SWEET BLUES

:::: peach flowers undermythumb

why? you may ask

i never saw a [sweet] [tear]

but i like the taste of salt

i don’t know

&

i never did

&

i just don’t ::

; willow ;

soft candy dreams

our pinkcheeks

::::::::::because we’re never here

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FAR AWAY

Sometimes I like to be alone

All the way up high

Far away from home

When the sun cannot be shown

When the birds cannot fly

Sometimes I like to be alone

Where the wind strikes a saccharine tone

Floating in the the wooly sky

Far away from home

When our heart turns to stone

When our cold pink does not try

Sometimes I like to be alone

Underneath gentle waves of sea foam

Inside a glimmering eye

Far away from home

In a land where I can roam

That will never be mine

Sometimes I like to be alone

Far away from home

ASSORTED HAIKU

Her cold pink under

The stupid shade inside of

My forever blue

 

Our indigo peach

Under the flowsilver sun

Ours in the cool warmth

 

The never evers

In sugarflower mildew

That told me not to

 

They never told me

The great orange great

Burnt dust in your heart

 

When he closed his eyes for the first time, he saw

When she

We

 

You could

I would

I should not

 

He never wanted to

But I think she may have

 

Just sad

She feels

 

Nobody never knew.

YOU DON’T REMEMBER

Jermaine, the chunky second-baseman who no one is too fond of.

You know how ridiculously Catholic and conservative and totally stupid Jermaine is. You wouldn’t have done it if you had been yourself. You’re sure of that.

You don’t remember what happened last night. You didn’t even find out about the Jermaine Incident until you checked Facebook this morning. All you know is that your chalky and chapped lips were in contact with Jermaine’s smooth, luscious, chocolate—you don’t remember.

You also found out that it lasted multiple heavenly minutes.

◊ ◊ ◊

When you come to the cafeteria, you spot your friends at the booth in the back. You sit down and pour out all of the contents of your brown paper bag and begin on a yellow peach. While you concentrate on the sticky juice running down your elbow, they watch you.

You look up and smile. “Whoops! I forgot you can’t lick your elbow…” Your voice trails off when you catch their gazes. They all utter a fake laugh—except for Bill, whose fat jaw is dropped and big blue eyes are wide open.

He takes the red lollipop out of his mouth and sets it on a napkin. He says, “What, now that you’ve kissed a dude, you think you’re so clever with your gay little jokes and how many gay little calories are in that gay little peach of yours? Are you too good for grilled cheese or something? Are you gonna start buying eyeliner so you can have long-ass eyelashes? Are you gonna quit baseball for some gay-ass sport like tennis? You’re such an asshole, Lyle, if that’s even your real name.” His tongue is almost as pink as his sweaty face.

Your first instinct is to laugh. “Gay calories—that’s hilarious!” You take a bite your peanut butter and jelly, then reach over the table to grab Bill’s grilled cheese.

Bill smacks your head and says, “Get away from me, fag!”

You scarf down two cranberry mini muffins and laugh like an idiot, spilling crumbs all over the place. Tim and Joe pat you on the back. Tim says, “You don’t have to hide who you are anymore.”

Joe says, “Yeah, do what you want. We support you! Quit baseball. Join the tennis team, or the dance squad for all I care!” You laugh again, but a little more awkwardly this time.

“Come on, guys. I don’t even know what really happened last night.”

Tim hugs you and presses a CD into your chest. “I was thinking of you when I saw this. You know, the New You.”

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.

“But, also for Old You, ‘cause you still like this old-fashioned stuff. DVD’s or whatever.” He hugs you again, but for longer this time. You know that it’s not a celebratory hug, but a goodbye hug. You motion toward Joe, who backs away, saying, “Whoa, girl!” You don’t laugh nearly as hard as Tim and Bill do.

As the three of them leave, you shout, “I DON’T REMEMBER KISSING HIM!” You throw the CD in the trash and head up to seventh period. You keep your head down because you know that everyone who didn’t know before is now aware of the “New You.” However, you still don’t remember anything except for the cosmic love and ecstasy that…. You don’t remember.

