how to tell him you can’t love him

first, ask him why he loves you. let him say your hair, and your smile and the way you make your sunday morning burritos. let him say it is the way you always sleep with your window open in the summer and like taking pictures of waterfalls. let him say all the things he loves about you and know that no man has loved you exactly this way before and no one man will ever again

second, tell him why you could love him. like, you could love his smile that feels like morning tea, all warm and sweet. you could love his steady hands and how he helps you make your sunday morning burritos. you could love the way he likes daisies over roses and ham over balony. you could love the way he writes his r’s and his habit of being precisely five minutes late. you could love him. but you can’t.

third, make sure he sees how the smile doesn’t reach your eyes, just like he can’t seem to reach apart of you. let him see that you could love him and he truly loves you, but that just isn’t enough. let him see that love just isn’t enough.

fourth, write him a letter. you’ve packed up all your bags and removed the watercolor painting supplies from the backporch. address the letter to him and leave it in the kitchen, where you used to make your sunday morning burritos. you know he will look there first. then leave.

5am things

hi, what’s your name, who do you love, do you think the world is ending? i do. i like the idea of dying my hair pink, i know ten different ways to overdose, my friends say i have a pretty smile but don’t always like my face in pictures. hi, my friend said she wanted to make herself throw up her food last night. hi, i know a girl who went to Europe over the summer and all her friends were jealous but she spent the entire summer trying to relearn how to eat. and i wonder if i could learn that too. hi, my friend got drunk and decided she was sad and so she took some pills so she could become happy. i see her two weeks later in geometry. spoiler alert she isn’t happy. hi, i like the idea of fried chicken picnics but my boyfriend says that he won’t stand for animal cruelty. (He’s a vegetarian.) but somehow he is okay with human cruelty because my skirt is always too short and my shirts are always too baggy and I’m just always too faulty for a boy who writes letters to the state about providing more support in the school system. (too bad he can never support me when i say i like how i can make clothes that make girls feel beautiful.) hi, my mom said it’s just a stage to feel sad and that if I only give it two weeks, it will go away. the sadness didn’t but she did. hi, i think that drowning is scary but sometimes i like counting the seconds before i black out. hi, my therapist told me to write letters to everyone who left but i keep addressing the letters to myself. i left. hi, my friend’s boyfriend texted me last night. he said that she wasn’t making him happy anymore so maybe i should try. i asked him if he believed i could make him happy or if happiness was just a concept he wanted but could never achieve. he slept with jessica the next day. hi, some people say that i talk too much about feelings but i am just trying to understand. my heart is a muscle, why does it hurt. my brain is just nerve endings, why is it short circuiting . hi, i punched by hand into the wall over and over again. when it bruised, i laughed and took a polariod. is this destructive behavior or am i just a little sad. i don’t really want to die but i wouldn’t mind not waking up. hi, i am that girl who looks so pretty, my waist isn’t slim but boys like the rest of my antaomy. hi, i can’t tell what i hate more: myself or how much pink hair dye costs

a sad girl in summer

i don’t mean to be sad in summer / three months of lemon ice / beach blanket bingo / and late mornings / but happiness for me / is a limited addition candle / not sold in summer / so i find depression lurking / in the shadows of my room / once the light is gone / and in the times / i eat out of habit / not hunger / and now / i go to bed / not wanting to fall asleep / and wake up / wishing i could sleep / i just feel scared / because if i can’t be happy in summer / what is there to say / i can ever be happy again?

we tried loving and then went straight to hate. we tried movie nights and red lipstick, failed chemistry, got grounded, and went to a bonfire we were too young for. you shot fireworks into the neighbor’s hedge. i laughed while wearing your shirt. we tried it all. and then went straight for the tequelia in the upstairs fridge, because being drunk was better than not being in love with you.

loose jeans / you are eating canned peaches on the couch / they kept slipping away / slip slip slipping away / i like the way big clothes feel / success / you keep trying eat the peaches / i tell you it’s impossible / is that what skinny is for me / the peach falls on the carpet / i laugh laugh / impossible

we are so good at hurting each other that we could almost make a toxic poem of the pain between us. each line a tribute to the times we tried to love unselfishly but failed. i think the only thing that is holding us together now is the glue we put on each other’s cracks because the pain was a mistake. the brokenness wasn’t meant to be there. we didn’t mean to screw up love this badly. we are just two people who love each other but can’t seem to do it right.


