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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse

i paint these people blind

my poetry

is heartless, chews

like gravel on your teeth,

tastes like your mother,

the cornmeal on her hands

when she tied you up 

in a burlap sack and tried

to drown you in the creek.

i know you want to.

ask, what's it like

to lay down and die?

how many spiders do you swallow

in your sleep? how many

have you strung out, washed

and ironed to fit your piece? 

do girls like you still feel,

can i pinch your skin

until it bleeds, pretend your body

is for tourists and it's a ghost town

once i leave?

you will not take credit 

for the nothing that i am now,

even though we both know

i make a killing off of the pain.

you break us, i build colossus,

then redact your name.

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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse
i paint these people blind
my poetry
is heartless, chews
like gravel on your teeth,
tastes like your mother,
the cornmeal on her hands
when she tied you up 
in a burlap sack and tried
to drown you in the creek.

i know you want to.
ask, what's it like
to lay down and die?
how many spiders do you swallow
in your sleep? how many
have you strung out, washed
and ironed to fit your piece? 
do girls like you still feel,
can i pinch your skin
until it bleeds, pretend your body
is for tourists and it's a ghost town
once i leave?

you will not take credit 
for the nothing that i am now,
even though we both know
i make a killing off of the pain.
you break us, i build colossus,
then redact your name.


#poetry  #freeverse  #draft 
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Written by paintingskies

Beatitudes

The blessed inherit the earth,

bleached. Eden smokes. Her birds

ossify as they perch on the final

olive branch and search for dry land.

There is no firmament here.

Oceans touch petroleum

sky, carry cigarette butts

as burnt stars. Ultraviolet

children beg between last breaths,

give us something pure,

but their prayers sink

in the smog. They stick

their tongues out and catch

sulfur, sip lead, hook

dead fish in chemical rivers.

God empties his quarries

of miracles and watches as man

walks on water. With eyes the color of coal,

he sees his reflection in an oil slick

and recycles his plastic bags

for a noose.

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Written by paintingskies
Beatitudes
The blessed inherit the earth,
bleached. Eden smokes. Her birds
ossify as they perch on the final
olive branch and search for dry land.

There is no firmament here.
Oceans touch petroleum
sky, carry cigarette butts
as burnt stars. Ultraviolet
children beg between last breaths,
give us something pure,
but their prayers sink
in the smog. They stick
their tongues out and catch
sulfur, sip lead, hook
dead fish in chemical rivers.

God empties his quarries
of miracles and watches as man
walks on water. With eyes the color of coal,
he sees his reflection in an oil slick
and recycles his plastic bags
for a noose.

#poetry  #freeverse  #draft 
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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse

on self-destruction

and god said, your body

is eden. tend to it like eve. 

know the fruit that kills you

and eat it, drink its juice,

break the covenant. betray

your bones for the pain

so you can pray for healing.

herd sheep with one hand 

and with the other, strike

the shepherd. be extraordinarily

miserable, create your own

personal plague. crush

your jericho in your fist,

and it will be good.

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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse
on self-destruction
and god said, your body
is eden. tend to it like eve. 
know the fruit that kills you
and eat it, drink its juice,
break the covenant. betray
your bones for the pain
so you can pray for healing.
herd sheep with one hand 
and with the other, strike
the shepherd. be extraordinarily
miserable, create your own
personal plague. crush
your jericho in your fist,
and it will be good.
#poetry  #freeverse 
23
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Written by paintingskies in portal Haiku

passion or prey

i'm looking for love

that wrecks me, devours me whole

the way flytraps do

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Written by paintingskies in portal Haiku
passion or prey
i'm looking for love
that wrecks me, devours me whole
the way flytraps do
#haiku 
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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse

permanent press

this is how i hold onto you:

ankle socks, a baseball cap,

your ball state crewneck draped

over my skin so that i am a ghost

of you. i look in the mirror

and see pockets, seams

fraying, edges stitched inside-out

because i've never patched exit wounds

in my gums, i've never bound

my body without a handyman's help. 

the new cotton doesn't hold me

like you did. it stuffs my scars

but stifles sparks. i felt more comfortable

dressed in static. i miss

the electricity between us,

days spent waiting to be ironed

so we could rid ourselves of our wrinkles

and sort the good days from the bad

like bath towels from rags. i wish

we could love like we do laundry,

forgive, rinse, and repeat. i wish

the thumps of the washer were your heartbeat.