◊ ◊ ◊

On the way home from school, someone taps you on the shoulder. It’s Stella, your best friend from preschool through fourth grade who you haven’t spoken to since then. She introduces herself as an avid Grimes lover, former self-harmer, and slacker math whiz. Stella has potential, but she has trouble concentrating on school because her other, more important goals come first.

You say goodbye to Stella and walk toward the bus stop.

Stella frowns at you. “How far away do you live?”

“A little over a mile.”

“We’re walking.”

As you walk, you focus on tuning out Stella’s endless babble about Sylvia Plath and this cooking show she watches and this blog she reads and this book she just finished.

After a little while, you sigh and say, “Bye, Stella. This is my house.”

Stella makes a terrible snorting noise and says, “Do you live in the parking garage or the power plant?”

You realize that your genius plan to ditch Stella was not so genius after all. You sigh again and keep walking. You eventually arrive at your building and you reach in your pocket for your key, when the door flies open. “Hey, Kyle!” Your neighbor, Russ gives your hair a tousle. “Ooh. Who’s the girl? Is she your…girlfriend?”

Stella starts to say, “Well, actually—“

You interrupt her and say, “It’s complicated. We’re trying to work out our differences. You know how women can be.”

Russ winks at you, “Gotcha. Bye, Kyle’s girlfriend!”

When you get into the elevator, you sink to your knees and start bawling. Stella rubs your back. “Just be yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. I bought you some pants that you’ll love. I was thinking of you and, you know, the pictures on Facebook when I picked them up.”

You cry more and punch the dirty elevator carpet twice. You stop because it hurts. You reach the third floor and sprint toward your apartment. You unlock the door, then dive, face first, into the leather sofa in your living room. Your sobs are louder now, more hiccupy. Your cheeks are covered in drool and snot is dripping into your mouth. “They were a little big on me, but they should fit you perfectly. Like a glove.”

You don’t bother to look up.

“They’re sort of a cotton candy col—”

Her voice trails off when she notices the volume of your crying-heaving-sniffling increase exponentially. “Okay, what is wrong with you?”

No answer.

“These pants were sixty-eight bucks. Put them on. Now.”

You scream something, but it’s muffled by the wine-colored throw pillow.

“What did you say?”

Your head jerks up, “HOMEWORK! I have so much of it!”

For a second, her face softens like she’s about to laugh. No, it goes completely mushy. Her cheeks turn pink and her chin wrinkles. Then, she relaxes it and lets two tears run down her cheeks. She doesn’t bother to wipe them away. The two of you watch as they hit the oak wood floor. She makes a small whimpering sound as she looks at you for the first time in years. She turns around and leaves. She makes sure the door does not slam.

You shuffle into your room and close the door. You decide you’re not in a very good place and that your homework can definitely wait. You take off all your clothes, except for your socks, and then get into bed. You slide the first disc of Elliott Smith’s New Moon into your CD player and skip to track twelve, “Thirteen.” You close your eyes for two minutes and forty-three seconds, then you open them the find the rewind button. You listen to it again, and again, and again. You cry more, but less sloppily. It’s not as indulgent. You don’t look up when your mother tells you that dinner is ready. You just open your eyes, rewind, then close them again.

You feel your phone gently vibrate on the bedside table next to you. Your routine is interrupted when you open your eyes fifty-seven seconds too early to check who’s calling. It’s an unknown number. When you put the phone next to your ear, you hear someone make a small sniffle. He says he missed you. He says he remembers everything. You say you could never forget.

 

X

               It’s Monday. I’ve put off doing my homework for just under four hours now, and I’m looking for something to save me from myself—and Youtube weirdness; I’m currently recovering from the videos of the  seventeen-year old infant and the boy without a brain (cringe). I shuffle over to the bathroom and kneel next to the toilet on the ground. I’m in a very awkward position because I’m straddling the toilet and like, my hips are cracking and stuff. It’s very awkward.

