poetry by ashley

you are five, and he is six, and he holds his hand out to you as you lay on the ground, beaten and bloody. he walks you home, mile-wide grin never faltering. his name is James Buchannan Barnes, and his friends call him Bucky. he tells you to call him that, and the smile sits heavy on your lips long after he leaves.

you are seven, and he is eight, when you start to draw, more than the little doodles on school paper. it does not take long for you to learn how the curve of his eyelashes and the brilliant blue of his eyes transfer to greyscale on paper.

you are nine, and he is ten, when he pulls the cushions off his ma’s couch, and you wrap up in blankets. ‘you’re my best friend, Steve, you know that, right?’ his eyes are crystal clear and honest, and you feel your heart swell. you are his best friend, he is your everything.

you are twelve, and he is thirteen when he starts to grow out of pre-pubescence. his jaw sharpens, his shoulders broaden, and his eyes glow just as brightly as before. the girls take notice, so do you. you don’t know why it hurts.

you are fourteen, and he is fifteen when you have to learn to draw him again. you don’t mind, he is so easy for you to draw. his body has grown taller, stronger, and it clashes harshly with your own tiny form. he smiles every time he catches you doing it, ruffles your hair and tells you how good you are. his praise feels like sunshine.

you are sixteen and he is seventeen when he drags you out of an alley, two guys laying out cold on the ground behind you. ‘told ya, Stevie, just gotta wait for me, and I’ve got you, never gonna leave you alone.’ you want to say you don’t need him, but you know that’s not true. he will never leave you. never. not ever.

you are eighteen, and he is nineteen the first time he tries to get you a date. the girl takes one look at your tiny body and turns away. he says he doesn’t want to talk to them if they don’t like you. the two of you sit on the couch and forget about dancing, and you draw the tilt of his head as the whiskey takes effect. he tells you the girls are crazy, that there’s so many wonderful things about you.

you are twenty-two, and he is twenty-three when your ma dies, and he hands you a key. the apartment is small, but it is enough, it is home. his eyes are soft and you drink it in, wherever he is has always been home.

you are twenty-three, and he is twenty-four when Japan drops the bomb on pearl harbour. ‘I’m with you till the end of the line’ he says the night before he ships off to basic. you thought he would never leave you, and a part of your heart goes to war with him. you will never get it back.

you are twenty-five, and he is twenty-six when you drag him out of austria, and you’re a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier, and you can breathe. the girl with the lovely chocolate eyes takes your attention away from him. the spark in his eyes has dimmed in the time you have spent apart. you are too swept away by her to notice.

you are twenty-six, and he is twenty seven when he  f a l l s  and you have never felt pain like this before. the girl with the lovely chocolate eyes does not fix the hole in your heart. he promised he would never leave but death doesn’t care about promises.

you are twenty-six, and he is  n o t h i n g  when you nose dive into the ocean, the ice claims your body and the breath leaves your lungs and your last thought is of him.

you are



you are ninety-four when they pull you from the ice and you fight aliens a hundred years in the future. they say we won the war, they do not say what we  l o s t.

you are ninety-six when the mask falls from his face and everything you have ever known fades to grey. the spark in his eyes that was there when you met him is gone, and another piece of your heart shatters.

you are ninety-six, and he, he is ninety-seven. something deep inside you stirs.

you are ninety-six, and he is ninety-seven when ‘who the hell is Bucky?’ breaks your fragile heart. you do not know how to fix it.

you are ninety-six, and he is ninety-seven and you are ready to die, when you repeat back to him 'I’m with you till the end of the line’. when you wake he is gone again. he said he would never leave.

you are ninety-six, and he is ninety-seven when everyone questions why you go after him. the girl with the red hair does not. you wonder if, somehow, she knows.

you are ninety-seven, and he is ninety-eight when you break down crying. the man with the dark skin lets you sob on his shoulder. 'was Bucky something more to you before the war? were you..’ the sadness that fills your heart as you respond does not go unnoticed. 'no’.

you are ninety-seven, and he is ninety-eight when you realize you have been in love with him since you were five years old. the dark-skinned man’s question is still answered the same way. n o

you are ninety-seven, and he is ninety-nine when you hear the word. the girl with the red hair and the dark skinned man’s eyes soften.

you are five

you are seven

you are nine

you are twelve

you are fourteen

you are sixteen

you are eighteen

you are twenty-two

you are twenty-three

you are twenty-five

you are twenty-six

you are ninety-four

you are ninety-five

you are ninety-six

you are

you are ninety-seven and he is ninety-nine.

you are ninety-seven, and he is your soulmate.

you are ninety-seven, and he is ninety-nine, and you wonder how it took you the better part of a century to figure out the hollow ache in your chest whenever he was gone was more than platonic

you are ninety-seven, and he is ninety-nine when you get him back. you are so scared, he has left you three times before, and your heart cannot take a fourth

you are ninety-eight, and he is ninety-nine and you think back to when you were five years old and an angel pulled you off the gravel on the playground. you tell him the story and he smiles. ‘I’ll always be there for you Stevie, I promised, didn’t I?’ this time, he stays.

—  the heartbreak (and fixing) of steven grant rogers
Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey and Sylvia Plath TOC

Originally posted by blackbeautylana

TRAGEDY QUEENS is an anthology that brings together two powerful muses: Sylvia Plath and Lana Del Rey. Sylvia’s voice haunts us from beyond the grave. Her words cut like diamonds—sharp, deadly, and forever beautiful. Lana Del Rey’s dark themes and enchanting vocals resonate with listeners from all around the world. Both of these artists explore taboo topics. They find the words to voice the things they are not proud of, the things that haunt them. It takes courage to do the verbal striptease. Let these two extraordinary muses guide you into your own heart of darkness.

TRAGEDY QUEENS will be available for preorder in September 2017. ARC’s will be available to reviewers at that time. CLASH Books will also have copies available for purchase at the Brooklyn Book Fair this year.

Official release date is December 1st 2017.

Contact editor for ARC’s email: lezacantoral@gmail.com

1. Stephanie M. Wytovich - Because of Their Different Deaths
2. Ashley Inguanta - A Room of Infinite Cat’s Eyes
3. Lorraine Shein - SP World
4. Gabino Iglesias - Gods in the Blood
5. Larissa Glasser - Ritual of Gorgons
6. Monique Quintana - Sad Girl
7. Tiffany Scandal - Loose Ends
8. Devora Gray - Pipedreams
9. Cara Di Girolamo - Sphinx Tears
10. Patricia Grisafi - Crazy Mary
11. Rebecca Charlotte - My Pussy Tastes Like Pepsi Gnosis
12. Brendan Vidito - Stag Loop
13. Christine Stoddard - Going About 99
14. Manuel Chavarria - Dayglo Reflection
15. Kathryn Louise - The Blacklist
16. Farah Rose Smith - The Land of Other
17. Tiffany Morris - The Lazarus Wife
18. Laura Diaz - Without Him (and Him, and Him) There is No Me
19. Victoria Dalpe - The Wife
20. Max Booth III - All the World Drops Dead
21. Lisa Marie Basile - On the Elevation of Pain Through Art and Beauty - a Diary of Muses
22. Jerry Drake - Corinne
23. Selene MacLeod - Panic Bird
24. Laura Lee Bahr - Catman’s Heart

Like the sun you warm others,
But burn yourself.
I watch them soak up your love
And breathe it in before running
And leaving you thankless.
I see your light dim hopefully
As the moon takes its turn in the sky
But even then your rays play their role.
So I write to you.
Write words of thanks
In the hopes that it’ll make you smile
And keep you a little bit warmer.