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Cher gets to me sometimes

nothin like being lonely at

the gay club, and dancing anyway

 

so alive so alive so alive, and

I can feel all the ways I’m dying.

but I dance dance dance

 

this night

this body

this breath

 

Do you believe in life after love?

 

Do you believe in love after love?

Do you believe in life after life?

 

I still got the wounds

time can’t heal,

but doesn’t the glitter hide

our blood so well? two-step

your regrets next to me

it’s like looking in a mirror,

the words of a late night prayer

 

being here tonight, being here when

the world always sayin / I really don’t think you’re strong enough

 

hands in the air

everything’s pointing up up

and we get down

we get down

 

sweat becomes my back

in the salvation of strobe lights

I live in all the dark spaces in between

and I hold it together

we’re all just holding ourselves

together

 

I can feel something inside me say

 

it’s nothing it’s nothing

said I’m something

I’m nothing

 

Do you believe in life after love / Do you believe in life / Do you believe in / Do you believe / Do you

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re: the royal wedding & weddings in general

There’s something about ceremony

that feels like silence to me, like debt,

performance.

sometimes, life’s a party you weren’t invited

to. sometimes, you’re the shadow between streetlights.

the stranger with their heart in their hands

who only sees love

through the glow of a neighbor’s window.

 

and here i am.

me, pink of the sky

me, blood in the sink

the dirt tracked in at doorstep

this is what a lifetime of disappearing

looks like

 

i wanna be lushgreenpicketfencechurchpew

too, sometimes.

 

but i’m marked by something else, entirely

my love is ghost

 

& and i’ll never be

like them

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modern dating & other verbs

*Below is a straight up compilation of real tinder bios. I didn’t write the words, I just put them all together*

 

Sup demons / profile says 27 but I’m actually dead inside / looking to trade rants / not into threesomes, if i wanted to disappoint two people at once I’d have dinner with my parents / future nurse, current loser / does not know how to do taxes / passionate about staying hydrated and / imagining myself in situations that will literally never exist / i’m ambidextrous in bed / dating me is like finding out that song you always skip is actually fire / must have little to no baggage / like i wanna be taken care of for once in my life / good luck / join me in my vendetta against overhead lighting / once i was singing ‘defying gravity’ so aggressively while driving i had to pull over and throw up / looking for someone who can tell me what is and isn’t microwave safe / i’m just a curious strip of bacon / Proseco mami / thick raccoon seeks trash / thot leader / can cook minute-rice in 59 seconds / looking for someone to binge with, food, alcohol, netflix, i like everything in excess / i miss being able to see the stars at night / we evolve beyond the person we were a minute before, little by little we advance a bit further with each turn / not my baby / not my baby / that’s my niece / after graduating from college I realized I didn’t hate myself enough so now I’m in grad school / I like long walks on the beach with my girlfriend, until the LSD wears off and I realize I’m dragging a stolen mannequin around a Wendy’s parking lot / passionate and aspiring to be popular / they call me Dumbledore cuz I’m the headmaster / for as much as they taught us “stop, drop, and roll” as a kid, I really expected to be on fire more times in my life / idk why i’m here / will hold you while we listen to Kendrick and eat ben and jerry’s / looking for a strong woman role model for my cat / i’m a goddess that loves to be in control / not a d-bag / swear I’m not an asshole / i share a birthday with the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson / looking for sexual exploration grounded in authentic communication and trust / looking for a good bitch to sit on my face / i hope you like bad girls cuz i’m bad at everything / cheers to making mistakes and traveling and dancing / comparing Donald Trump to a dumpster fire isn’t fair to the dumpster fire / i like music and being a disappointment to my family and friends / while pondering the mystery of our essential nature behind all our behaviors and thoughts / my life is about as organized as the $5 movie bin at Walmart / just looking for a nice booty to rub / looking for someone who can eat the other half of my avocado so it doesn’t go bad / ‘i’m here for a good time, not a long time’ is what i tell myself when i eat fatty foods and live a sedentary lifestyle / y’all women are the real savages these days / I’ll be compensating for my mediocre personality with solid dick game / Hilary Duff was the first love of my life but maybe you can be the second / I’m 90% broccoli / contact me only if you have your shit together / just looking for awesome faces to ride / i’m kinda like a spider because crunchy exterior, soft interior / have the body of a t-rex / thick thighs that will crush you to death, i live a strong fat life game / Here for the struggle and the snuggle / 160lbs of linguine in a man-suit / carefully written, fact-checked essay in the streets, unmoderated comment section in the sheets / when we move, it’s a movement / & I’ve got a few holy places up my sleeve / Not looking for a hookup / not looking for anything serious / I’m looking for other half of my soul / I wish I was an octopus so I could hug ten people at once / Here attempting to fill a void just like you / if your dog or children are in your photos, i will swipe left, i don’t wanna meet or date them / sexy couple looking for our 2nd queen / not looking for a fling, we’re talking life / ain’t gonna venmo you no damn $3.50 you lochness monster / Open to anything just tired of feeling so alone / I can’t stop yelling about gardening these days / tell me / what are the words you do not have yet?/ or for what do you not have words, yet? / what do you need to say? / Fit but definitely likes pizza / summer baby but i like winter for the calm and the twilight and the walking on water / Kind is the new cool / Tryna elevate small talk to medium talk / There’s a certain satisfaction when you’re watching your barber cut your hair / Trying to get into running since it seems like what everyone else is doing / couple looking for our unicorn / couple looking for a female / We are a sane couple / Semi professional chameleon / Let’s go on an adventure / it doesn’t matter what you create if you have no fun / i call into radio stations and pretend to be different people / i am a bitch / a loving woman can turn me into a wolf / I just want to have fun / looking for fun / Been told I look like Ted Cruz / i want Lana Del Rey to curb stomp me / Don’t tell me what you do for a living, tell me what you live to do / i am the clouds of a november morning with shades of january / all we need is a bit of rationality and a lot of imagination / i am a flower who can rise up after the wilting / if ur existentially troubled and emotionally unavailable but u still hope to develop a sense of intimacy and attachment / despite the call for the void / hmu / i’m here because my therapist told me to put myself out there / but like / Numb to existence / i’ll be here until the friday when the skies open and we find our place within the great and terrible cosmic heartbeat / i travel, read, learn, succeed, fail, listen, listen again, live, and become / you should know /  in filth it will be found / life ain’t picture perfect we use the negatives to develop / everything is performance / everything is real / we are all stardust / and I’m looking / I’m looking  / I’m looking

