disloyal-water-bouffalant said: Just wanted to tell you that your writing is amazing! I loved yes mama

thank you so much for taking the time to write to tell me so! seriously, you don’t know how much i appreciate this. 

1 note

Yes Mama.
When your mother stares at the whites of your eyes and asks, Is there anything I should know?
Do not say,
Yes Mama.
I kissed a man with carnivore teeth, and he sunk them into me. Underneath my makeup are the beginnings of scars, little white memories which I will bare like I bore my hangover the next morning. These are battle scars from the boy who took two weeks to call back and, when he did, I was in his bed a night and a half later. I left before the sun rose, I stayed all night, I smoked cigarettes with his roommates at midnight on the front porch, and I can smell him in my hair.
Do not show her. Tell her you touched hot metal to your skin, tell her her eyesight’s going. Do not tell her about the man with carnivore teeth or that you are late. Again.
Do not say,
Yes Mama.
I am falling in love with the way everyone leaves me, I am becoming a temporary island. I am not the permanence you wanted for me, I am the darkest place on the map, I am a slit and nothing more, the way he treated me. And I have wrecked a few homes, but when a home is wrecked, do you blame the girl with curves like an earthquake or the foolish darling who built her home on a shakable fault line? I am slowly whittling down the number of friends I have left in this God-forsaken state, like a aeronaut cuts ballast from a balloon. Any man whose lips have brushed mine and came away sighing, I will carve the cords from his throat. I will rip out his fingernails one by one. I am slowly turning myself into the cold thing they called me, the glacial thing that sinks loose lips along with ships. I no longer have any need for a heartbeat. I am quickly becoming a way out of this town, an exit, an amber alert, a distant memory.
Do not tell her about the seven men sighing with your name in their mouths. Tell her you have other things to worry about, tell her she must have heard wrong. Do not tell her about your decaying organs or that your tongue is turning black for want of confession.
Do not say,
Yes Mama.
I am becoming awful, like the pages of an old book, rotting and flaking away from the inside. There is a part of me that knows I couldn’t live without the liquor, that feels its absence like wolves’ teeth, that has fallen pray to everything you wished I would never be. And some mornings, I have to ask myself if I would sell shotgun shells to a suicidal man in a pawn shop. I am feral and unwanted and I am blazing like the light of a thousand fallen stars. I am a foreign tongue, something you never taught me, and the kind of girl you never had to fear I would be.
Do not curse her. Convince her that you are still the sweet thing she created, convince her you are whole. Do not tell her you no longer have any need for a heartbeat.

Do not say,
Yes Mama.
Some nights I walk home alone and I am almost craving a knife against my throat and when I shake alone on the bathroom floor, I can feel the places that I have been ripped apart and resewn like they are bleeding all over again.
Do not pull out the sutures just to prove a point. Tell her everything is fine.

Yes Mama.

When your mother stares at the whites of your eyes and asks, Is there anything I should know?

Do not say,

Yes Mama.

I kissed a man with carnivore teeth, and he sunk them into me. Underneath my makeup are the beginnings of scars, little white memories which I will bare like I bore my hangover the next morning. These are battle scars from the boy who took two weeks to call back and, when he did, I was in his bed a night and a half later. I left before the sun rose, I stayed all night, I smoked cigarettes with his roommates at midnight on the front porch, and I can smell him in my hair.

Do not show her. Tell her you touched hot metal to your skin, tell her her eyesight’s going. Do not tell her about the man with carnivore teeth or that you are late. Again.

Do not say,

Yes Mama.

I am falling in love with the way everyone leaves me, I am becoming a temporary island. I am not the permanence you wanted for me, I am the darkest place on the map, I am a slit and nothing more, the way he treated me. And I have wrecked a few homes, but when a home is wrecked, do you blame the girl with curves like an earthquake or the foolish darling who built her home on a shakable fault line? I am slowly whittling down the number of friends I have left in this God-forsaken state, like a aeronaut cuts ballast from a balloon. Any man whose lips have brushed mine and came away sighing, I will carve the cords from his throat. I will rip out his fingernails one by one. I am slowly turning myself into the cold thing they called me, the glacial thing that sinks loose lips along with ships. I no longer have any need for a heartbeat. I am quickly becoming a way out of this town, an exit, an amber alert, a distant memory.

