Poem: We, the Rapists (trigger warning)

Rape,
The fair and just punishment
For being.

A righteous consequence

For those short skirts
And that drunk blood
And being out late
And letting me pay
And being alone
And the friendzone
And the needs of
Your fellow man.

What I see belongs to me.

And if you show too much
I’ll touch.
If you show too little
I’ll touch.
If you’re too loud
If you’re too quiet
If you’re too young
Or too old

If you don’t say no
I’ll touch.
I’ll touch.
I’ll touch.

What I see belongs to me.

These your repercussions for
Wanting too much
Trying to be equal
Ignoring my advances
Denying my rights.

Tame the bitch
Remind her

“I am man.”

Let us poke and prod the daughters
Of our families and friends.

“Not all men,”

But with stats like 1 in 6,
there must be more than 1 man.

Is it shame that ties our tongues
Or guilt that makes us scream?

If he is guilty, why not I?
What I did was worse than he,
but I’m a good guy,
So that can’t be.

I didn’t know it was rape
I didn’t bother asking.

I didn’t know it was assault
I just wanted to get lucky.

I didn’t know it was molestation.
Her eyes were shut, so she must want it.

I didn’t know it wasn’t wanted
she was too drunk to speak up.

She made me wait so long
she owed me so.

She said we’d have sex long ago
But didn’t want to too many times.

Her words were hushed
No “no” was mentioned, though
I admit her knees were stiff
And womanhood was tight.
I thought that just meant she liked it

We laughed and drank stiff tequila
Until she passed out in my car
When she woke with my head between her legs.
I thought that’s what she wanted.

She tried to pull away but
God it felt so good, So
I held on a little tighter ‘til
I was good and ready to let go.

It’s not my fault,
They’ll tell you so.
We’ll blame it on my alcohol
Or hurl guilt onto the media
Or maybe I’ll just curse the porn
Filling up my browser history.

Protect our sons
And fuck our daughters.
Don’t let lying whores
Ruin the lives of growing boys.

We all make mistakes
Let us forgive
And be damned to
Any consequence.

My body is a right and privilege,
And all yours belong to me.
I’d never say that aloud,
But my action declare that belief.

My needs are all your problems.
And my ego, your damnation.
It’s not dark corners
you need fear, my loves.

It’s me and my good intentions,
it’s nice guys and blurred lines.

Poem: Indulge

Not running away from the pain
is the bravest thing I’ve ever done–
Choosing against addiction
Choosing against obsession
Choosing against rage
Choosing against self-destruction.

It seems obvious,
but when faced with the unthinkable,
it’s the embrace of an escape,
the whisper on my shoulder,
the promise of forgetfulness,
and this ledge I come back to
again and again.

But as I stare into
the abyss of fake freedom,
I have chosen again
and again to walk away–
To charge into my darkness
To face the throes of my secrets
To conquer my own demons.

Numbness is the promise
to which I say “no.”
And it is the hardest and
most courageous word I’ve yet used.

To simply sit with my heartache,
and remind myself to just
keep fighting,
keep hoping,
keep loving,
keep talking,
keep writing,
and to always

keep going.

Exceprt: Beyond the Fragile Glass (Unknown Chapter)

The ocean line expands before me, pulsating, tugging at my memories.
Sofi holds my hand, and Gloria stands rigid at my side. She looks over at me.
“I know this place,” she says.
I nod. “This was my favorite beach. We came here when we were girls.”
“Ah, we used to race to see how far we could swim. You were such a good swimmer for being so little.”
Her words feel like a wasp sting to my gut. “My parents brought me here when I was young–every summer–until…” I snap my mouth closed.
“Haize? Why are we here?”
There’s salt water running down my face, then. The stones in my chest multiply, but the pressure built behind my eyes for nearly twenty years rejoices. Relief and heartbreak–how these feelings are so deeply intertwined.
“Teddy’s here.” My voice is barely audible above the crashing waves.
“How do you know?” Sofi asks.
“This is where I left him.”
Gloria doesn’t speak. Sofi unclasps her hand from mine and wraps it tight around my waist. She’s young, but in that moment, I watch her childhood fade. She won’t remember Glass after today–none of us will. I can only pray that we remember each other.

Poem: Wolves in our Closet

13 years of memories,
I count and shovel through
Recounting your transgressions
and tallying the lies,
And the multitude of times
You looked me in the eyes
Without a hint of the dirt
Piled in your mind.