to the boy who said he liked girls better when they could eat:

it is an addiction / the feeling of empty / where full should be / there is nothing more toxic / than wanting to tear your body apart / calorie by calorie / too tired of life to care / that you’re starting to smudge along the edges / a mirage just starting to disappear / because the only thing you can think of / is how good loose jeans feel / and soon you just go numb / to the feeling / of despair / because the feeling of empty / the feeling of reality slipping away / it’s addicting / and when you try to recover / guilt leaves a bad after taste / because you have spent so long / forcing yourself to be unfilled / that you have forgotten how to swallow / and the food feels unfamiliar / like a person you used to know well / who hasn’t wiped their feet / on the welcome mat yet / because they are not sure / if they are allowed to stay / but yes / say that you like your girls better when the can eat / because / i liked myself better / when i could too.

the other day i overheard a conversation where the boy remarked how he liked it better when girls actually ate. when they didn’t order salads or just nibble on their food. i was extremely angered by this. girls (and boys) can have eating disorders. there can be so many reasons why a person might not eat, so saying this is extremely insensitive and could be triggering to someone. one great misconception about eating disorders, is that a person can chose if they eat or not. while this might sound factually true, the reality is that the mentality of not eating is in place. so you are fighting against a mental barrier that says you shouldn’t eat. so your brain transmits this message to your body and after a while without food, your body will stop sending signals that it needs it. like hunger pains and stomach growling. the struggle of actually coming back from an eating disorder to try and live a normal life, is not talked about enough. it is so hard and so underrated. a person has to practically rewire their entire brain to stop seeing food as the enemy. even after they do this, there are days where they relapse and days where they feel so guilt for eating. for feeding themselves. there are times where they have to catch themselves before looking on the back of a nutrition label and adding up the calorie intake. i liked myself better when i could eat too but it is so scary to gain weight. to see the pounds add up when all you taught yourself was to watch them go down.

my little brother / has elated innocence / over the bullet proof backpacks / asking questions / thinking they are for / battles where good always wins / not to take to school / to protect him / since our own government cannot /he is a little boy / who plays with plastic toy soldiers / because he does not yet know / that the war is now in his classroom / not somewhere else.


i found three three empty cans of shaving cream / underneath the bathroom sink / and i know that you didn’t leave them on purpose / you simply forgot to throw them away / yet still i fight against the feeling / that maybe you are coming back / because just like the pair of socks i found / after doing a thursday laundry load / and the crumbled five dollar bill / stuck in a pen jar / you forgot me / i was left to go through the wash / feeling myself fade after hours of tumbling over myself / experiencing the gradual shrinking because i find it difficult / to love myself / when you couldn’t / and like the cash / i curl up in ordinary places / hiding in plain sight / and i am so disppointed when every face at the door / isn’t yours / because you packed my heart with your ball caps / tucked in the sleeve of your suitcase / and i didn’t have the courage to ask for it back / because i was hoping maybe you would realize / that wherever you go my love follows / until it leads you right back to me / but you are gone / your copy of the sport’s magazine / isn’t on the coffee table anymore / your colgne doesn’t invade my room / and i don’t hear your deep voice singing along to jason brown in the car / because you left / without me

recipe for a broken heart

ingrediants: a boy who doesn’t believe in love and a girl who loves everyone


break the boy. make him cruel and hard and shattered. turn him into a man because no boy can be broken that bad. then take the girl and let her love him. let her sacrifice her own happiness for him, because she loves him more than herself.

make the boy want to hurt her, because her life is perfect and his is falling apart. make the boy hurt her, make her curl up into a ball and cradle her heart in two shaking hands.

make the girl forgive him. make her smile through a broken heart and still love him. loving is all she knows how to do. hurting is all he dares to do, because he is all anger and spite. so afraid to love and be loved.

