in which nothing i wear is put back in the closet

As for me,
I wear my pretty like a 5th season.

Shoulders sticking out from under the lace straps,
I wear my body like planting flowers in snow.

When I wear my body in public,
I wear it like apology.

And when I’m home, looking at my body in the mirror
is like trying to plant daisies in minefields.

I wear my body like a day-job.

I wear it like last season’s harvest
and I wish I was careful what I wished for
when I begged for rain.

I wear my body like a box in the attic.

Most if it is photographs,
most of which I cringe,
and I find it beautiful.

To be able to see your body,
without seeing yourself in it.

I’m still afraid of death but somehow
it comforts me to know that,

even as a ghost,
I lived so fiercely.

This is not my body.
But I wear it like a battleground.

And when dysphoria seizes me-
when I hear gunfire erupt from under my skin,

I dress my body like a minefield
and I wear it like a graveyard.

I wear my ghost like today.
And my body like tomorrow.

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2017 looks a lot like history

It fucks me up to think that
we only measure time
from when we decided
to start counting it.

That if we started counting from the exact time of Earth’s creation,
this saturday might technically
be a thursday.

February might have already passed.

That picture I took of the moon earlier
has a date written on it
that might not belong to that night.

And isn’t that
fucked up?

That we started counting
without knowing what the start was?

That when Jesus was born,
we called that time “zero”.
Called it year zero and
every year after that had a number?
How every second after that
was a second away
from the time this man’s existence
was a first?

And I laugh to myself.

How in 2017, I still see articles with titles like:
“first black woman to ever…”
“first transgender woman to ever…”
“first muslim woman to ever…”
“first woman to ever…”

How we call the time before these “firsts”:
zero,
even though history clearly shows there was plenty before them.

History clearly uses BC,
as in,
Before Christ,
as in,
before zero.

History clearly calls BS,
as in,
bullshit
on your prejudice.

But apparently,
history
doesn’t
count.

on why i stopped yelling back

snowballs, spitballs,
& speculations about your sexuality:
slurs on the street can never guess.

if you do respond, you’ll never prove them wrong.
you’re not you to them.
you’re green jacket and long hair.
you’re earbuds and quick step.
you’re easy target.

say nothing & they fill in the gap of
your personality with what they’re
already convinced of.

say something, give them a droplet of
the ocean that you are, & they’ll try to drown
you with a different kind of depth.

so if they’ll only remember you by your
quickened pace & call you anything but
your name,

know that almost 100 % of the stars that
we see at night are just optical illusions.
the actual star lies a little bit to the left.

or a few light years to the right.

Slip of a hand (a short story)

(So this is a short story that I wrote that I’m actually pretty proud of! Young adult, futuristic, science fiction. Trigger warning: the main theme of the story is suicide so some people may find this difficult to read!)

It should have been me. I know this sounds like the first stage of grief, but I assure you I’m not in denial. I know Kyle died. I know there is no negotiation that I can make with the universe to bring him back.
But I can bargain with the facts.
The fact is that I am scared of death. My first suicide attempt was when I was 11 years old. I’ve had plenty of reality checks to prepare me for this, but I never thought that he’d do it. The jokes about life being shitty that we both made. The way he still put so much effort in things, and only laughed when they didn’t work out. I mean, shit. Years ago, when I told him I liked him, his coming out was an apology. It wasn’t because of who I was, just that I was a girl. He changed. Became such an activist online, giving advice to people who used to be in his situation.
I thought I wouldn’t miss the red flags. I’d read the articles that said that people don’t usually attempt suicide until six months after an onset of suicidal thoughts. What an idiot I was to think that I could recognize when those thoughts started. That he would isolate himself, cry in my arms those few moments when we would see each-other. They never get it right.
Sorry.
I’ve already written him dozens of letters, so I’m all out of memories and metaphors. I’m over it. It’s been almost a year since he died. I’ve been going to therapy and my parents and friends have been crazy supportive. It’s just that the feelings sometimes bubble up, you know? Anyway, it’s almost 5 PM, and it’s a week after my birthday. I have to go pass the time.
.
.
“Hey, mom.”
“Hey, sweetie. You have your experiences piled up for today, don’t you?”
“I thought we had them both at the same time.”
“About that. I’d accidentally assigned it a week earlier, so I actually went through it on Monday, on the bus! Can you believe that I had to walk to work 87 times in between two stops?”
“What happened to the whole “mindfulness” thing?”
“Oh, screw those limitations. I’m not getting any younger. I want to appreciate the good moments, and it’s not the end of the world if I want to skip to them.”
“How is getting to work a good moment?”
“The temperatures get very low in the winter. Go now. It’s almost your time.”

