Spoken Word / Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman.

I am wonder.

I think about how those words scrolls up the violet screen

In the feminist art wing of the Brooklyn museum

And how my team nicknamed me #wonderwoman

Do you ever think about how

You may wake up in the exact same place on Earth that you went to sleep,

But you'll have traveled thousands of miles in space.

And it’s 3.00am and I don’t know how far I’ve traveled in this small infinitesimal speck of time.

And I know that when you reduce life to black and white you will never see the rainbows.

Who am I in this moment?

I say my name like a spell

In the hushed breath of pre-dawn light

Shift it around on my tongue

Playfully slipping from syllable to sweet syllable getting my synapses firing as I take my namesake and organize that shit alphabetically

Amanda Kelly Rosal Espiritu

Letters slip off the Notes app on my phone

It’s all gibberish, but then…

Honesty sparks 

Depression deceived me into believing that I was alone and made me bitter

And anxiety refused to let me reach out, retreating in moments

When a small voice inside me tried to say I was being silly.

I bought into the lies that started looping unexpectedly at a much higher volume,

Playing like it was the top hit on every frequency,

As if in some moments I was getting too happy,

Autoplay would choose my greatest doubts and the fattest tears
That pushed their way out ducts I try to keep shut with super glue.

Echoey ones that told me no one wanted to hear about my pain or see my tears

And would rather the wattage cranked up behind my smiles,

That they wouldn’t believe me if I told them my truths,

That they wouldn’t care,

And that the knowledge of my sadness would be an inconvenience

And not understood or welcomed.

I started to ration out when I would share the negatives,

Assuming a quest for perfect balance - the right amount to share.

Not too much because that would mean I was a hot mess

And my inner child still strives for those gold stars and going beyond perfect scores

To meet the impossible standards of family who thinks nothing is ever enough.

Nothing I do is ever enough.

I’m a black panther in a family of hamsters

More comfortable on their wheel taking up no space at all.

I try and try and try.

To be transparent and wrench a bleeding heart open just enough

To show wounds from my past I carry on my soul. And always will.
But not too much.

Just enough to show that I’ve been through battles

Come out with scar tissue stronger than unblemished areas that have not yet known pain.

To show that the war my demons fight isn’t tearing me at the edges,

Dragging me on auto pilot to almost daily worship on my knees at a porcelain throne,

A habit I thought I kicked but is something I’m simultaneously, secretly proud and ashamed of. My emotions numb as I amputate them in the aftermath that is floating down old pipes,

A massacre easily flushed away.

Leaving behind phantom limbs of worry and anger and self love I fight off when then cling to me Because they feel hollow.

But This is getting too dark. Too real.

Too near the depths of my stream of consciousness I try to wade into

But only along the shallows, ankle or calf deep.

Can’t ever reach 50% waist high because that’s a no go zone.

I remember my roots in the shallows,

The darkness in the deep, deep part of myself that is too twisted to ever see the light of day.

It would be bleached and bloated above the surface,

Ugly in a world that values sparkling, and beautiful, and perfect impermanence.

So I sigh and grin big, focus on being a Dreamer and go to battle, always to battle.

Every morning

I infuse a little more steel into my spine

Wrap myself in soft smiles and starry eyes

Diplomatic and balanced

Mantras and chants about virtues

Stock patience in my clenched palms and lodge it between my teeth

Lips glossy with lip balm

To hide all my cracks that are more prominent in winter

Like I’ve got it all together

But my friends see past the illusions

I spend hours weaving

I never had a poker face

And maybe I just don’t believe in fairies and their mystic arts as much I used to

Their mischief more malevolent in the light of adulthood I wouldn’t have chosen

If I could have stayed small

And innocent

And unblemished with scars

Self inflicted by time and carelessness

And bad intentions planted that sprouted with the sprinklings of good intentions from parents Who say “If you just lost this or did this you would be so much happier.”

