Vodka so strong I have to hold my nose
to swallow to get it down and even then it is like
a lightning storm in my stomach. There is music
playing loudly and they are chanting
my name as I take three shots, no pause.
It’s rushing down my throat hot and quick,
and after, I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand,
the skin shining like I’ve kissed myself.
The only way to drink it is to convince yourself
that you need it. It’s late but this is what our bodies
are made for, vessels for the music that vibrates
its way through our veins like escape. Surprise
we are throwing up our dinner in the yard
surprise he is kissing you like he’s starving
surprise I didn’t think I would mind. Our
legs unforgivable things in our dresses, mouths
devastating in the glaring summer night. Our hips,
gleaming, wild things. We feel safest in the backseat
of the car because we don’t know where it’s going.
Right now my heart & your heart are taking bong rips,
giggle-cuddling, hoping one will kiss the other by accident.
They are stupid, smitten with smoke. Accidents do happen,
after all. Bands break up on tour; best friends fuck
the same confused girl. Nothing sacred but the spells
that spin the world in reverse.
There is no room in my heart for important men who surround themselves with flowers. Take the garland of wives and daughters from around your neck. That you feel safe they would not choke you makes me sick.
This is what I’m embarrassed about:
spying on you while you text other girls,
studying my pores in the magnifying mirror
that hangs in my mother’s bathroom.
The stretchmarks on my knees and the insides
of my elbows. He apologizes for the blood
in my panties but bites my neck, picks my skin
from his teeth. All of my friends are packing up
and moving to New York and I am too scared
to explore how this makes me feel in a poem.
An easy truth is my dresses are getting tighter.
I only feel like a girl after I’ve painted my nails
or waxed the dark shadow of hair between
my thighs. Funny how we believe anything
will make us smoother by rubbing it
into our skin. It takes a lot of mascara
to convince me of my own prettiness.
It’s here! Going on until August 22nd, Friday, you have your chance to submit your poetry manuscript or your visual art to be a part of the Where Are You Press line-up!
Sharpen your pens ladies and gentlemen! You guys made this contest incredibly difficult to decide last year and we expect it to be no easier!
For all guidelines and rules, click the link and good luck to everyone who participates. We are looking forward to what you have to offer.
This is important and amazing and I know plenty of y’all are sitting on dozens of fabulous poems and I urge each and every single one of you to submit your work because it’s a wonderful! splendid! incredible! opportunity and you should most definitely not miss out on it.
This morning I woke up and decided to tell the truth.
I am not okay, and I don’t think that any of us are,
and I don’t think that we need to apologize for it.
Friends call to make plans and I say yes,
instantly regretting it. If it’s not alcohol,
it’s getting high, it’s music so loud my bones hum.
It’s driving around and making promises with our pinkies
or throwing up on the side of the street or kissing
each other so violently that we’re swallowing hair,
wisdom teeth. It’s loneliness so deep in my stomach
it’s in my womb and kneecaps. I’m writing this because
I fucking want you to feel something. I want you to
sweat me out like a fever. Okay, okay, listen:
I want to be a new girl but it’s these old habits.
We’re all so warm and feeling and I can’t quite
get this taste out of my mouth. We fling love around
like we don’t expect to get it back. It feels like
only yesterday my mother was kissing my scrapes
and bruises. Only yesterday I was learning to tie my shoes,
snap my fingers, be trusted with the delicate task
of dressing myself. I don’t think it’s safe here anymore.
Empty out your chest and get ready to run.
Johnny said once, Eating with someone is really intimate
and it’s stuck with me. So I decline dates at restaurants
because he’s right and it’s too soon and, anyway,
maybe I’ll hate how these long-necked boys
who don’t know how to hold a fork eat. I’ve written
a lot of things for him, Johnny, more than he knows about.
I am 22 now so naturally I miss everyone.
I am 22 so I roll my eyes when someone says love.
Dad has the air conditioner all the way up but I’m still
waking up sweating. My brother has taken to degrading
women in that casual way that boys do—flick of the shoulder,
dark-eyed, he is my father in miniature, but I love him,
as sisters do, even if I don’t agree with his mouth.
I wanted this poem to go somewhere important
but I keep looking over my shoulder. I hate mornings.
I keep spilling my guts out to strangers on the internet,
and this is not the first time I waxed my legs for a boy.
We’re all fighting over who we’re going to take home
and I’m still pretending I can play the clarinet.
Everyone keeps complimenting my nail beds.
Remember mood rings? Mine stays black.
Hello everyone! Just reminding you that my book, What We Buried, is available for purchase on Amazon as well as the Words Dance website!
SUPPORT CAITLYN. BUY HER BOOK. FOLLOW HER. SHE’S FUCKING MAJESTIC.