Amtrak to Buffalo

Prompt: You're on a train between cities. 8 hours between each. Write about each hour in 60 words or less

I have many homes across the country

In which I won’t hesitate before I close my eyes

I can dream, uninterrupted.

It’s late October and the

Air tastes sweet

Like how I remember your smile

Like the drinks we toast to remember you with

Like how I remember your presence.

 

I have my ticket crumpled in my hand

My clothes in my duffle

My entertainment in my backpack

My eyes towards Buffalo

Your heart tattooed on my leg

You in my mind

 

Amtrak. Train number 27. 8 hours between cities.

385 miles between King and Queen.

 

Hour One

The fat of my body

Spreads across the seat and then some.

My nerves hope no one sits next to me.

The fighter in my heart says “try me.”

 

We leave the tunnel and the morning

Hurts my eyes.

Beauty was never something

To take in calmly.


 

Hour Two

Pitch black

Like the midnight that

Consumes my soul on some nights.

Like the children who were blessed

With the richness of color

Like lungs

Soaking in the minutes spent after meals

And between classes

 

I see you

Dancing like a hologram

You feel so real

Damn I wish you were real


 

Hour Three

I wish I could

Traverse dimensions

And pull you into the present.

I wouldn’t be stuck on this

Fucking cramped train

If I could.

 

Hour Four

Babies.

The miracle of life.

But their wails

Make me want to

Die.


 

Hour Five

I softly serenade my phone

with “Livin’ On A Prayer.”

I text my friend to make sure

She has a phone charger.

Oh! And Imodium.

I’m gambling with the

Train food.

 

Hour Six

The rolling hills of

Central New York

Never cease draw the

Breath out of my chest.

I think of your family.

I can’t wait to hug your little brother.

 

Hour Seven

I disappear into the darkness again

Only to dream of nothing.

 

Hour Eight

Edward Sharpe plays in my mind

Like a broken record

It’s stuck on

Home, let me come home,

Home is wherever I’m with you.

Home is Bonaventure

Home is the various houses you’ve lived in

Home is the highway

Home is the airport

Home is this miraculously empty seat

On this crowded train

Your body fills it just the same


 

Welcome to Buffalo, New York.

Please be careful when exiting the train.

Over Time ( & Again)

Sequel to a poem previously posted "Over Time

Over time

& again

Time

& again

 

I wonder what he feels

Every time he looks in the mirror.

 

Do his eyes glaze over with pride?

Are they bloodshot with the bullets fired into his soul?

Does “reckless” appear to be tattooed into his scalp?

 

Hair

Thick like a lion’s mane

Skin baked by the young son

Birthed under pressure

 

Time & again

I wonder

 

Does my spirit sing to him in his sleep like his does mine?

Does my ghost weep into his chest?

Does his heart beat to the plucking strings of his banjo,

With a case that creeps next to my balcony door

In which there are blinds

Broken in lust

Which allows the sun to

Fill my living room with love

 

I see him

Shirt draped over him like a bed sheet

Resting

Resting

Resting

The sun baking him

Hills and valleys rising and falling in his lungs

Two inflatable smoke stacks

I find myself choking

Under the pollution he casts onto me

I can’t filter him out

No matter how hard I try

 

Time & again

 

I get sicker

But the cure from this disease doesn’t dawn from silence

And no matter how much research I do

On how to make that fucking throat of yours sing

I hear nothing but nails on a chalkboard

Every time I think of you it is screeches

Every time I’m reminded of you it gets more intense

Maybe I should just stop trying to discover the perfect formula

That will reopen the line of communication

Magic like ours wasn’t made in a classroom


 

Over time

& again

 

I wonder what he sees when

He looks in the mirror.

 

Does he love what he sees

Or does he overlook everything

 

Like he does me?