No twitch of regret,
no downcast gaze,
Just a smile and a nod,
A hand reached out
To comfort your lost sheep.

I once called you hero.
I called to you in need.
With open arms,
You held me while
I’d weep.

But in the night
Out from shadows
With twitching hands
And thumbs.

There was poison in
Your fingers And
Corrosion in your head.

For 13 years,
You had your secrets.

For 25,
I called you friend.

But for 6 months,
I’ve called you nothing,
But the wolf hiding
In sheep’s clothing.

Poem: Your Name

Like a dirty word,
Like an accusation,
Like an insult,
Like a crime.
I hear it, and
it’s like being punched
in the throat,
Like being slit from
breast to navel,
Like being startled to
A heart attack,
Like having someone leap
From around a corner.
How my entire body Jolts,
Intestines to stomach
and lungs to heart.
Like each part of my body
Can’t bear to stay in place,
Can’t handle the immobility.
Your name makes every
molecule of me,
desperate to flee.
The contents of my stomach,
Rebel against its tract,
Against the weight of your
Secrets coming to attack.
They revolt against the pressure.
They demand to purify,
To eat away at my esophagus.
Expelling what I’d eaten to
Cleanse me from the inside.

Excerpt: Beyond the Fragile Glass–Unknown Chapter

There was a low murmur in the trees that night. I should have known then she was coming.

The sun had begun to set, and darkness hummed in the east with the wind. Crickets chimed as I stood on my porch, ringing like alarms. The trees in my neighborhood seemed to whisper her name is they danced around me.

Angeline, Angeline, Angeline.

Their warning gave me pause at the front door, tousling my hair, desperate to hail my attention.

But I pretended not to speak their language. “Everything is fine,” I said, slamming the front door behind me.

 

Excerpt: Here She Lies (Part 2)

This is the second installment of my YA Fiction novel. If you missed the first excerpt, you can find it here. Enjoy!

Charlie turns the radio down, and Van Halen fades away. Charlie looks over at Milly but can’t catch her eye.
“If he was that bad, you could have just come over earlier,” he asks.
Milly shakes her head, but she won’t look at him still. “It’s not a big deal. I’ve avoided him most of the morning.”
After a while Charlie asks, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
Milly plays with the bracelet on her wrist, rolling a circular bead over and over again, counting under her breath. One tire, two tires, three, four, five. “I already know what you’re thinking. It’s not that big of a deal.”
“You always say that.”
“Because it’s always true, Charlie. I’ve lasted this long. I just have to finish school, and I’m gone. Another year isn’t going to kill me.”
Charlie takes a deep breath. “You sure?”
“Yes.” Her eyes fixate on the road, away from Charlie’s gaze.
Charlie’s mouth opens to say something else, but he quickly shuts it again. Milly straightens her back and puts on a smile. “Would you just calm down? Stop worrying about me.”
“I won’t let this go.”
“Oh what do you know, Junior?”
“Hey! You say it like it’s a bad thing. ”
“It is,” she teases. “Just give it a rest. I can’t handle another lecture this summer.” Her smile remains plastered to her face, but her eyes aren’t wrinkled up like they are when she’s actually happy, and her knuckles turn white as she holds onto the bracelet.
Charlie focuses back on the road, taking a deep breath. It doesn’t matter how much this bothers her. Eventually, she’ll listen, he thinks.
“Maybe if you moved with your aunt, you’ll have to go to another school. But at least that way you won’t have to face everyone after last year…”
“Drop it, Charlie.” The smile leaves Milly’s face. “I’m not moving, and I’m not running away from anything or anyone. Last year is no one’s business: including yours. You promised.”
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“No one’ll remember what happened last year anyway,” she says. The pitch of her voice rises. “I’m sure a lot of things happened over the summer for everyone; they won’t even care about me anymore.”
The car is silent. They pull off the freeway. Palm trees spring up every few blocks, and front yard after front yard sports brown lawns. Charlie turns the air on. It feels like a boulder sits in his stomach—he shouldn’t have pushed it. Everything changed last year, even Milly and Charlie’s friendship. She won’t admit it, but Charlie knows she thinks about last year a lot. She shifts in her chair and plays with that stupid bracelet, rubbing it like a genie that can fix all her problems. He slows at a red light. The only noise comes from the traffic of the overpass and the incessant click-click-click of his blinker. He can’t stand it anymore.
“Nova?” She looks over at him, holding his gaze before the car has to move again. He pulls off the freeway. “Please let me do something. You’ve taken enough hits for me to last a lifetime.”
Milly lets out a deep breath and turns to face the window again.
When they were younger and Charlie’s parents were out of town—which was very frequent—they left him at her house. It was Nova and Charlie against the world ever since the time Milly was five and Charlie was four. The broken vase was one of their many adventures gone awry.
“You know, I wouldn’t have to protect you if you lived somewhere safer.”
“Charlie…” she says as a warning.
“I know, I know, but there’s got to be somewhere—someone—better.”
“We’ve been over this a thousand times; there is no one besides you.”
“And why can’t you ask your aunt?”
“Maybe I don’t want to live with her? I know it doesn’t make sense to you, but that’s home to me—”
“God knows why,” he says while rolling his eyes. She glares at him. “Sorry,” he says quickly as he pulls off the freeway.
“I know it’s really hard for you to understand, but I’m going to ask you one last time: don’t bring it up again. This is my senior year, and I’m not moving before it even starts. I feel really good about this year, and nothing that happened last year is going to stop me from having a good year. Just drop it, okay?”
“All right, all right. I just really hope you’re right,” he says.