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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse
permanent press
this is how i hold onto you:
ankle socks, a baseball cap,
your ball state crewneck draped
over my skin so that i am a ghost
of you. i look in the mirror
and see pockets, seams
fraying, edges stitched inside-out
because i've never patched exit wounds
in my gums, i've never bound
my body without a handyman's help. 
the new cotton doesn't hold me
like you did. it stuffs my scars
but stifles sparks. i felt more comfortable
dressed in static. i miss
the electricity between us,
days spent waiting to be ironed
so we could rid ourselves of our wrinkles
and sort the good days from the bad
like bath towels from rags. i wish
we could love like we do laundry,
forgive, rinse, and repeat. i wish
the thumps of the washer were your heartbeat.
#poetry  #freeverse  #freewrite 
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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse

When You Are Queer

You are labeled a sin. Your priest

commands you to seek redemption

in Hail Mary or men. Your grandpa

calls you a faggot out of habit,

brands you as the ram for the offering.

You are a stutter, acid rain your father

spits into his linens, infinite penance

your mother repeats for your existence

as the lamb that left the shepherd.

Together they bandage your damned body,

refuse to let her bleed out. They trade

one wet prayer for another and beg God

to make you a martyr, the disciple

who would rather be the fish

that feeds five thousand than

the man who is served supper.

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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse
When You Are Queer
You are labeled a sin. Your priest
commands you to seek redemption
in Hail Mary or men. Your grandpa
calls you a faggot out of habit,
brands you as the ram for the offering.
You are a stutter, acid rain your father
spits into his linens, infinite penance
your mother repeats for your existence
as the lamb that left the shepherd.
Together they bandage your damned body,
refuse to let her bleed out. They trade
one wet prayer for another and beg God
to make you a martyr, the disciple
who would rather be the fish
that feeds five thousand than
the man who is served supper.
#poetry  #freeverse 
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Written by paintingskies

faith is a verb

i don't speak prayer. my syllables break like loaves of bread when i try to speak anything but the language my father taught me when he drove me to his nephew's headstone and said the fucker loved the high more than he loved breathing. once my sister and i learned what death was, there were two ways to go. we split like veins: she ran to the nearest chapel and prayed so much that it left permanent creases in her knees, each groove a different milagro. she weaved rosaries in her sleep. i couldn't decide what to have faith in—boys, girls, zoloft, a hospital, prozac, lexapro, a girl, no god. but i wanted a savior. 

there are different ways to reach enlightenment. i don't measure my days by my blessings; instead, i measure time by the number of antidepressants i've exhausted, deadlines for my death and their extensions, colors i've painted my bedroom walls. yellow is the most prominent. i didn't worship anyone, but i became a disciple of van gogh when i decided i needed a change. i followed his teachings—yellow will bring you closer to heaven. i knew it was flawed logic, a rejected hypothesis other suicidal kids debunked years ago. i just liked the idea of experimenting, until that paint watched me die and didn't do a damn thing except reflect jaundice.

now the walls are white. they stain easy. i clean blood after snot after sweat all by myself because i know i have to save me, but i still wish i could hand the wet rag to someone else, go back to the hospital and dissolve into medical records on a shelf, collapse on the plastic bed and never move again.

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Written by paintingskies
faith is a verb
i don't speak prayer. my syllables break like loaves of bread when i try to speak anything but the language my father taught me when he drove me to his nephew's headstone and said the fucker loved the high more than he loved breathing. once my sister and i learned what death was, there were two ways to go. we split like veins: she ran to the nearest chapel and prayed so much that it left permanent creases in her knees, each groove a different milagro. she weaved rosaries in her sleep. i couldn't decide what to have faith in—boys, girls, zoloft, a hospital, prozac, lexapro, a girl, no god. but i wanted a savior. 

there are different ways to reach enlightenment. i don't measure my days by my blessings; instead, i measure time by the number of antidepressants i've exhausted, deadlines for my death and their extensions, colors i've painted my bedroom walls. yellow is the most prominent. i didn't worship anyone, but i became a disciple of van gogh when i decided i needed a change. i followed his teachings—yellow will bring you closer to heaven. i knew it was flawed logic, a rejected hypothesis other suicidal kids debunked years ago. i just liked the idea of experimenting, until that paint watched me die and didn't do a damn thing except reflect jaundice.

