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Thursday, May 31, 2018

The gnats hover the

Is this the
New Life
You promised?
I used to have
"Makers hands"
-b e a u t i f u l-
And the veins in them
Did not protrude.

Now velvet cascades.
Canals and crevices
Reveal my age.

They are tired.
They are deficit.

My hands
Are without
I wonder if god has spectacles
That he
Takes off
While he naps.

Because he's
The grand

And when he wakes up
We all need something.

I pull at his pant leg.
He does not answer.

Sleeping father,
Father's father,

Don't forget me.
Every day
I wake
To sleep

This year my dear friends moved to Canada. A match was struck in their eyes. They glisten now.
It feels cold in this southern south.
I am an orphan devoid of every internal summer. I pause at picture windows.
Did we forget the lantern was out?
Or was it
A covert dimming
Until the
Pilot light died?

It gets dark. 

O Canada. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Late Summer; Early Autumn

I summon the trills of evening air;
Absorb every magenta hue
Of late summer.

I am a book that keeps re-binding;
Constantly stitching
New details about
             Bold re-routes,
And violent,
Screen-splitting hope.

It is now three autumns
And six poetry compilations
That separate me from the season
For which my cells
Row upstream-
In tension.
In dreams.

I wish I had carved out my voice;
Corked it in a sea-bound bottle,
Before you came back from Spain
And my projections eclipsed everything.

I have never loved the substance of someone
The way I loved the violent wake of you: 
Obstinate in the undertow,
Electric in spirit,
Unwavering in truth.


I needle. I scratch. I spin. I repeat.  
I incline my ear to the moment I lost you.
I stitch silk patches over my punctured lungs. 

August is gold in my ribcage. 
I inhale to the flickering hope 
Of what changing your mind might sound like. 

I grieve tall houses; 
Paved neighborhoods; 
And how we have turned to dust
Beneath the light of
Too many full moons;

How we have convoluted our
And re-written all of our truths.

I grieve.
And I forgive you.

I do. 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Not the Williamsburg Poet

Weeded pain springs up
From broken Brooklyn

I could map that plant
To Mars

Articulate how
Equipped you are
And how
It will all be

But you're not equipped.
And it won't be okay.


Let this gutter sprout


I wish you'd died in the fire.
So missing you would make sense
And the turbulence of
Hating you for
Be rendered

Epiphanies and Truths

I equip you with 
To satisfy the wound. 

Then brace my back
And argument for the


Of my 
Fake mind.

Your limbs are bound by
My whim strings.
Your accordion argument
Expands and contracts.

In the private space 
Of my bathroom
I scream obscenities at you. 

You are the displaced gravel
Of my fault

My brain is cracked;
Split open like a 
Poached egg.

The tile wall
The sound of my voice

And this is the well 
Of my deep knowing:

That even if my teeth
Chiseled, bit, and chipped away at
Anything to 

You are still a ceramic
In a wet room,
With a portrait of myself
Carved into the chest of you

Reverberating nothing
But the tambour 
Of my raking loop,

As I hurtle hate
About your stagnate
And your relentless



I Need, Too Much

Take the cap off of me.

Fumble with
Tortoise shell buttons

I touch my barren


This was so impromptu.

And calculated.

I have rehearsed you
Ever since I knew
How to take someone
In the dark;

Like on TV
Or what I imagine
Love would be.

I will sigh to all the right
You're the needle on my mind
Your toenails
Into me.

I revolve and revolve and revolve
Around the places you
Touch me.
In all the fine-line
I bellow hollow

Vaulted ceilings
Amplify us into the night,
To the curious heads of all the
Neighbors who
It wasn't.

I pull you over me.

A weighted blanket
To smother myself

It's not your fault.

But you will

All the blame.


The tiny rubber hairs reach and retract
For ground.
August grasping pavement for July;
Tiny children rowing backward-
By the mist

Hallowed soil chest.
Hair kinking;
Taut raisin mouth
Everything I cannot say.

Summer at 26
Is summer at 16
Is summer at 12.

Heat smothers
Womb fruits.

I go back to dust.

I ride my bike
So far down Grey Street--

As if I
Never was.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

H O L D  O N.

There is agony in the crawlspace of my God construct.
The fractured ribs of this tiny house are splintering.
And all my rooms are punctured lungs.
Expanding too shallow.
Collapsing too deep.

I'm gonna hold my breath till I pass out.
I'll destroy my body while I wait you out.
Break all my bones and teeth.

Holy one, shake me awake.
Force your life into these lungs.

I hate you. God. You forsake ME God.
We're all suffering ashes and you abandon us,
To this still cellar with cellophane wrapped mouths.

I writhe to recoil my childlike faith.
But you're too real to be undone.

So hold me close till I pass out.
Smother me in your chest till I pass out.
Rock me to sleep till I pass out.

I hate you, God.
I hate you, God.

I'm sorry.

I  H E A R  H O P E

Thursday, November 24, 2016


 Heat rises and stews along my hairline beneath my golden cap. I skim cement squares like pages of a book-each chapter intentional. The earth around me is amber and bright against a crystalline sky...my autumnal snow globe.
 My shins strain beneath the grey canvas slacks that thickly cover my frame and bell widely below my knee. "Elephant bells," she called them. Her face is clear to me. She holds several needles between her pursed lips as she hand-finishes her product.
 I stoop to examine my calves and feet. As I massage them for comfort, I notice shiny silver strands along my hemline beginning to fray. The pain comes. I inhale slowly. November chills the warm spaces of my nose, esophagus, and belly.
 She is not here. I am going to have to fix this. 
 I stand in stillness beneath the weighty truth of death. I consider returning home, sliding out of my slacks, putting them into a drawer for safe keeping, and never considering them again. I have hidden the majority of my grandmother's trinkets. Nostalgia is an all-consuming sinkhole. I avoid the deep missing despite its intentionality with me. "The Deep" tends to invade during my most vulnerable hours. No matter the season, it contrasts itself against the stark winter of my mind. In the fashion of a true undertaker it ushers me into everything I cannot tolerate and do not want to accept. During these tours of myself everything liquifies. My breast-stroking brain wades in bottomless waters of questions my mouth has never had the courage to choke up.
  I am a woman composed of only extravagant and barren rooms. Strangely, I am far more willing to investigate the sad rooms of myself than the happy ones. I fear adulthood coupled with dread will disenchant the favored scenes of my past. I cannot afford to take a sledgehammer to the glorious design of my childhood hope.
 In the midst of my contemplation, I study our hands. We were are identical.

 She gave up. 
 I won't. 

