Jezebel.

You underestimate me.

Pretty faces with smiles slapped onto the sad eyes don’t seem so threatening, do they?

You belittle me.

Muffin crumbs strewn all over the place don’t make you think that I hide a pair of brass knuckles in the pocket of my skirt.

You call me Jezebel.

When I’m putting my red lipstick on in the backseat of the car. When I’m out past midnight wearing a miniskirt and heels that slap against the wet pavement under the warm streetlights.

You mock me?

Don’t.

Because the crimson on my lips screams a warning, it’s a sign – it’s my warpaint – and my heels are sharpened to death like knives.

My mind is ancient;
my soul is from a different time.

I dream of war, of gore, of storms that taste like metal.

When my eyes slip far away and you write a poem about the distances they travel, I’m not lost. I’m weighing my burden, hacking my shackles, guessing what you say about me when you’re laughing with your friends in the back and I’m not there, wondering if I can return home tonight without my hands dripping red.

You don’t think I’m strong because you’ve never seen me kill.

You don’t think I’m a fighter because you believe in the fairytale, and in yourself, but never in me.

You don’t think of me as a warrior because you haven’t seen what my dreams are made of.

But don’t for a second think me weak.

My nails would glitter just as prettily when they are choking the life out of you, my lips would be stained just as red. Those muffin crumbs scattered all across my laptop would taste just as sweet with your blood spattered upon them.

You haven’t seen me fall.

You haven’t seen me defeated, not yet.

And you won’t see me when I come to set ablaze all that you treasure.

the rebels and the wolves.

Only rebels stand the test of time.

But what is rebellion to you?

Whiskey on your breath at 4 pm or knocking at your ex’s door at 3 in the morning?
Painting your nails black as if in mourning or simply getting out of bed?

The Sinner’s rebellion is prayer.

Every night, he drops to his knees under the moonless skies to pray for Satan’s soul. The clouds shroud the moon in the heavens above as if to veil it from his phantom chants and screams.

The Lover rebels when she licks off the love served to her on silver knives.
And if the edges get tainted crimson, that just makes the pain taste sweeter.

The Messiah saved you once, a long time ago.

He taught you how to crush berries between your fingers and pretend the juice dripping down your palms was blood, so that you would unleash the fury you held within in the wilderness outside and not on yourself.

On days when your hands smell like wild raspberries, you look in the hallways for the pair of hazel eyes you followed out into the woods so long ago. But after all your years of picking your pieces up after breaking down on the bathroom floor at 3 am, you can tell where the tears dried on his face the night before.

He is the kind that saves everyone else but falls apart himself.

And the Pariah?

Rebellion is the religion in her veins.

She got a taste for blood when they dragged her through the gates of Hell. At night, twinkling city lights from afar bathe her scars in an iridescent glow as she dances in her bedroom with the ghosts of her past. Sometimes, she turns the light off and draws new, crimson scars on her skin – cutting through her armour just so she can taste the blood on her tongue again.

Every once in a while late at night, when the stars align in the moonless skies above and the wolves howl and cry beyond the dark, the rebels look up into the empty sky and try to remember – all the pieces that don’t fit anymore, the matches they had to strike, the scars that glisten like quicksilver in the starlit night.
The hearts they cut out and left behind and the parts of themselves they had to kill to survive.

But here we are, all under the same sky. We all have blood on our hands and fire at our feet.

Rebellion is survival.

Rebellion is the scars we learn to wear, every day.

Rebellion is the ashes that remain.

Who is the messiest of them all?

I told my friends once; at 3 am, in a dorm room lit up with Christmas lights, that I wondered sometimes I might be bipolar.

I stay in a drunken, flushed daze for days on end and then descend ever-so-swiftly into grey pits of white noise that eat away at my edges, making them rot.

They looked at me for a second.
A moment of vulnerability, of apprehension.

Then – in the spirit of slumber parties, I suppose – some girl in the corner said something snarky and they all burst out laughing.

So much for solidarity.

I sat stiffly all day once.
Spine starched straight like a pole, nails clawing into the flesh of my arms; gasping because I kept forgetting to breathe.

I was at the airport that day, waiting till I could strip myself clean of the miles and curl under the covers on my bed. Or my couch. Or the floor.

I went over to a café to buy some coffee – because 8 am and I don’t get along very well – but when the barista held out my change and my latté, I spilt both – over my dress and down the floor.