now the walls are white. they stain easy. i clean blood after snot after sweat all by myself because i know i have to save me, but i still wish i could hand the wet rag to someone else, go back to the hospital and dissolve into medical records on a shelf, collapse on the plastic bed and never move again.
#freewrite 
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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Safety Nets

Rumor beats paper and says she jumped

off the water tower, hit the soil

so hard that the earth buckled

beneath her and collapsed like the muscles

of her mother when the police called

her at 4pm. First responders teed off

later that afternoon and wedged

their way to the hazard. Her corpse ruined

their chances of a bogey, but the mayor

announces her death as a victory:

at least she didn’t hemorrhage

in the tank. At least we’ll have drained

the city of her memory by Monday.

Caution stays for the next seven days.

Sheriffs guard the dome with Chevrolets,

then replace their eyes with cameras

for higher definition. Bullying, the mother

shrieks to the reporter, but no one listens.

The principal hides his face. Utilities

reinforce the fence with concrete

and install searchlights at its base. I wonder

which our town thinks we’re protecting,

the water supply or the youth

who may choose to die by hurling

their bodies from thirteen stories

above the ground. How will they shield

them from the truth? She killed herself

with a noose around her neck,

yet they prefer to blame heights

instead of tongues because they can’t

stitch nets onto the roofs of our mouths.

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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Safety Nets
Rumor beats paper and says she jumped
off the water tower, hit the soil
so hard that the earth buckled
beneath her and collapsed like the muscles
of her mother when the police called
her at 4pm. First responders teed off
later that afternoon and wedged
their way to the hazard. Her corpse ruined
their chances of a bogey, but the mayor
announces her death as a victory:
at least she didn’t hemorrhage
in the tank. At least we’ll have drained
the city of her memory by Monday.

Caution stays for the next seven days.
Sheriffs guard the dome with Chevrolets,
then replace their eyes with cameras
for higher definition. Bullying, the mother
shrieks to the reporter, but no one listens.
The principal hides his face. Utilities
reinforce the fence with concrete
and install searchlights at its base. I wonder
which our town thinks we’re protecting,
the water supply or the youth
who may choose to die by hurling
their bodies from thirteen stories
above the ground. How will they shield
them from the truth? She killed herself
with a noose around her neck,
yet they prefer to blame heights
instead of tongues because they can’t
stitch nets onto the roofs of our mouths.
#poetry  #freeverse  #draft 
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Written by paintingskies

what if i like the

labyrinth? what if i am

afraid of the sun?

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Written by paintingskies
what if i like the
labyrinth? what if i am
afraid of the sun?
#haiku 
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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse

Fish Bowl Woman

He tells me, this is science.

These are facts. Your body

bakes the bread. Your knees

bond to the floorboards. Scrub.

Whisper. Speak only in white noise

but don’t sleep. Wring my kerchief,

hold my wrench, warm my shadow.

Keep your knuckles beneath the table

or in the dough. Don’t ask me

to repeat myself, don’t question

my collection of tongues on the shelves.

You come from women who float

and marinate in formaldehyde,

who scooped their eyes into jars,

boiled their ears and served

their deafness for dinner.

Inherit their comatose.

He tells me, your body

is my temple. Shrink.

Grow as small as the space

I give you. I will call on you

when I need a coatrack.

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Written by paintingskies in portal Poetry & Free Verse
Fish Bowl Woman
He tells me, this is science.
These are facts. Your body
bakes the bread. Your knees
bond to the floorboards. Scrub.

Whisper. Speak only in white noise
but don’t sleep. Wring my kerchief,
hold my wrench, warm my shadow.
Keep your knuckles beneath the table
or in the dough. Don’t ask me
to repeat myself, don’t question
my collection of tongues on the shelves.

You come from women who float
and marinate in formaldehyde,
who scooped their eyes into jars,
boiled their ears and served
their deafness for dinner.
Inherit their comatose.

He tells me, your body
is my temple. Shrink.
Grow as small as the space
I give you. I will call on you
when I need a coatrack.
#poetry  #freeverse 
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