All the tiny magical charms I used to stuff in my pockets and mason jars as a child

My hunts through clover patches for something more

Seem so far away and pointless

I remember I was Jealous of the four leaf my uncle found and framed for my little sister

Knowing from then on I needed to make my own luck

It would not always be handed to me

I would not let it be handed to me

I know now fortunes can change at the crack of a crumbling cookie,

A stranger too eager to get inside my walls and find their own fortunes

A scramble to be intimate and while nights away with someone I’m not invested in

Because my fortune will never be good enough for them and is so easily tossed aside

A scrap of paper and poetry to those looking for gold

But there is treasure I keep so closely guarded I’ve half forgotten where I hid it

And months go by some seasons before I recall I carry gems

My castle walls seem open, gate down across an empty moat,
Sun shining into courtyards and through windows

Beautiful until you notice how eerie and hollow it all is

The throne in the main hall made of porcelain

Because I can’t keep dinner down most nights and feel nauseated when it’s late

And I’m in a car watching the city fly by, bridges upon bridges

And I have to crack a window to feel like I can still really breathe

Like my lungs forgot how to operate

Because my brain is Elsewhere

When you ask what weather I am most like

My friends will likely respond Hurricane

As one did just last weekend

I didn’t ask why but I think it is because

Sometimes I bring

Total devastation

I am a force to be reckoned with

Uproot the old and beckon in the new

Rebuilding my foundations again and again

But there’s something about a search for perfection and fortunes and starting anew

That beckons me onward and others towards me

Charisma they call it

Maybe I still have some fairy charms left in me.

Poetry / Amongst The Flowers

Eye gazing with orchids

Is a staring contest you can’t lose

Even when you blink away

The gentle curves of each gradient

And the pollen motes floating through the air 

You’ve still absorbed a tiny universe

Into your soul

A memory of a cold blustery afternoon

Where you turned your mind off

And wandered through jungles and deserts

In the course of three hours

Pressing pause on work and play

And just letting daydreams manifest amongst flowers

You cracked open an hourglass

It’s curved reflections became jagged

Warping against floor boards

You picked up handfuls of glass and sand

Letting them run back through your fingers

Time leaving small cuts on your palms

Criss crossed life lines and branching river beds

Laugh lines streaming from your tear ducts

Minuscule grains making a home under your fingernails

Poetry / Twenty Six

There are less than 26 days till I turn 26

26 ways I could have been a better sister

A better friend

A better lover

I wasn’t ripe yet

Too scared to bloom

Afraid of getting plucked up

I’ve seen the flowers die slowly

Wilting in a pretty vase

Browning and fading

Drooping as they dry out

Bright petals wasting away on counters

And in the bottom of garbage bags

Sucking up water like their life depends on it, even thought they’re past the point of no return

But she says crack open the bud I’ve encased my heart in

Says this is the year

There are so many people who want to love me the way I need to be loved

She reminds me I’ve forgotten

Flowers can be uprooted



They make beautiful hybrids

Change into something completely new

Change landscapes with their colors

Unforgettable in their brilliant newness

Poetry / Marinate In The Melodies

I marinated in the melodies

A symphony of violins

Another world within a train

That exists with my eyes half shut

Cracked to make sure I don’t miss my stop

I skip back tracks to keep the violin soaring

To make the world stop shaking

I retreat into classical music

A genre I haven’t immersed myself in

Not in the last three years

I find this song reassuring

When the anxiety builds

A deafening whispering

I have to drown out

Poetry / She Smelled Like Rain

She smelled like rain

The ocean about to heave

Tantrum stormy skies building

Energy churning miles high

Crackling with salt


The tears fell

Washed her face

Covered it up

Smeared lines into skin

Shifting her cheekbones

And highlighting eyebrows

Till the glow of her face was

Blinding with sparkles

A neon painted smile

Over a bloody tongue

And muted screams

Every day she crunches the numbers on the scale mentally

Sometimes lets the silence stay sinister

Keeps breathing evenly

She says, “I believe in me”

Till she almost believes the words she mutters to the mirror

Poetry / Interview

Pocket good questions

And turn them inside out

On the way to an interview

Spend the week reading every

Tweet, caption, status

Backlog the last 30 days

Tilt “creepy” off center so that

“Obsessed” ensures a

"You really impressed us today!"