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snowy day free write 3.13.18

i think about dying a lot

but only cuz i’m looking for the endings

to all my losses

some things outlive our bodies

 

like love & regret & the space

we leave behind with nothing but our smell

u ever scream and make no sound

u ever think this is it

 

and still wake up w/ the sun coming

through ur blinds, u ever

hold on for too long

or laugh harder than everyone else

 

sometimes i shower just

to be naked, sometimes

i disagree just to be heard, sometimes

i believe it when they say

 

they love me. i like sad songs

and girls who don’t say my name and

rainy days, how they all got me wet and

breathing through my mouth, desperate like

 

somewhere between hungry and drowning

i dance like i’m becoming the air and

love like i already am, at least i think

this is how we keep on living, anyway

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For the Love of Basketball

My mother coached my middle school basketball team because

she liked to empower kids. I remember the desperation that crept in on the court

as I’d watch girls stare suspiciously

at the woman on the bleachers who

smelled like endless cigarettes and wore the print

of my mom’s lipstick on her mouth.

I could smell their judgment over their

sweaty pinnies. I didn’t know then,

what homophobia was. I just knew what it felt like.

 

My mother

put me on point guard every scrimmage, she knew

I would never be the fastest, and she’d probably

be the only one to cheer my name, she taught me

I would always be on defense,

that’s how we lived our lives together, never scoring

any baskets, too busy defending our own. I swear

I was born with a pivot foot because I’m always

turning my cheek. What do you do

with a game like that? You’re always staying in the same place.

But you don’t have to be running to feel out of breath.

 

I was sitting in the passenger seat when she first said it: Homophobia–

Darling you will spend the rest of your life trying to swallow those five syllables,

running against it’s etymology like it’s a buzzer that you just can’t beat,

I could tell, she already felt suffocated just thinking

about all the people like her

who live with eyes in the backs of their heads, wearing the Bible Belt like

nooses around their necks,

and Matthew Shepard was one more notch in the belt that

in 1998 swung up to Wyoming, I

had only lived five years then, but each were long enough

to round out every syllable of that word,

 

he was really just a boy when his head

was beaten in by knuckles of discrimination, she said he died

tied to a fence and all I could picture in my head,

was Jesus, saw his wingspan, his arms spread open, dying,

for loving a man that much.