 Despite the appeal of drowning in a mattress until spring, I lock eyes with Main Street and keep inching forward. What is the alternative? Become a dead rock gathering moss beneath borrowed sheets, the last patchwork quilt of her hands, and my heavy duvet? The Tennessee winter is not yet frigid enough to justify this depth of burrowing.

 I will wait to properly grieve until December. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I design a paper mother.
I craft her paper clothes;
Stitch the thread-work of her destiny
Into the silver walls.

The bells around her lining
Ring similar and stark.
She is pinned along my mantle;
She illuminates my hearth.

She is amethyst and sequins,
Velvet envelopes her hands
Her throat is sage and lavender,
Her hair is aubergine and sand.

Her mouth is made of roses
Blooming words as smooth as pearls.
They shape multi-dimensional secrets
About her paper world.

I wish I could condense my corners
To crepe paper, linen, and glue.
Then I would seal my paper self
And transcend my atmosphere too.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Last night
I was an emerald woman
In glistening
Aubergine tights.

And my head was
A spinning disco ball
Reflecting mango
Fragments of light.


And it didn't matter that I was there alone.
And they were there too.
I wasn't w i t h o u t.

It's a gorgeous thing-
To be so transparent
People see
R i g h t t h r o u g h

I get the benefit of not being there at all.
I'm a fly on the wall,
And it's better to see
From the outside
The life I forfeit
That always made me feel

Like I wasn't

E N O U G H.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

If I don't wring out my spine
I will die here-
A flickering ember.

Just like all the
"Once Were,"
On the stoops of their
Silted up

Who could they have been?
Mouths pretty and primed
With ticking speeches, keeping
Like a

We were intoxicating.
Now we're composed of dotted lines.
We are bound limbs in dismal grays,
Cubicle wires and static fraying.

Our lives were stories
With romantic chapters
About our
Pink lips,
Soft curls,
Wide eyes,
And holy hopes.

We used to believe in something.

And Christ sprawled before us
Like a supper and was crucified
And we ate of his body and
Our lips were stained with wine.

But we couldn't keep our promises.

So we ground our trees
And bound our mistakes.
We stitched our fingers and feet and whereabouts into
The vertebra of

And if I don't wring out my spine...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I love the confusing, numb state of you
Standing in the doorway, embodying all the things
I cannot substitute or chase. 
I hold you and there is no man there at all. 
Just someone else's memory of what you were.

I beat my hollow chest with fists and all the anguish about you. 

And her. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Holy Spirit was talking to me the other
Day about dreams.
He gave me this moon dog,
With a amarillo dogtag shaped like a house.

Her name is Luna.
She is composed of charcoal and sand.
Her fur smells like pepper.
I painted her once.

All my earthly dreams are going to collapse at my feet.
Their flesh will become dust.

And I cannot see.

The more I believe I am found I am lost.
I have confused the smoke with dusk.
My spine does not sleep.

I do not want what I think I need.
And even when I am wise I am foolish.

Everything in this fast, long humanity falls short,
Perfect only because it is transfixed in one fragile hour.

I strive to
Stop the striving long enough
To enjoy

The last of it,

Knowing nothing and everything is coming...
Day after day
In the monotony of
This dying chiming as steady as a clocktower,
Calling through the night,

Anchoring in the wake of morning,
Dragging its feet...
Holding onto what it can no longer see
And hardly picture.

I drag my feet too.
Because I am not ready to live and die yet.
I just want to be small
Like I know how to be.

I'm not


I sit down to write
And something resembling
Myself sprawls forth onto the page.

I am satisfied because it has been so long
Since I have said anything or
Done anything

Every day I wake up,
Collect my gear,
And attempt to scale the same mountain.

About half-way up the illusion shatters
And I realize my striving was all in vain.

I strive for everything at the top.


There is nothing at the top.

I strive for the nothingness at the top.

I need nothingness more than I need the top.

Nothing remedies my need for nothingness
Nothing would remedy my need for everything.
But I can't stop stirring.
And I waste the days.
All is

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


 I am awake beneath my heavy duvet.
 It is dark all around me.
 7:30 p.m.
 A new kind of cellophane.
The depression is thick. I speak into the curtain of it. Existence dissipates; dissolves before my belly rises again, retaliates against the heaviness. I breathe a hesitant trust into the silence. We have built some rapport.
 They don't know.
 They always know.
 It is safe to assume at this point.
Sometimes I feel my writer dying inside me. She writhes and struggles through the sleep paralysis. Her will to live quakes. She is a rattling colic ricochetting beneath the trapdoor of my innocence. She is buried alive. She is scraping out. She cracks my ribcage trying to come above. I wonder if Christ breathes into her like the valley of dry bones while I dream haunting things.

 Sometimes it is the good dreams that stain the most.

 When I sleep my grandmother is still alive. Her smell permeates me as I bury my nose into her moist, lotioned check. Her gold jewelry glistens in the warm light of a holiday. I am not sure which holiday. I just know it is one because she is breathing. I study the bumps on the outsides of her pinkies where her sixth and eleventh finger once was. I consider that she might have been an even better seamstress had she kept them. She takes the champagne colored bottle of Halston from her mahogany dresser and sprays it. I study the particles of fragrance cascading from the high places through beams of light. We are showered in something timeless. Something potent. Something real.
 We are magnificent.
 She in her cells.
 I in mine.
 When I use my grandmother's perfume I feel a certain invincibility.
 It is like I am carrying a legacy; bold femininity,
 The kind of femininity that my grandfather loved.
 The kind of femininity my generation has abandoned.
 I am lonely in this.
 But she is there, stitching together my belly and my insides the way she always has. I am the work of her hands in the good dreams.
 But the bad dreams come too.
 The church tells me it is not wise to curse myself in fear, or in wonder of the demons that lurk and haunt in the night. "Don't speak them into existence," they say. Maybe they are all just figments of my imagination. Alzheimers, diabetes, hypochondria, bipolar disorder, cervical cancer-all creaking doors and cooing creatures mourning in my bloodstream.
 I just hope if the forgetting comes, I will have someone in my life to rattle me back to the reality I created with them. I hope I make great love to someone somewhere, someday. I hope for a family. I ache for gardens sown; that something is birthed in my wake, some strung symphony that scatters and collects like pearls on a string that clasp delicately together at the end.

 I reconcile with the vapor I know I am.