Do not tell her about the seven men sighing with your name in their mouths. Tell her you have other things to worry about, tell her she must have heard wrong. Do not tell her about your decaying organs or that your tongue is turning black for want of confession.

Do not say,

Yes Mama.

I am becoming awful, like the pages of an old book, rotting and flaking away from the inside. There is a part of me that knows I couldn’t live without the liquor, that feels its absence like wolves’ teeth, that has fallen pray to everything you wished I would never be. And some mornings, I have to ask myself if I would sell shotgun shells to a suicidal man in a pawn shop. I am feral and unwanted and I am blazing like the light of a thousand fallen stars. I am a foreign tongue, something you never taught me, and the kind of girl you never had to fear I would be.

Do not curse her. Convince her that you are still the sweet thing she created, convince her you are whole. Do not tell her you no longer have any need for a heartbeat.

Do not say,

Yes Mama.

Some nights I walk home alone and I am almost craving a knife against my throat and when I shake alone on the bathroom floor, I can feel the places that I have been ripped apart and resewn like they are bleeding all over again.

Do not pull out the sutures just to prove a point. Tell her everything is fine.

35 notes

How To Never Go Home Again (for Cariño, forever.)
I.
There are two ways to find someone. One is to look for them. The other is to stop looking altogether and let them find you.
II.
If you leave my city and head due west, the streets eventually begin to tick by in lettered groups—Kildare, Killpatrick, Kirkwood, Lamon, LeClaire, Lichen. But the science of these streets is not exact. You will cross Oak Park and Oketto and be waiting for Olcott and you will cross Harlem and for a minute be frightened that you have to start all over with H. This is how it felt when you, infrequent, called. For a moment, I was afraid that I had lost my way until I realized that you hadn’t reset me: I was always traveling towards you.
III.
It’s true what they say: you can never go home. I can feel it stinging my eyes in the airport, I can feel it stiffening my spine. I used to see you on every street corner and ache for your fingertips in the roots of my hair. But when I am navigating the roads we used to walk, I can feel a sickness coming on and for once I can tell you’re not the cure. You’re the whole damn disease, baby, and you always were.
IV.
I fell in love when I was nineteen and I still believed in all the wrong platitudes. If you love something, let it go. And so I let you go, and you came back to me with teeth. You came back to me in the dead of night, soaked in cheap tequila with guilt scrawled in the brackets between your hipbones and when I licked them salaciously, I could taste it. It was bitter behind my lips and I sometimes wondered if she knew. But I still let you crawl from her bed to mine on your bleeding knees, fallen.
V.
I never knew how easy it was to forget someone when they only exist in starlight, when we are both liquored up with nostalgia. I never knew that when the sunlight hit my skin in the city where I left you, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. But I’ve learned that it is only easy to love something when it doesn’t exist.
VI.
There are a thousand ways to lose someone and I am just now realizing that I have lost you in every last one. 

How To Never Go Home Again (for Cariño, forever.)

I.

There are two ways to find someone. One is to look for them. The other is to stop looking altogether and let them find you.

II.

If you leave my city and head due west, the streets eventually begin to tick by in lettered groups—Kildare, Killpatrick, Kirkwood, Lamon, LeClaire, Lichen. But the science of these streets is not exact. You will cross Oak Park and Oketto and be waiting for Olcott and you will cross Harlem and for a minute be frightened that you have to start all over with H. This is how it felt when you, infrequent, called. For a moment, I was afraid that I had lost my way until I realized that you hadn’t reset me: I was always traveling towards you.

III.

It’s true what they say: you can never go home. I can feel it stinging my eyes in the airport, I can feel it stiffening my spine. I used to see you on every street corner and ache for your fingertips in the roots of my hair. But when I am navigating the roads we used to walk, I can feel a sickness coming on and for once I can tell you’re not the cure. You’re the whole damn disease, baby, and you always were.

