I feel your
                colours inside
        my chest;

                reds,
                golds,
                and an answer

        to a
                            dream
I’d forgotten.

I didn’t start the fire
to burn the forest
I only did
to keep my hands warm

maybe I’m just too reckless
playing with something so destructive
but I was freezing
and all I needed to warm my hands
was a little fire

I never wanted to be trapped
between these flames
but dying in the snow
seemed even worse
when my skin was turning so pale
so it couldn’t be distincted from to snow

crying was all I could do
when I saw these trees falling down,
these trees that used to give me protection
to warmth and cold

I see a picture of him with another girl and even though I know it’s over it still hurts, I still saw that smile and those eyes and thought, God he’s beautiful, and God she’s a lucky girl, and God I hate her, and I know I shouldn’t hate her, I know it’s not her fault and it’s not his fault, but I still wish things turned out differently, and I still picture us ending up together someday, and the thought of him curled up with someone else in his bed still makes me sick.
six hundred and thirty seven: twenty five of thirty

Had a nightmare last night and afterwards a dream of you.
That sounds like it was something different,
but it was more of the same.

By the end of it, your other ex-girlfriend was sobbing
and we were throwing up on the sidewalk.

I wish I could see you as a mean monster,
but I still miss how you could never part your hair.

On my way home, I thought I saw you rounding my corner.
It was just some other tall man.

The point is I ran away.
The point is I didn’t look back
until my key was in the door.

Four Seasons

There are roots of an oak tree bursting through my chest and the space between my rib-cage is
wrought with the dirt of what was and what will be forming cell walls in the sunlight,
and it’s raining in my open wound. I can’t tell if I’m over or under-watered as my guts
shrivel up like prunes and my roots dig deep into the ground like pirates for buried treasure.

It is summer, and I have grown three feet in total since being planted in the dewy ground of this
godforsaken place where forty degrees Fahrenheit seems a good temperature for people to wear
shorts, and now is a good time to wear shorts. The sun’s heat burns my leaves with cosmic fire
and it hasn’t rained in quite some time I think, and I’m sweating my energy away like a farmer.

People have said I look beautiful now. My leaves a mixture of orange and gold, another few inches to
my name, but people don’t think it’s as impressive as the toddler growing half an inch over 4 months.
From what I know of my color, I know it will be short-lived. Eventually I will be stripped naked from
the warm clothes I made myself and face the wrath of our mother in the changing season. So I pray.

There is an endless vulnerability in winter. My entire being freezes to the tree rings and shakes with
the wind. I don’t want to see anyone stare, although they all seem to be looking at the ground as
they walk. The other nude lifeforms like myself are just as vulnerable as I am. It’s hard to call to them,
but I want them to know that they are not alone. You are not alone. You are not alone.

-ANF

What’s your name?
Age?
How would you rate your mood on a scale of one to ten?
What’s your relationship like with your parents? Oh, that’s sad.
And your brother? Didn’t it used to be good?
What happened?
Can I take you back to June the 13th? What about the 15th of August?
No? Okay maybe later.
What about school?
Take a deep breathe it’ll be over soon.
Oh… You’re getting A’s?
Has anyone in your family been diagnosed?
What do you want to be when you’re older?
What do you mean you can’t see a future?
What’s your relationship like with your boyfriend?
Is he abusive?
No? What about the last one?
Okay in your own time.

See when I first came here I was open.
And over time I’ve closed my mind, my heart… Everything.
It’s what happens when you spend a year with someone who tells you to be quite.
Pretty.
Less suicidal.
Less excitable.
Less me.
Less human.
So here I am: with scars on my arms and lies spilling out of my mouth.
And I’ve tried to kill myself five times (that they know of), I’ve wanted to
more times than I can count on two hands
Or three
Or four.
Maybe it’s not time to give up just yet.
But I’m tired of telling myself that every day.
The horrible thing is that I can see that people care.
And I can see that I’ll hurt them.
But the more nights I spend ripping out my hair,
scratching at my scars and
pinching the excess fat on my hips
the more I want to cave in and listen to the thoughts that run through my head at night.
But how can I let you look after me when I don’t feel like I can even open up because every time I open my mouth I hear the words running through my head.

Do you think you’re special?
Do you think you’re the only one?
Come on when do you not want to kill yourself?
What do you want?
For fuck sake I’m trying to sleep.
And I mean it’s six in the afternoon. And I know that he was actually with her.
And I know he’ll lie about it and say he was in the hospital.
Honestly I wouldn’t care anymore.
I told myself he was lying because at the time he meant everything.
But he didn’t care.
That’s why when I tied the noose around my neck and hung it from a light he told me he wanted alone time.
I desperately caught my breath and cleared up the shattered glass.
And only you know that I attempted a sixth time.

Come on baby girl, don’t you want me?
Don’t you love me?
Just let me go in.
Shut up it’ll stop hurting in a minute.
Don’t you love me?
You feel so good.
Don’t cry it’s a turn off.
Come on you’re my little slut it’s your job.
I’m nearly done.
I love you baby girl.
Thank you.
He knows what he did.
I said no and
he told himself yes.