 Every day I acknowledge that I am staring down the barrel of a gun. We are exchanging each breath for something. I just want all my breaths and my somethings to be worthwhile. I try to collect the day in my chest. My unwillingness to exhale is killing me. I am made up of bold stinginess.
 Is there anyone out there still alive? Anyone not completely consumed by the chase? Anyone not driven solely by the hunger of their own flesh? Is there anyone of substance, dignity, poetry or music wandering too?
 I just want to sit with you through it. We can say everything or nothing and just let the gravity of silence consume us.
 It is agonizing to be alive in a world that completely takes life for granted. To die and to be aware of it is better than the autopilot everyone seems to be steeping themselves in. I wish the fibers of technology would fray. I wish we could be left with flickering candles and a warm light diffusing itself into all of our scared and vacant rooms. Then the shrill echoes of our realities would remind us we are eternal spirits in temporal wombs-

That we are purposed to create, to give birth to something far greater than ourselves.

 Heaven is here and it's coughing itself up
 From tattered lungs,
 Aching to sprawl forth.
 If I had a rope I'd hoist it up out of me
 Until the bones and teeth of it came into fruition.

 I am dying to come awake.
 I am dying to come awake.
 I am dying to come awake.

Monday, August 29, 2016


My grandfather died last month.

He will not see me turn twenty-six on the nineteenth.
He will not conduct my wedding ceremony.
He will not meet my children.

The night after I spoke at his funeral I considered calling Imogine. I felt she was the only one who would have something worthwhile to say. Though we hadn't spoken since January, I scrolled through the electronic rolodex of my phone desperately aching for solace; hoping I still had her number.
Ding! A Snapchat update interrupted my search.
Call it fate, God, tragedy, or...a shitty hand, but it was what it was.
My device informed me that Imogine was playing a house show back in Nashville to which I had not been invited.

It's okay. I couldn't have made it anyway. 

Against my better judgement I kept observing. Same story. Different perspective.

Who needed to attend? I had it all on video anyway!

After absorbing what I was seeing I became physically ill.
The ambiance of the house surrounding Imogine struck a deep and haunting chord. It was too grotesquely familiar. Brackish water memories.

 No. Not his house!

 "Take it back!" I groaned aloud.
  I pulled my knees into my chest.
  I held myself.

I listened to the clips
As the sound of Imogine's guitar
Hovered over the crowd,
Rang through the still, hollow vacancies
Where I once scrambled to collect my dignity
Beneath the oppressive weight
Of a sad boy
Who so desperately tried
To strip me of it.

I studied the rug beneath her
And remembered the way
It felt
My toes
The night
He peeled
Off my clothes

Then told me to get lost.
To leave...
That it had all been

A mistake.

 Imogine was the first and only person I talked to about it.
 Because Imogine was in Spain.
 Imogine was awake after my long drive home.
 Imogine was the only person who was ever awake.

I tried to come up with a million excuses for her. I wanted to make it my fault. Nothing was potent enough to pierce the anguish. I allowed my body to steep in the endless portion of pain my once best friend had heaped upon me.

And I was grieved.
And I am grieved.

If it was deliberate,
It was felt.
If it was not deliberate,
It was careless.
I am still not sure which hurts worse.

I spent the rest of my night as a human pretzel in a vain attempt to hold my grandparents by death-gripping my Poppy's leather journal and my Nana's rugged bible.

I opened my clenched fist like a child and let the last shred of my innocence evaporate into the inky night until sleep overcame me and ushered me into the next hollow morning.
Every morning has been hollow since.

I forgive you, I guess. But mainly because I can't contain the pain of it. And it seems there is nothing else I can do but forgive you because everything else just hurts. I wish I could forget you, too. 
The hurt pulsates like a toothache. Praying hands don't heal it.
I don't go to church anymore. Everything there feels unsatisfying-like I'm being fed regurgitated food twice chewed for me. I love the Lord too much to eat it. I love myself too much to eat it.
I just want something new.

I have this hope that once I turn twenty-six I can start over and just forget the past twenty-five years ever existed. "Take off the old man, put on the new man..." something like that.

Then maybe the emptiness won't swallow me whole.
And the bigness of Christ will strap stilts to my legs and make me grow
Tall, tall, tall.

 And when I'm tall, maybe it won't hurt anymore because I will be invincible.
 And far past the horizon I will see the end.

 And Jesus will be there.
 And the striving will cease.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Midnight Talks with a Once-Murderer

 Last night I sat with my new friend Jacob beneath the twinkling string-lights on the porch of Cafe Coco. Having previously conversed with him about life and spirituality, I started curiously prodding him for conclusions he had come to about the universe since reclaiming the faith. I use the word "reclaiming" in place of the word "renouncing," because I do not feel this is appropriate for his journey. But I was interested in the deconstruction of his once-baptist belief system and how it translates into his views on everything from polyamory to the connection of the human race.
 In short, Jacob believes we are all united. I used to hate when I found something to be true that did not clearly fit into my theology. But my goal is to get to the place where I don't internally flinch when someone has a different perspective than I have heard regurgitated in the church. In this case, I do not disagree. We are all made in the image of God. All from the earth. And it's true. The earth does unify us.
 I am currently reading Rob Bell's "Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality". Bell defines sexuality as our deep need for human connection. I find when the Lord is trying to teach me something new he reiterates it through a series of experiences. Last night was no exception.
 As Jacob paused in his speech a shirtless man appeared out of nowhere.
 It is not abnormal for the slumping stoop of Cafe Coco to attract many of our homeless friends. One in particular I have connected with goes by Badger. That is his real name. I say this because I truly believe he has forgotten his birth name. Badger travels the country collecting roadkill and making art out of it. Sometimes we exchange mediums. Recently, he gave me feathers to add into an abstract piece I am working on. We share art and stories. We are in the business of bringing the dead to life.

 Enter Jonathan William Dickson.

