When you live in the city
the lights are like mid-sky stars—
bright, blinking, full of color:

the reds of brake lights and streetlights
that breathe pauses into the night;
the soft yellow of lamps dotting downtown roads;
the white beam shining from the top of a crane like a lighthouse,
that if you look long enough
starts to mimic the North Star before you realize you should close your eyes
tight, tight, tight

that light,
you know it.

It turns the black sky gray,
hides the constellations in its glow,
pretends to keep them safe,
when really,
it’s just trying to outshine nature.

It’s human nature
to be unnatural,
to seek comfort in the made,
instead of grown,
to find a room of one’s own
and destroy the house
made of sticks and palm leaves and dirt
that had been provided for you
since what feels like the beginning
of everything.

We’ve added more artificial light,
that we keep in our pockets,
or hold in our hands
like we’re holding the sun,
a world of instant gratification
translated to fun
translated to unsocial interaction.

I don’t think anyone feels that sense
of satisfaction
now that culture is in comparison,
a sin for which I’m guilty.

But when you live in the city,
the lights are beacons of connection,
our phones, little galaxies of light,
that add themselves to these buildings
that seem to touch the sky with unseen fingertips,
resting on the body of the night.

The Feast

I’ve had my moments of dishonesty,
but honestly
at that point I was so unhappy
you could wrap it in your hand
and the sadness would slide and seek,
bite down with teeth
into the soft blue of the veins beneath
your wrist.

Make a fist, honey,
and release—
let the blood flow openly
like your door flew open
and let her in
so quick,
your heart thick
with lust and darker things…

But I’ll tell you the consequence that rushing brings:
you do not know her.

She’ll eat you alive,
she’ll roast you at 400 degrees,
20 to 30 minutes in that heat
until you give her all of you
so she can feast
on what’s made you soft,
then chew on your bones
like she’s one of those dogs you love.

I hope she doesn’t hurt you,
but she will.
Girls like her, they get a thrill
from pounds of flesh
they pull from far beneath your chest
in the caverns of a place
where you once loved me.

You’ve probably learned to forget
what made us break:
your first mistake,
to be made more of skeleton
than heart.
You made the concept of dishonesty
an art,
then pretended it was me
who killed us.

The Pillow

“Impressions” — a marble piece depicting a pillow showing the indentation left by a sleeping head — by Sebastian Martorana

Have you ever rested on a pillow
and wondered
whose head has rested there before?
Whose strands of blonde hair are caught
in the side zipper?
Whose body wrapped around it,
a snuggled head,
a little bit of drool,
the remnants of foolish love,
of heartbreak,
of her home before she knew him?

She left that pillow for you,
so you could rest your head
on what’s left of her,
a piece of
false comfort,
a pillow she used to love,
before time wore it into
faded fabric, unwashed,
the scent of her so intertwined in thread—
you couldn’t even tell
she had been there.

Cactus Mouth

I’m not usually this quiet,
but I have to be,
because what I say:
won’t help
won’t sway
won’t make you stay—
won’t change the way you feel.

Can we be real?

It hurts to kiss you,
to miss you,
pricking myself
on the spines that stick from your tongue,
protruding like a badge of honor for the young
needing a method to protect themselves
from the truth
that they’re made of 90 percent water,
10 percent hot air,
without a care
that anything they once felt
won’t start growing again
until summer.

What a bummer,
to always be the one who breaks first
who makes the worst habit
of filling the little voids
with words that you might consider
a desperate attempt
at building an oasis
that’s easy for the both of us to find.

I am your pincushion,
your words, the pins,
your flowers show brightly in the sun
blossoming despite the lack
of hydration
because you were prepared for this.

My mouth.
My mouth was once a cactus
that grew before it could store enough water
to survive the heat.

Now my mouth is a syllabic desert;
your mouth,
the cactus filled with the linguistic equivalence
of water,
the likes of which
would save us both.


I think my heart can see the future
one pang for yes,
two pangs for no
three pangs for try again later
or maybe
I wish you could feel
this little ball that sits in the middle of my chest
and expands
and contracts
and expands,
and keeps expanding
when I think of the way
you’ve made me feel
up until…
I have these words I want to say
but don’t quite know how to say them
because saying them
would be admitting
that I’m the only one
who feels them
and admitting that would be…
if we could go back in time,
three pangs,
two pangs,
until it almost doesn’t exist,
almost doesn’t…
it will always hurt
to know you are worth
less than a potential future
because distance is a scary place
where you would never venture,
two pangs,
two pangs,
two pangs,
but not really breaking,
so much as opening up
an old wound,
that never had time to heal—
more a crack that expands
in a crystal ball heart,
spiderwebs of glass,
without shatter,
a heart too broken
to be optimistic
about the future.

The [Face]Book of Inspiration, Part V

So while trying to complete the following prompts (this is the last of them!), my Internet decided to reset. So you’re seeing a second version, an attempt at remembering. Changed just a touch from original intent. Either way, the original version was equally short. I decided that these poems were more appropriate as snapshots, to oppose the seemingly vast natures of their topics.

The title of each poem will be shown as it was written on Facebook. And beneath it the first name and last initial of whoever presented it.

How Will 2017 Be Remembered in History
Yosi M.

Was there a year
that existed between 2016 and 2018?
I can’t remember…
violence has erased memory,
the rest washed away with the King tide.

the eventual heat death of the universe
Padrick B.

We will not burn
in sun-fire,
we’ll freeze,
motion dissipating,
the universe anticipating a state
of unpleasant equilibrium,
a macrocosm
of that game among children,
where they’ve touched you
and you’ve turned to stone.

My ex stole my dog and now I hope he dies so I can get my dog back
Rebecca F.

