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The World, Our Teacup"Unlike in Beowulf's time, there are no monsters left to conquer."
There is no pondering around the room. Just the scratching of pencils against the lined notebook paper that everyone is writing on. It's quiet. A kid slams his locker door shut in the hallway and grabs no one's attention.
It is a simple assignment: We were asked to discuss what we thought about the sentence in a short essay, either agreeing or disagreeing and telling why (because we were always telling someone why these days.) We were asked to put our name, teacher's name, period, class, date, and assignment in the top right corner and god forbid anyone question why the hell someone would even write such words and put them together in such a declaration of stupidity. Plain vocabulary, plain grammar. There is nothing to even question. But yet, I'm still left wondering the severity of the topic.
Break it down:
unlike - different from
Beowulf - a hero
the room won't stop spinningyou woke up crying in your bed, red rings 'round your wrist that you couldn't get off, no matter how hard you scratched. they would not stop bleeding. there were bruises under your eyes, veins popping from underneath the first layer of your epidermis to stretch out and touch the ceiling because they just couldn't hold back. the air played your muscle sinew like a harp each time you ran your fingernails over your arms, as if the goosebumps would disappear beneath your fingertips. when your feet touched the floor your toes curled inward, as if the ground was missing and you had forgotten how to walk. but you can't. you can't because your insides are broken and battered, but that doesn't mean your outside is, too.
veinte uno.there are lines down your wrists
that drip like vines falling from the sky
and they taint everything red
like the snow cone you ate when you were five
your skin is the color of
milk, just like the kind you ate with
your oreos before bedtime
you paint your eyelids with all the colors
of the sunset to try to hide
the purple veins beneath your skin
like your mother taught you when you
but the concealer cannot tame the long
midnight hours you've spent hating
yourself that sit under your lashes
the puppy you got is like the one
your daddy bought you when you were three
something just isn't the same anymore
and god forbid
you'll never be afraid of the monsters
in the closet like when you were a kid again because
now they're in your
And There Was Lighti.
He was seventeen when he died.
I never went to the funeral
but I walked past it the day of
the service. His mother
was in the backseat of a blue Dodge,
door open, head in her hands.
"My baby," she kept repeating.
"My baby." It would go from sobbing, to
screaming, to a soft whisper that
I could only hear being carried
on the wind.
It was a Wednesday afternoon that they found
his old red pickup truck parked
out front of Slim's, two beer bottles in
the back and the windows cracked to let the stale
I heard that his dad told the police he was
gonna take that old truck and fix it up, because
he had promised his son before—
because it's always in the before—
And in the after, his mother never had dry eyes
and I'm pretty sure my mom told me
that she saw his dad at the bar every night,
drinking his sorrows down because some people can't
handle the stress.
Some people can't figure out why their son would
"Some men just want to w
shove a pill down your throat- grin and bear ityou're mother told you that you were a tick-
and not like the clock.
you were always an explosion waiting to happen, and she
told you the day that you tried to kill yourself
for the seventh time that she wasn't going to wait around
until it happened.
hospitalized in the may of 2009, she disowned
you in that summer, when the heat was sticky down your
hospital gown and they refused to take you off life support.
i keep my hair like i keep my blue jeans: shortthe beginning
she was all curls falling over shoulders and small hands and slender ankles, but she was also all crooked toes and cheek moles and half-baked smiles. she wore skinny jeans too long and too big on her and she always wore a jacket because she was always cold. and he thought that she was pretty beautiful the first time he saw her in a parade, sitting on top of a dodge truck and waving with both hands so that no one was left out. she was the kind of pretty beautiful that only came around when he said something stupid and she shook her head at him, trying to hide her teeth but failing miserably.