 If you're wondering if he is a tweaker, the answer is no. He is simply a sad man who chooses to tweak more often than the average bear. We made eye contact. He came and pulled up a chair across from me.
 Jacob looked hesitant. Because he was on the clock, he offered the man a cup of water. I could discern his underlying intention was to alert management. Others around looked concerned. There was a collective energy deciding this man needed to be escorted off the property. I could feel it on my skin and in my hair.
 But something happened after Jacob got up to find an escort.
 The man looked up at me, and said,
 "I am sorry if I've offended you. I am just lonely."
 Immediately, I felt a supernatural peace fall on me and I said,
"Sir. You have not offended me in the least. I understand. I am lonely too. I think we all are."
 He paused for a moment and started to cry.
"I just can't stop punishing myself!" He groaned.
 "What did you do?" I asked.
 With complete ownership, he did not hesitate.
 "I killed someone. I am a murderer."
 I did not flinch. I felt the Lord asking me to press in.
 "How old were you when you killed someone?"
 "I killed someone as a drunk driver twenty-five years ago. I've gone to prison. I've done a lot of things. But I just can't forgive myself. And I am very lonely."
 Suddenly, our conversation was interrupted by management who came outside with a group of cooks and a baseball bat.
 They yelled.
 "Get up! Get the hell out of here. You can't be here without a shirt on!"
 I calmly looked at him and continued our conversation with authority in my voice as they approached.
 "Hold on. We're talking," I said.
 "Sir, what is your name?" I asked.
 "Jonathan William Dickson."
 The tone in his voice shifted like a small child being asked about their name and age. There was a sense of innocence, a sense of identity, a sense of pride. And I wondered how long it had been since this man had been asked who he was. He responded as if he was being invited into the warm, cozy, house of himself. Like he was coming home. In that moment he wasn't shelterless. In that moment, he wasn't an orphan.
 As management began to pull at him and urge him out of his seat with the bat, I reached for his hand. This was his moment of dignity despite a world around him that was trying to strip him of it.
 "Jonathan William Dickson. My name is Autumn Jade. It was a pleasure to meet you. Please forgive yourself. I am twenty-five years old. You have grieved every day that I have been alive. Release yourself. Forgive yourself. Have peace my friend."
 Management pulled back, feeling awkward and uncertain in their decision to force him out.
 In hindsight, I wish I had said something further, urged them not to take my friend. If being shirtless was their reasoning, I wish I had taken off my extra flannel and just given it to him. I am ashamed of my cowardice in the moment. However, there was a certain feeling of closure that sealed our time. I felt him sink away inside his head again. In a flash he was lost in his own eyes as quickly as he had appeared.
 I still believe our encounter was not coincidence.
 Human connection.
 Last night Jonathan William Dickson was an interesting puzzle piece in my existence. Today, I take my sabbath in rest praying for him. And praying for myself. I needed him just as much as he needed me to fuel the journey.
 So, we forgive ourselves.
 We forgive each other.
 We strive for connection.
 We keep moving.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Earth is the hardest pill of all.

My chest has stopped expanding. You're the source. I feel it yearning now from the belly up. New York, I need your autumnal air. Nashville is and isn't enough.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The depression is so thick I cannot see the end of it.

I stare off and my mind makes shapes 
Out of 
Tricks of light
On my bedroom wall.

And this to me is everything.

It is the fallacy of the world 
And how 
Relationships are like trading
Transparencies atop a flickering projector.

They hold promise until a bulb burns out, 
Or until everyone in the room admits they
Aren't really learning anything.

Am I getting what I paid for?

I went to a show last night
And fumbled my feet around
To try to make it better. 
I thought seeing droves of people I hate
Would shovel the memory of the wake
Of my grandfather out of my chest
Like a coffee scoop. 

I imagine my compartmentalized hurt as little granules. 
I hated every one of them and heard every word they've forgotten 
They've said 
At some point, 
Back there...
That's punctured me.

Call it spiritual abuse,
Or the spinal column in my back
That never fused together. 

And anger pinged in my tiny brain like a school bell. 
I walked home with anvils around my ankles. 

It doesn't take Jesus telling me I'm divisive 
To make me want to cut my tongue out.
Heres, my throat too. 
Take my voice box, God. 
And all my fingers. 
I cannot steward this portion. 

I am still somewhere back in middle school
Starving to death for
Affirmation from adults big enough
To make me feel small. 

And I feel small
Enough to sneak out the back door
While my old friends are singing songs about how good you are. 

So, I do. 

I have pain and anxiety so
The roots of it
Are shooting out of my feet
And holding down my sails
As they clutch the ground
And devour
The dull earth.

I am adrenaline and tubes.
I wish I was made of iron
Or meant something
To you
So I could trick myself.

I put on the cape.
I take off the cape.
I know the truth.

I have nothing
I believe in

I have nothing to sell you.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I wish we'd gone out more. And danced. And played.
You'll do it for affirmation, when you have something to prove.
But you couldn't show up for me.

And I resent you.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Nothing came out of my throat.
I went digging there.
Deep into my cavernous stomach
I took a lantern.
Words lined the walls of myself like
Trembling children
Agonizing over
A dead winter-

The kind that knocks all the wind out of
Your bones.

Nothing came out of my throat.
They believed in me.

You never did.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

There's an Emily Newton shaped hole in my heart.
And no one will ever fill it. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Lonely at the first.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Talk myself to sleep tonight. Jesus fix it if you're listening. Figure out what's missing. Pretend it's Him so I can get some peace. It's been six months of nothing but everything I love. Levi says it right. "It's all just vanity and vapor."
All my fake friends and card houses have collapsed. I'm spinning without reach. I don't want to grab ahold of something or someone that I can't keep.
Everything is temporary.
Nothing stays.
And no one chooses to love you forever.
Not even your flesh and blood.
I'm so tired. Sad tired. Dead tired.
I rifle through my life alone.
I need to be held by anyone.
Father, comfort me.

Friday, June 10, 2016


Breath transcends the atmosphere
Like smoke.
This is my ash and incense at Your alter 
Of deliverance. 

The Submariner's Wife: (A Response to the Work of Sinai Vessel)

 "'Cause If I said that I could swim, I'd be a liar."

 Illuminated shards of shattered bottles on the beach;
 Glass and ash collect and stretch in tides with tempered reach.
 Toes retreat, and needle through their cautious thread lagoons,
 Choked with chicken wire and melting tires in the sun.

 The rocks cry out the truth to which my dull heart has grown numb
 Crusading words map traps, unfurl like weapons from my tongue.
 He sculpts the writhing clay as I collapse into his breast.
 I choke. I cough. I spit up all the things I thought were best.

 The foam washes my feet as I embrace the martyred son
 He adopts the heroine whose lips and teeth have birthed a tomb
 Coal absorbs the oily curses doused in fallen fates.
 I'm fragile driftwood, hollowed out enough for him to save.

 We are pillars against the portrait of kaleidoscopic skies;
 Flesh and bones rise tall and sprawl for heaven from the ties.
 I'm drowning in the glory and the depth of all your wake;
 I forfeit and I'm begging you tonight my soul to take.

"'Cause if I said that I could swim I'd be a liar."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Once Wire Woman

Electrical wire woman. I am limbic; I am chords. I am fraying, sparking, writhing. I am wielding words like swords. I purse my lips to sip the succulence of this life. Kiss anguish. Drink it slow.
 Air is honey now-
 Sweet and syrupy.

 Into my index...