IV.

I fell in love when I was nineteen and I still believed in all the wrong platitudes. If you love something, let it go. And so I let you go, and you came back to me with teeth. You came back to me in the dead of night, soaked in cheap tequila with guilt scrawled in the brackets between your hipbones and when I licked them salaciously, I could taste it. It was bitter behind my lips and I sometimes wondered if she knew. But I still let you crawl from her bed to mine on your bleeding knees, fallen.

V.

I never knew how easy it was to forget someone when they only exist in starlight, when we are both liquored up with nostalgia. I never knew that when the sunlight hit my skin in the city where I left you, you wouldn’t recognize me anymore. But I’ve learned that it is only easy to love something when it doesn’t exist.

VI.

There are a thousand ways to lose someone and I am just now realizing that I have lost you in every last one. 

"

For The Man Who Told Me Feminism Was For Ugly Girls

Then let me always be ugly.
Let me always be the girl who was made of knives.
If all you want from a woman is something silent and pretty and smooth, make me wild and loud and screaming, make me the woman you will not sit beside on the train.
Make me gorgon, give me snakes for hair and white knights to turn to stone.

Let me forever be acid-tongued and terrible.
Let me forever sink ships rather than launch them,
it is not my job to give you sails.

Make me unfuckable, unapproachable, untouched by the hands of men in the street,
on a crowded bus,
in a bar and brazen after three cheap drinks that make their breath smell like empty gas tanks and nowhere to go.
Let me never fake laughter at the jokes that men like you make at my expense, the expense of my sisters.

Let me raise ugly daughters who know that their names are not baby,
their bodies are not battlegrounds,
their skin is not scandalous.

Let me sink my sharp teeth
into the hand raised against me and let me say,
“Never again.”

"

Katherine Tucker

Story Problems 
If a boy gets on a train headed north at 12:21 in the morning carrying sunflowers and a plastic bag full of cherries, how many split seconds until I fall in love with the idea of him? How many stops until I look for you in the careful curve of his fingers, clutched tight to half a dozen sunflowers? 
And if the girl he is traveling towards stays faithful for the next twenty seven minutes, will they stay in love forever? Am I less than, greater than, or equal to the task of curbing my jealousy, of keeping myself from calling you?
Answer me this: do I even believe in an infinite love, which diverges like a line on a graph but carries on? I was told once that a line is a point in motion but I never really understood the point of mathematics until I tried to chart your affection for me, how it spiked when you spiked your drinks, how it fell when I was falling for you most. The problem with intersecting is that, afterwards, we must move forever away from each other.
Please circle every possible answer as to how I came to this point, questioning the existence of forever on a train at almost one in the morning. Show your work, prove that I’m the victim here. What is the probability that someone might put a knife to my throat tonight, that I actually become a victim, a statistic, part of another graph entirely?
And if I travel on infinite trains in the early hours of the morning with increasingly reduced interest in living in a world where we aren’t laying parallel to each other, how long until I become the type of girl who is never loved by a man who carries sunflowers on a train headed north at 12:21 in the morning?

Story Problems

If a boy gets on a train headed north at 12:21 in the morning carrying sunflowers and a plastic bag full of cherries, how many split seconds until I fall in love with the idea of him? How many stops until I look for you in the careful curve of his fingers, clutched tight to half a dozen sunflowers?

And if the girl he is traveling towards stays faithful for the next twenty seven minutes, will they stay in love forever? Am I less than, greater than, or equal to the task of curbing my jealousy, of keeping myself from calling you?

Answer me this: do I even believe in an infinite love, which diverges like a line on a graph but carries on? I was told once that a line is a point in motion but I never really understood the point of mathematics until I tried to chart your affection for me, how it spiked when you spiked your drinks, how it fell when I was falling for you most. The problem with intersecting is that, afterwards, we must move forever away from each other.

Please circle every possible answer as to how I came to this point, questioning the existence of forever on a train at almost one in the morning. Show your work, prove that I’m the victim here. What is the probability that someone might put a knife to my throat tonight, that I actually become a victim, a statistic, part of another graph entirely?

