This is a string of thoughts that are pouring off my tongue because you’re away:

i. When I found you, my eyes became moons that orbited you.
My lips, a choir that sang your praises.
My heart, your heart.
My hands loose ends I tied to you.

ii. When I found you, I dropped like an anchor to your feet.

iii. I have been searching for truer definitions of love since I met you. For 432 days now, I’ve been coming up empty.

iv. You have taught me that happy poets write the worst poetry. And that’s a sacrifice I’ve willingly made.

v. I keep redefining love into something that sounds a lot like you.

vi. You are more than could fit into words or music notes or empty canvases. You are worlds and worlds and I am small and unworthy but I promise to find better ways to immortalize you.

vii. When I found you, I dropped like an anchor to your feet. But you lifted me up and I have been floating ever since, the weight of my chest no longer heavy enough to pull me down.

viii. Love is when you’re certain your lover is incapable of hurting you. Everything else is either lust or like or nothing at all. This is my 431st definition. Still not close enough.

ix. When you are not here, there is no light for my eyes to feed off of. Open or shut they are the same. Darkness inside and outside my eyelids.

x. Love is only love when it is egotistical and full of self-importance. Love is only love when you and I can say this and mean it:

“No one has known love like this. No one has ever loved like this. This is the first love in the history of the world to be felt this purely and intensely.”

This is my 432nd try.

I don’t think I’ll get there.



(This is a collaboration piece we worked on for The Writing Club. Parts in regular font are by Mimi, parts in italics are by me.)


When you left I painted all my walls black, because you took the colour out of my life.

I find all these shades of grey soothing, but they all remind me that I am alone.

I stand here, empty. I lay here with an ache in my heart and I am constantly trying to keep these porcelain bones from falling apart. I find my arms are always tightly gripping at my rib cage because I am afraid I’d one day let go and collapse.

Without you, I am tied up in knots; I cannot be untangled. Lover, I miss your warm hands on this currently unwelcoming body of mine. I loathe this thirst I cannot relieve. I still remember the time you undressed me with your eyes and how I truly felt naked. And how that spark in your gaze dulled with time, till I could no longer see into your thoughts. I understood my heart wasn’t considered home any more.

You are gone now, my dear, and I still cannot fathom a life without you. I refuse to build an existence around this black hole that is myself, I seem to reek of depression and suck up all the sadness these walls have to offer, and you should know that there is much despair in the blackness of it all.

You should also know I piled all the letters you wrote me into my fireplace,

but I still don’t have the courage to burn them down to ash. I doubt I’ll ever be able to muster it up, you were always the brave one, I long for your shadow in the face of this glaring sun.

I can’t find my way home in this city any more.

You left me here to wander.


Lust taints my after-midnights and keeps trying to feed the ghosts that reside in the shallow holes I’ve dug inside myself. (It fails drastically, but I keep telling myself that maybe the next time’s the charm.)

Every time I inhale, I exhale a thought of you. In my efforts to forget, I have tried to suppress my breathing, but I have confirmed what science says about the body always being able to resist that – I wish it would resist your memory just as strongly.

I find you in the ellipsis at the end of my every broken thought, dot-dot-dotting my vision like a light that has shocked my pupils with its divine brightness.

I find you in my four a.m. cigarettes, threatening to end me faster than the devious clouds of carbon monoxide.

I find you sleeping on the collarbones of every lover I have undressed after you, assuring me that no one else will ever measure up. (And no one ever, ever does.)

I find you in every night sky I look up at, reminding me that every shooting star – every flicker of light is more a death than a chance at redemption.

I broke all my rules the moment your lips met mine, and I broke myself in the process. How I wished to be able to wash all those loveless love affairs off my pores and present myself new and pure for you, but I knew that I could never be what you deserved.

You kissed me so full of faith and you made a home out of my bones even when I told you they were fragile enough to shatter at any given moment.

So even though I left, Lover, I never chose to leave; leaving picked me out of the 490,000 other babies that took their first breath on the same day I did and branded me with a fire beneath my feet that always had me running. For you, I have tried to withstand the flames that ate at my soles but it wasn’t long before I grew weak again.

(I would have asked you to chainsaw right through both my ankles if I knew you’d have had the guts to, but I knew all too well of your aversion to blood, so instead I amputated your waist from my arms and was left to deal with the blood myself. No matter how many times I wash my hands, it never leaves my skin.)

So even though I left, and even though you don’t belong with me, I want you to know that you belong within me – you are the phantom limb every cell of my skin aches for. My vagabond heart had settled for you, even though I couldn’t get my hands to do the same, and still in every corner of the world I run to, even the phantasms take your shape.