Reasons Why I Can't Handle This Shit Right Now

Also appears in Words Dance Publishing

Reasons Why I Can't Handle This Shit Right Now:

  1. We have created camp on a fucking massive rock hurtling through the universe at 17,000 miles an hour if it falls out of orbit, we could all fucking die but I don’t have the power to text you back.
  2. I went shopping for tampons and the frail woman comparing two types of lube eyed me cautiously as if my body wasn’t worthy of love. I am a pleasure palace.
  3. Almonds don’t actually make milk, I don’t know what it’s called but Trader Joe’s calls it almond beverage and I fucking salute them.
  4. I’ve noticed that this is more of a rant than a poem, but my poetry is just a free form version of my mind so I’m going to let it rock.
  5. I tend to fall in love with risk takers, seeing that I’m probably the biggest risk you’ll ever encounter. There was this one woman who dove headfirst into my spirit and found my beauty in the brevity of my words and said “you have no idea how attracted to you I am right now.”
  6. I haven’t spoken to her two years.
  7. I am fat, black, queer, and a woman yet the world thinks that because I don’t have a blunt target painted on my head that this world isn’t against me. It’s there, I was just born with it on my skin.
  8. I was granted the title Woman of Promise but all I can promise myself is a slightly false sense of optimism as long as my heart is still beating. I can promise that the sun does rise and fall everyday just as it does every time you smile. I’ve always wondered what it was like to bathe in sunshine.
  9. I then found out that I didn’t need a bikini to drown in ocean that is your eyes, my glasses will do just fine
  10. I’m still ranting but my heart is still trying to get some clearance.
  11. I try to find myself everyday at the bottom of wine and whiskey bottles and the occasional bottle of rum and all I could think of is
  12. Maybe I’m a wreck. Maybe I’m meant to do magical things, like turn my tear ducts into wishing wells so people could find hope in my eyes.
  13. Maybe I’m a fortress, built up with walls that tell of the stories that were torn into my skin by rocks and cement and needles dabbed in ink. My family calls it the devil’s work but they can speak for myself more than my lungs can.
  14. I am a dream of a dream of a dream, I have no idea where my grandmother is but I’m pretty sure she’s proud of me.
  15. There is a chance that my anxiety may kill me sending chills down my spine catapulting me into another depth of my depression.
  16. One of my best friends committed suicide before I could honestly tell him how much the world would rip apart without him.
  17. I don’t have enough thread to sew it all back together.
  18. I am sweating profusely as you all judge me for the content of my words which is just another way of saying I don’t agree with your character but,
  19. I still think you’re as beautiful as bluntly possible
  20. Is the age where I found out that words possess the same amount of force as a loaded gun.
  21. Is when I thought it would be okay to aim that gun at someone else in hopes they would see the best in me.
  22. Is where it all went to hell and I finally feel free.

Studio Silence

I do not find comfort in silence. 
It forces me to concentrate on the heaviness of my breathing
and the weight of my words.
I do not want to worry
about what spills out of my system.

I do not find comfort in silence, 
so I’ve turned on the radio to listen to the crackle. 
The white noise
is like a symphony of utter confusion, 
whose frequency reigns loudest
in the mix of a million + warriors
wanting to be heard.

There is no such thing as studio silence. 
Souls do not get written into lyrics to be dropped by producers.
No amount of choruses can decode me.
I am not one to cut myself open with a clef
and sing to myself
a hymn of ignored texts
to the beat of stagnant, standoffish read receipts. 

Madness does not breed here. 
It is to be confused with the heartache
that leaves me questioning a million things at once, 
fighting frequencies
because nothing seems to be consistent  
besides the white noise
crackling in the back of my skull
fighting to punch songs out of my teeth.

My fingertips massage the radio knob
like the barrel of a loaded drum
kicking the tempo into something salvageable, 
there is nothing of garbage within my veins. 

It sounds like a tune you knew
from when you would sing from the top of your lungs
with a bottle of rum on a sinking ship
and you would pronounce to the world

“Alright, already we’ll all float on! Now don’t you worry we’ll all float on! 

