How to Fall

So due to a request, I am finishing a post I started about 3 years ago. There wasn’t much content to it to start (literally just a phrase or two), but some of the best work often comes from nothing.

So to begin: I haven’t considered falling. Haven’t fallen recently. Haven’t stumbled. But if I must…

A Guide to Falling Head Over Heels

Woman Falling

How to fall:

gracefully, with palms splayed out,
you should hold your hands just so,
ready to clench
and take the maximum impact of the world away from your chest,

breast shaking with the nervousness of seeing him,
the what if’s hanging like a burning halo,
the will he still’s tugging at the heart like it’s wrapped
with ribbon—
ribbon that’s been cut, scraped against the blade of a pair of scissors, and curled so tight
like a lock of unkempt hair.

And this is where you tell your thighs to hold steady,
knees at the ready to take the brunt of the drop,
because you know full well what comes next
after the world stops,
and you feel your heart exit
in a stage dive into an audience of one.

Will he catch me?

The faster the fall, the less time he has to keep you
from launching forward,
your head hitting ground before it has the opportunity to think,
before the heart’s allowed to sink
into feeling
too much too soon.

But this time the fall is semi-slow,
unhurried from one phase of descent into the next,
and when he hesitates, like you expect,
you’ve already hit ground,
your hands cut up,
your balance unbound
to gravity.

You decide you don’t want to be hurt so badly
so you push yourself forward a little harder,
somersault through the hopes for something more,
and pick your head up from the twists of the carpet,
from the comfort of floor.

You rise from the ashes of your fall like a phoenix

you rise
you rise
you rise

from the fear of heartbreak,
a woman privy to the trick of falling
to sustain less damage
because predictability
is never something worth falling for
(at least not enough to actually hurt yourself).

You want something more:
something worth diving for
face first into the waves,
unpredictable in their undulation.

You want the clean chaos
of a home that looks neat to the naked eye,
but when you pry a little deeper
is littered with the artifacts of life.

How to fall:

you don’t.

You rise
you rise
you rise.

Young Love, a Poem

I was told very recently that I should not stop writing poetry, despite life’s tendency to make me procrastinate. But I haven’t procrastinated, not really. I started working at a job I really enjoy. Still doing Zumba (getting certified on Sunday!). And still making changes to myself I didn’t think were possible. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, and I have my friends, my boyfriend, my employers (both current and previous not counting my internship), and my family to thank for it. So here’s a poem about young love, because love should always remain youthful—butterflies and all.

Young Love, A Poem

I fell in love for the first time,
when I was seven
because at seven
Disney princes
were easier to come by
than Followers and #hashtags,
walls you couldn’t climb
and photos unfiltered.

I used a typewriter then,
to finish science projects and school essays
taking paper to the back of paper,
to get rid of a mistake;
if all else failed
used White Out
before White Out
was cool.

I fell in love again
at ten
when young love kissed me on the forehead
without me knowing,
one year older
but not wiser
that one day
he would break my little heart
like cracking open a piñata
with a bat.


And from there the candy flowed,
pieces of piñata heart fluttering—
playing with the air like twirling curls
around fingers

(much like I did at sixteen,
because I’d seen it in a movie once).

And if he saw me now,
another piñata heart later,
he’d see me whole again,
plastered together with little bits
of super glue
and glitter,

sun glinting differently with every
life turn or “I love you”
whispered in older ears,

against the faint jingle of mnemonic bells:
a dream a heart had wished it made,
a kiss to wake from sleeping,

the dragons finally slain.

How to Break Up with a Girl

It’s been a while since I’ve written much of anything. Too much has been going on. Or perhaps, not enough. Either way, here is my attempt to get back into the swing. The poem below originally started with the “Tell her” lines. I wrote the rest of this, on-the-spot, around them.

How to Break Up with a Girl, a poem

If you want to break up with your woman, lady-friend, lover,
I suggest you confess your intentions,
without mention of a lie.
Because once she sniffs it out, nose more canine than human,
lie-cocaine, lie-bacon,
lies that smell so delicious, she can’t help but sniff out more…

she’ll probably slap you
with some sort of comment
that involves a vulgar word
or two
or three.

She’ll hunt you
until she feels her heart split open
like a crack in the earth;
you all earthquakes,
and her, tectonic.

Or you can:

Tell her you love her,
then go sleep with someone else.