She just stood there, looking at me. Didn’t even try to hide the judgement that had already been passed.

“I have my days!”, I wanted to scream at her. To make her understand that sometimes it was hard to breathe; that sometimes the voices in my head rioted for days.

That anxiety can be a real bitch.

The days, weeks, months, years that passed by in my rearview while I took stabs in the dark trying to find my way – they vanished so quickly, like fog in the winter sun.

The chronic inkiness engulfed me, filling my lungs until they burst.
And when I finally emerged again, my bones were heavy with weariness, heavy from the dark.
I felt a thousand years older.

I bled my heart out, learned how to play with sharp objects, use them as tools; as weapons against my demons.
I drew crimson scars all over my body to keep them away.

Some people don’t care.
Some do. Some say they do, but they don’t. Not really.
Some make it even harder.

The Devil is real.

The monsters under your bed are real.

But they are yours alone to face. Everyone dreads the shadows, but the battle can only be fought if you’re not worn out from the monsters of daylight; the ones you sit next to in class, the ones you go to the movies with.

Don’t be so caught up with your own demons that you end up being one in someone else’s story.

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 grunge 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.

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.

Have you ever been in love?

“Have you ever been in love?”

The one question that can have a million correct answers at once,
or maybe none at all.

“Yes, I think.”

It’s 3 a.m. in New York. The lights outside are still bright enough to make me draw the curtains. The city has it’s own way of making you feel alone in a crowd.

“What was it like?”

My sister looks at me through the passing headlights, naive eyes ready to hold on to whatever I say. She wants a Shakespearean sonnet in the age of Bonnie and Clyde.

“It was not being able to imagine saying goodbye.”

White noise consumes the darkness in the room and for a minute, I think I’m alone again.

“What happened then?”

The last fight.
The final fall.
The curtains closed.
The song ended.

“We said goodbye.”

All these Years

I stood under that tree for a moment –
the one we used to take shelter under when it rained,
the one that used to be all shades of crimson at once during autumn,
and looked around for a moment.

That park we used to run around in,
the street in front of my house
where we both rode our first bikes,
the lonely bus rides;
with you in the back with your friends and me in the front with my earphones on.

Remember all those summers?
Back in the days when we’d chase the ice-cream cart all the way around town,
spend the drowsy afternoons under the trees you’d once told me were actually monsters;
and I believed you.

Pillowfights in my bedroom,
fistfights at birthday parties,
football in pouring rain,

Until we grew up.
And apart.

You burned through high school
drinking cheap beer in alleyways and riding away through the night.

I slipped away too,
lost somewhere in the chaos within.
It’s ironic, how often
the life of the party is the one
stumbling all the way home;
mascara-streaked and drunk.

But here we are now.
All these years later.

The things we learned.
The times we had.
The memories, after all.

You walk up to me in the pouring rain
as a yellow school bus passes us by,
a lifetime away –

‘Hey.’

Back to You

How terrible it is,
to love something Death can touch.

Isn’t that always the way somehow?
Those meant for eternity are
the ones marked by the fires of Fate,
tested and torn apart.

Which is harder?
To be the one who left,
or to be the one who survived?

To be the one who will sit at the edge of the Underworld,
stolid eyes set on the horizon,
waiting and hoping and waiting?

Or to be the one who will visit the graveyard for all the years to come
and water the shriveled, wilted flowers with tears?

Maybe this is why they say there’s life after death,
because in my end is my beginning –

For those who are meant to be
will find their way back to each other,
in this life and the next.
And every life after that.

Those fated to be star-crossed
will dance together under the stars again;
in the next world,
if not this one.

Bare

Aren’t photoframes strange ?
Or is it the pictures they hold ?

It’s almost unfair, the wistfulness of it all.

That one moment when everything was perfect, when the sun hit his face just right, when all the colours of fall were in bloom just enough and the wind blew your hair out as if you were in a movie. It’s not fair to hang up that one picture-perfect moment in your living room and watch it gather dust, day after day.

Because the truth is that we’re not in a movie, and the leaves of autumn turn brown faster than we realize.

Sooner or later, the cracks spread deep and far. And then one day, after the eye of the storm has passed, you’re left alone in a broken home.

Your clothes are stuffed in cardboard boxes all over the apartment and you’re on your knees, tears staining your cheeks as you cry for what used to be. And you spend the night on the kitchen floor because you just can’t bring yourself to take the pictures down, scared that the bare walls might just be little more than what you can bear to see.