I’d kiss you if you asked me
But I won’t mind it if you don’t
I’m more interested
In the inbetween anyway
Where I can sit right beside you
And I get to hold you close
And it’s so natural
You think nothing of it
It’s where we tell each other
Honest truths
That sort of feel like secrets
The way our bodies relax
Like we let something go
And we swim in that
Deep connectedness
Both heavy and light
And you witness a realm
You’ve never noticed before
You’ll say it feels like
“Something bigger”
When you’re with me
I’ll smile because you notice too
The only real feeling
I love
Without all the extra bullshit
Without all the simple urges
Without the resistance
We often hold
At our cores
I’m interested in the inbetween
Where I can love you
And you love me
And it’s not a dramatic mess
Of emotion and pain
And all of those simple urges
That come up
When we worry about having nothing
When life
And what we think life is
Gets in the way of real love
So I’ll kiss you if you ask me
If you still mix up the feelings
But I would prefer it
If you don’t
Because if you linger
On knowing me that way
You’ll confuse it with something real
And it might be hard for you
To ever really know
How I love you



I think I might want something sweet
To counteract the blandness of my life
I say before I take a bite
And realize the sugar cookie
That cost too much
But was decorated with a pretty blue owl
Is too sweet
And that the owl
Wished me dead
I tasted his distaste of me
Somewhere in the icing

I also might want something kind
Or someone
I say almost always
Before I tell my brother
The guy I met this morning
Was too nice
So kind
It bordered on simple
Like he had no thoughts
To discuss
So he complimented mine

I can’t stop it from hurting me
When I realize I really want nothing
But to satisfy an aching wish
Of having something
That gave me something
I think is worth having
But that I can’t possibly have
Since I don’t know what that is yet

It’s so human

I like it when people laugh
At a question I’ve asked
As if the consideration is ridiculous
And the question was rhetorical
It makes me smile
Because it shows so clearly
What they value
Above all other things
If they laugh
They think the answer concrete

I asked an engineer in her late twenties
If marriage and kids
and the whole family thing
Was important to her
She was getting married soon
She laughed
For a whole 2 minutes
Her friends realized I was serious
And she stopped
When she noticed
She was the only one laughing

She thought the question obvious
I loved that
It meant she thought it important
It meant she thought everyone did
Or at least should

A laugh always shows an innocent naivety
A beautiful rift
Between one person’s reality
And someone else’s

Most times beautiful
Other times frightening
Sometimes a large rift
Is a harmful delusion

I love the idea that multiple realities
Can coexist
To create a collective
And yet
People tend to not notice

It shows that collectively
People value peace of mind
And avoid confrontation
So much that they can only see
One possibility
Their own self created

I love that
Because it’s so flawed
And yet not necessarily harmful

It’s just so…

Clean-ish Dreams: Alex Bates

I don’t know why I dreamt about this kid. I haven’t seen him since the 4th grade, maybe? But there he was, an asshole as always, haircut the same; short and choppy, red haired and face freckled just as I knew him. He was just the same and yet… he was in love with me.

I could tell that he liked me, but wouldn’t say it, so I strategically leaned on him and occasionally put my arms around his neck. Everyone saw us and whispered in audible giggles. We ignored them. He never pushed me off, but never reciprocated either. I was determined to rid him of his shyness so I kept on. He seemed to like it, despite.

I remember him pulling out a map to show me. It was a map of the US covered in half naked pictures of women who slightly resembled me. They were pictures taken from magazines, placed in all the places he’d heard I’d been throughout the years. He pointed to one near Florida.

“That one bothered me. Was that you, actually?” I took a closer look at the picture. It was one of my sister’s magazine ads. It was a profile shot of her and another. She posed with a shirtless Arab man. She was behind him, her arms around his neck and shoulder. He looked into the camera as she seemed to seductively murmur something into his ear. I did remember when she took that shot. We were in roughly the same area at the time.

“No,” I said. “That one’s my sister. I rarely have men in my photo shoots actually.”

“Oh, she looks like you.” He seemed to cheer up slightly, rolling his map back up.

I went everywhere he did that day, but we weren’t a couple. We went to sit by the soccer field. There was a game going on.

“Watch out!” Someone yelled, I turned to see a ball hurling toward my face. I caught it.