she wore glasses but only when she was doing work or when she had a headache because she thought that her eyes looked too wide in them and all she ever wanted in life was to be people magazine's definition of pretty—which she wasn't (but don't tell her that.) she drank tea on sleepless nights, sitting on her porch and stargazing; she thought that ma
homicides are not always humani tried to forget but you planted a seed
in my brain that you constantly watered with thoughts
that i was never good enough. i tried to forget
but it sprouted between my scalp and
shut my eyes tight and sewed my lips together
without words. you punctured my trachea to let the
sunlight into my ribcage, my lungs pumping
oxygen to the weeds that grew steadily around my
neck as if you had built me a noose. and once
its leaves had coiled themselves around the bone
structure called my spine i gave up, because
nausea paralyzed me as your fingers dug deeply into
my chest cavity, looking for the thorns inside so
you could press them into my skin. i tried to forget you,
but i was soon enraptured by the rose that bloomed
from my brain matter, shouting "we won't sink this time, we
won't sink," but it ended up wilting as the petals
fell down my cheeks. i counted them: he loves me, he
loves me not. but i never found out which one it
may have been because you pluck
preservationistand this is how i keep you.
i pack salt around your time wounds,
grinding it against your weeping skin and
watching your own brand
of sodium drip down your chin.
a hammer pounds down upon your
you are a flower, and i am just
using you as some type of
worn out bookmark
to save my page in last year's
we take a trip to the gas station and
i buy us four packs of cigarettes.
when you are alone
in the closet, i light them all in
your lap. and the ashes burn holes in your
jeans until the smoke consumes
your shelf-life has run out.
no matter what i have done,
you will not stay.
and so i paint your face
with my blood.
and i write your name into
and the pictures i don't have of you
left a hole in my heart.
the worms that occupy it have
made it home.
eight-thirteenths of a heart"So, what was her name again? Jenny?"
"Ah yes. So we haven't forgotten about Jenny yet, I suppose. You know, this isn't—"
"Jah-nay. Her name is Jahnay. She's twenty-three."
"—Right. I said that."
they were seventeen when they met. it was a long night full of snogging on couches, loud, hair-raising music, and german beer. lots of german beer. he was drunk out of his mind, stumbling up the stairs to take a leak. but so was she, and he found he leaned over the toilet puking up fruity drinks and water (that was supposed to have kept her sober, she laughed later. i tried to drink one margarita and then one bottle of water, but the margaritas just kept calling my name.) they met when they were seventeen, and he held her hair back with sweaty fingers, trying not to vomit himself as her guts communicated with the porcelain.
and he helped her off the floor, flus
Take It All Away.There’s a tear between each smile and a fracture on my heart
And a thousand feelings breaking me and tearing me apart
Knowing when it’s over I may lose my sanity
Embrace the mess I am and the storm inside of me
In the dark I have a chance to fight away my problems
To ignore them all away instead of trying to solve them
All I saw when I looked back was a mass of insecurity
Laying waste to who I am and ripping at the seam
Lowering my already non-existent self-esteem
And I couldn’t help admitting I’m a self-made failure
Walking a broken path as a second-hand savior
And it all adds up to nothing; me in a nutshell
Yanking on the chain that tethers me to hell…
A stranger walked up to me today...A man walked up to me and asked me for a cigarette… I told him I didn't smoke anymore, and he asked me why? ––I answered "because the person I used to smoke with, isn't around anymore", and he replied…"that's why I smoke."
A woman walked up to me and asked me for drugs, I replied "I have several in store…his eyes, his smile, his hands"…she whispered, "that's not a drug"…and I laughed as I said.. "if only you knew."
A child walked up to me today and asked me to play a game, I told them I was too tired to play games, i'd been playing for years, they replied…"then you must be a pro!", to which I said "yes…a pro at losing."
An old woman stared at me today, and I asked her…"is something wrong?" she answered "I was about to ask you the same question."
© Rocio Belinda Mendez
.she told me i had soft palms,
i said yeah but i've got a hard
heart, because when
i was young i got given
two goldfish, and one day the
big ate the little
and that's when i learnt i'd
be fucked by the world, it would
do the same thing to me too
(i heard the language of evil and i started to speak it, saw the actions of evil and i started to be it)
Beautiful.They say I’m beautiful
Because of the way my crystalline heart reflects light off its fractured surface
Well, that isn't a reflection
It’s rejection of the light because it’s all too much to handle
Throw myself away into the dark without even a candle
‘Cause I don’t want to recognize all the pain I’m in
Or realize the truth behind what I am or who I've been
And I tried to make things right but I just keep on making wrong
I never listened to the angel on my shoulder when she called
I count my tears like they’re experience
And my scars like they’re mysterious
And that’s a feeling I’ll remember –
Watching as you left
Watching as you ended what was meant to be forever
And I can see it in their eyes; everyone can empathize
So they say that I’m beautiful because they don’t know what else to say.