Tell her you miss her,
then go sleep with someone else.

Or maybe just tell her the truth.
That you aren’t the kind of guy
who dates just one
or two
or three.

That you look for love
in many women,
other women.

That your heart is a wandering dog.

Atlas Loved

I’ve been working on the below poem for a few days now. I know it’ll never be finished, not really. Feelings change, I’ll change. But for now, this represents how I feel about romance. That no matter what happens, a minute sense of innocence and hope is still there, shrugging as Atlas does—the weight of love like the weight of the world.

written by Alexa L. 

It starts with a break:


and when you realize you’re
sort of
OK enough,
you put yourself back together with the life equivalent
of super glue

(except you get a little on your fingers,
which probably won’t come off for days).

And then you’re single.

But when you talk about it,
you’ll have to elaborate.
because when you say you’re single,
you could be saying you’re lonely,

That you’re happy.

That you have some guy on the side,
but you’re single
just for the night.

That you’ve never dated.
That you date too much.

Or that you’re broken,
the boy yelling “Opa!” as he smashes your heart to the floor
(but at least there’s dancing).

Being that single girl, though,
the girl with the plate-heart;
being that girl is hardest.

Not because you’re broken
(the glue dries quickly, remember the fingers)
but you’ve forgotten how to be you
without him.

You’ve forgotten how to go solo,
Han Solo,
a solo cup.

This is just you, babe.
You talk, maybe he’ll listen.
But remember everything is new from here,
your comfort zone, decimated.

I want to blame this condition
on being post-breakup,
because forgetting how to date is both embarrassing
and totally not your fault.

You try,
oh my god, do you try,
to understand the process.

But the problem with forgetting how to date,
and having “experience” is this:
you compare this guy to the bad one
and then blame the new guy for not
being as good as the old guy was
when he made you happy.

Awkward glances,
awkward phone call,
awkward questions
gleaning interest from
“Yea, well, that’s cool.
It could be like,
a date or something.”

Maybe it should feel like when you’re 16,
when you meet at the movies
and hold hands in the theater
and you make out

but probably not

because you’re afraid
you kiss like
really badly.

Maybe it should feel like you’re floating,
fishing for something to fill the little void
the tiny, tiny space
filled with planetary systems and Milky Ways
of I miss yous and please don’t gos.

Maybe it should feel like nothing.

Maybe I’ll try my hand at online dating
(OK Stupid, Plenty of Sea)
and write something about how
my amazingness will amaze you,
how hitting single status
isn’t hitting rock bottom.

Or maybe it is.

The worst though, is the starting over.
And the fact that though the plate is smashed,
it doesn’t mean the pieces aren’t still there
pulsing with love,
now singular.

Love Story

I don’t have much to say tonight, so I’ll leave you with the below poem. It was originally written on July 11, 2010, but indeed life—much like poetry—is created in a series of edits; my heart, its red pen.

Love Story
by Alexa L.

A limp
Kisses in the dark
Phone calls and flashing lights
Will you be mine?
Duh, of course I will.
I’m yours
for a little while
I’m going to the Navy.
Phone calls
Car rides
Please, don’t do this.
A vase breaks
a heart breaks
Please don’t go.
Condoms, text messages, phone calls
I hate her, I hate you.
I’m alone but I know you want me lonely.
Forgiveness, a paper rose, I love you
I wouldn’t dare to turn back time.
Singing in the dark,
a brush of skin
Text messages, therapy, forgiveness
I’ll always love you.
I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK.
Kisses in the dark
I’m sorry.
It’s OK.
No, I mean it.
I know.
Car rides, airplanes
Distance, fear, guilt
But I still love you.
But I love you.
No answer
No answer
No answer
It’s over, spell it backwards.
Love, love, love
Song lyrics
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
A visit. A kiss
with someone else.
Are you happy now? I’d do it again.
Skyscrapers, second chances
I missed you, but I’ll never trust you
Pictures. Sickness.
A scarf, a bus.
A phone call.
Two years.
Two years.
Two years?
A heart.


Moments as quick as shoulder shrugs.
The hurt, something longer—like a hug.

The bad, the awful, cuts deep, but my gosh does it make for amazing inspiration. In my memoir class, story after story is about a suicide in the family, estranged relationships, alcoholism. I mean, life is teeming with tears, bruises, slaps and scars. The Icarus. The Edna Pontellier. The myths, the fiction, based in the most basic truth of life that there exists sadness, that there will always be falls. That death, like skin, is a guarantee in our existence.