“Nice!” The girl saw me catch it and held out her hands, signifying I should throw it back. I recognized her as one of the girls who were teasing me and Alex earlier. I smirked, raised my eyebrow, and kicked the ball as far as I could. I had forgotten I was bad at kicking, though. I remember being slightly annoyed when it didn’t go very high and Marielle Cortez caught it with a particularly lovely exhibition of athleticism. The girl who came over to me, looked at me with a what-was-that-about? face and went back to her game. I sat back down beside Alex. Annoyed with my inabilities as well as Alex’s stubbornness, I laid down in the grass, face down, straightened legs toward Alex. He sat upright staring at the field, blank faced, legs crossed.

We had been like that for a while, when Jake Titherley showed up, his side leaning against the fence closest to the field. He was older than when I knew him. I remember his weird cal-licked hair and those glasses my mother always said made him look like Harry Potter. He turned to Alex, arms crossed.

“You like her don’t you?”

Alex looked at the back of my legs, smiled slightly, then looked back at him, remaining silent.

Jake smirked. “You should do something about it then. Isn’t she the greatest thing in the world? Isn’t she what you want to be next to? Isn’t…”

Alex interrupted. He gently wrapped the fingers of his right hand around my left ankle, lightly caressing the area with his thumb.

“It’s not just that she’s mine…” he paused a moment to kiss my jeans at the spot above where his hand laid wrapped.

“Well, she’s not…” Jake rebutted. Alex disregarded him and moved his hand up my leg. I stayed still, silent, smiling in the grass.

“Or that she’s beautiful…” he kissed me in the new spot, but lingered for a moment to finish.

“It’s everything about her… She talks incessantly, but it’s the only sound I’d want to hear. She’s intelligent and interesting and smells like…”

“Like the greatest perfume in the world? ” Jake suggested.

Alex laughed, “Ha! If it smelled terribly! She’s so small and yet she can make such strong, pungent smells…” He crinkled his nose in reminiscence. They both laughed and I giggled embarrassingly into my grass patch.

“But I love them…” he finished, moving back to my legs, he kissed me right at the beginning of my thigh.

“Then say something, man!”

“Shhhhhh…” Alex answers moving his body closer to mine, leaning in so I could feel the warmth of him. “I am…” he says, kissing the small of my back, the first section he found that was left bare, open to his lips. I gasped. I hadn’t expected him to touch my skin directly.

He continued to move upward, my shirt moving with him. I stopped him by lifting my head from the grass. He pulled his head closer to mine so he could hear me.

“Alex…” he kisses my shoulder while he’s there.

“You can’t do that…” he kisses my neck in response.

“We’re in public…” I laugh and playfully pull away.

“Oooooooooooo!” We hear a chorus from the background. I look up. I had forgotten they were there. Everyone on the field had stopped and was watching our side show on the sidelines. I turned red.

“Finally!” They screamed. We all laughed together, despite our embarrassment, and Alex… was finally mine.

‘Twas a nice dream…

That Look

That Look

I remember the times I was happiest
I remember the times I’ve been free
Foolish and shy
I sat on a bench beside
Someone who loved me…
I never saw it coming
Had I known I might’ve fleed
I’d have run through the night
And would’ve never caught sight
Of the boy who loved me
He never had to say it
I knew it when we’d meet
I’d put my hand on his face
A sacred safe place
And I knew he loved me
But I broke the cardinal rule
A young unapologetic fool
Who needs to speak every word on her mind
Broke through the silence
Pathetic and mindless
And ignored all the obvious signs
I professed my love blindly
Selfish & Unkindly
And I remember the look on his face
I had broken our space
That sacred safe place
And that look won’t erase from my mind

To You: A Prayer

To You: A Prayer

When I was little
My daddy taught me how to pray
One way
And I never forgot
I always started and ended
With the same hopeful arch
I began
Father God, thank you for:
And I’d list all the people I needed to love
And in a whisper
Because daddy was listening
I added the names of the people I wanted to
And after all these years
Not much has changed
Ever since I met you
I’ve whispered your name
And I still visualize angels camped above me
In fancy tents as
I hope your heart is happy
I pray your smiles are real
And that your life is filled with the love and laughter
Photographs often lie about
Please bless them with all that they need
And help them find themselves where they are meant to be
It sounds like a prayer still
Because it is.
In Jesus’s name

