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The Phantasmagoria Night Fields

 

There’s an elevator in your room one-fourth the size of a cardboard box

That takes you to the black-grass phantasmagoria night fields

Where you want to watch the stars and I say “this is a nice place to watch the stars”

Immediately trying to reel the words back and swallow them

In a little star-shaped pill that burns my esophagus

And leaves a fiery celestial trail down my throat

 

I can stare at the sun for maybe a minute

Before fear of being blinded pulls the ecstasy away, away, away

I can’t pretend I wouldn’t like to go back to the other three-fourths

Of your cardboard box room

And watch the hem of your grey hoodie sway from a hanger

When the windows are open

 

 

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Never Land

 

Note: this poem is inspired by “Straight On ‘Til Morning,” a work of fiction I wrote for my creative writing class at Princeton University. I did not post it on Curyosity for length reasons, but contact me if you would like to read it.

 

They said Never Land was somewhere we could

Close our eyes and never feel anything again

All these lights strung together could build

A ten-mile wide city but that’s not enough

For you, not enough for me

Anymore

We need to escape

 

In a back alley in the black of night

Or a room tucked in a forgotten corner

Of your maze-house

Where we lay languorously on golden chaises

We let reality fly by like it never even existed

 

What’s real? I touch you but feel nothing

There’s no magic in Pixie Dust save for the magic in our minds

But our minds are cages for shadows

Your shadow so intertwined with mine

I could never find it if you asked

 

You raised a glass of stars and said

“Here’s to never growing up”

And all the boys and girls who are lost cheered

I looked up at you like you were made of magic

And brought my glass to my lips

I’ve felt old, so old, ever since

 

hour twenty-five

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they nuked new york city

when i say they i mean west america

our uncontested enemies, yes, but

an unexpected test of strength from

a place where we once thought waves

were all that moved in gloom of night

 

skyscraper tops scarcely stay clear

of the dirt’s deepest layer

now they build these buildings underground

(when i say they i mean architects)

because it’s harder to get us here

we are so heavily guarded

 

only on your sixteenth birthday can you see the sky

i’ll get to that later

 

there’s no sun or stars or moon but there are lights

lights like you have never seen lights from every window

lcd—neon—bulbs—thousands of thousand-watts

twinkling lights not-twinkling lights constantly overcompensating

for the darkness inherent in our surroundings and heads

 

instead of rain, money falls into millionaires’ outstretched hands

as they stand on their balconies and enter their bentleys

like a suffocating sea of black suits

and manicured jeweled fingers that operate

golden cages that seem glorious from afar

 

(her rubied hand rests on his thigh—he looks down—feels sickened—why?)

 

when you’re sixteen they let you go up for twenty four hours

to a desolate field where you can feel the death of the old city

everyone carves a short story into the metal carcasses

i know of one

 

my friend julius owns an aston martin

and the largest inheritance in east america

he said he’d be up for a few minutes at most

but the sun and the stars and the moon

and the reds and the blues and all the other hues

cradled him with the comfort that some things he could never have

 

he went overtime and was dragged out at

hour twenty-five

 

 

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something tells me so

 

i don’t want to see the city i love

if it’s not through your eyes

the streets you own, the gate to your home

your old school’s red little door that tells me you’ve adventured

before I was at your side

 

the rows of dark houses

echoing my dreams back at me

the chill I feel isn’t from the cold but I

grab your waist anyway

 

“you make me feel euphoria”

 

are we euphoric in the taxi cab you kiss my forehead in?

in the invisible night park

where we count

the million bright lights shining for us

in our sky?

 

you’re made of these places

the sparkling energy in the air—the same as

the electric current running through your skin

 

our dreams are bigger than others’—

they dream of seeing us in a cage

or feeling special for a few hours

we dream of a lifetime of looking up at the stars

and never worrying

 

some paths were meant to cross and

some paths we’re meant to be cross at

i wonder what would have happened had you asked

a week earlier, back when I would have had to say no

would we still be here drinking vanilla milkshakes

in the diner you’ve been going to since you were born

would we still be hugging each other’s side down

quiet city streets

something tells me so

 

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i.

 

a voice as decadent as the final drops of life

before the ultimate goodbye

inflections in gold

chipping away

hello

a cry

i need

 

 

ii.

 

a dream in which she floats to me

in a white dress that trails

across the dewy night-darkened grass

she holds my shaking hand

and leads me to my own mausoleum

angel, thank you for the

death

 

 

iii.

 

i don’t mind minding as you misbehave

and sticking a cigarette in the little dent

your tongue makes when you fold it up

into a clover

am i lucky or am i dead

your curls caught in my fingers

shiny shadow traps

for my ghosts

 

 

iv.

 

it wasn’t me who tried to kill you

you accept that so surely

it scares me

let’s sit and count lightning strikes

while our best friends who haunt us

and our spirits who lift us

wonder how a girl who fears purgatory

could fall in love with a murderer

 

 

v.

 

you told me that when you first met me

you felt like a moth

because my eyes are the color of fire

i wonder if you still felt that way when you

watched me shoot my best friend

we’ve been everywhere together, you realize—

new orleans, new england,

the last judgement, the boarded-up bakery on the

corner of the street where i grew up

i’m dying now

and feeling again all your leaf-rustle breaths

against my fading

skin

 

You Are Never More Beautiful Than You Are in a Smoke-Filled Room

You are never more beautiful than you are in a smoke-filled room

On cheap pleather seats the same shade maroon as my

Cracked chipped fingernails

That I bite now nervously as I watch a scene unfold

In muted electricity

I saw it all in pictures

(The fading fluorescent light on your cheekbones like knives

(The way you brought your tan deft fingers—“I’m familiar with this”

(To the careless set of your mouth

 

We go outside and see that the moon knew we were playing at our dreams with cue sticks

Trying to get unwritten poems into the pockets

So we could have an excuse to put our typewriters

Onto the green table instead of colored balls

Which we toss to the places where the stars once stood

Before we stole them