dress

my arms are bare and almost scarless, but i won’t wear that dress. all i have for show and tell is a wince from words you stole and the sting of my kidneys as they sort the poison.

“resistance is futile,” i am reminded. some inner sense longs to shout out a warning. instead, fear quiets me. i leave you with mere fractions of complex theories i wouldn’t dare divulge in entirety. if i cannot share it, and i cannot beat it, i can certainly shrug.

i justify my silence the way most egos do with fancy dissonance. could it be that certain truths told will always reek of arrogance, even cruelty? i am not the keeper of knowledge, but i have begun to examine moments when honesty ceases to be an option – when lies seemingly hold us at gunpoint.

after all, does the dress ever make the inquirer “look fat” according to the responder?

mondays

you asked about tuesday before you mentioned the hollow of my eyes. mondays were better. you could help me out if only i would promise one thing. i hated making promises.

i could hook you up, i’d remind you. i could make you happier. you, of course, didn’t need my offerings. i insisted while you persisted. two. one. more. one. none. could you even be trusted? our voices would climb in volume before eventually dissolving into laughter. it was always this way with you.

“butter,” i said as i recommended ways to save your memory.

the truth was that we could never melt because you’d be counting and i couldn’t stand to be average. 

when i was feeling whimsical, my facial expressions would make you fall apart. you’d become a complete wreck of euphoric tears; hysterical sobs.

“why are you so fucking funny?”

we engaged in cheers between shots and beers. i’d pretend to absorb your shady advice, ignoring the ways in which you always thought of yourself first. still, if i was funny, you were smooth. and i’d continue to work on my sarcasm. 

after all, i did promise, did i not? 

you’d find ways to reach me behind my walls yet you fully understood my need for space. and i had those days. we both did. sometimes we’d rate them when feeling bold or jaded. other times, without explanation, we just wouldn’t show. between us, all was understood.

upon my return, i’d find your detailed recollections of previous days. you’d relay every moment i’d missed in vivid detail with a strange tone of perfection. i wondered if you were secretly a professional. i’d respond nonchalantly as though i hadn’t just consumed a masterpiece of sorts. and i’d selfishly continue to consume these hidden works of art week after week.

“tell me why i don’t like mondays,” i’d demand, quoting one of my favorite musicians.

your eyes would roll but we both knew you relished your understanding of obscure references. for that reason alone, i would feed these to you.

i would then reference the ways in which i also loved to understand while simultaneously swearing that i’d had my fill of understanding as a whole. you joked that i should change my name to paradox. briefly, i considered it. 

still: mondays.  every single monday, you would serve me breakfast.

“tell me why i don’t like mondays,” i’d ask again.

“because you’re a pain in the ass.”

i couldn’t argue.

cerulean

she was thankful, she said. it meant a lot, given everything, and maybe she was a little bit sorry for her anger after all. it was nice to see a full circle return to sanity, refreshing to witness what once seemed impossible transform into tangible reality.

“i think i’ve been better, haven’t i?”

i couldn’t and wouldn’t argue, but i would absolutely change the subject.

“i’m a six point five today.”

“i was just about to ask you.”

i thought about how peculiar it all was. i interrogated myself internally about how we ended up this way and if any of it was meaningful or purely coincidental. i tended to choose significance over chance when asked to wager a guess on the intentions of the so-called universe.

“how do you want this story to end?” she asked randomly as spring snow fell from a cloudless cerulean sky. 

she seemed to view life through a fairy tale lens, speaking as though she were rapunzel and entire lives could be simplified with long locks and open windows. on top of that, i hated fairy tales. i told her as much.

but for me, she’d never cut it, she swore. never.

with that, clearly missing the point, her pinky curled into a promise. i feigned a smile and returned the gesture, effectively sealing the deal. i decided not to mention the fact that her heart was beating audibly to a ferocious rhythm of uncertainty and i used to be a drummer.

titanium

the machine told me to do it. that’s my story and i’m sticking to it. i am velcro.

my makeup, also known as my foundation, is literally titanium. the irony is in the language. i suppose my body reacts in a similarly ironic manner. in regards to pain, there is little. i wake up to drown in poison. otherwise, i let my mind travel beyond inside cocoons of comforters. rarely do i cry, but how much liquid is one able to excrete? sometimes i think that i must be all dried up. still, i sweat and i sweat.

i’ve been told my smile has the ability to light up my entire face, but my eyes are hollow. fair enough. i hide beneath the assault of blasting harmonies and strings on my eardrums. these are the times i allow myself to get lost in thought. lost thoughts seem nothing compared to the loss of a soul.

have i confided in you, now? do you feel that i’m being open? i can’t help the sense that none of this means anything, but i will not give up. i will not let go.

many will say i already have.

infectious

what if i told you that if i exposed you to a specific combination of sensory material that i could entirely change some of your preferences within a matter of minutes?

what if i told you i could make you crave the trigger material so much that the desire for the preference would become a preference in and of itself?

further, what if i told you that with the simple symphony of senses, you could become a virus of sorts which would, inevitably, infect others?

mri

sometimes i’d think of the coast and how i’d never really been there, not the way i’d have liked anyhow, and the ways it could have been different. i could have been different. i’d recall this one dreamlike moment when i looked up and my feet were in the atlantic and your eyes were dark. was that real? and in the pacific, did we find a surreal ocean paradise surrounded by mountains?

were we ever really there? were we ever actually real?

did we taste the salt for ourselves? i can’t remember tasting it, but i feel certain that i would dip my tongue into any ocean given the chance. my lack of this memory feels jarring. then there are moments when all of this feels fantastical. sometimes i still wonder if we’re lost in the mri. i think you wonder too.

bodies separate from souls in mirrors that are gazed in too long, so we don’t look closely.

villain

i think there are reasons i don’t want to get into this. you know what’s allowed. you certainly know what isn’t. the moment i actually cursed myself was when i finally wiped that childlike grin off of my horrid, wound-covered face.