Even if things end up a bit too heavy we’ll all float on!”
The tide drowns you out like a drunken disaster
and I try to reel you out just as you’ve ripped up the anchor.
There is no more steadiness in my step. 
You’ve washed up the beach
before my soul crash lands
onto a tarmac of blood and seashells. 
I can’t help but try to tune you out, 
but something about the salty brine on the
tips of your last words leave me speechless. 

I want nothing but a wet dream
of your saliva hitting my cheek
when I see you again, 
your love can do no wrong here.
Hold me closer in the abyss of your darkness. 
Let me lay in the wake of your sleep.
I have no problem dining with the dead, 
for I’ve shown up just a tad too late for their events
one too many times,
in crowded bus stops, 
and in the passenger seats of cars
housing shattered windows
in the folds of my skin. 

I do not find comfort in silence. 

There is a way to drive me insane. 
There is a way that madness can immigrate here. 
There is a breeding ground for implosion
and I hold too many flowers in my chest
to watch them wither and die. 

Over Time

Over 

Time 

Time 

Time 

Time 

 

Trust becomes a four letter word
missing you. 
It’s not that I don’t forgive you, 
it’s just that time doesn’t
heal all wounds. 

Love is a seductive enemy, 
equipped with
razor-sharp lips
and teeth like anchors
sinking into your skin. 
Some call them love bites, 
I like to think of them
as flesh wounds. 

There is a woman
who manifests herself under my chest
and beats my heart
to the rhythm of a steel pan. 
She makes joy seem like a pleasure cruise
through my blood. 
She clogs my arteries
with a smile that can thrust me
into cardiac arrest. 

She swam through my veins, 
a captain of condolences, 
a leader of lethargy. 
She never missed a beat, 
but missed the comfort of when
she would sleep
in the crux of my smile.
All of her weight forced it down
into a silent smolder,
a damsel of inevitable destruction. 

Sink your teeth further, darling. 
Pull me to the depths of your belly. 
I promise I won’t pull myself to shore. 
I’d rather drown in your demise
than pull another trigger. 

Over time, 
trust becomes a four letter word
missing you
and my skin heals, 
slightly off colored. 
Bruised. 

Hello Darling

My mother told me no more tattoos. 
She said I was wrecking God's work by piercing my already black skin
with even blacker ink
and that it looks disgusting. 
It's vile.
It's not natural. 

I found that the marks that I made strange men
cut into my body for money
are more natural
than trying to hide how important moments mean to me
when I don't have the words to explain them. 

I can find beauty in everything but there are just some things
that words can't do justice. 
Like how your smile
beamed brighter than Allegany bar lights
and how your sense of adventure
exploded at the seams. 

I witnessed beauty
in your fear of the unknown, 
boarding airplanes through timezones through
clouded judgement and cloudy skies
to the peaks of God's Gardens,
hungover on the taste of excitement that dripped down into our veins
and Red Bull for breakfast 

I close my eyes and I can see us dancing
bachata with the drunken Hispanic couple
under blood-red lights on an empty dance floor. 
Vodka held in one hand, trying to keep balance
before the next bar we would grace
knocked you off your feet.

I open my mouth and I want to
try to attempt to make them understand
that you were as close as I've gotten to a long lost brother.
I realized that a little too late,
but I fear that people get tired of hearing of your spirit.
How can one get tired of hearing of happiness? 

I go to grab my book bag
and believe it or not I still find sand
from backpacking from New Jersey to Brooklyn to the beach
just to see you. 
The sea breeze smacks me in the face. 
It smells like summer time, and you buying me Bud Lights
and dancing in the booths above the drunken sailors of the midnight hour.

The salty water crashes from the ocean
down my cheeks. 
The tide has been higher than usual lately. 
I feel like I'm drowning sometimes. 

My mother asks me why I don't talk about my friend that died. 
I told her I just don't want to. 
It would take me forever and a day to explain
why it was worth immediately uprooting
and potentially ruining
my first quarter at school
to see you one last time. 

It wouldn't be worth her time.
She said I cried way too much. 
It was just the beginning of my drowning
and her lack of understanding, 
and fishing for the right words
were not enough to pull me to shore. 