Life would be immensely boring without fear and failure. If we don’t bleed, we don’t experience the world. Writers hold knives to their skin to seek their stories. We slice into ourselves, exposing the organs, plucking at them with game tweezers until we feel that buzz so familiar to childhood’s Operation. If only my heart could look so plastic. To be smooth like the arms of a Barbie doll. To feel nothing when you pull my arms from their grooved sockets, my hand in a constant grip despite the pull.

My advice? Use the bad times and make them words, full and fit and alive.

An on-the-spot poem about depression, alcoholism, and suicide:


An on-the-spot poem about a sad thing that happened:

I could feel your love
like cotton candy
painting the wind 
in alternating bubble gum pink
and blue
like the Boston sky
in summer
into clouds,
so dark,
like Boston snow
two days after 
onto streets.

April Fool, or How to Draw a Proper Hyphen

I am indeed excited that today kicks off National Poetry Month—come on, I finally have an excuse to thoroughly exercise my on-the-spot muscles. In honor of this splendid occasion, I plan to post more poetry, more often, starting with today:

April Fool
an on-the-spot poem written by (but not about) yours truly

You can call me a fool for falling
head over feet,
knees tucked 
     in a 

but I did not,
could not, 
would not
fall in love.

Also, I thought you’d enjoy my little drawing from my doodle-possessed, totally-not-paying-attention-to-the-class-lecture, hand.

Word Warrior versus The Hyphenator
dun dun dun

Yes, it’s true. I AM that dorky.

Love Letters and Candy Hearts, Part III

The other night I sat waiting in a coffee shop for a friend. The tables in this particular shop are small, the chairs squeezed to force a sense of closeness. When it is crowded, people squish into booths or hover over tables, grabbing for chairs without looking up as they ask, “Are you using this?”

Yes, yes I am using this chair in front of me. Though no one is seated in it, it represents a person, a sense that I am not alone. The world is in that chair.

I don’t say this, but shake my head in the affirmative then look back down at my book.

But one man was caught, his thoughts shuffling as he stuttered “no.” So there he sat, this man, looking so lonely with his book and his coffee. The world gone with his missing chair; the chance at love, gone. I started to come up with scenarios as to why he was sitting there by himself: He came to write poetry. Ponder over quantum mechanics. Create a superhero identity. To be an island.

Then about twenty minutes later a girl walks by and asks for a chair from a few tables away. She drags it over to the table where the man is sitting. He smiles, says something below the din. She smiles back; it is obvious she is here to see him. He no longer looks lonely. And I realize that the chair can always come back.

Below is the third installment of my on-the-spot submissions on love (See Part I, Part II). I hope you enjoy them and have a delightfully romantic, hilariously passionate Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

An on-the-spot poem about Valentine’s Day
written by Amanda S. (forever my Tank)

Here’s to cheap chocolate
The kind that doesn’t melt in your mouth
Arming naked babies with bows and arrows
Serenading corny sentiments on each date
And maybe even some cheesy songs
But also to all the gifts without bows
Like passionate kisses…yes
Maybe even to love
The kind that stems from hate
Or from the best friend
Or the Valentine’s “love at first sight”
Or Prince Charming
Gone, Here, Now, Fleeting, Forever

Find Amanda at Worldwide Investigation: Amanda at Large.

A heart my cousin made for me out of beads.

An on-the-spot piece about sex
pulled from “Sex Story”
written by Anahit T.

     He lay across his bed and she was seated right under him with her back to the bed. A placement of their bodies that had occurred once long ago. A placement that was the beginning of them. A placement that had started the sexual cycle that would lead to their inevitable demise. Right now, none of that mattered, not the past or the future they did not see. What mattered was the very peaceful silence that was lingering in the room, and the feeling of want that was already clearly within the two of them.
     He brought down his arms, and pulled her up to him and laid her parallel to him across the bed so he could look into her eyes. They both stared at each other for a moment. This was not the first time they had been so close, but something about the whole night had suddenly caused her to panic internally. The warmth he had around him was not just heat, it was an emotional surge that went right into her, and her heart started to steadily beat.
     On any other night, there would be music and a very thought out production of the evening inside both of their minds. Sex for them was fun and they had their routine always well planned, if not out loud it was set in their minds.  Tonight, it was not about music, it was not about who would start first and how, it was not about sex at all. Tonight it was about the two of them becoming a part of one another, it was about making love. They had not made love in the longest time. 