“could we even see who we were?”
“i could,” i promised.

my resting face comes off as jaded, my smile jagged and unsettling. wear and tear resides where innocence once flourished. the natural spark amidst the deep brown of my soul’s two windows has faded. i am hollow-man. i am your “scream” villain. i am your emptiness on a mission to haunt you should you dare to look even a moment too long.

the discovery of a very old video clip brought the actuality of my evolution to my attention. i witnessed some old, visibly tortured self naively, and quite horrifically, giving a vocal rendition of a cheesy justin bieber song accompanied by a borrowed guitar. i crowed loudly in all of the wrong keys. i strummed like a baby bangs a high-chair, my arms covered in sores. i was positively shameless.

but my smile lit up the moment. my laughter was pure. and i knew nothing. i saw myself knowing nothing. i watch this clip now and this girl that’s supposed to be me knows absolutely nothing. and i yearn for her.

“could we even see who we were?” you’d ask again as the abrupt ending of the video left us in a strange silence.

i’d changed my mind.

“i don’t think we could see at all. maybe we were better for it.”

you’d grimace then. and i’d wish this all away.

garage

she locked me in the garage. i loved the smell of that garage. unaware that i had the insight to open the garage door using the red-lit button and walk through the front door, my mother thought she had me pinned. you couldn’t blame her. i was that kid that wouldn’t shut the fuck up. ever. i was the baby you’d still sometimes want to shake even after i’d turned seven.

i counted to thirty before i pounded the button and waited as the garage slowly screeched open. i burst through the front door, my eyes wide. my mother gasped, shocked at my arrival. we both immediately collapsed into laughter that quickly turned into tears until we could no longer contain ourselves. we rolled around on the carpet holding our bellies until it hurt. we’d joke about it for years to come.

she never locked me in the garage again.

encore

they dance around their questions as ordered. i do take note. they lack grace, but i can’t blame them for being afraid to ask me. i’ve never shied away from self exploration in the least, yet even i have no answers with which to feed myself a plate of cognitive dissonance bullshit.

let me guess: you want to know why i don’t do anything. so do i.

i used to feel so much. additionally, i was extremely prone to unhealthy infatuation driven by lust which immaculately disguised itself as love. if asked, i’d claim to be a romantic and i meant it. i felt so “deep.”

when i’d craft the stories, the content was swaddled in emotion. feelers would return to feel more with me and i would feed their hunger for the melancholy and the subtle.

but as i aged, i ceased to feel. instead, i analyzed, theorized. i philosophized.

without feeling, this muted effect hinders my ability to be forthcoming where i once would have been. through my adult lens, it appears easier to swallow frustration while rationalizing. i subsequently document nothing despite an abundance of perfectly worthy topics. i save draft after draft of meticulously edited prose yet i lack the emotional push to send it out to the world.

because why? because for what?

“tell them about the shame.”

okay, sure, yeah, that’s easy. they’re ashamed of me and admit as much during cigarette breaks on my back porch. i’ve been here before and it isn’t new. it does sting, however, and tends to catch me completely off guard. sometimes my stomach twists, i usually drink to gloss it over, and the majority of the time, i dive straight into “fuck everything” mode.

but it isn’t like i haven’t been a secret before and it isn’t like i’m unwilling to perform an encore.

the shame comes in waves due to the dichotomy of deeply valuing my stubborn nature while simultaneously feeling temporarily destroyed because the ones i love most are afraid to confess my very existence.

because i can’t be the way that i’ve chosen if i want them to know i’m a being.

i understand the way in which the entry of role model figures immediately begins deconstructing my value in their minds. to be clear, i do not think this is intended or even recognized on a conscious level. to be honest, this discussion wouldn’t end well so i never allow it to begin. to be fair, i swallow and bury this in hopes that the realization of my importance might outweigh the sting in the end.

after all, it’s happened this way before. and here i remain.

i am aware of a distant nagging in my head regarding backup plans, but tending to that concern will quickly drown my energy, my trust, and any appearance of well-being i may still possess.

to be blunt, my being is not well as i cannot be due to not being what they define as “well.”

something about this all screams ridiculous to me, but i am only some she who cannot be named.

and the nameless are rarely the shameless.

yawn

you can’t cover a life-long empty search with shallow repetitious patterns. you cannot hide your soul from the failures of the flesh. and you cannot come to terms with this, it would seem. numb fingers and cold hearts were metaphorically, and yet quite literally, made for one another.

she deserves rest and a sense of basic decency. you haven’t you been able to be, even at the very least, decent. you’re feeling more alone, aren’t you? well, are you not?

perfectly placed prose do not create truth. keep doing all you can to squash that illusion.

i wished, moments ago, that she would wake up and that she would bring her spirit. i fantasized that, in a flash, any negative aura that might be surrounding my own might die on impact.

i thought, then, “maybe we are alone exactly the way we are meant to be,” but suddenly i heard footsteps down the hallway followed by a muffled yawn.

and i realized that a yawn had never sounded so beautiful.

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