Spoiler AlertWhen we meet, I’ll be nineteen and you’ll be twenty. You’ll try to get to know me, and I won’t say much, but you’re persistent. And eventually, we’ll become friends.
You’ll be in the dorm lounge one day, playing video games with your roommates, and they’ll all laugh at you because I’ll beat you. But you just smile along, because you know I’d beat all of them too.
On a Friday, you’ll ask me out for the first time. I won’t know what to say, so I’ll just accept, not thinking much of it. Then later that night after we’ve eaten ice cream and are sitting on a park bench, I’ll pretend I don’t want to kiss you. Even though I really do.
On the week of final exams we’ll be studying desperately in the library. I’ll be on the verge of tears—why do I even need physics anyway? I’ll groan and slam my head against the desk, and that’s when you’ll lean in close and
MondaysI don’t like coffee. Too bitter. I always end up with a cupful of cream and a drop of java buried underneath the fluff. Doesn’t keep me from ordering a mug every morning – gotta keep your hands from freezing, ya know? The cute barista smiling behind the counter keeps the rest of my extremities warm.
Conversations with Doc - Part Fouri.
"Just be your usual lovely, kind, smart, wonderful self, and you'll be fine. Leave Bitch Lauren at home tomorrow. Pat the Snarky one on the head and tell her to be good while you’re gone."
“I can’t leave her with you for a few hours?”
“NOOOO, no way!”
“You’re neat, aren’t you? I mean, not compulsively, but you’re organized.”
“I try to be. I go to The Container Store just to look around.”
“Now that’s a line for a story. I’m stealing that line.”
“I won’t time you. I only do that to people that have consistently abused my patience.”
“See what I have to deal with every day? Snipe A and Snipe B right here.
“Just look at all the silver in your hair. I take credit for at least some of those. I bet I made that one right there turn silver.”
"Good luck, Doc."
"Luck? Skill! Intensity! World domination."
'It's Over.''It’s over.'
You say the words so casually. Completely devoid of any emotion. You stare me dead in the eyes. My mouth opens in shock. My eyes search your face desperately for any indication that you’re joking. You’re not. Your expression remains the same. Impassive. Serious. Resolute. You watch me as I fall apart before you. I drop to my knees. Broken. Without another word you turn around and walk away from me. I reach my arm out and desperately try to think of something to say. Anything to make you change your mind. Anything to make you stay. But no words reach my mouth. You are gone forever.
I wake up with a start. I find myself sitting upright in bed next to your sleeping body. I feel the warm dampness of a tear roll down my cheek. I must have woken you up because you turn toward me and sleepily ask if I’m okay. I wipe the tear away hurriedly and reassure you. I say it was just a nightmare. I say I was being chased. You roll over and g
(A)Musing - Part OneIt took ten minutes for Lawrence Bradley to realize he was still on the same paragraph, reading without actually reading. He blinked at the page rather dully before opening the bedside table drawer and fishing out a bookmark. The story would not progess tonight, not as long as these thoughts weighted heavily on his mind. He folded up his wire glasses and laid them on top of the book. Sighing, he slouched his way into a more horizontal position.
It would have been a lie to claim he wasn't attracted to her. And Lawrence Bradley was, among other things, a honest man. He was attracted, but he didn't know why.
She was quite sweet, but no more so to him than she was to everyone. Intelligent, yes, but weren't most of his students? They managed a passable enough imitation of intelligence anyway, at least when they showed up for class. She wasn't pretty - and that wasn't a harsh judgement on his part. Autumn Fanshaw was as plain Jane as they made them and he'd taught his share of