petrichor

he was the rain

and he fell for days

until all my fears

washed away

 

and the morning after

we first made love,

the air in my room

was filled with

petrichor:

 

the scent of rain,

the only trace

he was ever there

before my world

burned.

 

(n): the smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of dry weather

 

monster

You’re in love with a monster with sad eyes,
who’s seen too many knife fights
and heard too many goodbyes.
The scars on his knuckles tell stories he never will,
of the places he’s been
and the people he’s killed.

He stares at you like a man standing on the ledge
and you’re the drop.
He kisses you like you can make the pain stop
and his lips leave burn marks on your skin
wherever they touch.

You think you’ve never seen a soul bleed until he tells you,
“one day I’ll hurt you.”
because he’s got a grenade in his ribcage
and he holds the pin like a cigarette between his teeth.
He knows it’s too late
(the countdown’s already begun)
he knows it’ll be you with shrapnel in your chest
long after he’s gone.

But he would lay the moon and stars at your feet,
cut his chest open to show you what a beating heart looks like,
if you only ask him.
Because he’s not a villain without a cause,
he’s a hero who’s lost all reason—
and he swears no matter what,
he will save you from all your demons.

You’ve spent your whole life believing in promises,
but you don’t need the man you love keeping his
if it means him running into every burning building
to see if it’s you that’s trapped beneath the stairs.

And he tells you he doesn’t care about the tomorrows.
He’s going to end up in hell one way or another.
And you know, deep down, you know
you can’t keep him forever.

But nothing really matters as
long as you burn together

 

 


I’m sorry it’s been so long, but I am finally back.

 

Home

I came back to the house I called home, years
after we’d been evicted, but the scent of fear still
l  i  n   g    e    r     e     d                 there.

I stood trembling in the threshold of the doorway
and it was if my entire being was saying:

“You do not know this place;
you are a stranger here.
Do not let the poltergeists of your past
destroy all you have created.”

So I stepped through and saw
All that was left of my hell
was the  s k e l e t o n  of a nightmare.
Nothing     but      memory.


 

Loveless

When the children with abyss-like eyes,
c r a c k e d   the shell of the moon against their teeth
and let its yolk     r u n  down their throats,
there was so much they didn’t know.

Loveless’, was the name of the baby
who was born in |place| of the moon
those ignorant children had swallowed.

“Keep the thing outside,” said the cruel boy who didn’t
understand, to a girl who had  l  e  a  v  i  n   g   on her mind.
So Loveless grew up in desolate captivity,  |  |
with no one for company but the crumpled-up stars.

Eventually her legs grew too long for the cage
she was kept in, and her elbows stuck out from the bars.
And on the morning of her eighteenth birthday,
beautiful black wings had sprouted from her back.

She begged the boy to set her   f  r  e  e  ,
to let her flee/ to let her fly away/ and let her live. He nodded, and
when Loveless    r    e    a    c    h    e     d        for the key around his neck—

|  the boy set fire to her back.  |

Beginnings

The colors of city lights bleed out into the blank sky, smoke rising to the atmosphere, and ashes falling back to the asphalt. In the back of his mind, he hears music—Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. For the boy, it has always been the song of the after.

Outside the thin windows of the apartment, Kai can hear the sound of falling rain and the low breeze, screeching cars and drivers spouting profanities. The streets are never quiet. He hears the beating of a moth’s wings as it flutters around the street lamp, but not the urgent words that leave his mother’s lips as tears streak her face. Her mouth keeps forming the same shapes, and it occurs to him that she’s saying one thing over and over again.

“Everything is going to be alright, sweetie.” The sound of her voice feels like the earth has dropped onto his chest when his mind returns to his body. He becomes aware that the side of his face is pressed into the cold, wooden floor of their living room. Sweat makes his dark hair stick to his forehead, and he can taste iron when he breathes. He feels like shit, personified.

“Do you need to go to the hospital?” she asks, knowing that after seventeen years, it has become a useless question.

“I’m fine,” He manages to croak out a half-convincing response.

Kai struggles to pull himself up into a sitting position; there’s a sharp pain flowing in the blue of his veins. The heavy soreness in his side makes him think he’s broken a rib. The room is empty except for the two of them, and Kai is relieved to know they are alone, at least for now.

“Are you okay?” Kai asks. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

His mother shakes her head, looking years older than she did the hour before.

“I’m alright,” she says, leaning down to wrap her arms around his torso. The action is supposed to be comforting but she quakes in fear. His mother helps him off the floor and to the bathroom, which proves to be quite the task. Since starting high school he has grown a foot taller than her, and now his limbs still aren’t fully functioning.