I am forever haunted by all the hope I saw fading off your face.

So if every pair of lips I’ve ever kissed is a country, I am backpacking my way through state lines to forget you.


A love letter from those of us who keep leaving.

1) Every morning for one hundred and eighty-six days, you wrote the word breathe on my inner thigh so that the most tender part of me will remind both you and I to stay alive.

2) When we first met, I told you that my foot was tired of always holding the door half-open in case I needed to flee. You told me you were a runner – you’d catch up.

3) Of all the things I didn’t believe in, you said my lack of faith in love was the only thing that made me blasphemous. You kissed my hands and said you’d help me repent.

4) I have called your hips a temple and fallen to my knees in prayer three times a day for one hundred and eighty-six days. I have named your lips confessional booths and whispered into them all the sins I intended to commit in your name. I was born-again.

5) Your eyes committed massacres on every inch of my skin they fell on.

I accepted martyrdom with a smile.

6) Last week, I told you that I had blisters all over my feet from searching for feeling in these hollowed out streets. I told you that I had given myself wholly to roads that led me nowhere, but I ended up at your doorstep and fuck if that wasn’t the heaven at the end of my hell of a tunnel. You told me you would never let me go.

7) I told you that wasn’t what I was afraid of.

8) You always knew that my hands were too unstable to hold you, but still I have called you sticky sweet – said you stuck me back together with the sugar on your tongue, said you licked the fucked up right off of me the moment your lips met my skin.

You didn’t always believe what I told you.

So I tell you over and over; I mean everything I say.

9) Please don’t let me let you go.

10) My mother told me that I was diagnosed with insomnia at six years old. Fifteen years later, when I cannot sleep: I call your body my scripture and run my fingers through the braille of your skin; count the holy cells of your body until I can finally rest.

11) In your skin cells lie answers to every question I have ever asked myself.

12) One night, I whispered that I bet you’ve never seen a full moon, and that I bet that every time you’ve looked at a night sky, you were greeted by a crescent.

I’ve never told you why.

13) Forgive me;

I have always been lost and wandering.

14) Forgive me;

I can not get myself to sit still.

15) Please forgive me; I really thought naming your neck home would mean I’d always come back.

16) One hundred and eighty-six days ago, when you told me you were a runner, my feet started training every night when we were asleep to make sure you’d never catch up to me.

17) But I was still heartbroken when I looked behind me and saw you were so far back, it looked like the sunset had swallowed you.

18) I’m sorry I had to go. I’m sorry all the work you’ve put into me hasn’t paid off.

19) Forgive me, Lover, for I have sinned because:

20) Even though I meant everything I ever said,

21) I still couldn’t get myself to stay.

22) But I don’t want you to forget me. (Please, please, never forget me.)

23) So, my former darling, when you look up,

24) And you find another crescent,

25) (It’s because even God can’t stop smiling at your face.)


It looks like a hole from afar – just a hole – but you’ll fall into it and it’ll be your grave.

It’s true, I’ve seen it myself. I’ve tread this road and I’ve ended up in more coffins than I can count.

Insincere? Never. I say it like it is.

They told me not to jump but I’m tired of sitting still and my legs really need to get some air.

Take a walk. Find a map and draw a line.

It’s too civilized, too conventional; too human for me to consider.

I’m drawing my own maps. My lines are crooked, but they’ll get me places. My hands will make music as I run and my lips will shout out what they’ve always wanted to sing.

I’m jumping into six feet of torn-out Earth, but I’m flying out of it with more life than I’ve ever known.

Believe me, mistakes are more beautiful than you’ve been led to believe.

John by 7ala Abdullah

(In order to understand this piece, you should first read this explanation and this prelude.)

She was a magnet, and the whole world was made of metal.

So, him standing there in front of her was simple physics. As were the items of clothing hitting the floor, but he doesn’t even know that they are. He’s so hypnotized by the grey in her eyes that he can only tell she’s moved when her fingers begin to tickle his shoulder. Goosebumps like mountains dress his limbs in pure desire. He wants to drop to the floor and beg for forgiveness for things he never felt apologetic about. He wants to cry rivers of repentance; he wants to confess all his wrongdoings. He wants to declare his undying belief in her holiness.

A cold breeze enters through the cracks in his windows and hisses softly onto his back, but he’s too fixated on her to notice the change in temperature. She glows in this kind of darkness, he thinks. No, she glows all the time, he decides, but fabric interferes. Her pupils are microscopes picking apart and harshly inspecting every inch of his mundane skin. He stands erect, unable to move without superior command.