now make the girl turn bitter. make her smile go away and make her sad. the boy is making her sad.

once she is sad, take this sad girl and let her try to love this boy one more time.

but let this boy love someone else. let this boy, find someone just as broken to love. because this broken boy can only offer a little bit of himself, and his new girl can only offer the same.


let the girl finish high school and leave. leave the town, leave the boy. let her leave all that have hurt her. let her leave still sad.

i felt a part of myself die / something that had always been there / was suddenly gone / but i couldn’t stop living / just because this part of myself had died / i couldn’t fall to the bathroom floor / and say that i still needed what was gone / i still needed that part of myself / i couldn’t mourn the empty space / where something should have been / and when i woke up / after the grieving / i saw a sunrise / and i believed for one perfect moment / that the storm was over.

i find her tender / lipstick smudged / making the illison of a soft smile / on her face / and she asks / looking out at the sea of faces / so familiar that it hurts / “will this all matter tomorrow?” / will the pounds she lost to date him / will the friends she shed / the clothes she wore / matter at all / and i lie / because i have been wondering the same thing / “yes, of course……it has to.”

on January nights i feel as if / i am suffocating / through 3 am nightmares / turn down the heat / turn down the heat / it’s too hot in this empty room / draw back the covers / draw back the covers / and then everything is fire / everyone is burning / he reaches / his touch scalding my skin / i scream / he always hurt / his love always hurt / and now i’m burned from it.

my therapist does not believe in soul mates. she says it’s bull crap. “‘they can’t die if you never stop loving them’” she scoffs. “if that was true, you wouldn’t be in therapy.” she is not my therapist anymore.

sometimes you can love a person more than your very first breath and they can still claim the world is not worth living in

i bought a plane ticket on impulse / just because it seemed / like something you’d do / and i’ve finally cut my hair short / like i had always wanted / and these are just/ two simple little things / / little victories i would share with you / moments that would be memories / that is all you are now / memories / and they may not seem like much / but i’m finally ready to travel the world / and face my fear of the unknown / i’ve quit worrying about my hair / or plane crashes / and i am finally ready to see the great big world / you used to tell me about / but i was always happy with you / you were my world / and i hope you know that.

on the days my mother wakes up sad / she tucks this despair / into the pocket of her jeans / and makes bacon for breakfast / kissing my forehead tenderly / because she has taught herself / how to co exist with her sadness / and like how she raised me / she takes this sadness / and loves it like the world / has no end / she loves her sad / until there is nothing left to love / and then / she loves her happy.

you used to tell me stories / when i was crying / you’d tell me how the moon lost it’s color / and how the stars fell in grief / and when i grew older / we would sit on the sofa / as you curled my hair / talking softly about bigger things / because i was a bigger / and i liked listening to you / i always had / so maybe that is why / it took me years to notice / how your hair had lost it’s own color / and this time / i was the one who fell in grief / calling out stories / to an empty room / saying “come back ” / “i wasn’t ready for us to be a story yet.” / i wasn’t ready for you to go

that summer

it was in that peach blossom summer / before tenth grade / that you stopped coming home / and you never said it aloud / but i think we both knew / you weren’t going to come back / and every night when the summer storms came / i would walk out on the porch / and watch as lighting forked the sky / hoping that wherever in the world you were / you still believed in thunder storm magic / and i can’t remember our conversations / but i remember the way you cut your peanut butter toast / and how you frowned with your eyes / not your mouth / but most importantly / i remember / that you did not hesitate to leave / something i don’t understand / although i try to / because maybe this five bedroom house / was never big enough for your dreams / but it fit every one of mine perfectly / (you and me and brunch and big brother talks and bonfires with your stories) / and we were always taught / that if you love someone / you show up / if you love someone / you stay / so perhaps all along / i have not realized that / my love wasn’t the problem : it was yours.

