purple patch

“I just want to read and write all day.”
sounds like something an artist would say.

“I despise the educational system
and I’ve just been feeling so
inspired to bleed lately”

which is to say

“I’m an emotional wreck right now
and I’m telling the world about it.”

I recently wondered about why I adore
sad, cruel, ugly poetry, but
never positive poems. I concluded that

I have ways to share my joy.
I have people to be happy with,

but I’m always alone when I’m sad.

I don’t need to relate to smiles and
letting go,

I need someone to tell me that they’re
fighting monsters, too.

I don’t want to hear about your good days,
that’s all anyone ever talks about.

Just tell me I’m not going crazy when
all I can think about are these tremors.

Don’t talk to me about reaching
when we’re both seeking shelter.

George Orwell writes about purple passages.
Unnecessary but beautiful paragraphs “in which
words were used partly for the sake of their sound.”

So, when I go out with friends on Friday nights,
grab lunch with my mom,
apply to college,
go hiking,
I wonder if I’m doing these things
just for the sake of their sound.

Even though people who read it
can’t fully understand,
they don’t care as long as it keeps the pages turning.

Maybe, I can’t find happiness in poetry
because it just isn’t there.

And perhaps, when I can manage
a nod in agreement
and participation,
these moments locked in time,
left to be remembered and
bettered by nostalgia,
will be a textbook case of
a purple passage in my life.
A purple passage in “a work
that is dull, commonplace, or
uninspired.”

weekdays

There’s so little poetry to breathe,
if your gasps for air are called annoying.
Do you remember a time when catching your breath
was not an act of rebellion?

When your lungs were just lungs
and their expansion was not
a protest – you were not required a
witness to prove you’re not asking for too much,

that you need this oxygen.
When your demand for equal rights
is labeled “too opinionated”
and its just too difficult

for everyone to not call
you slurs. And I can’t tell if these
mornings are the trigger
or the trauma. The familiar

feeling of distance.
My heartbeat is once again
a fire alarm, my feet are a broken
traffic light and I really, really need

to get out of here.
Friends are a test of patience,
and trailing off is just a defense
mechanism for your secrets.

And you stay hungry
because your blood boiling
is all the heat that
the kitchen can handle.

Can you remember a time
when your body wasn’t a
controversial monument?
When your love wasn’t

a civil war?
When the ground
beneath your feet
belonged to you?

Untitled/ Manic Pixie Dream

For my first hook up,
I went out dressed entirely in pastel pink and leaf green,
looking like a peach, but
smooth to the touch,
to the skin,
to the tongue.

Except for my converse. Which were grey.
But there were bruised with brown dirt by
the end of the night because we made out
in city park for 3 hours,
or 2 hours if you accept the gift of daylight savings.

And throughout the entire night, I had
to fight against the urge to peel off
my skin for you.

Had to remind myself
to not put me on a plate for you.

To not get my pulp stuck
between your teeth.

And it’s not your fault.

I just have a habit of cutting myself into bite-sized pieces,

of making myself something to be consumed.

A piece of meat that
can be cut with a butter knife.

There is an incomparable thrill to
drinking love on such nights, but

when we ran out of small talk
and told each-other we’re both in love
with other people,

it didn’t feel like an agreement.

You were high the entire time
and kept throwing away cigarettes
after just two puffs because the urge
to kiss me often beat the nicotine,

so you cannot blame me for

making my throat an ashtray.

I’m a guy and you’re a guy so this is to be expected.

But this is what we live for, isn’t it?

When people stared at us in the street,
you stared back.

And I started carrying empty glass
bottles within easy reach in my bag
again.

That’s gotta mean something.

But know this:

I don’t even fucking like peaches.

Why don’t you apply to uni somewhere closer to home?

My parents were relieved
when I told them that I
missed most of my deadlines.

They spent a lot of time
in denial over why
I’m taking SAT.

