picky little poet

listen to my secrets
to my fears and worries and irrational thoughts
and learn my face so well that you’ll know
when i’m scared.
(even if i can’t say a word.)

and don’t ever call me perfect
(because perfection is almost as scary as eternity).
instead, make me feel like
no matter what i do wrong
you’ll never want anyone else.

s m i l e  s m i l e  s m i l e.
(then i’ll smile too.)

teach me constellations and
wrap your arms around me
(so that i’ll always feel safe).

find me beautiful things
things that are hidden in plain sight
(and don’t laugh at me when i talk in clichés).
find the cutest little bottle of fairy dust or
the most faded old love note carved in a tree or
the prettiest patterns in smoke
and show me, show me, show me.

make me mix tapes
(real mix tapes)
full of all the music that dances
through your head.

show me the best books and
read as much as me
so that we can read together
into the night
(because comfortable silence can be the most soothing thing in the world).

and please
oh, please
smile when i show you something that makes me happy
and take my hand and say
that it makes you happy too
(because sometimes all you need is someone to share things with).

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words words words

sometimes i think i define myself by travel, by images and smells and romance, and clichés that are so sweet they just roll off the tongue. [and sometimes i think clichés can be the most beautiful things in the world.]

i write sad when i’m happy and happy when i’m sad, so i guess that means i’m usually happy [because sad stories are ohso fun to write]. but as soon as i start to fall apart i wonder is it wrong that i twist my words to give them a happy ending?

soul mates and true love and fate might just be [overused] ideas to some people, but to me they’re so real and so tangible and so there that i feel like if i tried hard enough i could touch them.

and i hatehatehate the fact that to really function with real people i have to become so jaded and cynical that i can barely even remember what i really believe; because before high school happened to me, when[never] someone gave me a compliment i accepted it with a smile. but now, oh, now there must be ulterior motives or mocking or just plain lies, because that girl’s obviously prettier.

sometimes i so wish that i could write mysteries, because mysteries and romances are the best kinds of books; and a combination of the two of them is enough to make me turn pages all night. [maybe pulp fiction is my biggest guilty pleasure.]

 

i want to know everything about stars and fairytales and folklore, to bury myself in ancient books and stare at the sky until i see the stars when i shut my eyes, because looking into the past makes me feel calmer than any pill or mantra or meditation ever could. [and god knows i’ve tried them.]

 

i wear lilac perfume so that i can smell flowers wherever i am [even though the best smell in the world is actually old books. but they don’t make a perfume for that]. and i love tiny little bottles and boxes, beautiful twisty sea glass and old old containers, because they can hold the specialest of special things.

 

i have a smudgy, inkstained old notebook that contains all my wishes about the future and a list of baby names, with the best ones circled. i know what i want [two girls and a boy] but what i need is to be a mother, and until my life is ready for that i’ll just have to wait, flipping through tattered old baby books i’ve had since i was seven.

i believe that the best kind of art is something that reaches inside you and tweaks something, changes you in a way that maybe you don’t even notice. and with every story that i tell i try to get better, to create something that can do that. and, despite what i said about twisting my words to create happy endings, i know that someday, someday i’ll tell a story that rings true, and it’ll be the happiest ending in the world.

 

[or am i just twisting my words again?]

then say it.

i. there’s something to be said for the magic that makes you – sometimes i think it must flow through your veins; or maybe it just sits, glowing comfortably, right next to your soul. and sometimes, sometimes i think i’ll never understand that magic, the magic that makes tears come when they need to and stop when they should, that makes problems seem small and manageable, and (of course) that makes all the hurt go away with a single

k i s s.

and even though sometimes i live to spill my stories onto paper
and even though stringing pretty words together makes me smile
and even though sometimes i talk like i’ve swallowed a dictionary

i don’t think i’ll ever have the words to say how incredible you really are.

ii. there’s something to be said for your mouth – for the way you can talk and talk and talk about nothing until i feel like my head might explode (and then you just keep on going). and i don’t think i’ll ever understand your complete lack of

e m p a t h y.

maybe you really will shrivel up and die if all eyes aren’t always on you, but it seems unlikely. (and oh, my dearest, darlingest little narcissist

have i ever mentioned i hate the fact that you remember every word i ever say?)