I sit on the white floral sofa, facing the balcony as light is cut by the violet velvet curtains and falls on my body with warmth. Behind me, my mother is making coffee for herself. I turn to the clock and see that there are only a few seconds left before I have to go through every experience I’ve skipped this past year. I’m anxious because I just spoke to my mom, and I can tell she was fretting too. When you go through your time, you fully experience the things you skipped. But when you wake up, although you might have gone through a month’s worth of fast-forwarded time, no time at all will have passed back in everyone else’s world. So you could be in the middle of a burp when you go through hours of boring lectures and simply continue to burp when you’re done. But your memory is all messed up for a while afterwards. It will feel like no time has passed, which is true, and that plenty has passed, which is also true. So it’s good to go through your experiences when you are awake and alert but bored. Not very stimulated. Basically when you’re doing nothing. Theoretically, sleeping is best for these situations, but the transition from dream to past wakes a lot of people up and they develop insomnia for a while. I guess three realities are too much for the human brain.
Anyway, here’s hoping I make it out without too much second-hand embarrassment. Is that word too ironic? Just a-

1. I’m naked and I’m drying my hair.
2. I’m naked and I’m waiting for my skin to absorb body-lotion.
3. I’m waiting for the heater to make the room temperature bearable.
4. I’m putting on clothes. What the fuck? How
5. I’m watching my phone charge. can I be so impatient?
6. I’m waiting to fall asleep.
7. I’m on the school bus. I’m dressed in heavy clothing and the snow outside looks beautiful
8. I just told my dad I’m vegetarian and he is giving me a lecture on protein.
9. I’m giving a class presentation. Nice, I was wondering how that went. Alexis forgot to record me when I told her I’d be skipping because I was anxious.
10. I’m playing monopoly with my sister. Oh my fucking, this game takes hours! Ugh, she can’t even count the money properly. Why did semi-comatose me think that it was a good idea to let her be the banker? This is taking forever. Please end, please end, please end.
11. I’m playing UNO with my sister. Please end, please end, please end.
12. I’m having a panic attack at the school bathroom. Please end, please end, please end.
13. I’m at my desk at home reading a book assigned in English. It’s raining outside. Finally, I begin to hold back a little.
14. I’m babysitting for my neighbor. Fuck, the kid is screaming. I can’t move. I hope he calms down soon. Shit, was that security camera always there? Maybe that’s why she never hired me again. I’m an idiot.
15. I’m waiting at Kyle’s room. Why am I in his room? Oh, he just came out of the bathro-.
16. I’m at a playground with Kyle. The sun is setting. No, it’s rising. And I’m about to gulp down a plastic cup of water. Wait no, that’s vodka. Fuck. That tastes horrible. I hate alcohol. Why am I drinking another one? No, stop!
17. Good thing I don’t drink often. But it was nice that I got to see Kyle again. I miss hearing his voice. Nobody can feel much emotion during flashbacks, but even this watered-down sadness is enough to get me to start crying on my way back from school.
18. I’m in the kitchen, making pasta. I hope I see Kyle again.
19. I’m in my bed, hugging a pillow. I have horrible period cramps. I don’t think I could bear seeing Kyle again.
20. I’m sitting on the toilet and I have diarrhea. Of course there won’t be much Kyle, I loved every moment with him, I wouldn’t skip any.
21. I’m in my bed, under the covers, on my side, staring at the wall. I guess I was waiting to fall asleep. I have to pee. Why didn’t I remind myself that if I had to pee, I could go and do that? I suppose strictly staying in one stop would get me to fall asleep faster, but this is just uncomfortable. And what’s that sound? Like pebbles on my window. I hear something. Is that Kyle? It stopped. Where did he go? Shit, the door. Is it Kyle? I get up from bed and look through the eye-glass.
22. He’s staring straight at me and it looks like he’s been crying. FUCK. He’s wearing a green tee, and his ripped jeans. The clothes he was wearing when they found his body. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
He’s banging on the door. “Chart, are you there?” I miss hearing him say my name.
“No.” I reply.
“Don’t fuck around now, Chart.”
“Let me sleep.” Please figure out what’s going on.
“Don’t fuck ar-around.”
He’s slurring his words. Is he drunk? “The only thing I want right now is to go to bed. I wish to spend a lot of time with you, just not right now.” Oh my god.
“So you only want me when I’m happy? When I’m pretending to be okay? You always do this. It’s like I’m a circus animal, but hey, the only payment I get is more fucking pain and isolation. But yeah, I forgot. The animals don’t earn shit. They’re trained to put on a show. Tortured. I guess we have a lot in common.”
“I want you to leave. I do not only want you when you’re unhappy, I just do not want to be with you now.” How did I not wake up from this? Why didn’t I lower my sensitivity, what the fuck is wrong with me? Kyle, please figure this out.
“Fine. You’re an asshole, Chart. Just like my parents. Just like everyone else. If I don’t act all perfect and talk about the things you want me to, then you just ignore me. Like I’m Pavlov’s dog, an experiment. Yeah, chisel me to your liking, as if that will change what I’m made of.” Kyle. Kyle. How could I have shut off the world like that. As if I don’t owe anyone anything. I failed him. “I fucking hate you. Nothing I do ever makes me happy. It’s not even worth trying anymore. I’ll die anyway, so I’ll just make it quicker to skip the drama. Like everyone fucking does. Yesterday, my dad skipped when I started talking. You’re all fucking hypocrites.” Does he know I’m skipping? Why won’t he understand? Why doesn’t this change anything? “At least my death will fill you and everyone with guilt so that’s a couple of people in this world a bit more aware about how huge pieces of shit they are, and that things should change around here.”