But really, I just want to know

What was your earliest memory

Of music, of the rain

What was the last thing

That made you smile or laugh

Before you got here today

Trudging up from the depths of trains stations

What was the last thing

That made you feel okay

Before the day ran away

Distracting you for hours

The light flickering off glass

Blue to orange to pink to indigo

Till you jerk back

Careening off center

Into a staccato of

Half finished sentences

Thoughts ending in question marks?

And an auto generated email signature

Because you've run out of time

At the bottom of the thank you note to type

Your name

Poetry / For Her, For Him

FOR HER: Falling into productivity at first sip 

Is a bit like falling in love,

It requires lavender matcha lattes

And splitting a flaky croissant

An even 70/30

Without a second thought

Because the person across from me

Is enough to sate the endless hunger

That used to keep me up at night

Whispering, “You are not enough”

FOR HIM: Today, chasing after my dreams is easy

In softly lit cafes draped in green vines

Smile and sip my way down a checklist

Calculating my productivity by cups of matcha consumed

And the 22 poems I have left to write

Sometimes he looks at me with gentle eyes

And says, “I want to be you when I grow up”

Even though he has years on me

Even though I wonder what he’s doing with me

Even though I got the bigger half of the croissant

Poetry / Moonlight

Moonlight was swelling through cracked window panes

Patiently undulating across floorboards

Sniffing around table legs

Flirting with the gap between couch and wall

Skirting around haphazardly stacked books

And two stools ensconced in full winter wardrobes

Graylight casts shadows, an ancient lunar spell work

Dark and deep, distinctly sleepy shades

The room became a colorless playground

Light and shadows dancing to the rhythm of 

A heavy quiet broken by harsh breathing

Two bodies undulating

Shrouded in shadows

Passion bright in starry eyes

Poetry / Mourning Memories

It starts with forgetting

Every night we travel through impossibilities

Live lifetimes with our eyes shut dreaming

Screaming, laughing, loving

Sometimes I wake up crying 

Abruptly conscious, I’m left grasping

Mourning memories, sharp with blocks of color

A song I can’t quite remember

A feathered kiss that kept me centered 

An endless moment where there are no expectations

Poetry / Ripple

Color ripples across the wall

Gently etching fractured sunlight in quick succession,

Lending movement to a flat space

In the stillness of your imagination your past selves wander,

Whiling away the hours in silence 

Waiting for you to wake up, they pile up

Flimsily stacked masterpieces

Rough sketches on canvas stretched too thin

Abandoned for another time

In another universe

Where you stopped and found

You were finally content

Poetry / Ever To Explore

Born too late to explore the earth,

Born too soon to explore the galaxy

Daily, we venture into Skyscraper National Park

A jungle of neon and buzzing electricity

Trodding well worn paths over discarded gum and cigarettes,

Flattened and black with heavy soles 

Most days, we’re not conquerors out for blood

Recklessly careening past horizons into the unknown

Too often, we let our dreams cool

And only seek to explore our little patch of the world

We’re captivated by new gods,

Endless data streams and smooth glass

We conduct potential expeditions with quick fingertips 

Plow through miles in milliseconds

Zooming in and out of streets and continents

Hopping around satellite composites for street views of the Taj Mahal

And silently promising ourselves, “One day.”