Now I’m here in your arms.
Before I would have told myself I’m just vain
yet I do not doubt you when you tell me you love me.
And I pray to a God I do not believe in that you believe me when I tell you that I love you.
That I’m trying.
That you are the reason I know what happiness and hope feels like.
I want nothing more but to be able to say that we made it.

So here I am.

What’s your name?
Age?
Do you have suicidal thoughts and/ or tendencies?
Do you ever think you’ll open up?

water stains

i didn’t know what else to say
so i hid my words in your baby teeth.
i hid your baby teeth in a seashell.
i swallowed the seashell. i hid the seashell in my stomach.
i hid my stomach in your stomach.
all of these statements are true. all of them,
or a few of them, or none of them. this is less a poem
and more a long word for waking up in the middle of the night
with the dull, wrong throb of morning
embedded in your chest like a pearl.

you catch your fingernails on jellied gossamer.
rustle. scratch. pull down hard. split the amniotic sac
in half and rub the spell like pale dust
into the wet, dark silt of this bed. this warning.
the blade rests holy at the point of incision, the edge honed so finely
it is no longer made of metal and more of made an unbearable light.
i want to tell you i’m seasick, i’m child-dizzy, i’m a room with no roof,
no sun in the sky but still more than enough
to make you want to unzip this skin again and again,
panicked in your ascension.

we feed on flesh, then blood, then marrow,
then milk, then nothing. we swim in circles
around each other, upturn and offer swollen bellies
full of salt. this is less a poem and more a long word
for the promise of never being hungry again.
from a distance we are polishing fish scales back into
the open splay of us, and we have never been so soft,
or so small, or so pure.

I’ve spilled so many of my thoughts on paper after midnight.
You’ve been orbiting around my mind but I swear sometimes it feels like you’re the world and I’m just lost in space.
I have to admit that deep down I’m scared.
There’s something stalker-like about regret, it always seems to find me somehow, always lurking on the corner My Relationships and Actually Trying.
I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted ink writing you poetry in the form of letters and notes describing how your mind is such a wonderful vacation spot.
I don’t want to look at the clock while seconds, minutes and hours of my life pass me by questioning why we no longer speak.
I don’t want to spend my nights rereading our conversations and trying to pinpoint the exact point you lost interest in understanding me.
Or worse, remembering when you still were interested.
I don’t want to regret you.
I hope you prove me wrong.
I hope you’re not like the others.
—  maxwelldpoetry, “Regret”
forces

you yelled
‘when are you gonna love me?!’
It echoed for some moment
this was all i could come up with
when ami gonna love you?
when the euphoria leaves,
when the grass is green in St Arnaud
when the smogs in hong kong lift
when the high gets low
when the bed is made
when the darts miss the mark
when infatuation becomes too much
when i find Icarus melted wings

When A Man Sighs

When a man sighs
It is not a sign of weakness
No, it is just the longing of a heart
Trying to be patient
As the world revolves around him
Yet, he waits in silence
For the love burning inside
To respond to his silent sigh
With a smile
Or random phone call
With acceptance of flaws
And patience for the moment
Not rushing into the future
Not rushing into the fire
Just allowing the flames to reach higher
In the darkness of the night
As the stars and sighs collide
When lovers embrace
Tears, loneliness, and pain subside
So when a man sighs
It is not a sign of weakness
It is just his way of speaking
When all words seem to disappear

Control

Am I any more than squinting eyes,
clothes on the floor-
any more than what I say,
can you read my thoughts?
Do they seep out of my eyes?
It seems I choose what falls out of my mouth,
but it all comes running out in the end
the circles and scribbles paint my life
black and white,
I wear another face on top of mine so I feel too full
but I can’t escape this alphabet cover.

Tickling under the surface of my skin
are words I long to say.
Tickling under the surface of my skin
are words I never will.

after twelve months and too many weekdays and
360-some-odd evenings alone,
tucking myself in again tonight might
leave my fingers a little arthritic

but no one can fold down
the bed sheets like I can, and
after all these sunsets and all this solitude
I am rounder with self-trust
than I have ever been

Bedtime by feather-fallen

the things i will never tell you

i. i’ll always miss you. sometimes i miss the shade of your lipstick - either maroon or nude, you never had the patience for more than two colours. it doesn’t look the same on anyone else. sometimes i miss you when i see the glass bowls stacked inside my china cabinet, the ones you thought were for soup when they were really for coffee. i’m forgetting the important things - the corners of your laughter and the way the skin around your eyes crinkled. i think i will be missing you forever, and eventually i will stop resisting it. i will let it flood me like an ocean tide. you won’t know and you won’t care. you won’t mind.

ii. i’m not the same. the skies are changing. i change too. you would pick apart my new skin to reveal the old, but you’re not here. i wear new skins in quiet resignation. the world turns. no one recognises me.

iii. the earrings you gave me that i thought i’d keep forever are gone. i sold them and donated the money. i’m not sure if i regret it yet. maybe i will. in time.

iv. i am becoming lifeless even though i am alive. the words i write are empty and meaningless. i fill pages of nothing, the water never runs dry but it will never transform into wine.

v. you know how they say, we’re not heroes? well, i think we are. we’re not heroes to everybody. but we’re heroes to somebody. all of us. even me. even you.