23. I’m going back to bed. No, no, no, no.
24. I’m at the school bathroom, crying after I heard about Kyle. This can’t be happening.
25. I’m texting my mom to come pick me up. The tranquility of flashbacks has me calmer now.
26. Kyle’s mom is talking to me about not blaming myself. How we cannot hold ourselves responsible for the pain someone else had been going through. She’s crying. Before this, I’d been blaming myself for not being there.
27. I’m lying in bed the next day. I’d been there.
28. I’m still lying in bed. Is it weird that I blame myself less now than when I didn’t know I could have maybe saved him?
29. I’m at the gym, doing cardio.
30. I’m at my sister’s birthday party.
31. I’m trying to fall asleep.
32. I’m at Kyle’s funeral.
33. I’m in chemistry class.
34. I’m in physics class
35. I’m trying to fall asleep.
36. I’m at the gym, doing cardio.
37. I’m trying to fall asleep.
38. I’m in my school’s therapist office.
39. I’m on a family trip to the woods.
40. I’m in biology class.
41. I’m in math class.
42. I’m having a panic attack in my room.
43. I’m having a panic attack in my sister’s room.
44. I’m in homeroom. I guess it’s better that I’ve crammed my trauma in these moments of lowered senses. I couldn’t have gotten over his death, if I’d been awake.
45. I’m putting everything in my room that remind me of him in a brown box. He wouldn’t have died if I’d been awake.
46. I’m cleaning the dishes. He would have died in some other way if I’d been awake.
47. I’m brushing my teeth. He was in full control of what he did. He had the most power over his own decisions.
48. I’m combing my hair. Even if I did contribute to his suicide, then it was only by a small amount.
49. I’m taking a math quiz. But my action helped me. And that’s what’s important. He’s not here anymore, and the only person in pain that I should concern myself with, is me.
50. I’m arranging my books alphabetically. He would want me to get better. Even if he said the opposite, he would.
51. I’m making pasta. I think this was recent.
52. I’m getting groceries.
53. I’m making my bed.
54. I’m taking a shower.
55. I’m eating alone.
56. I’m waiting for my nail polish to dry. I still have that color on, so I’m getting close.
57. I’m waiting to fall asleep.
58. I’m calculating my GPA.