Even though we’ll no longer be the first

Or even close to the first

Why do we always have to be first

Poetry / Puddle Jumping

We’re standing in a puddle

Faces tilted upwards

Wet snow isn’t graceful as it plops down

Melting across the sharp ridge of his nose

And sliding down my cheekbones

Slinking past our hoods as we watch the wind

A mesmerizing cyclone of ice coaxed into a spiral

Rising, rising, rising with purpose

We don’t speak 

He’s been trying to be better about listening

Striving to hear what I’m not saying

The silence is enormous 

But I’m filling it with poetry

Poetry / After

She’s quietly determined in her sincerity

Tells me she still daydreams of bombs when it’s quiet

Glancing out the nearby window her soft gaze turns inward 

Searching for sparrows and cherry blossoms

Amongst muddied puddles and cracked pavement

Bursting with anxious roots scrabbling for new earth

She gathers the corners of herself

And polishes away the sharp edges till she’s smooth and round

Unblemished mercury, she slides her hand into mine

Lays her head softly on my shoulder

Reflecting back what she thinks I want to see

But I know the heavy weight of mercury, its every metallic shade 

The sluggish track of its orbit, 58+ days crammed into one

That never seems like it will end

I’ve cradled the darkness between the stars in my palms

And have run inky fingers through tear tracks I didn’t feel fall

After a blitz attack, after a supernova, after heartbreak 

I’ll stay close so she can find me when she’s ready

Poetry / Deep Into Brooklyn

Sometimes dreams, lucid between memories slip through into the real world

Making you further question your sanity

Seamlessly melding with reality

Where bullets rain faster than smiles

And fake concern stretches around the syllables of newscasters’ grins

The train tilts along a sharp curve—

And I forget what I’ve been considering so closely,

Music blasts through plastic coated wires

And I people watch

As we speed by underground

Time illuminated in red, close to midnight

We’re stumbling as we’re rumbling along tracks

We hastily patch as they fall to pieces weekend over weekend

And we’re still impatient

So here we are, glitching out as train after train speeds by

I stand with feet planted on a train filled with people

Each with their own stories and challenges

Ones that will carry from this night to this new morning

And can’t be shrugged off as April Fools jokes

Making their way home, or making their way to something

As I am

A family of four sits down in a row on the train at 12.00am

Heading deeper into Brooklyn, a mother and two daughters,

One with her mother’s hairstyle

And the other rocking a mini version of her mother’s pink pants

A child sits in a stroller with a thin clear plastic covering draped over him

Small hands pressing against plastic

Eyes wide and very awake

His family throws bang snaps at each other and the floor

Mini fireworks popping as they make contact

The entire train car tries to brace for each pop, but jerks minutely every time one goes off

Here is childish glee they grit their teeth against

Perhaps it’s too much happiness they haven’t been invited into, in too small a space

Perhaps it’s too late, or too early for them

A man in a silver puffy jacket patches the cotton material

Back into the lining of his coat with clear packaging tape

Methodically ripping pieces which sharp white teeth

I’m happy to see him mending the sleeve

Instead of chucking the entire jacket aside as impossible to fix, as most people do

Thinking it’s too much effort

When they can more easily trek to the nearest Uniqlo

Grabbing up another jacket as quickly as they can swipe their credit card

A temporary session of retail therapy

It’s 12.05am

And the doors slide open

Some of us jump off

Dancing into whatever adventures the morning may hold

Spoken Word / Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Seventeen


Fuck it.

Stop worrying that you can’t

Spread your small hands wide enough to soothe your pain away

Or catch your tears to store in the riverbeds of your palms to remind you of the ocean

And season your wounds when your depression starts grumbling for more of your self worth

Don’t allow the salt to do more than accent the sweets you inhale,

The moments that make you thirsty for more.



Don’t have staring contests with yourself in the mirror. You will lose.

More often than not watching yourself stretching your lips up

And hooking them onto the corners of your eyes

Does more damage than good.



There is nothing wrong with you.



Maybe there is something wrong with you.



Fuck it.



You are not tame--

Your parents thrust a torch into your hand

Inscribed Torch Bearer on the metal plate of your experimental lab rat cage

Whatever you survived would be inflicted upon your siblings

A drip feed from needles injecting awkward affection into your bloodstream

But you will squeeze your way out from between bars meant to cage you

Learn to patch yourself back up

So you can reach back in to others too young to defend themselves



My mummy says I’m special every day.



People will ask you how you developed as a unit of five--50 fingers and toes

Countless tears and screams and laughs bouncing around

A cacophony in your head

Suckled with trophies and state titles

Hard A’s on report cards bloodied with paper cuts and darkened by the exhaustion

Of nights that ended just shy of all nighters

Clumsily welded repairs,

Spare parts dusty with the must of another era, robotic perfection

One day you will no longer need the safety pins and gold stars to hold yourself together

You will recognize you run too hot for icy perfection.



Is the number of times you need to count inhales and exhales

Tapping two fingers against the side of your temple

Rubbing the patch of skin above your collarbone

Your body is a temple. Multi-layered and curved like rice terraces.

