11 Things I Shoulda Said
1. I’m sorry.
2. I have more fingers than people I trust, and I am not one of those people.
3. I have more hands than times I’ve seen men admit they are scared. Manhood is a funny thing. The intrigue of standing tall swallows your skin and all of the sudden keeping ones spine intact becomes more important than the truth.
4. You are a fucking liar too and I hate you for it. You fucked him (and him and him) and I fucked her (and her and her)…but I’d forgive you for things I wouldn’t dream of forgiving myself for.
5. You’re fucking beautiful.
6. I have more lovers but less love now than ever before. Nonetheless, the eyes you watch me with are the blood-orange French kiss of hunger + caramel womanhood, and I want nothing other than to spend with you the nights that slur themselves into the morning. The ones with the full moons and werewolfed eyes.
7. Just know, baby, that I used to wake up without a clue as to which way was up or down. To be or not to be, to dream or to drown. You ended all dat and attached my feet to the ground. God, how you walk like a teethed sun—like lions done raised you. I’ve still got rise to rule the jungle together.
8. The last time we had sex your hips made Picasso out of my neck (and then my waist) like love literally didn’t exist before the second I tasted it in my mouth that night. You uninvented time when you climbed on top of me.
9. X XXXX XXX. XXX XXXX XXX.
10. I’d probably quit smoking if you asked me to.
11. Hearts are still something like sweatshirts. When you leave them in someone else’s home for too long, well, it’s not completely yours anymore."
The first time someone called me a poet
it was in the cramped back hallway of a party in early July
heat rising between our bodily spaces
sweat collecting at the base of my brow to keep anxiety at bay
I listen as someone who I could barely call an acquaintance describe me to a boy I just met:
“she is an amazing writer, trust me, she’s so cool”
As if me using metaphors for antidepressants
and words as bandages for wounds
was reason to make me worthy to get to know beyond my first name
to pin my feet onto a pedestal I didn’t ask to stand on to begin with
I press autopilot in my muscles,
mechanically flip my hair,
split my lips into a half-ass smile,
thrust my hand,
and let my laugh ring with the music.
Little does everyone know I am the broken jukebox
with a disappearing voice.
I hide behind love and at 19, I wrote “What High School History Taught Me”
It was for you
you, the NYU junior with a mouth that clung onto vowels
and whose fingertips could read the braille embedded in my skin
You loved chasing storms,
I was almost named after a hurricane,
and this was how we were born after Hurricane Sandy-
it was never a question how we found comfort in destruction
But I still remember telling you
that I wanted to love you forever even if you didn’t stay to find out
And ever since I spit that
men come to me looking for their taste of mystery
for their chance to be immortalized
They don’t know I only speak in train station
and everybody is always a few minutes too late
No one has gotten the chance to get too close
because it’s never romantic to fuck the girl who makes love to her own sadness every night
I’ve stopped seeing the fire in my poetry like most strangers do
because to them
my pain is pretty
my heartache is dressed in a bow so
they can all sleep better at night knowing
some 20 year old girl in California understands them
better than she understands herself.
I have been singing in a language I never fully understood
because I am the girl who attaches my reflection to a man
whose memory I still keep prisoner in my mind
and this is how I hide from myself
this is my disappearing act
This isn’t poetry anymore
and it hasn’t been for a long time
This is the sound of survival
This is my heart leaking gunpowder and discharging bullets
on this stage
is where I understand what it feels like to choke on the gas chamber of lost dreams
is a dusky New York City apartment
with a boy dressed in the mask of a man hunting me as prey
This stage is where I come home to after being at war with myself
This stage is my peace
my prayer for forgiveness once a week
is why friends from school don’t call me that much anymore
is why me and Joe broke up
is why I don’t sit with my family at the dinner table no more
Why share grace with those who can’t understand
how these lights I stand under make the full moon I need
to break my neck and howl at some nights
This is where I pluck the guitar strings of my throat to sing like a bluebird and slow dance with every ghost
This stage is the only place I can forklift
all the misunderstood out of my chest and force you to watch
will still call it art
will still call it poetry
But this isn’t poetry anymore
it hasn’t been for a long time
is the sound of survival
is the sound of me using the inhale of night
just to make it to the exhale of morning.
On this stage.
"I will never be content with being your back door hoe.Your something on the side, your something to do on those lonely weekends, your closet freak. You will never produce me to be a skank and a whore and though I love you, I’d rather spend every night crying alone on my bedroom floor than to ever be “that girl””