“- few more seconds.” I spill, and drop to the floor. Kyle. My head makes a loud thud, and the tears are warm on my face. I killed him. My legs keep shaking, and my shoulders feel like they will erupt out of my skin any moment. I deserve more than guilt. I hear my mom calling out my name, and then her calling someone with her phone.
Two women in white uniforms carry me into the back of a van. They inject something that calms me down. It feels similar to the flashbacks. My eyelids turn heavy, and all the stressful thoughts leave me at once. Sentences trail off and I know that I will not wake up this calmly. I know that I will have to go through Kyle all over again. My thoughts during the flashbacks will come back to me. I will feel like myself again. I will be mature and know that it was not my fault. It will be a while until I get there. Then, it goes black.
.
I wake up in the hospital, and Kyle’s mom is standing over me.
“Don’t be startled. I just got here. And be quiet, your mom just barely fell asleep. She’s in the other compartment.”
“O-okay.”
“Your mom told me it had something to do with Kyle.” Her eyes tear up. “I’d like to know.”
I stare at her, numbly. I will help her, but not at my expense. I intend to tell her everything. I set the time 5 minutes from now.
And she does the same.

steel framed heart

1.

When you first stepped
into my love,
your welcome party
had a warning sign.

Was an
“Are you sure?”
Was an
“I’m force meant to fly
& I’m stuck climbing.”

And when you said yes.
That you’ll take it,
you’ll come with me,
where-ever it is I’m going,
no matter how scrawny my legs,
how tired my wings.
No matter how little we see of the sky,
you’ll be there.

Mid-fall, we clutched to cliff-side rocks
and called it home.
Survival became our home.
I became your home.

Not like home-home,
but like shelter-home.
spending-all-our-daylight-in-city-square-home
& I-need-to-get-away-from-this-house-home.

2.

I asked you to stay.
You said yes.
Then I confessed,
there’s a reason this came to happen
so quickly.

I’ve been waiting.

I’m not hung up on my past,
it’s just that I’ve made my ceiling a doormat
& my heart is three walls.

I don’t know if three walls is welcoming,
or if three walls is a trap.

My throat
is a stairwell.

People have mistaken it
for an open door.

Make sure you don’t trek mud
but when you climb up,
you’ll see the attic.

It is full of boxes of who I used to be.

This storm once broke all my windows
so wind keeps blowing in.

And it’s not like I’m hung up on my past or anything,
it’s just that dust never seems to settle.

I still feel guilty about it,
but I asked you
to help me clean up.

You said yes.

Then, I became an apology.

But we called that counterproductive so
I never warned you again.

3.

You get home.
I’ve made muffins.

They have chocolate because you’re cute and I love you.

They’re vegan because animals are cute and I love them.

I sent a pic of it to my mom because she’s cute and I love her.

I posted it on instagram
&
it’s not that I have the weight of the world on my shoulders like this,
it’s just that sometimes I need to carry its approval.

And I’ll cheat out on my warning-sign rule the same way my mom sometimes adds butter to things without telling me,

darling. You should know that

4.

sometimes,

not matter how beautiful you write me in your words,
how masterpiece your hands carve – caress my skin,

no matter how often I am convinced,

still,

nothing makes me feel prettier than an empty stomach.

And no matter how many times we say yes,
all it takes is one no to bring this whole house down.

But for now,
I think we are still too busy building.

Please,
let’s not worry with the details
of the descriptions of our jobs.

I don’t want
either of us
to carry warning signs
in our throats.

Falling rock is
inevitable in this wind
& yes,
some of it we placed on the top
hoping for better weather.
I know you didn’t mean for it to shift.

Darling,
just help me build.

a happy poem.

This is my happy poem.

This isn’t my
sex and gender aren’t the same fucking thing
poem.

This isn’t my
I can’t believe I’m still fucking protesting this shit
poem.

This isn’t my
I’m scared of people
poem.

This isn’t my
I hate everyone
poem.

This is my happy poem.

This isn’t my
I found out I was queer at the age of 9
poem.

This isn’t my
I begged god to kill me at the age of 10
poem

This isn’t my
I tried to kill myself at the age of 11
poem.