               In preparation, I close my eyes for approximately seven and half seconds—I was going to make it an even thirty seconds, but, you know, after seven and a half, it started to feel a little mental (that’s British terminology, by the way.) I take a few deep breaths and lean over the toilet seat. I stare at the water for a minute.
               Ready.
               I slip two fingers down my throat. It’s kind of weird because it’s all warm and slimy in there. I forgot to wash my hands before so my fingers taste like vinegar. I mean, not that I’m licking them or anything, unless it’s normal to lick your fingers when you’re—
               My dad opens the door. It smacks my knee and makes a really loud sound.
               “OUCH,” I say, with my fingers still in my mouth.
               “What are you up to?”
               “I’m making myself sick.”
               “I can get the cat to sneeze on you or something. I just drank three cups of coffee and I really need—“
               “No, no, it’s a British term. I want to throw up.”
               “Okay, okay, but I really have to—“
               “Don’t I look like I’m in the middle of something here?”
               “COME ON RAE DON’T DO THIS TO ME NOW”
               I scoff and storm into my room, dramatically slamming the door behind me. I check Facebook to see that nothing has changed in the last six minutes. I mean, it’s not too shocking, considering the fact that my only two friends are my mom and my dad and they were both at work/drinking coffee all day.
               We moved to New York from Hong Kong about a year ago and I still haven’t gained any acquaintances at school. I mean, a handful of people ask me what I got for x once in a while, but I ignore them. My parents have taken me to doctors who are like, totally flabbergasted that I won’t make eye contact with any of my peers. I function pretty okay. I mean, it can be difficult sometimes, but sometimes, I wear sunglasses so I can watch people without them getting all sore about it. That’s one of the reasons why I normally don’t associate with people in my age group—they flip out about everything.
               My dad walks in. “You weren’t for real about that throwing up-thing, were you?”
               “Of course not. I’m just an obese pig. Your obliviousness towards my troubles has worsened the situation, as well as my overall self-esteem. These bad body image problems will haunt me for the rest of my life thanks to your refusal to put my actions and tendencies into perspective. You make my stormy disposition stormier. OWWW!
               “What?”
“Oh, sorry. I was internally struck by lightning. Excuse me while I overdose on off-brand cough syrup.”
               “Alright. The Colbert Report is on in twenty. You’re done with your homework, right?”
               “Sod off…wanker!” (I’m practicing my British accent.)
               So, there is one boy. He writes terrible haikus in a beat-up composition notebook. On one of my sunglasses days I read one over his shoulder and it was like, “homework really sucks / yea, it actually sucks / school is for phonies.” Although I enjoyed the nod to my good friend Holden Caulfield, I have trouble respecting anyone who spells “yeah” like that.
               But anyways, he has these big, grey eyes and he’s always covered in cat fur. Once, I looked at his iPod and he was listening to My Bloody Valentine. He makes me tingle.
               Oh yeah, and, he lived in Wales for the first nine years of his life.
               Oh yeah, and, he smells like lemons.
               I’ve invested in citrus-scented shampoos just in case he ever overhears me humming My Bloody Valentine or something.
               I hear my dad in the living room shout, “Five minute warning!” I ignore him and start my Geometry homework. Ms. Boucher will be ecstatic that I’ve finally taken an interest in triangles.
               I’m not sure what compels me to do this, but I go with it.
♥ ♥ ♥
               It’s Tuesday.
               I’m sort of overtired because I got up very early this morning. I didn’t want to talk to my parents, so I left before they woke up. When I got to school, I took the time to reread my favorite parts of The Catcher in the Rye. I sat about three yards away from youknowwho. I happen to have a very old edition of the book that not very many people have. It had a cameo in the movie interpretation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and reading it makes me feel very cultured.
               As Holden admires his sleeping sister, the first period bell goes off. I throw my notebooks and my lunchbox into my locker, then take a seat at my desk. I arrange two wooden pencils next to each other, straightening them out so they are almost perfectly parallel. I take out my second favorite pencil (it is lime green and covered in glitter) and lay it on the cover of my graph-ruled notebook. I tilt it at a forty-five-degree angle. I apply honeydew lip balm and chew a piece of berry-flavored gum. I spit it out. I jiggle my leg. Class is now in session and Ms. Boucher is coming around to check the homework.
               Oh, and I forgot to mention that he sits next to me in Geometry. Well, yeah. He does.
(Next to me.)
(Next to me.)
               I actually didn’t shower this morning because I didn’t want to wake up my parents. I don’t smell like citrus right now.
               I’m sweating.
               I clear my throat.
               I take a deep breath. “…Cheers! Uhm. What did you get for number eleven? You know, for x?”