I didn’t know when you took him
that I had anything left to take
but barkless nights can make
the loneliest of evenings expand
into an unending feeling
of walklessness.

Goodbye Summer
Jayson T.

I have nothing left to say to you,

You got away with it,
at least in the sense,
that you no longer feel
an obligation to be human,
providing closure in the coldest
of shoulders,
more ice
than flesh
and bone.

The [Face]Book of Inspiration, Part IV

The title of each poem will be shown as it was written on Facebook. And beneath it the first name and last initial of whoever presented it.

The significance of colors
Nikki B.

I feel red,
then orange,
then the lightest shade
of pink

sometimes I think
I am rainbow
prism or prisoner
of clearly defined hues
masking themselves
as expectations:

you are blue,
and green,
and purple.


I am sunset,
hope, passion, fire.
I am Prometheus
then bound for all eternity.
I am
summer’s day
the way you look in the morning
when light hits your face
just so
I want you to know
you are opal,
not quite one of them,
but you reflect
one color, then many—
your eyes,
emerald then golden
depending on the way you tilt your head
dreams of terra-cotta skin
if you stay outside
just a little bit longer

I want to be every color imaginable

When we speak, it is in CMYK
we exchange words in tinted syllables,
my skin is opaque peach,
my eyes, undecided

my face turns a darker shade of red under the following conditions:
glances across a room,

and when you break my heart,
I know the shade I’ll be:


and you,
you will become transparent.

The Cassini space probe!
Bryan L.

I seek you out in cold dark
god of plenty, of agriculture,
magnetic field
of Cassini dreams
I dive between the spaces of your rings,
to understand
your moons and limbs
and universe.

A description of the sound that Mouse feet make when they run.
Rio C.

Rice dropped onto a wooden floor
Light tapping of long fingernails
What I imagine the word “scatter” sounds like
Tiny representations of anxiousness
A miniature Morse code machine calling for help

Why you asking people to do the hard part for you?
Benjamin S.

is stepping from the pillow of your comfort zone
and diving
into a hole
that could be filled
with knives,
or more pillows.

The [Face]Book of Inspiration, Part III

The title of each poem will be shown as it was written on Facebook. And beneath it the first name and last initial of whoever presented it.

A second chance/redemption
Andrew K.

I believe in second,
and fourth chances

sometimes more

because my heart and my mind and the place
that is supposed to say, “hey, stop that”
is having technical difficulties
and sorry, it can’t come to the phone right now
it’s busy, if you could just
try back later,
but please, for the love of everything holy,
do not leave a message.

I’m not sure if it’s because I believe in you
or because I refuse to believe people,
even strangers,
aren’t worth my time.

A day of a lifetime is still a day.

So I have trouble letting go,
giving up,
just because I wasn’t your first thought,
your first call,
your first anything, really.

Because whether new or old you all act the same,
attentiveness dependent on the frame
of mind: do you think of me?

Would you give me a second chance,
a third,
a fourth?

Or does stubbornness not quite sit
as easily in the belly of your bones
as it does in mine

do you not seek, seek, seek
in hopes to find
a memory or passing thought
that justifies the asking of
how I’ve been?

I give fifth and sixth and seventh chances to people
I’ve known the longest:

they crack your heart into
the tiniest of shards
hardest to clean up—
you know,
years later,
you’ll still find specks of glass
emotional soot
that finds its way into everything.

I’d prefer the instability of you,
the predictability of your inability
to care,

it’s better than the millionth chance
you’ve given
to someone who knows
you have a million chances to give,
that anything they do,
you’ll eventually forgive—

listening to your messages
because you just can’t help it.

Lisbeth R.

My love for you is meteoric,
punctuated by rawrs into the night,
a single light
ever burning,
catching fire,
our world in ashes
humanity, the eventual phoenix.

The crippling power of FB
Michelangelo C.

It’s so easy to see
how you’re doing,
so why would I ever ask?

I’d rather just bask in the light
of your selfies
to the naked eye
you look so damn content

your life in constant activity
a proclivity toward saying
everything you feel,
because this connection for you, is so damn real,
that when you realize how alone you really are,
you go back to swiping:

for me, this is the only place
with walls we build up
to bring us closer.

The [Face]Book of Inspiration, Part II

The title of each poem will be shown as it was written on Facebook. And beneath it the first name and last initial of whoever presented it.

New Beginnings
Jamie R. (aka my Mom)

I want to start over with you:
un-overthink, un-overfeel
and just kind of wave my hand
let my lips extend sideways into a half smile
and turn my head away
as if to say
this is never going to happen,
to raise my glass,
and cheers to new beginnings,
to walk out that door,
to not forget something,
oh, that’s it! my dignity,
to un-ask you for your number,
to un-kiss you,
to un, well, you know…
to simply undo

I want to start over with you.
That is to say, I want to start over without you.

Sergio A.

I contribute to a wall
of skin,
elbow bones jutting
slicing air


a pit in chaos.

Clingy poets.
Benjamin S.

I am linguistic plastic wrap,
I trap you in transparency,
tug tight and call it poetry
as pretty words do spoil

better yet, wrap words in foil!
images packed in obscurity
aluminum-bound unsurity
in the state of rotting verbs.

Sorry for Being Myself

Sorry for Being Myself: Iteration 1

in the night
moon out
for the camera
lens focused
on something more
than myself
sorry for

Sorry for Being Myself: Iteration 2

My signature move:
coming on too strong

yet even when I don’t,
and you do,
somehow I still take blame
for the way you felt
for T-minus two minutes.

Sorry for Being Myself: Iteration 3

You tell me over and over,
again and again…

I hear you
but my heart
doesn’t hear you

please repeat, repeat, repeat

maybe I’ll change
or maybe you will.