To You and Your Bloodless Heart

I wish your heart bled for me.
I wish it just bled blood
But it’s as dry as desert air
I know
I grew up there
It’s the kind of dry your skin bakes under
Even mine
With my brown skin turned auburn
And with lips that crack and bleed
More than your heart does
And possibly ever has

I wish you wished me dead
I wish my life made your skin boil
I’ve wished myself dead a time or two
Hoping that you’d cry
That your guilt would eat through you
Then you’d see me differently
I hear grief brings out buried feelings
I wonder if you’ve buried me alive
Maybe I’m dead already
Or possibly just still screaming

I wish you thought of me
I wish I didn’t wish that
I think of you occasionally
Whenever I pass by a feeling
And take hold of it
Letting it drag me a different way
I rather feel something than nothing
But all my feelings
Lead a pathway to you

I wish that path were rougher
I wish being dragged there
Made me bleed like your heart does not
Maybe I’d stop wishing
With a heart too pained to wish for more
I’d be forced into acceptance
A place as barren as my desert home
But I’d reside there
Stroking the auburn skin I used to hate
Lovingly without you
And your bloodless heart

It is interesting to me

It is interesting to me

It is interesting to me.
Very interesting to me.
That I can be me
Just me.
The me that I have
Searched for
Fought for
Tried to be
Since the moment
I realized
I should start trying
And yet
Somehow inexplicably
Still be less
Than I should be
Can be
Want to be
Because I stand here
The best version of me
That I have ever been
And am still somehow
Not the type that promotes self deprecation
Not the type that gnaws at me viciously
Through me
Until my nerves are numb
Just the type that’s noticeably
Not sneaking
Not ambiguous
Unambiguously blatant
But calm
Like a child tugging on your arm
Unharmful yet annoying
Because you can’t swing brutally at innocence
Because you can’t make an idea bleed for your satisfaction
It is so interesting to me
Very interesting to me
That you can move in the direction that you wanted
And yet not have anything you want
That the decisions I made
Brought me here
To this place that I want to be
And yet sit here unsatisfactorily
Not understanding how everything can be right and wrong at the same time
Not understanding the yin yang balance fully
With all of me in line to it
It is interesting
So interesting
That I can understand so much
That I can know so much
And still know nothing
At all
So interesting

Are You Dreaming Again?

Are You Dreaming Again?

Tell me
Are you dreaming again?
I know you only dream
When something’s on your mind
I know that every other moment
Is usually met with silence

What are you dreaming of?
Is it of something easier?
Something greater
To you
But still mundane?

I know you dream of common things
Common wishes
That to you feel

I know how softly
The morning wakes you
Even reality wishes
Simple kindnesses for you
Even though they remain

Did you spend the last night
Missing lost treasures?

Were they less dulled in the dark
Than noticed in the light of the morning?

Did you spend the last night
Conquering fears?

Did you conquer the fears
That lost you your dulled diamond loves?

Can you tell me what they were?
Do you even know?

You always speak of yourself
So highly

It took you awhile
I know.

But is it still yourself
That you’re afraid of?

If you’re not afraid of being you
Then what more is there?

Because that has to be
The biggest fear there is

Ineloquently stated
And most other things
Conquered in dreams

Where I Find Myself

Where I Find Myself

I never have time to myself
Yet I’m always by myself
I usually stretch myself out
Until little pieces tear off
That other people tend to keep
Then eventually forget about
There’s usually a greater obligation
Use of me
There’s usually a gaping hole
Where supposed to be me
Is supposed to be
But that’s not true of me right now
There’s no one to give to
but me right now
No one to take care of
No one to pretend
My life is all about
But now I’m so lost in myself
I’m not sure of what is myself
Left to myself
By myself
I’m left with all these dreams
All these dreams that seem
So spectacular
And so miraculous
So spectacular
And so miraculous
I sometimes wonder
who I dreamt them for
Because now that I find myself
by myself
I have so much time to myself
And I feel my dreams inching toward me
But now that I’ve found so much time
for myself
I find myself
by myself
And I find most often
In quiet moments
When I can see my reality shifting me
To that supposed to be me
I always said I was gonna be
I find myself
By myself
Dreaming much simpler dreams