Poem: My Life

My life is an unmade bed, empty and still warm.
Sitting on the floor, waiting for the soft footsteps on brown 70’s carpet,
Hoping he’d come back to me.

My life is the silence, save the VHS player, clicking clicking clicking, in the other room.
“Be Kind Rewind” says the tape.
But there’s no reverse button for my story.

My life is somewhere at the top of my closet next to the varsity letter for a sport I made up
and academic letters for grades I realized were irrelevant,
but still I cling to them like old lovers and friends.

My life is a hallway, lit in fluorescent decay with endless doors,
And a burnt out lightbulb at the end, never replaced,
And stains from a bad glass of wine.

My life is a table that sits alone in the corner of the room with
a half eaten sandwich, a backpack, and two chairs.
The second blue, plastic chair is empty.

My life is a razor blade taped to the inside of a bathroom cabinet drawer,
barely out of sight, but quickly accessed, and hours talking to a stranger,
paid to fix all my problems, and paid to care.

My life is a carryon suitcase with clothes I would later throw away,
And souvenirs I would give away, and the sanity I left somewhere in
Bangladesh, or maybe Malawi, or Peru. Maybe all three.

My life is the empty shot glass that would make the taste of tequila
churn in my stomach, and the back of a yellow mustang and
lying about an emergency that wasn’t real, so I could get away.

My life is a long list of people who walked away and an even longer
list of “what if’s” and “should haves”
and what could I have done to change their minds?

My life is a love affair with a porcelain toilet bowl and the fresh taste of stomach acid
And lucky charms and pants that are too small
then too big and then too small again.

My life is being “too much” and too depressed, too touchy,
too happy, too sad, too needy, too emotional and too hard to love.
And deciding that I am too fucking tired to care what anyone else believes.

My life is a blank page, untouched, un-smudged,
and a white so bright it illuminates the room, and a pen,
poised at the ready, about to write the most fantastic story.

Poem: Milly is Not My Name

I will be Agate, with her turquoise glasses
and smile like a broken picket fence that needs new paint,
whose mom sends her to school with cosmic brownies
and an apple cherry juice box. She arrives for the day
wrapped in Daddy’s arms and eagerly waits to go Home again.

I will be Carley, with her shiny hair
and bright pink fingernails, glittering in the sunshine
of our school playground. She is Master of the Monkey Bars;
boys try to look up her dress as she swings across,
and I don’t know why, but they keep on looking anyway.

I will be Rachel, with her Ken doll and Barbies
and green backpack so bright it hurts my eyes to look at.
She plays with Mabel, Gwen, and Denise, and sometimes,
their dolls do naughty things when Teacher isn’t looking.
She knows where babies come from, and everyone asks to sit by her.

But I am me, with my matted red hair
and a sunset, fading into dusk, streaked across my arms and legs.
I hide at the back of the class because Teacher won’t stop
asking about Daddy, and Carley wants to know why
my eye looks gross and why my lip is so fat, but I can’t tell her

And I am me, with my empty bedroom
and doll whose head is cracked like mine and whose arms and legs
skew apart and whose body is thin in the middle
where I hold onto her for dear life. I am the canvas of my daddy’s art,
but he only paints in amethyst, sapphire, and onyx.

I am his masterpiece, but I am so tired of being painted.