And if I travel on infinite trains in the early hours of the morning with increasingly reduced interest in living in a world where we aren’t laying parallel to each other, how long until I become the type of girl who is never loved by a man who carries sunflowers on a train headed north at 12:21 in the morning?

15 notes

Love Has Always Been Cruel (For a Girl Named Hero Who Had To Be Her Own)
I didn’t know what would come of it the first night I lit the candle and he swam to me, terrible arms outstretched. I had been devoted to love for so long before him, I thought he was worth worship. He came to me with salt in his blond hair and a smile in his blue eyes and blood between his teeth. That first night, I pretended I didn’t taste it.
We lasted a summer on whispered secrets and kisses on the cheek, but he changed with the weather.
When the storms started, he came to my tower in a rage, fingers curled like waves, furious against my skin, always pulling like the tide. No goddess will have you, he said over and over, until I do.
And his hair smelled like saltwater in the worst way. When he bit my lips, when he tugged my hair, when he laughed it off, he taught me something: love has always been cruel.
The first time, he choked sobs into my neck and told me this was what love was. He swallowed my protests and told me what to want. He sighed with release and he left before he had to see the blood on the sheets the next morning.
I burned them. Love has always been cruel.
His fist against my skin, he told me he loved me. His spit in my mouth, he promised me forever. His hands around my throat, he sighed in perfect ecstasy and told me right there, that was perfect.
So when she whispered, “Let him come,” I lit my torch and beckoned for him.
Blame the wind, because history will. Blame the sea and blame the salt water in his mouth and do not blame the wanton woman who let him spread her legs and dreamed so soundly of him that she did not notice the candle had gone out. I had been burning for ages, I let him put cigarettes out on my skin and call my scars kisses, I was so covered in them that I felt nothing when I closed my hand on the flame and let the wind howl.
He had been drowning me for months before I let the sea suck him under. While the storm raged and swallowed him, I slept soundly at last.
Love has always been cruel.

(hero and leander) (image source)

Love Has Always Been Cruel (For a Girl Named Hero Who Had To Be Her Own)

I didn’t know what would come of it the first night I lit the candle and he swam to me, terrible arms outstretched. I had been devoted to love for so long before him, I thought he was worth worship. He came to me with salt in his blond hair and a smile in his blue eyes and blood between his teeth. That first night, I pretended I didn’t taste it.

We lasted a summer on whispered secrets and kisses on the cheek, but he changed with the weather.

When the storms started, he came to my tower in a rage, fingers curled like waves, furious against my skin, always pulling like the tide. No goddess will have you, he said over and over, until I do.

And his hair smelled like saltwater in the worst way. When he bit my lips, when he tugged my hair, when he laughed it off, he taught me something: love has always been cruel.

The first time, he choked sobs into my neck and told me this was what love was. He swallowed my protests and told me what to want. He sighed with release and he left before he had to see the blood on the sheets the next morning.

I burned them. Love has always been cruel.

His fist against my skin, he told me he loved me. His spit in my mouth, he promised me forever. His hands around my throat, he sighed in perfect ecstasy and told me right there, that was perfect.

So when she whispered, “Let him come,” I lit my torch and beckoned for him.

Blame the wind, because history will. Blame the sea and blame the salt water in his mouth and do not blame the wanton woman who let him spread her legs and dreamed so soundly of him that she did not notice the candle had gone out. I had been burning for ages, I let him put cigarettes out on my skin and call my scars kisses, I was so covered in them that I felt nothing when I closed my hand on the flame and let the wind howl.

He had been drowning me for months before I let the sea suck him under. While the storm raged and swallowed him, I slept soundly at last.

Love has always been cruel.