it has taken me a long time to realize / that i owe it to no one / to have to a read a book / when i don’t like the words / and that applies to people too

all the lies i’ve loved

the 9 year old lie / was a tall red house / white shutters / straddling the corner of two small streets / with a backyard / that had a yellow slide / shaped like an Arby’s fry / and i loved this house / this you-will-not-leave-your-friends / i-promise-daddy-still-has-his-job/ lie / i believed in this lie so much / that i left my initials penciled / beneath the bathroom sink / thinking that if heartbreak was a house / it would be this two story red house / that i couldn’t call home anymore / and then there was the 12 year old lie / the girl who wrote me postcards / and gifted me diy jelwery that was always too tight / but never could look me in the eye / calling me pretty only when my brother was around / crying crocodile tears when i finally said the truth / “you only were friends with me because of him” / and i think that was the first time / i had ever truly hated my brother / because i was left constantly trying make light / in his shadow /  and i think i have a character flaw / of falling in love with train wrecks / or maybe i make them / because at fifteen i felt something / for a boy with brown eyes / who read the end of books before the beginning / a way of trying to escape the hurt / and i think i should have known then / but his smile was the most beautiful lie / i had ever seen / and as a girl who falls in love with beautiful things / i fell for this lie of a boy / this i’ll-hold-your-hand-only-when-my-friends-aren’t-around / i-forgot-that-it-was-your-birthday / i’ll-make-it-up-to-you / kind of boy / and because of all the lies i’ve loved / places i never could stay / people i wanted to / because of these lies / i find myself / fumbling when trying to tell myself the truth / “you are worth more than ________________”

high school on the train tracks

my mother was raised in a dead town \ not dying \ with nothing now but liquor stores \ and empty parking lots littered with cigeratte butts \ and main street is part of a cracking skeletal system \ of roads without railings \ of children with no oppurtunities \ of parents accumsed to hearing a trai9n whistle \ as the only steady thing in their life \ because in dead towns \ jobs don’t hold steady \ people don’t stay \ but there is no escape \ no escape \ unless you get an education \ pay for college by offering your very soul out for a loan / as collateral / and there is escape for you \ no escape \ no escape \ empty stores on saturday \ not buisness on tuesday \ why get in a job when \ it is a one stop town for poverty \ and a mark barely on the map for tourists \ why stop in a dead town \ where forty years ago it was alive \ but times change \ and fire burns down houses \ and farmers loose crops \ and it seems like the world is falling apart \ because this down is dead \ dead\ and the only dying here \ is what athletes feel when they break a bone \ knowing that their only way out was their body \ knowing that their high school football yards were a ticket \ now turning to dust right before their eyes / and there are so many for sale signs / so many broken neon lights / so many crumbling apartments / so many churches with crosses torn down / this down is past dying / this town has been dead for a while now / and there is no escape / no escape / except for the lucky few / who push their bodies past the breaking point / who study until their eyes can’t see / because then those few / find a way / find a way / to escape a dead town / that has tried to imprison the youth / because this place needs more drunkerns / to buy the beer from the only store that gets buisness / so maybe one person can have profit / one person can fix the leaking hole in their roof / from the tree that fell down over two years ago / and when you ask me how my mother escaped / i will tell you that was a farmer’s daughter / who made the town / seem a little bit more alive / from basketball games of cheering / to the homecoming queen parade / and when she left i think the town just died a little bit more / and then when six of her friends died \ in an accident that never should have happened \ an accident that was been wiped from minds \ because of the stained concrete \ because of the train that never stopped \ because of the crushed car \ and the crazy party \ because that train plowed right over \ six teens who went to high school \ on the train tracks \ and when they died \ the town died too \ and it’s been dead ever since.


she’d told me before how / she could already imagine / being the person who brought out / the dimples in his smile / and my mind told me to speak / saying that i had been that person / for him / but instead / i just pushed the heartbreak / down to the darkest pit of me / and decided not to tell her / that he has dimples when he frowns too.

no one ever asked me if i has an eating disorder. no one ever asked why i didn’t eat in public or why i claimed to be full yet i hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. no one asked because my friends were doing the same. cutting down on calories, going sugar free. isn’t that healthier? but we didn’t do the diet amounts, we did days without food and meals consisting of cracker crumbs. we lied together about eating and twisted lies like cinnamon swirls in raisin bread. we smiled and said thank you to the waiter for our water. and our smiles were so blinding, that we weren’t questioned for our meal choice. (one salad between four girls) and i think i know why no one asked me if i had an eating disorder: almost every other girl does too.