Don’t be stone. Let your walls crumble. Send your battalions home.

You will quit sacrificing good food to pay homage to

The porcelain goddess who cares naught for your tears

Hard steel sharpened by the self hate you’ve truly come to nurture as of late



The first time you cried on your ninth birthday will not be the last

But you will become a master mixologist with each passing year

Shaking sadness and laughter into a sour concoction

That you can happily cheers other people with.

Because no one’s life consists of only cotton candy skies.

One day you won’t need to sugar coat the rim of your glass

Or examine your apprehension before you allow yourself to fall into another’s arms.



You will come to know heartbreak intimately.

You will let it burrow itself into your couch cushions

And invite it to perch on your nightstand for the night,

Allow it to cradle a tumbler of whiskey and whisper into your ear

That you will always be alone.



Maybe there is something wrong with you.

Maybe there is something wrong with you.

Maybe there is something wrong with you.



Sometimes there will be something wrong with you.

Sometimes you will be alone with your own heartbeat,

Echoing through the cavity that once contained your heard.

But I promise you, though you think you never quite got it back,

It’s hiding out on the sleeve of your sweater

Skipping along with you down the sidewalk

Pumping adrenaline to keep propelling you forward

As you race up staircases with friends



You will learn to throw yourself back into new situations,

Twirling into the music instead of twirling your hair around your wallflower thumb

People will compliment you on your dancing. It will be astounding.

How can others not smile when you are letting yourself marinate in a moment

That you never want it to end?



Don’t have staring contests with the mirror.  You’ll get too good at it.



Boys will take your stare as an implicit challenge,

Sparking a connection because you will be more confident in your intensity.



Some days you will doubt yourself and your self worth.



Just fuck it.



Take mental health days when you need them.



Stop trying so hard to throw away the parts of your life that don’t contain smiles

The parts that you would rather forget

On rainy days, gently coax them out of your rainy day box

So that you always remember where you’ve been.



Savor this year and the next, shine your own light upwards

Despite fearing it will be drowned out amongst the bright city lights

Fluorescent bulbs more brash than you could ever pretend to be

Know that you can pull yourself out of the darkness

That you can be your own hero

You will learn that you won’t need a prince to climb your crumbling towers

You will learn that, oftentimes, you can save yourself.

Spoken Word / Chalk Dust Memories

I used to sew my heart on the sleeve of my sweaters

Even though I had to close my eyes

I was afraid of needles

Heart on my sleeves

It made a nice accessory to the bracelets adorning my wrists

Additional protection to keep them safe from my numb hands

That still insist on absentmindedly wandering over areas I once traced with blades

I sewed my heart on every morning

Till it was nicked by a passing lover on his way out the door

On the eve of a new year

An exit stage left, highlighted by fireworks and dampened by booze

I carried on, too enamored with the toothy smile sliding up my face in the mirror

Whiskey colored my cheeks and brightened my eyes

Burning away tears before they could think to emerge

Forgot I was bleeding out

My heart paled, streaking red to pink

I thought my lightheaded-ness was a result of the cancerous butterflies metastasizing throughout my body

Bored of tickling my stomach lining

I never considered the symptoms of blood loss

Too many feathery wings and antennae were pollinating the synapses of my brain with dopamine

I failed to realize their legs had been dipped in stomach acid

It made my head hurt

Blurring red filtering my vision

Reminiscent of the rosy spectacles of childhood scotch-taped round my head by my father

For the days when I played hopscotch with shadows and didn't chase after sunsets

Their darkness smudged powdery chalk grains smeared on my pants

At 22, I still find the remnants of that chalk still clinging

I rub the colors along my cheekbones

Not for war paint but to make paint whenever ghosting tears make the colors run

Use the vestiges of these colors to hide the circles ringing my eyes

The shadows now find they like hiding in them

They've moved on to playing hide and seek with my probing fingers.