 It bellows.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I am color-blocked in cubicle greys.
I blame God for not loving me enough
To pave roads carved into arms that sprawl, spread, and wrap
Like the wrinkles of 
The Tennessee terrain
In red
Along the map.

Was He deliberate as romance?
They said Song of Songs would rain down
Like a honey dance and we would be 
Drenched bees, 
Mouths opened wide,
Just living in it. 

My throat has been cut out.

I blame the God of voice boxes;
Of bent, tiny feet.
The God of lost ribbons 
Who stole my grandmother too soon.

I blame the God "refuge"-
Hudled bricks 
And crimson pews
Where women fan themselves,
Talking about 
Young ones with 
Inseams too short
Who are waiting too long for marriage.

"We are the reckless, we are the wild youth,
Painting visions of our futures..."

And the crotches of trees are too full
Of twigs for birds to nest.
Jesus! If you're real, make my shoulders stop hurting.
You took away the one who rubbed them best. 

Then you put your God knife to my gut throat.
Yet you did not cut the desperate question out.
And you drown me down to residue with Truth to sing about.

"You're a good, good father.
 It's who You are."
And I do know I'm loved by You.
I do.
I'm just a gaping spaghetti-o can licking orphan-cat

Will my brash tenacity
Still quake like the sound
Of gambling coins 
When I'm old like you?

Jesus. I'm a harlot.
Sponge bathe me in your


Friday, May 20, 2016

Deconstruction Part I

Oh, wanderer nearing the precipice!
She disarmed all the clues;
Dismissed the premonition
That you'd abandon her for
The guttural knowing has lost its age.
And there is no spirit warming neck hairs in the
Sound of Jesus' name.

You said you'd "bernie to the moon" with her;
Nap in the presence of the noon with her...
Happy alligators bathing in God's delight;
Claiming miracles over their wombs.

You promised her larks and battleships;
That she'd be seen and fully known-
Orphans tracing kingdom banisters, 
And the thread-work of their thrones.

Now, the black-tea night hovers over.
She feels chills at your apprehension.
She hides herself behind walls of words
Holding banners of ambivalence. 

The words of the ass grow silent.
The peel of the morning-far.
She's pillaging for Truth below John's headrest 
The Deep is steeped in the mouths of forgotten jars.

She doesn't believe in God anymore. 
But never questions if He exists.
She walks into the vacant night beside Barsabbas-
Two faint, forgotten saints
Too soon dismissed. 
 These are the feet of the exiled
 That longed to bring good news.
 Fraying fingers unleash their captives.
 Lord, save me from what I have loosed.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dear God,

I am a creative droplet of your
Delicious brain juice...

I am wiggly.

In the midst of tearing my wall of God down,
He's building me up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Deconstruction of My Grey Faith

And so, we categorize all holy, delicious, experiences: Mystical encounters, visceral responses to art, the transcendence of time while immersing ourselves in creativity, standing on the precipice of our faith to question God's reality, and we deem them "darkness," "unhealthy," "a deviation from 'God's will'". I propose the succulence of this poignant, whimsical life can be found in its marrow. To truly taste and see that the Lord is good we must thumb, pry, fumble, and slip through the slick canals of curiosity. Through exploration we slurp, taste and savor what small amount of substance we have on this earth. We learn to discern the gritty womb of a fallen humanity crying out for a supernatural rebirth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


And oh the tiny heads of God
Wrought with Spirit
Purged counterfeit truth.
They had the eyes, ears, and mouth of
The resurrected messiah.

And the monkey paws grasped for
Each oraphice like
The oversexed dig for gold.

God. My peculiar Christ.
Let me jar You like a pill bug
And feed You from the wombs of plants
You loved at first.
And we will play church.
And I will feel just as empty as before.

Except I'll be able to keep You this time
And stop guessing what You are.

Jesus in the shape of
A Roly Poly,
Or microscopic ant.

I would crush you with the weight of my fingers
And calamity.

And in this time of Rumspringa you'd consider it on
Oh, I think it so.
I've been killing You from the start.

King of Israel,
Redeem your captive whore.

Create in me a clean heart.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Organic soaps in the shape of Mother Mary.
Maybe it's enough to get clean.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A summer of adventure in a skin I don't fit in.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

In Cavities

I misplaced Jesus like a mismatched shoe thrown
Out of my peripherals
While scrambling to collect myself.

"I wear a necklace of onyx"
Said the cleft-palate woman
At my Left Leaning Art Show.

"It's to protect the heart in my chest."

Where your treasure is...

There's an 8 year old kid
With a gaping hole of negligence
Inside their head.

"Grandma taught me how to floss..."
I said
As I pilfered through the "Captain's Treasure"
With my ruddy,
Babe, fingers
Sailor Moon

I never stuck it to anything.
I think I knew at a young age
Everything is vapor.
I've never stuck to anything.

Instead, I placed it between
The crisp
Pages of
Precious Moments Bible
To keep forever.

Jesus, did you make a way for me?

I was baptized that summer
Before a belly-full of chicken fried steak and gravy
To celebrate
(Like the angels
In heaven do).

I told Pop
I was going to be a missionary when I grew up.

I yelled it from the bathroom
As I was examining my cavity
In the round mirror.
Right before
The dentist yanked the deadness out.

Don't Lose Your Faith

I used to write static poetry.
And I was an electric woman.
But now I am a fluorescent lit fish bowl.

I sometimes wonder if the walls of Christ's chest
Are technicolor.
I heard a weird word once about the aura of Christ-
That it spread the size of canyons and counties.

If I ever capture Jesus in a bottle
I will write poems about His existence.
I will examine Him
Day and night
Like a pill bug.

He will never go missing again.
It's real dumb. They are going to tell me to write about
And how their scales and sorts glisten in the noon-day sun.
And I will wonder why the t-rex has followed
The owl, the mustache, the fox...fad. Poor pterodactyl.
Poor triceratops. They must be the plus-size models of the
Dinosaur Generation.
Even Joan Crawford has had more success.
They were not valuable enough to be brought back to life
And prostituted on the side of coffee
Cups in the windows of the Hillsboro Village Pangea.

I'm reaching here.
My writing is shit.
Go to bed Jade.
Got to bed Jade.

Forget about it.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

"I'm too much with myself.
   I wanna be someone else."


These are the tattered strings of deceit.
Braid them into
A rope
And hang my hopes
On them.

I keep skipping rocks
On a river of life
That's apparently "flowing out of me".

But I can't conceive it is made of anything
Than crawdads and moss.

Maybe God was only the banks
Of the Tahlequah river.

I cup my hands to drink.

But the pipes of my kitchen sink flesh
Are turning your miracles to sewage.