But if being broken is beautiful, then it’s the ugliest way...
like my past lovers
dressed from head
to toe in black,
the tarmac, pink
dry five petaled flowers
that i don't
care much for now,
an empty womb
a crypt, the darkness
jumping ship again,
his bones soft
a vein, a needle
and a weight
against my chest,
the golden sun and silver
moon, the beds
inside saint peter's
(they sound like my heart in the night)
Anxious.I retire from the crowd, feeling kinda strange.
This anxiety is drowning me, somethings gotta change.
I gotta get in my mind's soul and start to rearrange––
your confidence for my sadness, care for an exchange?
This loneliness has company,
Gaining on me subtly,
I'm handing out custody,
I'm left with nil––utterly.
I think about tomorrow; wasting my today.
Already feel broke, before I even gotta pay.
I hear what I wanna hear, not what you have to say.
Losing bits of self; as I try and make my way.
This stressing is messing––
maybe it's a blessing;
dressing up depressing.
Trying to fool me, as it's assessing––
keeping me on my toes daily; guessing.
I need a change, now
I want to be the cause of "wow"
Just give me a go; allow,
I'll be the answer to your "how".
© Rocio Belinda Mendez
Why do you cut?"Because it's a pain that I can control when it stops, whereas the pain inside. It doesn't stop. It never stops. It's not control over the pain I need, its that power to decide when enough is enough."
That's what she told me when I asked her why she cut. But that wasn't the whole truth. And as the tally etched down her legs, the reverse of the marking of ages against a doorjamb in her parent's house, I saw another truth. I gave her space until she felt safe enough to say it out loud. An addendum to the truth:
"I need the scars, I need to be able to blame them for being unlovable. Need to be able to blame my past, my craziness, the pain and those who caused it for being unlovable. For no one wanting me. Need them to cover my body so people see them first and the shape of me second. I need them as a mask. Because if the scars are gone then the truth is obvious. That no one wants me because of my body first, and my mind second.. and I can't blame anyone but myself for those things. The sc
( 4/03/2014 )Oh,
little godless girl
you talk like
of your powerhouse
are showing through
you’re no nymph,
your own carbon
It’s been 64 hours
50 minutes, &
since this whole thing
& you’re already falling
You left your skilless
in the waste basket
by the bed,
in the alley.
You are your own
& by definition
your work deserves
I tried to write for you again,
Titled the piece “Pour The Ink,”
Playing with metaphor of a broken pen
And the cliché of a broken heart.
I wrote again.
The other dubbed, “Tornado,”
Scribbled on it blindly,
All of my blinding emotions and pain,
But of course,
I threw that one away,
Because I’m indecisive,
But more than that?
It’s truly poetic
And fit to form
‘Cause I liked that piece--
No, I loved it.
But it was too painful to read,
I’m still not where I need to be,
Because you’re not here with me.
You’re not here with me,
And that stings,
Stabs, jabs, cuts, slices,
Chokes, squeezes, and strikes.
It’s striking me,
Right in between my ears,
And all in the cracks of my smile.
Your absence drying my tongue,
(Which explains the lack of words)
The corners of my mouth sore,
And my lips are breaking, chapping.
And the middle of me,
Right in my thoracic
veinte.i am regressing
i am regressing
i am regressing
i am regressing
you are not a dynamic character.
this is not your story.
you are static.
you are static.
this is not your story.
you are not allowed to fly.
i am regressing
i am regressing
i am regressing
(there is no one to talk to anymore because you feel the need to hide away all of your feelings; you don't talk to people because you cannot pretend to be happy with people that know you are not; you can't keep doing this you can't keep doing this; you're killing yourself and you don't even realize it; you're going to explode one day)
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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