The contrast in colors is stark

It was only recently I finally looked down at my heart

Perfectly deflated

I tried to sprinkle chalk dust on it to bring color back into its veins and arteries,

Patting and pinching it back into shape

I snipped away threads of my sleeve

Cradling it till I found a mason jar where I could hide it away--

I have to admit I forgot about it

Weeks sprouted wings, flying by till a new city ran through my veins in a new year

I came back sorry

And had to slowly coax it out from the jar

The raised lines on my heart made my breath hitch with guilt

For leaving it so exposed

But as I looked down, it peeped out from between my fingertips and over my thumb

Abruptly leaping up,

Dancing along pressure points to settle back over my wrist

Beating hard as I looked up to see the bartender back again, leaning in and grinning

Refusing to let go of my hand.

Spoken Word / Shadow Play

Neverland was never good enough for you

Just a dash of pixie dust didn’t make much sense

But snorting it short circuited your whirring brain and made time stop

So you could douse yourself in Eau’ de Invincibility

And pretend everyone else was smaller than you.

Peter was too stingy and stringy for your dark palate,

So you beefed yourself up with crocodile tears

And bullied little lost boys, seduced impressionable little girls

You swallowed their whimpers behind Peter’s back

They were sweeter than starlight

And Tiger Lily’s smiles from beneath her feathered headdress

Even Peter’s delighted crow when he chopped off Hook’s hand couldn’t compare

You spent too much time flirting with mermaids by stealing shells from their long locks

And fumed when you found out Peter had gotten his first kiss before you

You hated Wendy on principle

Clearly you were more deserving of thimble kisses -

Because you were more bloodthirsty for it

Who else kept Peter from being disgustingly squeaky clean?

You knew he thrived on thoughtless mischief

Enticing the innocent from their beds

But you coaxed out their feral corruption

Inviting them to don the hides of wild animals and scramble beneath tree roots

Matting their fur pelts with muddies spider webs

Peter pretended not to notice when some of the boys disappeared,

But he couldn’t have failed to see his minions thinning out as they aged

Slivered memories forgotten to the shadows as he raced through games of pretend

After all, it was Peter himself who made the rules,

However glittered by a misguided pixie he might be.

You liked to insist you were not meant to be tied down to the heels of a semi-mortal’s soles

You hated limits and rejoiced in going where others wouldn’t dare to follow

Conspiring in the midst shrieking laughter and pounding feet

Planting the seeds of discord between families and relationships

Gently lying to rest the blue print sketched mechanics

Of what would make those around you implode

You exulted in the idea of crumbling infrastructure

Made eyelids sleepy during playtime as you sipped absinthe out of chipped tea cups

Just a hazy figure hovering between nightmares

So indistinct and soft, many were fooled into taking your hand

Thinking you were coaxing them towards starlight

Instead of over a cliff and down past sharp teeth towards a ticking gullet

Every time you let their fingers slip from your grasp

You savored their horrified expressions

The cracks and crunch of their bones

Chuckling at their naïve notion that you would always be the one to save them

Sometimes you gave in to their pleading eyes and gaping jaws

Swooping in to save a few here and there

Treasuring the way they clung to you

Knowing that in sparing them,

You’d won more gratitude than Peter could ever hope to hold

You allowed your darkness to swell with their mistaken notions

That you could be a hero, if it suited you

You knew villainy better suited your passing fancies.


You used to have me constantly looking over my shoulder

Glancing into the shadowed corners of my mind I used to linger in

But I quit playing with shadows a long time ago

And you refuse to step into the light.

Spoken Word / Please Don't Hitchhike Alone

Pacing a track into the matted carpet

She was never a runner

But she's worn out a pair of tennis shoes and some slippers

And you can see her footprints traced out on the carpet

She tends to drag her feet when she walks

The heels of boots worn down to nibs

Soles cracked where the balls of her feet pirouetted across the rug

Trying to throw off her stress by becoming a whirlwind

Splattering her emotions on the walls

Can't can't can't

Can't can't


Even finish a sentence

It's all coming apart

She is crumbling defiance and denial

Hands full of cracked paper mâché masked portraits

Pacing with the remnants clutched around paper cuts

Till she sees night wind down towards day

She walks miles along carpeted highways

No exits or rest stops in sight

No mile markers to guide her

She doesn’t know her destination

She’s a hitchhiker with a thumb bent back

But no one stops for pirouetting-ballerina-carpet-hitchhikers near dawn

Her fingers tangle themselves in her hair to keep her head grounded

She curves her spine to the floor

Tries to lie and breathe quiet

1, inhale 2, exhale 3, gasp 10!

