and she cried tears of blue.

Numb, aching hearts.

Dried, rusted drops of blood on the edges of sharp little things hidden away in your many drawers.

Darkened rooms lit up wistfully by the passing of cars at 2 am.

Lips cracking into a chapped patchwork of blood when you finally open your mouth; because you refuse to talk or eat or drink or be – for days on end.

Long sleeves and sporadic haircuts in a hopeless attempt to battle the gloomy winter chill, because the sun never left the sky of the city you grew up in.

Listening to obscure boy bands for an entire summer, so every time you hear the melancholy tune again you’re taken back to that time you went to the beach in the back of your friend’s truck – stale beer on your breath and salt in your soul.

Fake smiles slapped onto sad faces.
Crimson-veined eyes defying the many layers of mascara.

The feeling that empty blue horizons bring, the feeling that makes you turn off all the lights and stare into the empty space; the seemingly endless pit in your stomach that makes you wake up and break down at 4 am in the cold.

When you force yourself to tears because you don’t feel anything, at all, anymore.

The colour of loneliness.

Of emptiness.

Of voids that refuse to be filled.

An entire generation raised to drink and smoke and fuck and bleed in so many shades of blue.

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to the stupid little girls,

Stupid girl,
broken child.

Tell them how you cried when the cracks in your soul spread deeper,
when the broken dreams lay like so many shards of glass on the floor, cutting your feet bloody as you tried to stumble past them.

Tell them how you didn’t learn from your frustration,
your shattered expectations;
from the fury you unleashed upon yourself.

The little girl who ate her lunch in the bathroom in middle school grows up to be the girl who seems lost in the middle of her colleagues as they crack a joke; eyes so far away, heart so distant from all the laughter.

“When is daddy coming home?”

The 7 year old who used to bounce around the house with gleeful delight when he pulled up in the garage grew up to wonder if her father will ever call her as she was going off to college.

Fall and rise.

Sink and drown and rise.

She’ll rise every time, no matter what, because she might be stupid but she has never been weak.

Her eyes might be bloodshot but they still dream.

Broken she may be from all her falls, but she’ll rise again – like Rome, from her own ashes,
because the stupid little girls are the strongest of them all.

To You (no, not you)

Citylights twinkled all the way down that road outside the coffee bar we were stuck in that night.

That night.

I walked out of the powder room with mascara running down my face,
when you said, “Hey, wanna get some coffee?”
and I said, “No, I just wanna get a cab.”

The next thing I know it’s raining the way it does in our city in September,
we’re stuck in that coffee bar down the street everyone goes to when they’re high, and you’re reminiscing about our high school days as my ex blows up my phone with apologies that reek of vodka.

Anything to eat ?, the waitress asked you.

Coffee and fries, I replied.

Well, if you’re reading this, I’m usually a lot, like a lot, more polite.

But I was a little drunk, a little high on the weekend.

A little dazed from talking about all our favourite middle-school brawls and confessing to all the crushes we had through those years.
My list had three names on it. Yours had five, and the last one was mine.

I’d have blushed but I just hid behind my cup instead, glimpsing at the way your eyes smiled when you were flustered.

Rain and coffee.
Fries and butterflies.
Late nights slurring into daybreak amnesia.
Early morning flights, last goodbyes.

The rain had stopped, the sun was rising on the freshly wet airport pavement;

“So, I’ll see you around?”

“You will. Someday.”

The smile reached those tired eyes again.

Sisters?

The friendship bracelets you gave in third grade,
the makeup you stole from your mother before sneaking out past midnight.

Scrunchies you wore in middle school and the pigtails that you sometimes still do.

Girls you hung out with all the time in seventh grade, but don’t anymore.
Girls you talk about boys with.

Your sister, who introduced you to lip gloss;
your mother, whom you taught how to french braid.

Girls you go to the powder room with,
girls who poured soda down your shirt at that party.

The ones you spent your afternoon hockey practice with, the ones you got your hair dyed with.

The ones you’ll remember when you look back at the polaroids,
the ones you still call up at three in the morning.

The spirit of eating cookie dough at slumber parties, I guess.

The solidarity of sisterhood that can get us through almost everything.

Rosé all day

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Rosé all day”, she chimed, right before she walked out the café;
lipstick stains on her to-go cup and coffee-breath fogging up the morning chill.

I wish I could do this all day.

Swim in the ocean in the pouring rain.

Eat oranges in a field in sunny Paris.

Catch the last flight back home.

Drink another mocha latté.

Anything but spend the next eight hours stuck in a cubicle;
waiting, waiting –

For 5 pm.
For the weekend.
For next year.
For God knows what.

girl-next-door

“She’s an average girl-next-door.”

If you go looking, you’ll find a can of baking soda and a half-empty jar of olives in her refrigerator.
Not much else.

She has had burnt toast with orange marmalade and black coffee for breakfast for the past seven years.
She always has an extra jar of marmalade at hand.
Always.

The 9-to-5 pays her bills but all she really wants is a typewriter, a Polaroid camera and a plane ticket.
And a giant cup of coffee to-go, of course.

When she was a kid and her parents weren’t at home, she used to pretend that the shadows were monsters.
One day, she named them and they all played hide-and-seek together.
Sometimes, she thinks she can still see some of them hiding under her bed.

Late at night, when she’s sitting on her balcony and the light goes off in a window far away, it makes her wonder.

She breathes fear and fire alike.
She’s the princess and the monster.
She has a heart full of untold stories and a body covered in unexplained scars.

And if you ever catch her eye on the street, maybe you’ll finally realize that there’s no such thing as an ‘average’ girl in this world.

This is War

War isn’t glory.
War isn’t what the bards sing of,
War isn’t a God –

War is blood.
And rust and shards of gold in place of gilded cities

War is a distant breeze;
a promise of Utopia,
whispered at the twelfth hour
amidst the chaos
in the dreams of restless youth

War is what turns
legions upon legions of masses
into gore and dust and fables

War is Ares,
wearing the skins of the men
He has slain,
with the barest hint of triumph
on His lips just before
the battle trumpets are blown

War is blood we turn into poetry.