To see the rest of “Sex Story,” or for more writing by Anahit, visit her at

An on-the-spot poem about an uneventful Valentine’s
written by Alexa L. on February 13, 2011

It is just another day,
despite the fact
I want it to be more:
to hold you,
a gymnast’s hands,
gripping bars,
turning, twisting,

letting go,

heart flipping,
feet flat, knees bent,
then snapping up,
your heart pounding applause,
screaming “again, again”
from the stands.

Love Letters and Candy Hearts, Part I

I love Love, its strangeness, its capability to stretch, expand, burst. Love plummets, dives, floats—sometimes, dotes, speaking in foreign tongues and sweating, too hot to be this happy. And Love, it lasts, Everlasts, diamond-tough and death-sure. We live for Love. Laughing. Languishing. We cry for it, sigh for it, soak it in our skin like sunscreen. Love Lotion Number Nine. And this time, Love, my skin burns, lobster red, turning pink under the stars.

For the month of February, I sent out a mission to the masses: write an on-the-spot poem (or create on-the-spot art, photography,etc.) about romance, sex, heartbreak—write about any of it, but make it pertain to the four-letter king of hearts: Love.

I’ll be posting the submissions over the next week or so, and I hope they bring a little flame of “I’ve been there,” or “I wish I had it that good.” And this first entry contains poetry from bloggers like me, 20-somethings who dared to try their hand at on-the-spot, to try their hand at love. 

An on-the-spot poem about her
written by ‘Lip of 20SB

If I could punctuate with a kiss I would
but all I ever do is miss with words
it’s not that they don’t flow inside of me
just that you can’t open your eyes to see
that I’m not a poet or crafter of words
I dabble in rhythms and rhymes so absurd.

But words aren’t attractive like muscles and cars
they don’t get you laid when drinking at bars
so I’ll just sit back as you hold his hand
holding in feelings my heart can’t withstand
let’s make this clear and not misunderstood
If I could punctuate with a kiss, I would.

Find ‘Lip at

An on-the-spot poem about finding love
Written by Harley of 20SB

I’m not a cautious virgin
I’ve had boyfriends before
But I don’t think that I ever knew
That love consists of more

Than sex three times a day
And sex four times a night
I thought that love was screamy sex,
Then screaming vicious fights.

But now I have a new love
That’s changed my point of view
We still have sex all day and night
But now we cuddle too.

He doesn’t mind my moodswings
He laughs when I try to sing
He laughs at all my shitty jokes
(And that counts for something)

He tells me that he loves me
And he ignores that I shed
My hair across his pillows
And all over the bed.

He’s handsome and he’s smart,
He’s awesome and he’s mine,
I’m glad that this year coming
He’ll be my Valentine!

So that’s enough of the cheesiness
I know that I’ve been sappy,
But we’re going out two years now
And I’ve never been so happy!

Harley is a 24-year-old Irish girl with too much time on her hands. You can find her at No Pressure, No Diamonds. 

It’s all in the lips.

Not-So-Great Expectations

My Valentine’s Day for this year will be quick, painless, and without romance. My day will start at 7 a.m. I’ll press the snooze button for almost an hour in 5 minute intervals (because I have two alarms that require attention) and then I’ll get up, grab something not even remotely red (because all the red-shaded clothing paints the hamper) and grab a coat (because it will be very cold) and I will wait for a bus. I’ll take this bus to a T station, take a T (that is not called the red line because of the holiday), and will take that T to the Common, where I will walk—in the same cold I had prepared for—to work at 9 a.m. I will stay at my desk, in my office, until lunch. I will return from lunch. Maybe I’ll send less than thirty e-mails. Maybe. And this I will do until 5 p.m. Then from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. I will sit and learn coding and publishing and things—XML, the language of love—and then I will leave to the red line. Wait for the bus. Then go home and pull off my coat and my shirt, which is not red.

This, I will do on Valentine’s Day.
At least I didn’t have to make plans.

An on-the-spot poem about stupid Cupid
written by Alexa L. 

OK, Cupid,
you screwed up this time:
shot us in the head,
but not the heart.

Because if you understood,
you’d made sure your aim was good;
but instead you end up
tearing us apart.