So they remained silent
hoping lack of support
would break my pencil skin.

My black ink eyes and their
eraser tongues and my
blank ripped page of a heart

would all dissolve under
an 8-hour job – I’d
run out of things to say.

“Why not study nearer
like Greece or Hungary?
“Weekend drive and cheap planes.

“There’s architecture there.
Museums and old towns
and ancient mindsets, it

will feel just like home does.”
But hey, listen to this though:
I, I can time travel.

Why go see castle walls
and gender roles, sexism,
racism, homophobia

when I have all that here?
Executioner’s blocks.
Protests and dungeons don’t

appeal to me, I’ve seen
enough of history
to last me a lifetime.

This city block isn’t home.
Suppressing isn’t home.
Survival is not home.

There’s no such thing as home
for people like me, mom.
I’ve had to give that up.

Poetry, now that’s home.
Narratives of silent
grief, being able to

shout them to the world. That
world that’s willing to lis-
ten will become my home.

I’ve been all ears and stab
wounds my whole life but now
you might be able to
hear me shouting, scaring
all the way across the
ocean.

Epilogue for Mr. Vertigo (fanfiction)

He took a deep breath wrinkled with fatigue from old age and was pleasently surprised to find that not much concentration was needed to float.

He lifted himself off the ground, left through the bedroom window and levitated to the clear blue sky as college students below left their fries and aimed their phone cameras at him.

He left his home town behind. He remembered most of his Wonder Boy days and flew over each city whose crowds he once inebriated amusement and hope. He thought he could hear the people shouting, and he saw them when he looked down.

Walt could not hear what they were yelling but it wasnt his name. They did not remember him. He was glad.

And so he went, this speck of dust floating with the wind, levitating yet orbiting the Earth as if by gravitational pull, he at last halted over the Pacific Ocean and made one last hustle for the sky.

The oxygen grew rarer and he was growing tired.
“Just a bit higher,” he pleaded and went up.

And when he let his body sag in the atmosphere, the shot of pain embraced and engulfed and froze his entire body.

Merely a second after the agony began, he felt consciousness slipping out of him.  “Thank you” whispered Walt the Wonder Boy.

And he fell from the sky.

Another choked-up poem

I shouldn’t have been surprised.

I’ve always been an empty bottle clearly labeled “boy”,

but I drowned.

It all came rushing in.

When I was empty,

people nodded along whatever I said,

and now I know that its not

that they changed their minds.

They just find my overgrowth respectable enough

to take me seriously.

And this poison

feeds on me.

It is stronger than my glass walls.

It morphs me into what it thinks I should be.

It does not care that my voice cracks

whenever I see my elongated fingers,

or I tear up when I hear

what deep sounds escape the well of my throat.

I feel further and further each passing day.

This poison is like paying rent

to have a roommate.

It borrows every inch of me and always returns damaged goods.

It stretches its essence into whatever it is that stares back in the mirror.

And to think I once used to love my body.

Back when it fit.

This poison is pumped into me

and I don’t get how glass can expand

and not crack.

How no one else feels the reverberations.

I don’t get how I’m supposed to swallow all of this.

Not invited

I wrote & recorded something for International Girls’ Day. Enjoy.

There’s this little kid at my school.

Dark skin.

Tilted eyes.

Always rushing through the halls

and he likes to speak with his hands.

He’s half my size,

but once,

he patted me on the back and told me

not to worry

when a kid in my class called me a faggot.

And I thought: “Wow,

this little boy,

I would call him a grown man for his kindness,

but the phrase “grown man” has

only ever stabbed me,

has never been a compliment,

for age and gender have only ever ticked away from me,

called me late.

And this kid today went around,

poking pretty coats, long hair, and nail polish,

told my friend to go downstairs because it’s international girls’ day,

before ignoring me and rushing through the halls again.

I’m glad he didn’t touch me there and then because I’m sure

he would have only touched air

and maybe

something less.

