others


interlude for the grand sonata

every mouth you’ve ever kissed

was just practice

all the bodies you’ve ever undressed

and ploughed in to

were preparing you for me.

i don’t mind tasting them in the 

memory of your mouth

they were a long hall way

a door half open

a single suit case still on the conveyor belt

was it a long journey?

did it take you long to find me?

you’re here now,

welcome home.

   all the girls you've ever loved, i think i loved them too.



I want to kiss you.

Like big, fat kisses. Or angels. Or stars.

Or something. I don’t know.

Love poems never make sense to me.

Poets say things like “Your teeth are flowers.”

or “Your eyes are miracles.” But you

aren’t miracles. Or flowers. You

are some sweet boy with a good smile

and a shaky heart. Come kiss me.

I’m in love with the miracle of your body

beside my body.

   Love Poems, Clementine von Radics



I opened “You slut” and found church pews
I opened church pews and found desperation
I opened desperation and found music
I opened music and found my father
I opened my father and found my broken heart
I opened my heart and found you leaving me
I opened leaving and found “You are impossible to love”
I opened “Impossible” and found a scream
I opened a scream and found childhood.
I opened childhood and found a swingset
I opened swingsets and found first kisses
I opened first kisses and found scared mothers
I opened scared mothers and found my mother
I opened my mother and found a scream.
 —   Let’s Start With The Insult, Clementine von Radics



25 Things To Do Before You Turn 25
1. Make peace with your parents. Whether you finally recognize that they actually have your best interests in mind or you forgive them for being flawed human beings, you can’t happily enter adulthood with that familial brand of resentment.
2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.
3. Minimize your passivity.
4. Work a service job to gain some understanding of how tipping works, how to keep your cool around assholes, how a few kind words can change someone’s day.
5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.
6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have. We will figure this mess out, I think, probably; the point is you’re not worth less just because there hasn’t been an immediate pay off for going to school. Be patient, work with what you have, and remember that a lot of us are in this together.
7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.
8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.
9. Go on a 4-day, brunch-fueled bender.
10. Start a relationship with your crush by telling them that you want them. Directly. Like, look them in the face and say it to them. Say, I want you. I want to be with you.
11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.
12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.
13. Find a hobby that makes being alone feel lovely and empowering and like something to look forward to.
14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.
15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.
16. Identify your fears and instead of letting them dictate your every move, find and talk to people who have overcome them. Don’t settle for experiencing .000002% of what the world has to offer because you’re afraid of getting on a plane.
17. Make a habit of cleaning up and letting go. Just because it fit at one point doesn’t mean you need to keep it forever — whether ‘it’ is your favorite pair of pants or your ex.
18. Stop hating yourself.
19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.
20. Take advantage of health insurance while you have it.
21. Make a habit of telling people how you feel, whether it means writing a gushing fan-girl email to someone whose work you love or telling your boss why you deserve a raise.
22. Date someone who says, “I love you” first.
23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.
24. Suck it up and buy a Macbook Pro.
25. Quit that job that’s making you miserable, end the relationship that makes you act like a lunatic, lose the friend whose sole purpose in life is making you feel like you’re perpetually on the verge of vomiting. You’re young, you’re resilient, there are other jobs and relationships and friends if you’re patient and open.



I like to pretend I'm a super hero because it makes my self-destruction seem more valiant
I don’t like sitting at the front of classrooms
because everybody has daggers in their hands.
When I eat tangerines, I feel like a hero
because I am swallowing the color of leukemia.
If I have the strength to rip apart cancer with my teeth,
then why am I still facing blindly
exactly one arm’s length away
from the monsters that will kill me.

I don’t like leading lines
because then I am responsible for too many lives,
but I can not be at the back
because I will stray so far away.
I will not get lost; I will find my own way,
and then be scrutinized for my ingenuity.

I don’t like wearing the color blue
because it makes me feel like a walking bruise.
Like the daggers were backwards
and they stabbed me with the handles
because they are not murderers,
I am just a tangerine.