He leans against the sink, and his eyes wander to his once-white shirt, advocating Sigur Ros, some indie rock group whose music he has never heard. It’s covered in blotches of dark red, the color of wine. The red seeps through the fabric. The stain will never come out.

“Just wash up, okay?” his mother coaxes. Kai pulls the shirt over his head, and she snatches it from his hands. Her eyes jump from the shirt to back up at her son.

“I’ll take care of everything,” she says, clutching the bloodied t-shirt to her chest and shutting the door behind her.

He takes off the rest of his clothes before stepping into the shower. He turns the faucets, and a stream of cold water hits his back. The red washes away, pooling on the white tiles at his feet, and the pain under his bruised, olive skin dulls. There’s a long, thin gash running diagonally across his chest. The cut is not deep enough to kill, but it will leave a scar.

He can try to forget, again. Try to remember all the good things, but the memories of those are fading. Besides, there is only so much you can wash away, and only so much that you can forget in the after.

Kai walks into his bedroom, looking for something constant in all the change. Instead, he finds that most of his stuff is dumped out into suitcases strewn across his bed. The shelves that once held pictures in frames are now bare. His mother stands in the center of the chaos, packing their lives away into trash bags. When she sees him she tries to smile, like this entire scenario is normal. It’s a slap to the face, a reminder of just how fucked-up their lives are.

“I have to go to the bank, Kai, sweetie. Finish packing up—I’ll be back soon.”

“Okay,” he says, because there is nothing more to say.

She reaches up and ruffles his hair, like she did when he was younger. Even though he is seventeen, he still finds comfort in it.

There’s still food in the fridge—mostly just takeout. Kai grabs a few relatively fresh-looking apples, but there’s not much to salvage among the rest. A bottle of wine catches his eye, cigarette butts floating in the dregs. He winces. The room smells like his father, like despair and fear. The burn on his arm feels vicious, singeing. He grabs the bottle, hurls it out the open kitchen window, and watches the glass shatter on the street. He laughs like it’s his last day on earth. It might as well be.

By the time his mother returns, Kai has packed everything. They pile the pieces of their lives into the back of the Impala, leaving the place they once called home barren and empty.

“Where are we going?” he asks as he shuts the trunk. His mother smiles warily before answering.

“Somewhere far away,” she tells him as he slides into the passenger side. The tiny green pine tree air freshener looks almost like an arrow pointing them away. The car’s engine sputters to life, and the sound is already so much better than any empty promise she could make.

The city is grey and flat, like a paper cutout, drawn with the tip of a needle. This city was the backdrop to his life, yet this is the first time Kai has ever thought of it as something other than his personal hell. Cars pass like water through an iron grate as they drive away. Everything looks perfect from afar, windows in buildings perfectly identical, symmetrical.

It was never so beautiful up close.


Written by: Jamie H
Photograph by: Skyler Smith


This is my short story Beginnings see it in all its glory at 1:1000.

I wrote this piece a couple months ago, and it has finally been published!

Icarus

Call yourself Icarus and grow wings.
Fly higher until you can feel infinity
Pressing against the curve of your spine
And whispering temptations of forever in your ears.

Become intoxicated with the taste of gasoline
Until even heaven’s retinas burn at the sight of your flame
Only then, will you understand what Apotheosis truly means

And when you finally descend back to earth in glorious catastrophe
You will know love from those who wait for you even after
The countless bridges you’ve burned.

To your lovers, let the stories of your travels speak
Let the truth get caught between your teeth.
And even among the smoke of sleepless nights,
Know that your life is not meant to entertain

So do not be afraid to show them the scars on your arms and
Everything else that has made its home in your chest.
They are your stories to tell, and no one else’s

There is no need to romanticize anything.


View the original here.

On Nights Like This

On nights like these,
When the sky looks like molten glass
And the air feels like swimming through honey
I think of you and everything

You and I were all about burning bridges—
Burning pots of 50-cent ramen late into the night.
Staying awake to lie on rooftops
And pretending the cigarette ash in our lungs
was stardust instead.

On nights like these,
I remember your face in flames and unlit matches
You always smiling, holding your heart between your teeth
Like all those cherry pits we spit into the streets.

When we were young
You used to plant them into the front lawn.
On a night like this, I asked you why—
And you told me that Global Warming is the Earth’s way of
Committing suicide, and cherry blossoms are the best way
To convince anyone life is too beautiful to give up.

And I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to love someone so badly
Than I did you, at that exact moment.