You're slipping right through my fingers.
I am not the dark jars.
I love you. 
I love you.
I love you.

It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

I had an ex-boyfriend who smelled like burnt eggs all the time.
Sometimes when I miss him 
I turn on the stove. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A compliment so engulfing I could not help but be pointed
To the wonder of myself.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I miss talking to you. I think it's a universal trick. We justify things we shouldn't because we are never didqualified. But you wanted to listen. Maybe you have a savior complex, or maybe you just wanted to keep me safe. All I know is you did. You listened more than anyone ever has.
You were probably a real asshole in person. I would put money on it.
I hope so.
I would have loved it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

I am brave.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Exhale into our technicolor fibers, 
Swaddle our cells in golden iridescence.

You're my infallible, omnipresent Supernova.
Belly rise to the rhythmic grace of You.  

Flesh unchained to the sewage-swamp cellars of 
This cancerous womb,

And my toes seek the soil of their celestial source...


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Realizing you're gone does not bring you back from the dead. But sometimes it's so real and I lie in bed with panic, understanding that death chooses us a the most inopportune times.
Don't worry. Nothing has changed. You're not missing the life I promised we would have.
I didn't have the courage to do any different than I've always done.

Monday, April 18, 2016


I have stretch marks on my belly now from the thirty pounds of emotional trauma that cooed me to sleep at night after my grandmother's death. I weigh compulsively at Wal*Mart when I get a chance because I threw out my bathroom scale (except for the balance scale I keep under my sink-just incase). I have been going crazy lately on Whole 30. They say if you want to lose weight you should not go on this eating plan. I do not know who "they" are, but "they" seem to always have something destructive to contribute and are rarely out for my benefit.
 I would write a book about this period of my life if I thought it would contribute to something greater than myself. When I was a little girl all I wanted to do was write. I used to be ballsy about it too. I approached poetry like I was the only one who knew how to do it. Then Christ "humbled" me. But, you know, the truly difficult thing about Christ "humbling" you is that you never really know if it is actually Jesus or hopelessness invading the crawlspace of your little house. Hopelessness-the breath consuming intruder that overcomes you like mustard gas before you realize it ever seeped in. You think they would make a grout strong enough to still the seeping. But I have not found it yet. 
 I bet I have written a book in my life time (aside from the obvious line of poetry anthologies that never stop composing themselves). I write every day. It is the one thing I cannot not do. I read in a blog once that feeling as though writing is your breath is the biggest cliche of all. I suppose I am the biggest cliche of all. Because I actually feel that way. I want to write so much it hurts. I just feel insurmountably hopeless about my dreams, talents and gifts. 
 Once upon a time I was loved by a boy. I was loved by a boy who enjoyed my writing very much. I was loved by a boy who enjoyed my writing so much he bound me a poetry anthology just so I could say I am a published writer. 
 Maybe that was my supernova moment-Christmas with my beloved. The evening he gave me "Pride and Prejudice". Jane Austen has ruined a lot of lives.
 If I were writing a book to read in the bathtub it would be about how I never seem to be able to be still enough to enjoy a nice bath. I never feel pretty enough for bath fizzies and romantic elixers, sexy underwear-"just to make myself feel like a woman". I feel like Shrek...Princess Fiona at best. But even at my thinnest I never felt worthy. Due in large part to the hopeless camper beneath my rug-covered crawlspace. 
 I may never experience a real day in my life devoid of sadness.
 And it seems no matter how large my body becomes--I am still not big enough to hold it. 
I am more than artistically blocked. I am choking out the chimney. I feel exhausted even into my bones. All I do is sleep. The thoughts are black and white. Hurt. Strive. Hurt. Strive. Hurt. Strive. Hurt. I sabotage myself at the start. It's surfacing.
 My art portfolio went up in smoke.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Let it be enough that it's not enough.
It's not.
I've suffered the long years,
It's a short road.

And I haven't felt in love since I was twenty
Years old

Except the sad songs
On repeat
Slurring in the distance

I medicate to
If I don't create, I will die.
And I don't know where the well is,
I just know I have a desperate need to get to it.

God, ensure it's full.

I don't know how long I can
Suffocate in quiet cubicles.
I need the grass beneath my feet.

Jesus, relieve me.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Free Throw

"These days, I like to sleep my life away.
But back then I'd stay awake just to see your face.
I wouldn't sleep for days.

But now I sleep for days.

I never should of said that I loved you.
I never should of said a god damn thing.
I should have kept my fucking mouth shut.
And then it would have stayed, 
It probably would have stayed,
I know it would have stayed the same."
"All my friends, they ignore me when I'm wrong.
And I don't know why. I can't say why. I just feel that way sometimes.
And if you know that, you can say that. I have no problem being shunned.
Most of the times we are wrong and we think we are the righteous ones."

Why aren't you pursuing this? Get famous. Just for being you. Love Jesus. Drink the juice. Prosperity. Prosperity.
I swear. I think it's enough that he bled and died for me. He doesn't owe me anything. I'm afraid to ask.

[It's easier to believe I'll die alone with my hands in atrophy].

But Yourself.

 She said, "Man, I guess I want to fuck you. And I want to fuck all of your friends too. Because no one leaves me half-empty half as much as you."
 That's a polaroid of November. I have it pinned up backward on my desk-I don't have the courage to burn your pictures yet. If I was one of those thin, blonde, girls with pretty lips, I'd pretend to be promiscuous. But I think even then I wouldn't have the courage.
 I sit behind a cubicle all day while all the things I used to boil for slowly evaporate. Let the steam of my dreams roll over you; they are hovering over the hot tracks behind a train that is already gone. My passion couldn't stick around for anyone...not even me.
 Well, maybe for you...

 I want to fuck you.
 And all of your friends too.

 Except...except...maybe them first.
 You know? Because it's not like you ever treated me with dignity or respect. Passivity v.s. maturity-I haven't decided yet. I wish you would have woken up for anyone.

 Rot inside the hive beside pictures of your last life,
 And your ex-wife.
 Grieve something contrived.

 You're not fooling anyone.
 I'll just lose ten thousand pounds of fat and sorrow,
 Get my nose pierced,
 And it'll be okay.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

If I slow down to write about the circling, 
I will never stop.
It's a cycle I just keep running in.
I can't make slow down.

I'm dizzy.

I'm afraid. 
I'm out of my head.