This isn’t my
I had to wear long sleeves for three summers in a row to hide my self-harm scars
poem.

This is my happy poem.

This isn’t me
standing here before you,
telling you,
bragging
about how much I’ve
bled.

Figuratively.
And literally.
And it’s funny, now.
And I laugh about it, now.

But it is mine
to joke about.

Your privileged life and
vacuum of empathy do not give you
right to crack jokes at my suffering.

I take the blood in my hands and I
make finger paintings
and poems
and strength
and draw pictures
of jokes and humor.

I draw
really inappropriate pictures
of dicks because

I find really inappropriate pictures
of dicks to be
really fucking funny

and I laugh at them,
but you.

You don’t get to make
rape jokes or
gay jokes or
trans jokes or
racist jokes or
sexist jokes or
suicide jokes.

You don’t get to paint shit
with other people’s blood.

Although I have been drained,
I’ve never been empty,
so no,
you don’t get to use me as a canvas.

Get your own fucking band-aid.

This is my parade
and right now, you
are in the sidelines.

You can take your
“just a joke” -s
and
“lol triggered”
and
“chill”
and
shove them up your

happy poem.

Because that’s what this is, right?

This isn’t just you being an asshole.

This isn’t just you being full of shit?

This is my happy poem.

smoke // closed curtains

You call me cold and distant
because I don’t play by your rules.

Your model citizen hand fits perfectly
in the molding air of a pointing finger,
of blame.

But what do I do with all this fire
that I do not start,
this flame?

The warning sign in my throat tells you to
never leave a burning candle unattended.

But we both know what will happen.

I will be in a dark room,
doors and windows locked,
burning up all the oxygen

until your childhood bedroom
smells like roasted chestnuts,
or vanilla beans,
or whatever bite-sized thing
you fucking want me to be.

And you will know what it’s like
to choke on your own memories.

They say
the bigger they are,
the harder they fall.

But my pulsing heartbeat of a flame
will fall gently and rest on your blankets

until you open the door and the fresh air
will have me erupt into a fiery dance.

I will
burn your
fucking
house down.

Darling,
I will
be the fire
in your loins.

I will
take your breath away.

I will
burn.

And you will
catch fire.

been writing this same poem for years

Since I have already been handed
one too many maps to my body.

We’ve established that it is buried.

At least, I know what’s it’s like to be
too tragedy
to be alive
and
too alive
to be forgotten.

Too alive
to be left alone.

Is this what equal rights,
i mean,
extra rights,
are?

To have your coffin
upgraded
to a lounging room.
To be able to walk around
the events,
maybe even be a little
productive
and bury yourself.

Somewhere between trampled and fighting back,
I am the vines around neon sighs
that do a better job that the lights
to get you to ask yourself if I’m
worth the hassle of entry.

Somewhere between tramped and fighting back,
I’m the flower that hates its body
for growing around the foot that stepped
on it. You call it survival, i
call these genes battle scars.

Somewhere between tramped and fighting back
withered under the weight of holding back.
I am spitting out dirt,
I am
digging
my way
out.

jetlag heart

Fingernails dirty from metro seats and old church door handles.

Hand twitching as yours pressed mine down those white hostel bed sheets.

The same all-day meals of kiosks and ginger-flavored water.

Wrapped around your body at night, sleep felt like a thief of time.

Once I got there, I itched to tear my two-way ticket in two.

But the week ended, and I am sleeping in my house again.

Not hearing my name from your lips for a while does things to me.

I slow into a book bound in skin, with white fleshy pages-

they’re blank and the ink of fingerprints can be washed by rain.

I tore out the only chapter I’ve ever written for you.

Got to the airport and stuffed it in my pocket for the flight.

The rainwater that I carry smudged it and got to my throat.

But you have got to understand the situation I’m in.

Imagine loving a person and being scared of people.

I write my anger, lick the pages, and count the calories.

I guess my happiness wound up somewhere in the lost and found.

I’ve started telling myself to not let people read my skin.

To not write my name onto their lips and have it be washed down.

And this world might have made me hate my ink, rip out my pages.

But, fuck. Listen to me say I want to write more stories with you.