You are flowers in my stomach.

Cutting me open nightly, blooming through the cracks of the ribs.

I only want to be the sun for you.

Elke River









his pledge to her:

i will kill the spiders. i will share my fries with you when you’ve finished all yours and are still hungry. i won’t ever pop my collar. i will never be rude to your tummy- when i hear it growl and gurgle. i promise to bend down and reply respectfully. i will eat the mushrooms when we order the supreme pizza. i will kiss the papercuts. and the door-slammed finger, and the counter-bumped hip. i’ll try my hardest not to get annoyed when you whisper questions and comments during movies. i will be the big spoon. i will let you win at wrestling, sometimes. other times i will not. i will go faster. harder. i will pull when you want. and tease you when you don’t. i will send you random texts and leave you silly gifts. not always. not on schedule. just whenever i want to. whenever i think you need one. or seven. i will check your tire pressure. and remind you to take your car in. i will hold your hand. i will love you.  i will love you. i will love you.




Three months ago a dead couple was unearthed

from a sinkhole in Vermont, bodies still petrified

in a locked embrace, the woman’s dark red hair still intact,

tangled up in the man’s fingers as if he had died

praising its sheen. The Jewish palm reader I visited last year

extolled salt as a cure for heartbreak, and suggested this was why

the couple was found with grains of salt embedded in their mouths-

perhaps, she surmised, they’d been out having a lover’s quarrel,

and in an attempt to reconcile the relationship, filled one anothers’

tongues with sodium chloride, but so consumed were they

by this meaningful task that they failed to notice

the gaping hole yawning beneath their feet.

And I thought of you, how you were afraid of me seeing you naked,

a glimpse of your shoulders shining in the darkness

sometimes the only piece of you I got to keep, but the way

your thighs opened on the sofa, so unashamedly,

your fingers digging into my hair, as if you’d gone too far

and passed a barrier you’d hardly even seen,

falling so deeply into my touch that it was as if

the earth could have opened beneath you

and you would never have known.

—   Sinkhole, writingsforwinter


Dear Ana,
I wonder if you know that yesterday all the neighbors left casseroles
on your back porch because they thought you’d already died,
and even the undertaker knows your first, middle, and last name by heart.
Ana, you poor broken little girl. You’d drop coins into your mouth one by one
and make wishes to be even skinnier, just ten pounds more, please God,
if only you weren’t so scared that a few extra calories would be hanging off
that copper skin. This is a hunger strike; you sit crosslegged
on the driveway holding up your precious sign begging for more passersby
to buy a little more of your flesh, My ass is too thick, my arms too flabby,
Thick, luscious flesh for only 50 cents!
Ana, remember how everyone used to pass notes in grade school,
paper scrawled with love letters and smiley faces, slipping
through sweaty fingers? Ana, can you pass notes in your collarbones now?
They don’t teach us about you in health class because you are weak,
and weakness is not something to be tolerated. They don’t teach us
about you because they are too afraid the pictures of your thighs
will be too graphic. Your wrists like toothpicks,
your ribs like a ladder where all this hunger is trying to crawl out,
rung by rung, and escape from you.
Ana, I’ve seen you get down on your knees
in the middle of Sunday service and pray for size zero jeans;
I’ve seen you refuse the Communion wafers and wine
out of fear they’d fatten you up too much. Ana, you
are pushing your luck. Your hair is falling out; so much of it
is already gone that you could wear a sweater made out of
your own blonde strands. Tell me, do you wear it well?
Will the boys swoon over you now?
Today your mother forces you to stand on the scale,
but the numbers mean nothing. Ana, 110! Ana, 105!
Ana, 100, 95. 94. 93. Ana, 86!
I’ve seen the moon eat more than you do; it swallows the sky
every night and always goes back for seconds.
Even a mouse hoards more cheese than you do.
Dear Ana, yesterday a boy tried to hold your hand on the way home
from school but it disintegrated into dust between his fingers.
The day before that he tried to kiss you on the mouth
but your lips were so dry it was like swallowing sandpaper.
Dear Ana, this is for all the times you tried to hold your own ghost
just to give it a little comfort, but it slipped away in your arms.
I am writing you a letter and in it I am standing on the ceiling
of the Eiffel Tower and screaming fuck you, fuck you
at the top of my lungs. Because fuck you Ana, that’s why.
You’re just a poor, scared little girl and you are taking this baseball bat
and you are beating the shit out of yourself until there is nothing left
but blood and guts. But you never had the guts to start treating yourself
well; you only had the blood when the constant throwing up
gave you ulcers. Dear Ana, fuck you.
Dear Ana, I will not stand beside you and watch you wither away
into brittle autumn leaves. I will not watch you do this to yourself.
Your body is a burning building and I will not be the one to fetch
the fire hose. That is your job. Always has been.
Ana, aim the nozzle at the living room.
Hose that sucker down.
—   Dear Ana (an open letter to anorexia), writingsforwinter