(hero and leander) (image source)

The Girl With The Iron Spine II

A hot wind blows up from the lake the summer you decide to give up on love. It’s only June, not a firework in the sky, and you already feel exhausted as August. Men on the train leer at your ripped cutoffs and you dream of keeping a knife in your purse. You have a fantasy of your fist against throats, of a bullet under your skin when they call to you from the street. This city has a body count, and what’s a few more tacked on the end of the list?
It will be whispered in the street that you are unhurtable. They will call you ice, cursed, stone. Men who writhe at your knees, gashed open by a few cutting words, will look up at you and spit. But the truth is, you just keep throwing your heart down rabbit holes.
Cut your hair and stay the same person. Change your name, peel layers of tan skin from your legs, stay the same. Go to a man with two glasses of wine in you, ready to spill your guts. Keep silent all night long.
This is what it feels like to be winter all the time, this is what happens when you let the cold thing exist in you too long and turn hotblooded veins to ice. There is a sadness in you and men will try to fuck it out of you. You will feel some nights as if you don’t have a body, as if nothing is real, as if all you are is the rigid iron in your spine, which no one can take from you. But goddamn will they try.
You spend a week not doing your makeup, hoping someone will ask if you’re sick. But no one asks because no one worries after you, you do not tell your mother you ride the train home at three in the morning, you do not tell her you let men send for you in the dead of night, you do not tell her that they crack your ribs open and masticate your heart like you are a foreign delicacy and they are starving, always starving. You do not tell her when a man puts his fist in your hair and yanks. You do not tell her you like it. You cry out in ecstasy and you spend a week wanting skinned knees and scars. 
You do not wither; you do not thrive. You exist.
You kiss boys on street corners because you don’t care who sees. You kiss boys in bars because you are reckless and broken. You kiss girls behind closed doors because you miss softness and comfort and the smell of pomegranate in your hair. 
You pretend you are happy. You pretend you are whole.
(part one of girl with the iron spine) (image) 

The Girl With The Iron Spine II

A hot wind blows up from the lake the summer you decide to give up on love. It’s only June, not a firework in the sky, and you already feel exhausted as August. Men on the train leer at your ripped cutoffs and you dream of keeping a knife in your purse. You have a fantasy of your fist against throats, of a bullet under your skin when they call to you from the street. This city has a body count, and what’s a few more tacked on the end of the list?

It will be whispered in the street that you are unhurtable. They will call you ice, cursed, stone. Men who writhe at your knees, gashed open by a few cutting words, will look up at you and spit. But the truth is, you just keep throwing your heart down rabbit holes.

Cut your hair and stay the same person. Change your name, peel layers of tan skin from your legs, stay the same. Go to a man with two glasses of wine in you, ready to spill your guts. Keep silent all night long.

This is what it feels like to be winter all the time, this is what happens when you let the cold thing exist in you too long and turn hotblooded veins to ice. There is a sadness in you and men will try to fuck it out of you. You will feel some nights as if you don’t have a body, as if nothing is real, as if all you are is the rigid iron in your spine, which no one can take from you. But goddamn will they try.

You spend a week not doing your makeup, hoping someone will ask if you’re sick. But no one asks because no one worries after you, you do not tell your mother you ride the train home at three in the morning, you do not tell her you let men send for you in the dead of night, you do not tell her that they crack your ribs open and masticate your heart like you are a foreign delicacy and they are starving, always starving. You do not tell her when a man puts his fist in your hair and yanks. You do not tell her you like it. You cry out in ecstasy and you spend a week wanting skinned knees and scars. 

You do not wither; you do not thrive. You exist.

You kiss boys on street corners because you don’t care who sees. You kiss boys in bars because you are reckless and broken. You kiss girls behind closed doors because you miss softness and comfort and the smell of pomegranate in your hair. 

You pretend you are happy. You pretend you are whole.

(part one of girl with the iron spine) (image

06.17.2014, or, A Simple Metaphor for My Seven Metaphor Man
I fled the state like you were nipping at my heels but it was only ghosts that chased me out. We’d stopped being corporeal on a November night when it seemed like everything had changed. Dead winter showed me nothing had, and it took me a year to unfreeze myself and run. I left in the dark of night, your love letters still on my desk. Our city curling into ash.
I did not think I would miss the little pink tea set I bought the first time I ever lived alone. So I didn’t pack it. I left it behind, kept on a shelf, stored away. I feigned fear of breaking it when my father asked, called myself too careless. And for a long time, I didn’t think of it, collecting dust. I did not ache for it. But there are mornings when I wake and I wish I could be looking at something gorgeous and delicate while I was making my coffee.