So I'm going to pay another stranger
to rip the ideas from my mind
and cut them into my skin. 
You've already engraved the story of a lifetime
onto the surface of my heart that got excited when you would text me.

And on my hands,
that tried to sneak you back into the bar
to say goodbye to our favorite bartender. 

And on these knees, 
that still have marks from when I tried to follow you to the other side
and didn't land as gracefully as you did. 
Who the hell lines the bottom of a pool
with rough concrete anyways? 
Thank you for another memory to add to my list
of uninvited body modifications 

 

Back in the city
where I saw you one last time
Is where my skin and their needle will collide
to make you visible on my body
in the tone of voice that I hope to hear when I pass through to you,
in the words that I would do anything to hear again,

"Hello Darling"

"Hello Darling"

"Hello Darling"

I'm not as afraid of death anymore
because I know you'll be there to take my hand
as my soul takes it's first step into the after life. 

"Hello Darling"

"Hello Darling"

"Hello Darling."

Dancing on Delancey

I want to find myself
dancing on Delancey; 
Without purpose. 
Without form. 
With life. 

There are songs escaping traffic,
seducing citizens at stoplights
drunk off starlights, 
ends of cigarettes
burning hotter than bar lights
that might be the only source of light
in some people's nights. 

A slice of heaven, 
dollar pizza and
a dream. 
A smudge of lipstick on
the mirror
where I told other girls
to stay beautiful
to be wiped clean the next morning
like someones's confidence. 

Ride the hum of the subway. 
The thick smell
of piss and Brooklyn
coax you to come closer. 
Come into this ship, 
carrying the wandering champions
of the midnight sky. 
The captain's asleep against
the closing doors. 
The X on his map
is buried deep in the sands of Coney Island, 
his eyelids patched together
from doses of
kisses from
these ladies named
Mary and Morgan. 

Morgan was a Captain too, 
but she found comfort in bottles
instead of subway cars. 

Let our eyes light up
like they do when
you experience love for the first time
as we stare into the disappearing lights
of New York City's skyline behind us. 
Phil and Lil have left
but that doesn't mean
their surrounding friends
are any less beautiful. 

The ship docks for a few seconds
before setting sail again, 
whispering 

“Goodnight.

Good morning.

Sleep tight."

The captain is still sound asleep
in his new favorite bunker. 
My rhythmless feet
are still dancing,
just with more purpose
more form,
less life. 

I want to find myself
tiptoeing down the empty streets
as Cortelyou holds my hand
and rustles in the
dark, peaceful breeze. 

The laundromat tucks me in
under its awning as it starts to drizzle. 
The sky is guiding me home. 

I've had many adventures. 
I’ve sailed seas and skies alike. 
I'll have many more
residences and jobs
and pointless crushes. 
There will be only one destination
where my dancing shoes
will always
be waiting for me. 

Dear Big Girl

Dear Big Girl,

Never settle for just the simple word beautiful.
Never let them take your size
and shrink it into a textbook definition
that is light enough to be supported
on gossamer wings.

You are powerful.
You’ve got head-crushing hips,
and comebacks hidden behind your lips
ready to fire at those
who won’t let you live in peace.

Your skin
is weathered by stares
from strangers trying to see into
your medical history and
the depths of what they think is a
depressing abyss of
broken diets and
thin wishes.
Don’t let them see the flowers that
bloom in the darkness.

Take your fingertips
and trace out the constellations
that lay within the folds of your belly.
Remind yourself that you shine brighter
than a ballerina that glitters across the galaxy
on silk-draped wings.

Purse your lips.
And smile as the sun
knights you each morning, and
bids thee goodnight upon its set.

You are more than a beauty
fluttering into the hearts of the world
for a second of a compliment on the lips.
You are a force.
Pushing boundaries like you already knew
you could.

Marrow Melodies

Pull stories out of your bones, 

you children of the midnight sky. 

The depths of your marrow 

holds more songs than 

the hearts of 

Hummingbird’s throats.