When I tried to fill my pockets with stones and step into the river

you removed them one by one and cast them away after saying

my heart was already so heavy it would weigh me down

far faster than any piece of limestone.

In classs I repeat your name aloud in my head, twenty times,

thirty if I’m feeling extra OCD, just one girl praying at your altar,

remembering how your mouth fell like holy wine over my spine

and the first time you left me I threw the computer out the window

until I heard the glass screen crash onto the lawn below and that-

that’s the sound of my heart. My father asked me why I was so obsessed

with fruit flies and I said because they only live for thirty days;

if I were one I’d get to spend a whole month with you.

You’re so beautiful landslides wish they could throw themselves

down your skin; I’ve seen a tsunami pause in its path

over a shuddering village just at the sound of your name

and the safety razor crossing my left wrist already knew

your mouth would cover the wounds it left behind

so it didn’t even try as hard as usual this time.

The second time you left Satan sent a postcard to God

begging for His forgiveness if it only meant you’d come home again;

sometimes there’s soy milk in the cupboard

but not enough orange juice so you buy 32 cartons just for me

in the middle of the night and I wish I could praise

all the dangling red roots leading to your heart

because every time I wanted to tie a noose around my neck

you made me tie it around those ventricles instead;

even when the bloodflow shut off you said you still loved

every frequency that vibrated from my body

even on the bad days

when I was just a 9.8 on the Richter Scale

waiting for someone to come cut me down.

—   for you, an elegy, a thousand times overwritingsforwinter





how to love someone no matter what
1. You said you had depression. On the rainy days I brought an umbrella for you to walk under.
2. You had OCD. I counted all 288 heartbeats with you until we both fell asleep.
3. You had anxiety disorder. I held my breath until you finally took one.
4. When I felt sad and you couldn’t comfort me because you had Asperger’s, I understood what your shaking hands meant anyway.
5. When you were so frustrated and bored because of the ADHD, I held your face in my hands and made you look into my eyes for thirty seconds straight, until you could see how much I loved you.
6.  The bipolar disorder picked you up one minute and threw you down the next. For the mania, we celebrated with cake. For the depression, I held you until it passed and you were okay again.
7. You wouldn’t eat anything for breakfast, lunch, or dinner because of the eating disorder. I fed you your favorite kind of chocolate when you were ready, bite by bite, and we went for a run afterward.
8. The door always scared you when it slammed too hard because of the PTSD; I covered the edge with rubber so it wouldn’t bang against the wall so loudly.
9. Your self-destructive tendencies made it hard to breathe sometimes, so I hid every needle, razor, and pair of scissors in the house, then made you pinch me as hard as you could very time you had the urge to hurt yourself.
10. Despite everything, I still loved you more than I’d ever loved anyone else in the entire world.


