and all of the names were false
butterfly cafe

please don’t stay, you are oceans away.

breaths that carry lilacs carry me

to a mental July. I put down

my perfume, the bottle flower-shaped,

and your voice was like diamonds crushing,

and my heart, it was flower-shaped too.

I swear I have a heart, and it blooms

only when the moon does. white and blue

4-o’clocks, not am but pm,

grow on the glowing screen. I can blink

ever since I met you. 

insomnia ii.

sunlight through plastic blinds
is God’s unblinking eye
dust falls on cratered lids
half-tempting a half-sleep

i found oblivion
in every negative space
and the apocalypse
is a sun-flooded classroom

sunglasses on and I feel nothing
an insomniac’s trick
dark swallows heart
in the seams of a blink

solar//lunar//mental eclipse
lettering’s the only difference
print is poison, print is poison
hope lies in dissolving contrast

solar//lunar//mental eclipse
lettering’s the only difference
you blink, you lose
don’t blink, lose you

they’re called mind games

because your mind will always

win

when your instincts are the definition

of both morality and

sin

Fountain of

you are the dark place in my mind
the corner I revert to when my synapses sink in time
crush me and caution me and garnish me with your care
planning dyed hair is a strange affair
an affair that’s never a thought, but a symptom
pull the knife out of your back while I play the victim
are you tracing your feelings, reasons, meanings with a blade?
miles of Niles in your system left to untangle in the shade
of a chemical, hereditary, primary reaction-function
truths dripping from the salty-sweet eyedropper venom
of your eyes veins eyes veins eyes veins eyes
lies brain wise brain tries brain, synthesized
Synth is a religion and nightclub floors are the pews
bass is the gospel and flashing lights are the hues
that currently color in the skeletons of blueprints
you drew for your dreams, defined old reality with
tongues in others’ lungs doesn’t make for an answer
but I hear your prayer, girl, and I echo your seance
bodies twisting in rhythm with anyone who will feel us
people, sweat and Ciroc are all liquids, what’s the difference
searching for a Fountain of Amnesia to heal us

hell is a dmv

Getting your driver’s license is pretty much society handing you the keys to the BMW. It’s the mother eagle pushing its child off a cliff. It’s everybody’s Bar Mitzvah. But mostly, it’s society’s way of testing your boundaries. To see if they handed you the keys to power, to freedom, which road you would take. At my school, getting your license is a pretty big deal. Once you get your license, you run out of things to talk about with your other friends. You’re sick of bitching about your hometown; you never want to see another one of its pizzerias or pavement cracks again. Freedom is a cult that everyone starves to be in. But you have to go through Hell to get there.

And all of these thoughts are rushing through my head, a demented mosaic, as I walk the familiar streets to my town’s DMV. I hear terrible stories, stories that, I hope, had gained fire as they crashed through my school’s sphere of gossip. John told me that it’s so hot in there, that five minutes waiting in line made the river of sweat on his skin bubble. Lisa swore to me, with wide and honest eyes, that her driving test administrator was the Devil herself. Pushing the cloudy glass doors open, I prepare myself for the worst.

The waiting room is a fiery sauna. Scarlet seventeen-year-olds are packed against maraschino cherry walls, drenched in sweat and rubbing bloodshot eyes. There’s one boy crouched on the floor with his head on his knees. At first I thought he was praying, but I realized that he must have lost that instinct long ago. I wonder how long he’s been waiting here.

In the far corner next to a pot of dehydrated roses, I see a line of desperate teenagers in front of a heavy water cooler. There’s no cups, so they rapidly press the lever into their hollowed-out hands, but as the water touches their skin, it dissolves into vapor.

Minutes slowly turned to hours, and I’m on the verge of saying, screw it. Screw it all. Screw responsibility and adulthood. Right now, I terribly want to crawl back into my mother’s stomach. But I hear my number called, so I drag myself to the distant voice. I push through the heavy iron door. It could have been a safe. And I felt a burst of snowy air. My salvation.

The secretary smiled, and she’s an angel. She’s wearing a flowing white dress, and her golden eyes look like the gates of heaven. “Lily Thompson? Please enter the first car on the left.” The shifted her body to point to the door, and I saw a red tail.

I entered the car, and it was even more hellish than the waiting room. The seat burned my bare legs, and the black leather wheel made my skin sizzle. “Good luck,” sneered the red man who seemed to materialize next to me.

***

I barely passed, and I’m barely alive.

burnout

I don’t know what my last name is,

and I can’t forgive and I can’t forgive,

for my only scar is the one that brought me here;

my life-spark catalyst was original sin,

cracking me from quiet innocence,

left to freefall into

nothing.

_

My first cigarette was my last,

moments pass,

moments pass,

and I feel detached;

I’m a pixel on your screen, I’m sure,

a pinprick of light that you try to blink away.

Until you can’t.

_

And you only begin to care when you figure out the ending.

_

My skin is 

cracked

and burnt

and cratered.

Any moment that

matters cannot

be savored.

We kiss.

We’re

gone

.

inked

when I die, I want poetry tattooed on my skin,

from the bottom of my feet to the inside of my eyelids,

because I don’t know much about the afterlife,

but I always sleep better with a book in my hand.

and I won’t have to worry too much about prospective employers 

then

dad