iii. there’s something to be said for opposites – for people growing up in different worlds only to meet one day in a soulless, fluorescent hallway. and i don’t think you’ll ever understand just how much you helped me (because soulless, fluorescent hallways are hard to navigate on your own). and, even though i learned in psychology that

o p p o s i t e s  a t t r a c t

isn’t true, i’m so grateful you came into my life because now we have proof that they sure make incredible friends.

iv. there’s something to be said for freedom – that childlike ability to strike up a friendship with anything and anyone. and sometimes i wish that you were more to me than a half-remembered face in a sea of shattered images, but half-remembered is better than forgotten; so i’ll take those images and tape them back together. maybe then i’ll remember mud pies and make-believe and tiny little grass-stained feet, and hope that

s o m e w h e r e

you’re trying to remember me too.

v. there’s something to be said for support – for that feeling that somewhere out there, there’s someone who cares. and sometimes i can’t quite believe it, but then, over and over, you prove you’re really there. and sometimes, sometimes that’s the best thing in the world to me because it means that there are ears, listening, miles and miles away, and that’s just

w o w.

so thank you.

vi. there’s something to be said for popsicles. bright drippy popsicles under the

h o t h o t

sun. and how, sometimes, something as simple as that can lead to a friendship that lasts long after the sweetness is gone and the sticky fingers have been licked clean.

vii. there’s something to be said for your ability to push for what you want (but never what you need) and your sticky sweet smile and your too-expensive guilt gifts. and i guess in a way i owe my life to you, but i sure as hell don’t owe you anything else; so if i say thank you and

f u c k  y o u

in the same sentence you’ll have to forgive me. but i hate you for turning me into a walking cliché.

viii. there’s something to be said for your whispers, for your pushes and nudges and sometimes (usually in the pitch black hours of the night) your outright

y e l l i n g.

and i don’t think i’ll ever understand how you can walk around so fully formed, with personalities and hopes and dreams and pasts. and, as you never stop saying, your futures depend on me. (but you know,

i know you know

that i wouldn’t have it any other way.)

ix. there’s something to be said for kindness – for acceptance and understanding and conspiratorial smiles. and even though sometimes i think that your kindness just makes things

w o r s e

it still means the world to me.

x. there’s something to be said for ink – unerasable, unchangeable, and soso

b e a u t i f u l

(just like you). you’ve seeped into every aspect of my life; your voice is in my stories and your smile is on my lips and god knows what i would do without you because you’re my lovely perfect muse and my dreams and my everything. so please

(please?)

don’t go anywhere.

there’s something to be said for never being alone.

and…

there was rain that day
a light mist of it, that pit-pit-pattered
and made the tarmac shiny

and her shoes pit-pit-pattered too
making little splashes with every step
and she knew she should go home, but
her stomach clenched at the very thought

and when he saw her he knew
(because he always knew)
that she was falling apart at the seams, and
he hugged her to stop all her insides from spilling out

and they sat together that day
under a tree
and watched the rain fall around them
and all the while he held her together

and she whispered things
half-formed fears that she couldn’t articulate
and her awkward sentences were filled with and-and-and…

(but he understood anyway.)

h o p e.

She asked him about time, her wide sea-green eyes and twisty child’s tongue forming questions that philosophers had been wrestling with since she was nothing but–

there’s her first question.

“What was I before I was born?”

“You were a wish,” he smiled, crouching down so that their noses almost touched.

“A wish?”

“Yep. A wish, a hope, a desire; you were stardust, floating around in the milky way, just waiting for someone to wish hard enough.”

“Oh.” Her eyebrows crinkled together as she thought about this. “So my mom and dad wished for me?”

“Exactly.” He stood up.

“Wait!”

He waited, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrows. “Yes?”

“Well…” she chewed her lip, trying to think of the right words. “What’s yesterday?”

“Yesterday? Yesterday you followed me and Mouse to Starbucks and no one knew you left and I didn’t know you were with me and there was a big huge hullabaloo, remember?” He poked her nose and she giggled.

“I know that,” she said, rolling her eyes. “But what’s yesterday? What does it mean?”

“It’s the day that happened before today.”

No,” she crossed her arms and looked at him earnestly. “You don’t get it. I know what it is. But what does it mean?”

“It means…” he blew his bangs out of his eyes and plopped down on the floor. “It means childhood. It means experiences and laughter and bare feet and regrets and hazy old Polaroid memories. And for some people maybe it means things that are better left forgotten.”

She smiled, looking more satisfied with this answer. “I get it,” she said happily. Then she paused. “Well, wait; so then… what’s tomorrow?”

