Hyperventilation

i imagine that breathing into a paper bag

has the same effect as poetry

exhalation of stress and small sounds

why don’t people write poems that rhyme anymore

i think it’s because they’re harder to write

sometimes i am not confident enough for capital letters

and punctuation feels like a guillotine

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What more is there to write about?

Write more about me, he urges

A fury deep within her surges

She yells out

What more is there to write about?

*

He fought and lost and savagely slurred

She used up all her lovely words

She cries when she can no longer shout

What more is there to write about?

*

His promises turn to vapor

She refuses to put pen to paper

In fear of the truth leaking out

Something she can’t write about

*

She sometimes loves him when she’s sleeping

And dreams that there’s no secret-keeping

Her morning coffee tastes of doubt

What more is there to write about?

In An Ideal World


I think, in an ideal world,
She will be small and lonely, round glasses on a nose
Lenses the thickness of coke bottles and
Hair as fickle as sunshine and rain
And she will creep into the store, searching
Her hands careful on the door so the bell doesn’t ring
She will breathe in the smell of canvas magic, her heavy shoulders suddenly buoyant
Her fingers will tickle the spines of her friends as if to say
Wake up – it’s time to tell your stories
She will stop to pick up the lone paperback, forgotten on the floor
Flooded with empathy for inanimate objects
Hair falling in her face, she will curl up, spines digging into her spine
Poetry prominent, reality receding
She will revel in the comfort of words that feel like her own
And maybe –
She will make a new friend

Where Do You Hide?

Where do you hide when you need to be alone

When the world seems too big and too small

When you don’t want to talk to anyone at all

Where do you hide when you can’t breathe

When your peripheral vision starts to blur

When your sinkhole depression starts to occur

Where do you hide when you need the world to just stop

When reality becomes too much for your brain

When you’re afraid your stress will make permanent stains

Where do you hide?

Because I want to know

When you’re running on empty

Where do you go?

I’m right here

Tucked in my hiding place

With the smell of books

And tears on my face

There’s room for one more

If you need to hide

It’s okay if you’re broken

Please, come inside

Writer’s Block

How dare you try and –

I cannot believe you would –

The nerve of you to –

WOULD YOU LET ME FINISH?

I have a thousand and one sparkling golden bestseller ideas just bouncing around in my head

and you are hampering my ability

to translate even

one sentence onto paper

I shall ask you just one more time –

No, I am telling you just one single –

Time is important and you are wasting –

I can’t even think.

This is entirely your fault.

A Notebook

This is a notebook

For you to do whatever

Write stories or jot down

Goals to which you endeavor

You could fill the pages

With oodles and oodles

Of nonsense scribbles,

Or pointless doodles

Crowd it with reminders

Or load it with notes

You could make it inspirational

And fill it with quotes

Anything that you want

The possibilities don’t end

Oh, and Merry Christmas

From Maggie, your friend!

Tortured Souls

Every artist I’ve ever read – or heard – about has always been eccentric in some way or another. Some were introverts, some burdened with diseases, others broken hearts. They were all tortured or abnormal. But it all was ok, because they were artists. Being bizarre and peculiar was expected of them. I thought it might be nice to be an artist. That way, whenever someone inquired about one of my strange habits, I could just state, “Well, I’m an artist,” and they would nod their heads in a knowing way, and that would be it. No questions asked. I told Eric all this one day on the porch, while resting on the porch swing, bare feet grazing the decrepit wooden floor.

He turned away from his canvas to face me, and I noticed a smear of red paint across his chin. Somehow, he always seemed to have paint on him. Sometimes, when he would come pick me up to drive him to school, I would get in the car and his hair would still be wet from the shower and smelling of evergreen, but a flake of green paint would be stuck among his shampooed locks. My theory was that his room had so much paint in it, that some paint particles floating around in the air would just condense every now and then, and come down like snow to rest on him. That’s not scientifically possible, he would tell me, kissing my forehead in that way that I hated.

“You don’t want to be an artist,” he said dismissively, turning back to what looked like a bloody smear across the canvas.

“Why not?” I said, pulling my long legs up underneath me. I let go of the chain on the swing, taking notice of the rust stains on my hand.

“We’re tortured souls. Doomed to the fate of having the world appreciate us instead of understand us.” He stepped back from his painting, then set his paints down and plopped down onto the seat next to me, jostling the swing into motion. Sweat glistened on his forehead – from the hard work of painting, I supposed. The weather outside was nice and cool, perfect for sneaking away to the lake on the other side of the woods, like Eric and I did when he first kissed me. He had discovered the lake while searching for inspiring things to paint, and I had discovered him while looking for people to write about.

He led the way to the lake, and I awkwardly followed, my long legs getting caught in everything, leaves collecting in my tangled brown hair. The moon was reflecting off the black, smooth surface of the lake. I could feel Eric’s presence behind me and on a sudden whim, I jumped into the lake, arms and legs wildly waving about. When Eric pulled me out, he looked at me as if he were trying to read a Calculus textbook.

“I don’t understand you.” He stated simply, as if it were a fact.

“Well, I’m a writer,” I joked awkwardly, showing off my sense of humor I didn’t possess, “We’re tortured souls, doomed to the fate of having the world appreciate us instead of understand us.” For a few seconds he just looked at me. That was the first time I’d ever felt pretty.

“What are you painting?” I asked Eric, tracing rusty circles in my palm. He paused, then grinned.

“It’s a secret,” he smiled at my frown, standing up and walking over to his canvas.

“Wait, no,” I said, untangling my legs from beneath me and following him, “Now you have to tell me!” I grabbed his hand, so he couldn’t get his paintbrush. He just smiled and pressed my hand against the white backdrop, leaving a faded orange handprint.