Come out come out wherever you are

Olly olly oxen free to every feeling she squashed down

They like to suddenly magnify

She’s still learning to play games of tag

And hide n’ seek with her emotions late at night

It's painful to learn how to listen to herself

When reason often deserts her battered mindscape

But instead of skidding across reflective markers and lane dividers

She lifts sock-wrapped peddle feet

From the metal accelerator she wove into the rugs beneath her,

Shifting her pacing into a leisurely drive

Pulling herself over to stop for a few moments

She hugs her breath, holds her chest in tight

And witnesses another moon fade, another sun rise

Spoken Word / A Night At The Symphony

You aren’t sleeping well tonight

Your fingers are tapping out a slow waltz on your thigh

You’re singing a symphony to yourself comprised entirely of sighs

It’s become your nightly lullaby

Inaudible but for the rise and fall of your chest

Pressing up against sheets that shouldn’t weigh so much

But cotton comes plucked at a heavy price,

And as you twist into the wrinkles and the mattress springs

You try to feel how many hundreds of threads encase you  

You never could afford to understand silk sheets

With thread counts higher than you could easily count sheep

Because you know high priced products aren’t necessarily high performing

You never feel comfortable in luxury

Because you are too down to earth

Your toes curl around pebbles pressing into the soles of your feet

That other people brusquely shake out of their boots,

Annoyed they have to unknot their laces

And pay attention to something so small


You wrap your arms around yourself cautiously

Like you’re too fragile for your own hands

Scarcely believing you haven’t already shattered

When you genuinely fear that everyone your life touches becomes defective

Broken and immobile no matter how hard you try to prevent it

You have 20/20 vision but you don’t see very clearly

You hold our tarnished selves together with your smiles

You prevent others from slapping their self destruct buttons

Glowing countdowns halted by your open arms

You taught us that hugs given without reservation don’t need any motivation

That there were no jagged rocks waiting beneath potential friendships

That we could dive into brand new relationships and never reach the bottom


I promise you don’t have to pretend you’re always happy

You are more than one emotion

Let that strained grin fall with your walls

Shake up a can and spray paint “H<3PE” into the cracked concrete here, next to us

Let us catch you when words fail you and you’re bursting with tears

Know that sometimes your own wings forget how to fly

Spoken Word / You Can't give Superheroes DUIs

I am driving under the influence

Daring reality to give me a speeding ticket

See, I am high on love.


I never could just sip in its smoke and simper

Batting my eyes and looking coy was never my thing

I can’t let myself play into cat and mouse flirtationships

I always try to say what I mean

Always needing someone to turn my mind on to keep me interested

I’m not going to simplify myself down to one flicked up switch

I won’t just be some inflated superhero’s distressed damsel or girlfriend

I aim to equalize heroes with heroines


Now, don’t just smile and nod

Don’t patronize me with pats on the head or epithets of cuteness

I moved on from Hello Kitty a long time ago.

I’m not some trophy and I won’t dress up for you—I dress up for me

Barbies always creeped me out with their stiff joints

Too-large eyes and heads so tiny and hollow

Even dust bunnies avoided gathering in them


You may be capable of moving me chemically—I mean, I’m not blind—

But catching my attention doesn’t deserve a round of applause

I tend to get momentarily distracted by lots of shiny, pretty things.

You can’t hold my attention for more than a handful of moments

With a projected ego inflated with hot air

Propped up with your notion of others’ inferiority

Fleeting moments of kindness don’t excuse your sense of superiority

And they are constantly overtaken by waves of indifference

Making me apathetic to your existence

Because you chill every vertebrae in my spine with your shallowness

And you must think me a fool to hope that I’ll let that near my heart


So if you want to stand by me, I dare you to challenge me

Don’t just play to be on my court and thoughtlessly agree

I don’t deal in monotony

So I pinky promise I’ll appreciate the discord


Why not fly high?

I’ll float up with you but I won’t depend on just you

I’ll live, laugh, and light up, my love.