—   how to love someone no matter what, writingsforwinter


Reasons To Be Happy:

Dead trees still stand and so can you.
You have five fingers on each hand. One day those fingers will travel from your lap to someone else’s and that person will know all the bad stuff and still want to kiss you. 
Seasons are guaranteed when nothing else seems to be.




—   For the girl with the ghosts, foreign films



Before you fuck up and call her anything less than her name, before you grab her by the arm you need to know the trigger that you are pulling at. You need to know that the safety is never on. You need to know her history before you tell me that this isn’t my business. You need to know that her history is my history. See, she and I, we come from the tribe of raw knuckled little girls who call our father by their first names and wear their mothers like bruise coloured war paint under eye. We grew thick skin before we grew permanent teeth. We learned to piece together our own families in the backyards of rented duplexes where we promised plastic faced babies better things in soothing tones that we mimicked from TV. We do not have daddy issues even though our daddy’s have issues. We have piercing eyes and promises to keep. We grew up to be nomads surveying domestic war zones with black eyeliner binoculars, always refusing to camouflage. We threw our heads back and laughed at oncoming explosions, never flinched, absorbing shrapnel, never let them see us cry.
We do not dream of boys who will save us from towers. We dream of boys with courage caked under their fingernails. Boys with hands rough enough to wipe metal tears from our faces but warm enough to mold them into stars. Boys with vertebrae strong enough to lock with ours so they can sleep sitting back to back with us and keep watch. And these are the boys, these are the boys who will find love under our armor. These are the boys who will find that we love selectively but we love fiercely. These are the boys who will learn that we love in ways that leave claw marks down the baseboard before we ever let go.
So do not think she doesn’t know how you fear her absence - you should. Your cage is not stronger than her will or her smile. Do not think you are good enough to tame her. You aren’t. And do not think you are the first to try because i have already closed your eyes and crossed your arms before your body hit the floor. And you think she deserves better than you. You are right. So be better than you.
Be thankful that she knows your name and be careful never to forget hers. 
—   Rachel Wiley


Curvy women are real women. Skinny women are real women. Women who have had boob jobs or lip enhancements or liposuction are still real women. Size 0 may make no sense mathematically, but a woman who wears that size is as real as the one who wears a size 16. What makes us “real” people is not the shape of our flesh but our basic humanity. And we lose our humanity when we judge – not when we lose weight, gain weight, or make the intensely personal decision to undergo cosmetic surgery.
Hugo Schwyzer



 Inflammatory Essays by Jenny Holzer



i know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm 
like squeezing into last year's prom dress 
i know girls who are low rise, mac eyeshadow, and binge drinking 
i know girls that wonder if they're disaster and sexy enough to fit in 
i know girls who are fleeing bombs from the mosques of their skin 
playing russian roulette with death; it's never easy to accept 
that our bodies are fallible and flawed 
but when do we draw the line? 
when the knife hits the skin? 
isn't it the same thing as purging, 
because we're so obsessed with death, 
some women just have more guts than others 
the funny thing is women like us don't shoot 
we swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue, 
still proceeding to put on make-up, 
still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive 
we might as well be buried with our shoes, 
and handbags and scarves, girls 
we flirt with death everytime we etch a new tally mark 
into our skin 
i know how to split my wrists like a battlefield too 
but the time has come for us to 
reclaim our bodies 
our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral, 
offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say, 
"i only know how to exist when i'm wanted" 
girls like us are hardly ever wanted you know 
we're used up and sad and drunk and 
perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up 
and tell us that we did good 
You did good. 
( i know i am because i said am, my body is home) 
so try this 
take your hands over your bumpy lovebody naked 
and remember the first time you touched someone 
with the sole purpose of learning all of them 
touched them because the light was pretty on them 
and the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did 
touch yourself with a purpose 
your body is the most beautiful royal 
fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore 
are not your razor, no 
put the sharpness back 
lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin 
i once touched a tree with charred limbs 
the stump was still breathing 
but the tops were just ashy remains, 
i wonder what it's like to come back from that 
sometimes i feel a forest fire erupting from my wrists 
and the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things 
i've ever seen 
love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet 
and brother, arm wrapping shoulders, and remember,
this is important: 
you are worth more than who you fuck 
you are worth more than a waistline 
you are worth more than any naked body could proclaim 
in the shadows, more than a man's whim 
or your father's mistake 
you are no less valuable as a size 16, than a size 4 
you are no less valuable as a 32A than a 36C, 
your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood; 
wisdom 
you are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out: 
reborn 
  I Know Girls (Bodylove), Mary Lambert