Remind me of who I am.
Pretend you know.
 If I met you and I touched your face, I bet you'd say I am not enough for you either. I dreamed about you the other night in your purple flannel shirt. My fingers traced your beard and your nose ring and we kissed for the first time. But it felt familiar.
 I kissed myself goodbye into you-the way I always do when I fall in love. Except we are so much alike it felt nice, like the diamond in the rough of my own chest. So, I lingered there for awhile.
 So, play your guitar for me
 And sing sad songs across the room.
 The sound of you is what I want.

 I'll just stand here doubting myself-
 And I won't say anything at all.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In once-wed
Half open 

And touching
And craning and
Over bastard

Feeling fatherless. 

Snake the pain in the drain
And all your hair fell out your head.

Flood her streets 
Canals and
With texts;

Chained begging for forgiveness,


It's all venom now. 

You're scrolling through pictures
Of loved in sheets, 
You call it health
But it's apathy.

So nurse your mother's milk.
Lie on your back and take it that way.

This is your grey legacy.
You fade off
Into the fray

To mourn a life
You took for granted.

It's his now.
I saw a poet I could love and it was too much for me to believe there are men
In the world
Who love Jesus
And write songs like that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I let you off the hook this time.

I love the earth
To be buried inside
It's softness
Seems forgiving.

Like a broken humanity
Finally reconciled
To death.

You didn't choose to
Sand the table down.
Now I have splinters
In my

But you built the table for me.
And I can't be mad
That you left things unfinished,
Can I?

Because then I would be ungrateful.

I'm too sad to be

Mylo Xyloto 
An ice water

Don't drown.
Don't drown.

It's been a good fight.

Come above.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

In between asleep and asleep

You're a man who belongs to no one
Who once belonged to me.
You look it on your face and in your body.

I think I just need some sleep.


You don't love me.
It was all for naught. 
You want her now.
I gave everything.
You have everything.
I have nothing.

It's okay.

Friday, March 18, 2016

I love mirages.
It's warm outside
And I'm a barren winter.

Your lips are dust.
I reach out to touch them.
They disappear.

Do you remember me?

That's us.
I'm too tired to fall in love again.
I'm so sick with all the grieving in my belly.
Day in and day out
I writhe in bed
With Vodka on my breath

Asking Jesus to just take me.

My throat stinks too much for heaven;
Venom spills out of every pore.
I am the eighth deadly sin.

The temptress.
And in my womanhood
I brought spoils to the land.

My portion is a sad aside.
I am not a writer anymore.
But I hide here
And wonder if you read it-

Wonder if you understand it
The way you never understood

When I asked you to leave
I was begging you to stay.

You didn't stay.
You went back to the wife you couldn't leave
Even after
The fallout.

Your bed was empty.
So I crawled into it.

Young girl.
Lost girl.

Shame on me for looking for love
Inside a barren chest.

You were sick at best.
I loved you in my noble,
Naked youth.
I permeated your ground;
Watered every seed.

Take note.
Like the letters you wrote in a winter caked spring.
Dream of her body
Worn with wisdom
That the crevices of me

Don't know.

Let it burn-
Ache slow.

I take pills and pills and pills.
They say trauma in your brain
Hurts like trauma in your kneecaps.

Blow mine out.
I'll sway in the wind like a daffodil.

While she blows you to
Laying in sweat
And grief.

You'll never get it back.
It's not yours for salvaging anymore.

And you're not mine.

This is tired.
I close my eyes
A barren, twenty-five.

You ravaged me.

Now, I'm old too.
I'm a grave.
With flowers coming out of my mouth.
Take her body into yours.
Deliver me from
The hope

I cheated. I strayed. I was unfaithful.

I'm unable.
This is the sinner's table.
I'm wrought with grief and rage.

Strike the rock.

We're in good company.

Open Ended

I felt you leave today.

My mother said you can feel when another person's grieving cycle is complete.
Yours ended.
You think not of me.

This is not telepathy.

Where once I felt you,
I do not.
You have vanished.

You left our hallway

Standing empty handed
At the other end-

Holding the mess of me.
And at once I knew I was not magnificent.

-Strayed above the highway aisle...
 Jagged vacance, thick with ice.

 I could see for miles, miles, miles


I carve myself out for you,
Spoon by spoon.
My intestines-
My gut,

Sprawling forth from my
Open fingers;
Palms high.


I give over to my idols
The discernment
Of my soul.

I want you
More than God today.

Come and make me whole.

Friday, March 11, 2016


I hate.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Neptune is beeping in the windowsill. I think she misses Little Brigid.
I've been painting with all the windows and doors open.
I am letting the spring in.
This week I went back to church.
Immersing myself back into community and worship felt like a warm hug.
I felt seen, known, and loved.
I'm not so sad anymore.

I still wish I was lying in bed next to you, reading a book aloud (as I do).

But tonight I'll read to the open air and
My fat, fluffy, feline.

Tomorrow Little Brigid comes home.
And the shadows on the walls
Won't be so vacant.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

 I was recently reading Janell Belcher's online book "Valitus". It is a compilation of journal entries written about tragedy, heartbreak and lost love. In one portion of the book she poses the question: If you knew when you said 'I do-for better or for worse' that you are ultimately saying, 'I'm allowing you to potentially become the source of my deepest pain,' would you do it? It made me start thinking about marriage and the past year and all the things I thought I would sign myself up for.
I think I should have walked away from the question with a resounding "No".
 But I didn't.

 My answer, in the case of you would be "I do".
 It's always been yes.
 I think it's finding someone that is worth it.

 You were.

Friday, March 4, 2016

I let you go
Little paper boat,
Ship enough to sail
But couldn't hold me.

I let you go
Little paper boat,
Chart your independent distance.

I'm on solid ground.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

I am writing to get to know you.
You're not so vacant;
You're not the way I misperceived you.

Align the bricks to barricade me.
Collapse myself inside your chest.
Rains of disillusioned waiting, 
Submit their words to reigns of rest. 

Inking lines and worlds around me, 
Concave the pain and 
Your persistence resurrects me.

And in my naked fragility 
You piece me back into a name
Eclipse the sorrow that invades me,
Dissolve the disillusioned shame. 

Will you meet me when I'm 
Beneath some convoluted hope?

When myself seeks to forget me, 
I know your patience never does.

When my story is poorly written,
You find me barren on the floor. 
When the point is complex and hidden,
You speak more clearly than before. 