 

Hate does not know state lines,

I rode the school bus, and counted the number of fences I saw.

 

By the time I was in high school, the basketball program was

over and everyone knew who the woman on the bench was

and how that lipstick got on her face. The girls

traded in their pinnies for popularity, saw

how I was so much like my mother, the way we both

wore loneliness like numbers on our backs, so

 

I walked around the hallways with adrenaline in my throat like

I had the ball for the first time and I

knew I wasn’t fast enough to outrun an insult.

 

When I told my mom that we played for the same team,

she bowed her head, said she wished we didn’t, said

life is easier

when you’re not playing on a losing team.

 

But if I learned one thing, it’s that people should love

the way that my mother coached, like

 

even though you know

every damn person in the stadium is

rooting for the other team, love–

is sticking up your middle finger and saying:

 

I will always cheer your name.

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Hope: A Working Definition

I’ve been having these moments where I feel like my heart is literally expanding, and it makes me lose my breath. Looking out the window on the bus, late in bed by myself, walking out of my apartment. I don’t know how to describe it, but it feels like my future stretching out in front of me. Like my time here, alive, is growing. And I can see it. I can see Thanksgivings and poetry nights and work achievements and friends’ birthdays and all of it, all of it mixing together, coming together. It’s coming together, right here in front of me. It takes the breath right out of me; I’m afraid to want a future like this but I want, desperately, to be around to see it. Maybe the best way to explain hope is being able to see yourself in the future, for time being both finite and boundless, and you, beautiful you, come undone and ever eager for more, still here. Still here.

 

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The Weight of Things

Rejection is tied to me

like my footsteps.

I’m used to the fall of being unwanted,

by employers and girlfriends and

mothers and presidents.

 

No

is simply gravity.

All around me,

soundlessly anchoring me to the ground.

I am earthbound in desire.

 

Is there a name

for being not yet

six feet under?

Just marked

by the mud of it all.

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modern dating sucks tbh

first girl made me her fool

second girl made me her secret

third girl made me her side chick


in the dark i am a collector of shame, something stable they

like to hang their hearts around when

it’s convenient, and leave when the tide comes in, see

how the moon lights me up, makes a shiny thing

of all these turned cheeks, isn’t it just the way of things, how

the broken glitter better


today

over drinks with my friends —

i swear i am nobody’s rag doll,

on the train ride home —

nobody’s second choice,

at dinner —

nobody’s garbage to be thrown out again and again

today

i am nobody’s

and other things a

bad bitch would say


somewhere in the sea

there’s a pile of trash the size of

texas and i have never identified so much/at all

with texas than in thinking

of what it’s like to be the total sum of

what all these hands have discarded, to be

what has remained, floating and at the will of nothing i can control.


and really

this is just to say

fucking recycle.

and treat people well.

Featured

Homophobia is sly AF

So I’ve been casually dating this girl who isn’t entirely out to friends, family, and colleagues (understandably so). Recently, we were supposed to go on this date to a cool event that was like three or four hours long. I was really looking forward to it, but was tentative as I have been the whole time I’ve been seeing her. It really is not a good feeling to be somebody’s secret, something they’re ashamed of. As much as you try to understand and support them, it’s still pretty erasing and painful for you, too. Anyway, so right before going to this event she texted me that her friends were going too so she told them she was bringing a work colleague from her tech company. I immediately felt anger overwhelm me and heard this resounding “NO” inside me. “How dare you?” I said out loud to myself. I did not want someone to make a liar out of me. At first I thought I couldn’t imagine sitting there, for four hours, having to lie about literally everything about me — my job, my identity, who I was to her, my interests, what I studied, my friends, my family. I might as well have taken on an alias at that point. But the sad thing is, I could imagine it. Because I’ve done it before, made up imaginary straight lives I didn’t really exist in to make other people comfortable since I was a child. Which, let me pause and say that I am willing to do that whole-heartedly in a situation in which I’m in love with someone, committed to them, and, most importantly, have agency around when and how I decide to do that. But in this case, I had no agency, no choice.