I can’t even begin to express the volumes of lust I have for the moment before we kiss.  Even more than the sensation of my lips meeting yours, I wish I could forever inhale the hushed air perfumed with playful demureness and deliberate stares.  I would pull away just to feel your hot breath on my neck and your soft mouth curl into a mischievous smile, then go back in for the comfort of your familiar tongue telling me secrets too perfect for words.  When I wake up sweating from a nightmare, I comfort myself with the thought it is merely the moisture from the sweetness of your susurrations, condensing on my skin like sugar water.  The way you send each ridge of your fingertips diving through all the pores on my arms sends lightning through the nerves and I can feel the thunder rattle in my halfway-hollow bones.  I ache for the breathlessness when the static charge between our flesh grows more impatient, and my lungs throb at the fruitless blood that freezes pressed up against my sensitive veins.  The adoration I have for your mouth, in the perfection of its elegant form and the way it can ease all my fears and reservations, only affirms more how I fall in love with your every lonely cell.  Your supple lips carried over my skin can make me forget the concerns that plague my waking hours, and I long every moment to hear your voice in my dreams as I sleep.  Kiss me goodnight and never let me forget how flawless you are.


I love kissing. I love the way they feel, I love the sighs and moans that follow. I love the small pauses and teases for more. I love the small taste of tongue that brush together occasionally. I love the wandering hands. I like biting. I like pulling. I like running my tongue lightly across their bottom lip. I like the little laughs when its almost too good and you can’t help yourself. Idk. Making out as a whole is just pretty great.



EVERYDAY I REWRITE HER NAME ACROSS MY RIBCAGE
SO THAT THOSE WHO WISH TO BREAK MY HEART
WILL KNOW WHO TO ANSWER TO LATER
SHE HAS NO IDEA THAT I’VE TAUGHT MY TONGUE TO MAKE PENNIES,
AND EVERY TIME OUR MOUTHS ARE TO MEET
I WILL SLIP COINS TO THE BACK OF HER THROAT AND MAKE WISHES

I WISH
THAT SOMEDAY
MY HEAD ON HER BELLY MIGHT BE LIKE HOME
LIKE DOUBT TO DOUBT RESUSCITATION
BECAUSE TIME IS SUPPOSED TO MEAN MORE THAN SKIN
SHE DOESN’T KNOW THAT I HAVE TAUGHT MY ARMS TO CLOSE AROUND HER CLOCKS
SO THEY CAN WITHSTAND THE FALLOUT FROM HER AUTUMN
SHE IS SO EXPLOSIVE,
VOLCANOES WATCH HER AND LEARN
TERRORISTS WANT TO STRAP HER TO THEIR CHESTS
BECAUSE SHE IS A CAUSE WORTH DYING FOR
MAYBE SOMEDAY
TIME WILL TEACH ME TO PICK UP HER PIECES
PUT HER BACK TOGETHER
AND REMIND HER TO CLICK HER HEELS
BUT SHE DOESN’T NEED A WIZARD TO TELL HER THAT I WAS HERE ALL ALONG
LADY
LET US CATCH THE NEXT TORNADO HOME
LET US PLANT CANTALOUPE TREES IN OUR BACKYARD
THEN MAYBE TOGETHER WE WILL REALIZE THAT WE DON’T LIKE CANTALOUPE
AND THEY DON’T GROW ON TREES
WE CAN LAUGH ABOUT IT
THEN WE CAN PLANT THINGS WE’VE NEVER HEARD OF
I’VE NEVER HEARD OF A WOMAN
WHO CAN MAKE FLAWED LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL
THE WAY YOU DO
THE WORD SMITTEN IS TO HOW I FEEL ABOUT YOU
WHAT A KISS IS TO ROMANCE
SO MAYBE MY LIPS TO YOURS COULD BE THE PENANCE TO THIS CONFESSION
BECAUSE I AM THE ONLY ONE PREACHING YOUR DEFUNCT RELIGION
SITTING ALONE AT YOUR ALTAR, PRAISING YOU OUT OF FAITH
I CANNOT DO THIS HARD-KNOCK LIFE ALONE
YOU ARE ALL THE SOFTNESS A ROCK DREAMS OF BEING
THE MISTAKES THE RAIN MAKES AT PICNICS
WHEN MOTHER NATURE BEARS WITNESS IN MUCH BETTER PLACES
SO YES
I WILL GLADLY TAKE ON YOUR OCEAN
JUST TO SWIM BENEATH YOU
SO I CAN KISS THE BENDS OF YOUR KNEES
IN APPRECIATION FOR THE WORK THEY DO
KEEPING YOUR HEAD ABOVE WATER
  Everyday, Mike Mcgee



