I can’t imagine
another sunset
without you.

I cannot fathom
the constant quiet.

Even with music,
even with the onslaught
of traffic and humanity,
all I hear

is the lack
of you.

There is an

of silence

in the place
of your heartbeat.

I remember the taste
of your lips,

the smoke
and the fire.

This absence of


is all that
defines me

Come home.

Miss Misery

Strains of Elliot Smith in the apartment; she listens to the iPod through its bluetooth speaker, and wanders around, putting things back where they belong. It’s like cleaning up after an earthquake. A flood. A fire. There’s a damage, here, she doesn’t understand.

She picks up an ashtray and puts it on the counter.

There are only six fingers missing from the Oban.

The army men in the refrigerator stand guard around the carton of milk. One with a grenade, one with a bazooka.

She picks up a pile of magazines, newspapers and other recyclable newsworthy material and begins to sort it into a small filing cabinet by the desk.

The army men in the refrigerator guard the Chinese takeout.

She picks up magazines from the floor, stacks them with newspapers and other recyclable newsworthy material.

She puts the army men around the milk carton.

“It wasn’t an iPod,” she tells herself, sifting through the charred wreckage of the landline, the five, six, seven replacement phones.

She looks toward the bathroom.

The smell, the wrong smell, too-sweet strawberry, artificial, the hardened plastic bits, still stuck to the glass plate of the microwave.

The shower is running.

She closes her eyes.

There is a tooth embedded in the doorframe. It belongs to a man out of time.

She walks in the door after picking the lock, and kicking the action figure out of the way, pulling down the sign that says YOUR GOVERNMENT LOVES YOU with a wry smirk. By the time she reaches the trash can, her hand isn’t holding it.

She walks in the door after picking the lock, and puts the lockpicks back on their earring loop and then begins to undo the buckles on those so-tall boots and exhales the clove she’s suddenly holding.

The shower isn’t running.

She looks toward the bathroom.

There are only three fingers of Oban left.

She walks in the door and smells peach shampoo.

She closes her eyes.

She walks in the door and sees the notebook on the coffee table — the drawing that changes every time she turns the page, and back again.

The fire escape window is open.

The Chinese takeout is in a frying pan, hot, with butter and eggs.

The smell fills everything.

The fire escape window is closed and the blinds are drawn, and the lights are off and she knows not to stand near it.

“How many years has this been?” she wonders, fingers drawing spirals through the dust on top of the ancient monitor.

She closes her eyes.

She walks in the door, music playing, and stops in her tracks, all six feet plus, boots still on, headphones in, looking down at her hands. Shaking again. Peeling nailpolish, a cherry clove between two fingers, scars and bruises coloring her pale skin.

It’s dark outside.

The blinds are up.

The wind is howling.

It’s like cleaning up after the apocalypse. Stockings half under the couch. Empty packs of cigarettes everywhere. Ash in everything.

The bottle of Oban is empty.

She closes her eyes.

Day in the life of…

Say something

pleasant music.
bright lights.
comforting warmth.
one around,
for the thin girl
to give the illusion
of touch,
of connection.

I’m giving up

She rests her cheek against the dirty cool of the dumpster wall and glances up at the sky.

on you

The stars are falling, but she can’t see them for all the lights.


Earlier that day, after dropping back in for the briefest of moments – he left a note. “Off thinking” – she went to do some of her own. She found herself in her room, sprawled on the bed, not quite bored, not quite tired.


She was worried about him, about that look on his face that she swears had to have been fear. She was worried about the fact that she could feel something crawling closer, something she couldn’t define, couldn’t explain. She was worried that she wouldn’t actually see it coming, and it was going to hurt. And soon.


There are many different kinds of tears–

Most people will cry them all at least once during the course of their lives. There are the kind that spill freely, silent and without realization. There are the glittering, beautiful ones that well up in the eyes of those who are shocked, stunned, or maybe even happy. There are the kind that are accompanied by harsh, wracking sobs that tear up the throat. There are furious tears. There are tears of joy. There are tears of terror, of hope, of loss. She has cried them all, so far.

She hates it. Tears are a symbol of childishness. Weakness. And she’s been struggling, for so goddamned long, to maintain that she isn’t. A child. Weak. It’s hard, though, in the face of those who know better. It’s so fucking hard, because she knows better.

I’ll be the one

God, sometimes words can hurt so much.

if you want me to.

She closes her eyes and sighs, shivering in the cool night air, tucked away, hiding from the world.


Time passes.


Wincing, she shifts her weight against the trash and debris within the bin, and makes a face as she tastes blood and stale alcohol, old cigarettes on her lips, on her tongue. She’s in a sorry state, clothing torn and stained, hands scraped and raw, hair tangled, skin cut and bruised. She’s hiding, not fit to run around on the street like this, not sure where to go.


She keeps trying to look up, but there’s nothing to see.


The subject would get changed when she talked about how well she was doing. There would be looks of disturbed acceptance.

All she wanted was his approval.

I would’ve followed you.

She wasn’t sure she could take the fact that it seemed every time she made progress, every time she dared be proud of something she could do, she learned that she was no better than before. No different. She kept thinking she was being more mature. She kept thinking she was doing the right thing. She kept thinking that she should take care of herself and be accountable and be responsible and be less reckless. And somehow in this thinking, she thought she could be proud of herself. Thought that maybe she could finally say she was worth all the trouble she’d ever caused.


There was a sigh; she shivered, held herself tight, tight, tighter, grinding her teeth against the way it felt like tension was winding and winding and winding within her until soon the clockwork mechanisms of her muscles and mind would simply come springing out, unwound, undone.

She had to run, like she does. She had to run, because of her own fear. She had to run — she was born to run, built to run; it felt guiltily good to give in.

She had run away. Down the halls, down the stairs, out the doors, into the falling night, through alleys, over rooftops, down streets, over fences, until eventually, lungs burning, she crawled into a dumpster with a bottle of cheap booze, a fierce headache, a broken heart, and lack of understanding.

Say something

Which is where she still is.


The bottle’s empty, and the day’s gone. She doesn’t know what time it is, and she’s not even entirely sure where she is. With the distinct lack of good judgement that comes born of fear, exhaustion, and alcohol, she hurls the bottle at the wall of the dumpster – this is no good, as she is within the belly of the beast.

Shattering glass fills the air; the deafening clang of glass exploding against metal chatters her teeth as tiny cuts open on her exposed arms and shoulders.

You’re not good enough.
You’re not
what they want
and you’re not
what they need.
You don’t understand.
Such a child.
Drama queen.

Something inside her boils up, furious, trying so damned hard to break free, to get away and live, but ends up simply confronted by the dirty walls of the dumpster, and her eyes widen as she realizes her situation.

“Drama queen,” she tells the night, hearing her own voice crack.

I’m giving up on you.

She wants some comfort, some beauty, in that moment, some anything that might connect her, keep her from slipping–

–but she can’t see the stars, for all the lights.

First Lines

Blatantly stolen from Inspired by Chuck Wendig, over at Terrible Minds.

What would be a first line that would make you want a book?

Yes, yes, there will be fiction for you later. I write the pretty words, I promise. But I’m curious. How many books have you read where the first line caught you? What do you remember about it? Any books out there where the first line was utter dreck, but you loved the rest?