I thought back to one of our dates, how she kissed me confidently and quietly on the sidewalk. We sat down on a bench outside some restaurant, the quiet clamor of dishes and laughter in the background of that moment. I tried, desperately, to enjoy it. But I just didn’t. I didn’t because I was completely in my head the whole time, wondering if the people walking by were disgusted by seeing two women kiss, if the group at the restaurant set their beers down, disturbed. I was so surprised at myself about this, because I’m not one to be embarrassed about PDA. And again, later, as I settled into my Uber after she kissed me goodbye on the corner, my mind immediately shifted to the driver and his thoughts on that exchange, wondering if I was safe. Each passing second, a knot growing in my chest, my breath quickening, my awareness heightening, like my heart was training for the Boston Marathon and just now realized it was a fucking horrible idea.

And it’s this feeling in my chest, like I was running, that returned to me when I got that text.

Shame is a dangerous emotion — it only duplicates and duplicates until there is no space left for you to exist in with your shame there with you. And being around someone else’s can be toxic. I realized, then, how quickly I let shame in, and then I’d begun to feel ashamed about my shame. Homophobia is one slick motherfucker, and it struck me how easily it snuck itself into my very body, as such a proud person. Made me feel like I had to run away from myself, split in half, choose which parts to bring with me and which to leave behind. I don’t want to leave any of myself behind.

I have never identified with the coming out narrative. But I do identify with the feeling of people trying to force me into a closet I’ve never been in, building a cage around me, covering me up until I’m invisible. I’ve been thinking back, now, on all the times I’ve lied about my identity and my family — in the backs of soccer moms’ vans, in classrooms, on barstools, at work, first greetings, and car rides.

These days, I try really hard to live an authentic, honest, and proud life, and I never want to put myself in a position where the things that define me are compromised. For anyone. I try to transcend every facade I gravitate towards. I’m scared that the things I run away from will consume me.

How many times can I tell a lie before I become it?

If I shout out who I am does it make me more real? Safer? Stronger?

I’m not sure. But I refuse to live again in the moment my mouth closes and my eyes look away. I want to exist forever in the feeling of looking someone in the eye, as nothing but my whole self.

And I hope I can get there; I hope I can bring people along with me into that. It was easy for me to break things off with her for good, but harder for me to have said no to someone, even once. I hope, maybe, that that’s how it starts. Simply, by saying no.

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what wrestling taught me

My brother and I used to play like we were WWE wrestlers,

and that’s not a metaphor. The majority of the memories I have

of my brother are when we were children, and not yet monsters.

Friday night meant watching large, sweaty men perform hyper-masculinity

in a spring board ring with Nick. Everything about it was

overdramatized and terrible and I fucking loved it

in a way that shocks me to this day. We’d sit there, mesmerized

in the glow of the television, hoping our favorites

would be pinned against lesser men under the bright lights.

My mama used to think I only watched it

because it meant my big brother thought I was cool as he quietly

and not so quietly shifted into puberty, but

to be honest, I liked it. I liked seeing violence and having a name for it,

for violence to be black and white, to be able to see it coming, brace for it,

and leave it behind in the space between the taut ropes. Nick and I

would play wrestle in his bedroom when we had nothing

but our boredom and abandonment to keep us together.

His signature move was what he called the “steam roller”

in which he would throw me on the ground and literally lay

his 200 pound body on top of me and roll back and forth,

stopping only as he steam-rolled across my lungs,

there was something in him that liked stealing the breath out

the women in our family, and I’d be caught dead before I’d tap out.

Even then, this is how I thought about power — the strength to withstand

the sum total of all your pain, even as it crushes you.

The more pain I could tolerate, the more powerful I felt.

I don’t watch the wrestling anymore but I still have an affliction with

tapping out. Sometimes, I feel like I am in that ring, my body slamming

into the sweat stained floor, the brittle ropes cupping my spine,

springing me helplessly and heavily into all the fists the world clenches

against me. And I pride myself on being able to take it,

for all the teeth I’ve lost along the way, for never tapping out, not yet.

It’s possible, yes, that I think myself a heavy weight champion,

contending against life, if life were a hairy, cocky, grunting man

in unfortunate spandex, which I think is an accurate description of life,

while the world just sees another body crushed under the rubble, but

maybe that’s how power looks, anyway,

not a balled fist, held valiant in the air, but a woman

pinned under the weight of everything

with a ribcage that can sustain the pressure of whole societies,

breathing, saying, not yet, motherfucker,

not yet.