“Always a day away.”

“What?”

“You’ve never seen Annie?” his eyes widened dramatically, and she giggled, shaking her head. “My God, you’re so deprived. We’ll need to rectify this.”

“I don’t know what that means,” she said. Seeing him open his mouth, she quickly continued, “Never mind. Tell me what tomorrow is.”

“Well,” he sighed, scratching his nose, “tomorrow is hope. And happiness. And a chance to make things better. And…” he paused, watching her eyes travel toward the faded scars on his wrists.

“You didn’t used to want a tomorrow,” she mumbled.

He put his fingers under her chin, tilting her head so she was looking at him again. “That was a long time ago. It was before I met you, before I met Mouse, and I just… my life was a lot different then. A lot different.” He smiled reassuringly. “That’s all.”

“Are you…” she spoke quietly, her tongue stumbling over the words. “Are you gonna do it again?”

Again?” he laughed loudly. “Nah, once was enough.”

She looked down, the frown not leaving her face. He stopped laughing.

“Hey,” he murmured, cupping her small face in his hands. “I’ll never do it again. I can’t imagine doing it again. I want all my tomorrows.”

“Promise?”

“I promise. You’re stuck with me, kidlet.”

She grinned crookedly, showing off her missing front tooth. “Good.”

There was a brief silence, and then she looked up at him. “So what’s now?”

He grinned and shook his head, glancing at his watch. “Now is when I go pick up Mouse. I wish that girl would get over her fear of driving, already.”

“Are you going out?”

“Yep,” he said, standing up and grabbing his bag.

“Where?”

“Movies.”

“Can I come?”

“No.”

Please?”

“No.”

“I’ll follow you again!”

“You better not!” he exclaimed, quickly shutting the front door so that he could hear nothing but her muffled complaining.

He chuckled and walked down the front steps to his car. Then he paused, looking around – the summer wind ruffled his hair, and the early-evening sunlight cast a warm golden glow on the trees. A bee buzzed serenely somewhere among the flowers.

He smiled and got in the car, singing softly to himself.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…

simply searching

there are certain fundamental truths about the world:
i. true love does exist
ii. a mother would die to protect her children
iii. sometimes the most frightening things are also the most beautiful
iv. the truth will always be found
v. there are people in the world who would disagree with each and every one of these things.

The woods were covered in snow. It was piled high against the trees and glowing dimly in the moonlight, and a little girl was leaving her footprints in it, watching as her breath made silver patterns in the air.

An owl cried out, shattering the silence, and the girl turned slowly. Then, cautiously, step by step, she started walking toward the sound. She wondered briefly why she wasn’t frightened (usually she was oh so scared of the dark) but she didn’t pause to dwell on it. She was here because she knew she had to be, and that was simply all that mattered.

She didn’t know it yet, but
she was a truth teller
a dream seeker
a story finder

so many names for the same thing; part of her dwelled in the darkness, the otherworld, the dreamland, and now, for the first time, she was walking the path that had been waiting patiently for her ever since she was born.

She was close, so close. She could feel it in the air.

The owl cried out again, right in front of her now, and suddenly she saw it – it was on the ground, nursing a cut on its wing, and it looked up at her as she approached.

“Hello,” the little girl said quietly.

The snow crunched under her feet as she took a small step forward. The owl’s eyes were burning holes in her, and there was something intelligent, almost human, in its gaze; when she looked at it, she felt something shifting in her mind. As though it was talking to her without making a sound.

Alone with an owl in the deep dark woods, a little girl crouched down in the snow and whispered

“Tell me your story.”

that storyteller girl

there’s something in those storybook images, the thoughts of magic and adventures and wolves howling at the moon, that makes her heart pound and her skin tingle and her fingers itch to grab a pen. sometimes she feels like she has ink running through her veins and maybe blood would be more healthy, but she wouldn’t choose it for the world.

stories always find her – they whisper in her ear, placing images fully-formed into her mind, so vivid she feels like she was really there. she can smell them and see them and feel them and she has to tell them, to make other people see them like she does.

maybe she’s not the best one for the job. but if she didn’t get those stories out of her head she might burst because god knows they just keep coming and she can feel them, tiptoeing around her like ghosts, just waiting for the perfect time to show themselves.

and she would never say she created the stories; she doesn’t create anything. the stories are already there.

they just come to her when they’re ready to be told.

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