my heart aches
at the thought of your
fingertips
grazing the skin of another. 
my bones are sprouting flowers
with roots extended toward
your hands. 
will you ever be mine?
   hopingly




We once counted, and figured out I’d lost a grand total
of 53 bobby pins over the last two months
in your bathroom sink; last night I dreamt I called you up
on the phone but you were dead so I left you a voicemail
but the dead can’t respond to voicemails;
they can only replay them. When the Ancient Egyptians
wanted to kill an enemy, they filled their mouths with poison
then kissed the enemy long and deep, a French kiss,
filling their throat with poison in the process.
You kissed the same way that day we fucked outside in the rain,
in the mud, tilting my head back till the drops stung my eyes.
I swear when I press my ear to your stomach
I can hear the ocean calling you back, back home again,
but today marks the two-year anniversary of your almost-suicide
and my parents held a party for you in the backyard
with steaks and hamburgers on the grill, so we snuck off
after the cheesecake drenched in black cherry syrup
and I counted every one of your scars with my fingers,
but even the number of lost bobby pins
couldn’t come anywhere near to the arithmetic on your arms.
—   the “we’re so glad you didn’t commit suicide” partywritingsforwinter



“Do not fall in love with people like me
we will take you to
museums and parks
and monuments
and kiss you in every beautiful
place so that you can
never go back to them
without tasting us
like blood in your mouth”



When he tried to pick me up by mentioning that my depression
turned him on, I hit him over the head with my purse
and thought that would be the end of it. But the next day
he showed up at my front door with a bouquet of plums,
wanting to atone for his mistake by serenading me
with William Carlos Williams’ famous plum poem
on his guitar beneath my window until I forgave him.
As romantic as that sounds, our first night together
was nothing but a hook-up.
Turned the lights off so we didn’t have to look
at one anothers’ unwanted tattoos and piercings
in weird places, fucked for two minutes
before it was over. See, the thing is, undepressed people
think that depression is like a cloud that moves
in front of the sun for a little while. Maybe for just
half an hour; then it slides away and the sun
peeks its face out again. That’s why when he joked
about my “blue moods,” or the small pile of happy pills
I kept hidden like Skittles coveted by a woman on a diet,
I took all his clothes and I threw them out the window,
followed by his car keys and wallet.
When that night’s fireflies nodded their approval
by blinking off in succession, I knew I’d done the right thing.
See, there’s a difference between just a “blue mood”
and a mood that’s so damn blue
that when it sees a photo of itself laid side by side
with a photo of the bottom of the ocean,
it can’t tell which is which.
—   i was never one for pity sex, writings for winter

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