It is international girls day but I don’t know my gender

and am still looking forward to Halloween,

something about that night reminds me of witches burned alive.

Or is it April Fool’s I’m thinking of?

Or am I still playing hide and go seek with this body,

hide and go seek with my rights,

seek my rights,

seek my rights.

My school takes photos with all its female students.

Celebration means pose for the picture-

means smile and look like you’re having fun-

means hold your books like they’re candy-

means school walls with ribbons

and people who look like confetti-

means festivities with recess that looks like a birthday,

teachers who look like fun,

girls who look like girls,

the camera that looks like a baseball bat

and I, that am sitting in the middle of this room,

looking like a pinata,

a jackass,

ridiculous in pink,

chock-full of sugar,

bullseye amid sharpshooters,

like destruction and humiliation in the middle

of what’s supposed to be a party room.

What will become of her?

She held her breath
as ever before,
the air fixed on praying.

The wilderness
of kin, it poured
a strangeness taking

the words attempt
to leave through the sore,
soaring and shaking.

And now, unsure
if ever before,
the words stop reaching.

A kindness of
few, many and more:
farewell to the dreaming.

One way to stop
your sleeping is to
never, ever close your eyes.

But one way to
stop this feeling is
to never feel alive.

“Let’s sing,” she yells
on deaf ears, of course,
“what I have learned to feel:

“Your kind of pain
has always numbed me-
Does this haze count as steel?

“For I am free
and of the living,
but I cannot see clear.

“I am scared
and of the fleeing,
but I’ve been living here.”

Agnostic

I’m thinking of
shirts that are
too clean
to be washed
and
too dirty
to be worn again.

I’m thinking of
hiking alone,
bringing all your shirts of ambiguous smells
with you,
drenching them in sweat,
one by one.

I’m thinking of
people who meditate
when they reach the
mountaintop
and those who stay behind
at the lake
at the base
and howl.

I’m thinking of
kids
who cry
and cringe
at the feel
of their own sweat,
but feel too guilty to use up the hot water
to wash their (droplet-of) sweat stained clothing.

I’m thinking of
uphill
rock-climbing,
how some people mumble prayers,
one per each mile traversed.

I’m thinking of
people who have
no one
whom to ask for safety,
people who have
no one
to blame when they slip
on stone and
fall.

I’m thinking of the view there
where
the air is thinner.

And,
I’m thinking of
people who have
no one to thank for it.

Not a wisp of belief that
there is a god in the sky
not having to look very far down
to see you in these heights.

No hope whatsoever that
your loved ones breaths linger
in the soil atop their grave,
warming your feet when you visit,
evaporating the rain and your tears
into steam.

And suddenly, I don’t particularly feel
like saying thank you anymore.

But I still can’t shake
the feeling
that someone
is listening.

Evolutionary existentialism

I’m thinking of
a helium-filled balloon
tensely rising up and about the sky and through the wind.

And I’m thinking of
atoms.
And their excitement.

And whether they can tell the difference
between the cold night air
or the inside of a balloon
or tucked into the useless pockets of skinny jeans.

I’m thinking of
hot air balloons.

And mythology

and worry

and innovation.

I’m thinking of
gods
and questions
and attempting to turn
the knob of a locked door,
unable to find a key,
turning to
frantically patting your pockets-
always favoring the one in the very back.
Always finding your knuckle crunched up
in the empty space of what we could swear we knew was there.

I’m thinking of
TVs on airplanes.
Efficiency.
A blurry roadside so there is no clear view to reflect upon.

A blurry roadside so there is no clear view to reflect upon.

I’m thinking of
TVs on airplanes
and speed
and distraction.

I’m thinking of
fear.

I’m thinking of
turbulence
and earplugs.

Of
headphones
and senses
and filling empty spaces by pouring cement,

of clutching to a liquid
that cannot harden quickly enough
for us to not bear the weight of
our own restless limbs.