 I keep listening to slow haunt of Daughter in the cold rain. Melancholy is at my door. Maybe it's the enneagram 4 in me.
 When I left you I prayed it wouldn't get cold this winter. I guess God prolonged it as long as He could. It's grieving season. I swear, I thought I'd "won" the breakup (despite your haircut and the fact that that you're doing comedy again). I took shots in an airport with a gorgeous guy from Colorado, travelled all the way to New York City, took a glass blowing class, reached my goal of running a full 5K without stopping, and got a promotion...
 But I didn't get you.
 All breakups suck and I get that. But I think even Neptune misses you (and Neptune hates everyone). Bee is seeing someone. Having a guy around the house makes me miss the way you'd scoop me up in your arms when you would walk in the door. I miss breathing you in.
 I wore my long white dress to work yesterday. I bought it for you. The first time I wore it you said you loved the freckles on my chest and you wanted to curl up there and stay burrowed in my neck forever. I wish you were better at keeping your word. My skin hurts without your hands on me. My toes curl in the night and search for your feet but they are not there. I can imagine the mistakes you're making in the wreckage. Your toes are probably beneath some one-night-stand who will never memorize all the songs of your favorite band like I did.
But I guess you always belonged to someone else. I couldn't fight the supernatural oneness of your last marriage and the forcefield of baggage I was up against. I tried to scale your mountains every day. I lost leverage. I wasn't enough.
 I get it, I get it.
 I am not enough.
 I wish you had loved me as much as you missed her. I know I was twelve years younger, had never been a mother, and was clueless about Legos, beetles, and sharks. But I would have learned. I would have bought the books. I would have sat in the library and watched Discovery Channel specials and ate Cici's Pizza every night for the rest of my life if it meant I could have had you.
 Daughter always talks about taking from someone even into their spine. I think you took from me on a cellular level. My energy was all for naught.
 But "Oh...Lord, I'm sorry if I smothered you. I sometimes wish I'd stayed inside my mother. Never to come out."
You know, I wasn't even crazy. We never fought. I never yelled. We always laughed. I went through our texts last week just to make sure. Right before you slipped into a coma you were talking about how much you longed to be my husband. I told you I hoped we could have a daughter someday together and name her Phoenix. Because Phoenixes always rise from the ashes. And I knew that whatever we built together would be regenerative and indestructible.

And then you quit.
You quit me.
For her.
I couldn't pull you out.
You stopped breathing and I couldn't resuscitate you.
I made every excuse in the book for why you hadn't called in two weeks.
Down to "Maybe he just forgot he has a girlfriend."

You left me.

I used to believe I was watercolor...expendable.

But now I think I'm transparent entirely.

Monday, February 29, 2016

It was.

Friday, February 26, 2016

I feel so out of season in the most poetic of ways.
I smell like amber, autumn, and pine-
A melancholic nostalgia in a brisk spring,
Cool enough to reminisce on the you
I am remembering from a lost October.
You were
A shrill sound,
An abrupt awakening.

We were wrought with
Infatuation and sleepless nights.

I got high on my abuser.

But today,
I miss your belly laugh.

Monday, February 22, 2016

I keep rehearsing for when I run into you again. I can't get past the part where I ask you to hold me and I inhale you so deeply into my lungs that we're one, and I forget why I left you.

Tonight I have amnesia.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Life After Leaving a Single Dad

 Amid a sea of Starbucks receipts, cracked "butt-rock" CDs, gym clothes and loose coins, I recently found a remnant of B in my floorboard. After returning the vacuum hose, I bolstered myself on the cushion of my passenger seat to examine a dime-sized, plastic blaster. Caught tears pooled in the canals of my hand, dampening the toy and soaking my skin in grief. I was not prepared to miss him this much.
 Christmas was hard.
 After a BB gun bonding moment with my twin brothers I snuck upstairs to weep in my closet. I had pictured the holidays so differently. N and I had considered a road trip to Oklahoma so that he and B could meet my family. Though a group of seven-year-olds on Christmas morning sounds like a handful, it was something I ached for. I wanted a lot of things.
 I am now finding it exceptionally difficult to exist as a twenty-five year old.
 I wish I wanted to shoot Fireball, dance with handsy strangers and wake up in plate-full of eggs at the Waffle House on Dickerson. But I am still traumatized from a house party I attended last summer.
 While curled up on a padded bench in a Woodbine picture window, I was told by my best friend that I was making the biggest mistake of my life by dating someone twelve years older than me. I often wonder if our private moment was illuminated enough for the people on the front lawn to see me slowly disintegrate into nothingness. I never could get intoxicated enough to drown out the awkward, judgmental silence following "N couldn't make it tonight. He has B this week." It wasn't the responsibility of my friends to understand my decision, or even accept it. Most didn't. But I wish someone would have borne with me. I spent eight months shrouded in isolation, shame and loneliness.
 Although N and I separated four months ago, I can honestly say every moment was worth it.
 It ended, as Hemingway would say, "gradually, then suddenly".
 The deep knowing invited itself in at the first of November. N was under a lot of stress at work. We could never seem to end up on the same page. It was the fault of neither and both of us. He stopped making an effort. I started getting sassy. He stopped calling. I started going out. I have always been fiercely independent and a little too competitive for my own good. My goal was to out-wait his silences and give him the space he needed without actually admitting I cared. Sounds incredibly manipulative and prideful, right? Two weeks passed. A portion of me felt like a victor because I had not reduced myself to neediness despite my being plagued with tremendous sadness and curiosity. Then, at 10:51 a.m. on a Tuesday I looked up from my computer screen at work and began weeping. I knew it was over. So I made the call. Leaving someone I loved that much was the bravest decision I have ever made. I learned just because something isn't inherently bad does not make it good. And just because something is good does not make it great. In summary, we ended the way many relationships end...due to immaturity, selfishness, and lack of communication. Not because we were in separate chapters of our lives. Not because he had a child.
 In fact, I think it was those two factors that made us incredible for each other.
 I am not saying I am going to be scouting older, single fathers from now on. But I am saying it will be (and has been) incredibly difficult to return to my previous paradigm. There are things girls my age will never understand. Rightfully so. Most have not wept beside their boyfriends over lost love, worried endlessly about the doctors appointments of their significant other's child, or gone out of their way to build healthy relationships with their loved one's ex-wife. They will never understand breaking down over lost legos at a carwash in the dingy underbelly of South Nashville. I have been old and I have been young and I am trying to regain my footing at the latter. As I climb every wrung of this sweet and turbulent life I pray to God I never stop being moved by all the tiny toy guns that have, so eloquently, taught me something. I admittedly still feel so much like an outlier in my experience. I want to make the aftermath mean something.
 So, I will write about it. I will tell the truth. And when I am overwhelmed with grief because Star Wars has a new movie out, Mixel sets are half off at Target, or at the fact that hammerhead sharks weigh anywhere from 500 to 1000 pounds, I will find peace in the bittersweet knowing that I loved beyond my capacity and I grew insurmountably.