I should have known better, should have learned my lesson from leaving you.

06.17.2014, or, A Simple Metaphor for My Seven Metaphor Man

I fled the state like you were nipping at my heels but it was only ghosts that chased me out. We’d stopped being corporeal on a November night when it seemed like everything had changed. Dead winter showed me nothing had, and it took me a year to unfreeze myself and run. I left in the dark of night, your love letters still on my desk. Our city curling into ash.

I did not think I would miss the little pink tea set I bought the first time I ever lived alone. So I didn’t pack it. I left it behind, kept on a shelf, stored away. I feigned fear of breaking it when my father asked, called myself too careless. And for a long time, I didn’t think of it, collecting dust. I did not ache for it. But there are mornings when I wake and I wish I could be looking at something gorgeous and delicate while I was making my coffee.

I should have known better, should have learned my lesson from leaving you.

Fire, Part III
Wake up from nightmares in a city on fire and let him send for you. Put on your lipstick and do not glance at the clock. It couldn’t hurt to put your skeleton up against his tonight, and maybe for nights at a time.
Even the sirens have stopped echoing and you can count ever car that speeds by, can count every person still awake in the whole city: yourself, the driver, and the man waiting for you between his own sheets. The hot June air slips by and it feel like wind. It makes you feel half-drunk, even when you leave the bottle alone. It’s been driving you crazy like the Santa Anas, pulling your hair and pulling you towards a criminal man.
Pretend this will turn into something beautiful and tragic, something that will drag you apart kicking and clawing for one another, fingertips bleeding, veins wrecked. You are used to being called trouble by men with bedroom eyes and cannibal smiles.
Let him kiss you before you see his bedroom walls. Take refuge from to wind and let him tame you, gentle you. Let him press his fingertips to your bare and burning skin, let him lift you out of your shoes and force your feet off the ground. This is what you live for, this is what girls die for: slow dances in the summer, something more.
Wake from nightmares and feel dangerous in a breakneck city. Do not tell your mother you wander out past dark. Do not tell her what you see in your sleep. Forget to call home for weeks at a time.
Walk around all day with your favorite song stuck in his head and when he says that he thought of you, do not let yourself deny it. Do not wear a seat belt on your way to him.
Let him press his lips to your burnt skin and sigh like it doesn’t hurt.

Fire, Part III

Wake up from nightmares in a city on fire and let him send for you. Put on your lipstick and do not glance at the clock. It couldn’t hurt to put your skeleton up against his tonight, and maybe for nights at a time.

Even the sirens have stopped echoing and you can count ever car that speeds by, can count every person still awake in the whole city: yourself, the driver, and the man waiting for you between his own sheets. The hot June air slips by and it feel like wind. It makes you feel half-drunk, even when you leave the bottle alone. It’s been driving you crazy like the Santa Anas, pulling your hair and pulling you towards a criminal man.

Pretend this will turn into something beautiful and tragic, something that will drag you apart kicking and clawing for one another, fingertips bleeding, veins wrecked. You are used to being called trouble by men with bedroom eyes and cannibal smiles.

Let him kiss you before you see his bedroom walls. Take refuge from to wind and let him tame you, gentle you. Let him press his fingertips to your bare and burning skin, let him lift you out of your shoes and force your feet off the ground. This is what you live for, this is what girls die for: slow dances in the summer, something more.

Wake from nightmares and feel dangerous in a breakneck city. Do not tell your mother you wander out past dark. Do not tell her what you see in your sleep. Forget to call home for weeks at a time.

Walk around all day with your favorite song stuck in his head and when he says that he thought of you, do not let yourself deny it. Do not wear a seat belt on your way to him.

Let him press his lips to your burnt skin and sigh like it doesn’t hurt.