sometimes / a happy girl can’t be happy / sometimes she wrecks herself / into so many trillion pieces / that shards of her / drift into nothing / sometimes she learns / that a good day / can eclipse into a bad / and that boys with dimples / take your hand in theirs / while swinging an axe at your back / but most importantly / sometimes / she comes to the realization / that what makes people / people / is the very same thing / that makes monsters / monsters.

i get up late / and stretch my muscles / like a tawny jungle cat / opening my jaws in a small yawn / saving my roar for another day / and for all the mothers / who cautioned their daughters / of the wilds of the world / and taught them the ways / of the scurrying creatures / that lie underfoot in the foliage / you are not like my mother / who brushed my glimmering pelt / and crooned old lullabies / telling me that i shared a similar bone structure / to wondrously wild things / and i could change the world / if only i learned to roar truth

what he saw me as

she was a girl \ who was like a sunset \ all bright \ bold and unapologetic \ but \ like a sunset \ her smile would fade \ leaving you to grasp \ at the reflection of stars \ in her eyes \ asking where her colors went \ to be replaced by darkness \ and \ just like a sunset \ she was never \ the same girl \ for too long \ and some mornings \ she would sit without talking \ because she didn’t believe \ she had anything worth saying \ and during some nights \ she would ask \ if what we had was real / and i think / that she is a better poet / than a girl / because she could turn / all her doubts into adjectives / instead of facing them / and she learned to twist / her handmade heartbreaks / into exquisite lines / so i almost wonder / if she breaks herself / just so she can rebuild / and write poetry.

february water

with brutality \ she grasped my wrist \ her smile a collection of polished white river stones \ gleaming in a deadly snarl \ and i could see \ the white water of her eyes \ as her erratic gestures grew \ and i gasped for breath \ on impact \ as her glacier melt touch \ collided with my skin \ forming a raft of violet on my cheekbone \ : kill the competition

my last mug of tea

it was late \ and the clock in the foyer hall \ had just chimed \ and i felt the melody \ pass through my body \ and \ i set the mug down / on my writing desk / seeing a few droplets splatter my hand / as i danced / all alone in the am / feeling all the loss / and grief that was living in my body / for a moment feel better / but then the music stopped / or maybe i stopped hearing it / and i sat back down / with my lukewarm / tea / containing too much honey / and i finished my math problems.

dear diary

december 18 2016.

dear diary \ a girl told me today \ she liked me better quiet \ and i didn’t tell her \ i was never loud \ because if i told her that \ she would ask why \ and i would find myself \ plastering a smile across the cracking drywall of my face \ sliding my shutters closed \ and saying with a voice as bright \ as my window boxes \ “nevermind.” / because i like girls better \ when they don’t see me as \ a nancy drew mystery \ waiting to be solved \ for i have made \ a home for myself \ in the imperfect body \ i am housed in \ and girls are choas \ and fire \ and curiousity \ and everything i once had \ but was stripped away \ in the remodeling \ he did to me.

the summer girl

i had grown to call \ darkness my home \ and almost felt relief \ when my scars were hidden \ and when i couldn’t pinpoint \ every physical flaw \ on my body \ because my insecurities never failed to whisper \ that my skin \ shouldn’t see the light \ when i am still lost \ in dark places.

a phone call

when you called \ i was scared to pick up \ because i’m always afriad for you \ afriad that one day i won’t hear your voice \ on the other end \ but instead the mournful crying \ of a white metal beast \ that has come upon you broken \ like only i’ve seen you before \ and rushed you away amid the crowded streets \ in a vain attempt to save you \ because you always told me \ only good men can be saved

the butterfly boy

he let his tongue wander \ into the nectar sweet cavern \ of my mouth \ touching my sides \ with his soft large hands \ brushing over the parts of me \ that used to my favorite \ but i had buried all away \ whispering to me tales of metamorphosis \ like a calling to a church \ burying past all my cocooned layers \ to capture the chained beating \ of my moth heart \ and setting it free