He doesn’t know enough, but he knows that when her tongue meets her lips; she tastes Eden. He doesn’t know enough, but he knows that when she arches her back; the heavens balance themselves on the curve of her spine, and he knows that when she curls her toes; angels kiss her feet. He doesn’t know enough, but he knows that the most expensive silk sheets will never compare to the softness of her skin, and that the sound of her voice is comparable only to the most moving musical notes. But he doesn’t know enough.

Even after all those months, he doesn’t know enough.

He’s spent a hundred and thirty-three days watching her, and he still doesn’t know enough. He knows her favorite brand of milk (Flora), her preferred type of cheese (Gouda), her favorite chocolate bar (Snickers), her favorite place to shop (Gucci), her favorite perfume (Armani Code), and her bra size (32 D). He knows she has five clients a week and that she spends her weekends in bed. He knows she has no family. He knows her favorite color is red and her nails never stay unpainted in a bloody shade for too long. He knows she’s got a standing order of ten garter belts and fishnets from La Perla per month. He knows she gets more and more friendly with the delivery man each time and he knows she’d pleased him pro-bono in September then kicked him out at three in the morning because he snored.

But he doesn’t snore. And if he did, he’d happily cut off his own nose so as to not displease her. Matter of fact, he’d brought a knife just in case.

But right now, her velvet hands are whispering profanities into the contours of his largest organ. Like an earthquake; her touch rattles him from the inside out and he’s shuddering with the realization that he’s finally where he knows he’s been heading his whole existence.

Here, the pieces of the puzzle called his life are falling into place. Here, the windows of hope are allowing him a peak into paradise. Herein lies the answer to every question he’s ever asked himself in the twenty-four years he’s walked this sorry Earth.

Her. This. Here. Now. Please.

Please, he finds himself saying. Take me, just take me. And he’s on his back, eyes full of tears and hands and feet immobilized. She places her ruby lips on his and he breathes immortality for the first time. Her tongue tastes of sin, and he’d gladly burn in hell for eternity for just another taste.

Now it’s just them and the moon that serves as the only cover to his cloth-forsaken body. She’s taunting him with miscalculated touches and misguiding glances. She’s mocking him with irregular patterns of kissing. Her hands are on his neck and he finds himself throwing his head back in submission.

You’re mine, she sings and his abundant hair looks up towards the heavens to declare it as the truth.

All yours, he pleads, and she presses harder against his neck in approval.

She’s looking down at him and he feels so small – so imperfect; so petty and human, so damn inglorious. He’s swallowed by the greedy lips of her lust and his life is flashing before his eyes.

He swears he can almost see divinity emanating from every pore in her body.

He’s out of breath, but she’d sucked it out of him the first time he saw her, so it was nothing new.

A little tighter around the neck and he’s giving in. A little tighter and he’s fading.

He doesn’t know enough, but he knows that she believes she is a Goddess; and so she is.

He doesn’t know enough so he doesn’t know where he’s going.

But he knows he’s leaving with a smile on his face.


Remember the day you opened your hand to find the entire universe standing on the tips of your fingers?

Remember how you swore you’d never let anyone take that feeling away from you?

Where did you go?

You say; it’s gone, the planets and their rings and their stars have all vanished.

And the moons?

You say; they’re all stuck in new moons these days. Too tired to shift to waxing crescents; there’s no light for them to feed off.

But they’re not the only ones that have lost their shine.

The light in your eyes has been dimmed from blinding to nul and you’ve been living in the dark since the sun set inside your pupils. You’ve been storming cloudy weather, but it’s always just cloudy; never rainy. That suffocating humidity that leaves you reeling for breath but never comes down as rain to finally get you out of your misery.

Put your hand on your heart. Press hard.

This is how you know the walls you’ve built over it were too thick. You can’t feel it beating – you can barely feel it pumping blood into your veins; and you’re turning blue at the tips to go with the blue in your soul.

I say “love”, and you hold your head over the toilet with a finger down your throat trying to forget how it tastes.

“Love”. You’re face down on the floor with a needle in your hand trying to push it out of the thick walls of your vessels.

“Love”. You’re drowning yourself in a glass of whiskey trying – just trying – to wash the memories off the walls inside your head.

But you’re failing and you can’t forgive yourself for it. The more you run, the more you order your brain to erase all the images of those times you felt like royalty; the more you hurt.

You’re vanishing along with your stars.

The mere mention of the word emotion has you running to the other side of the world like it’s a gun whose poisonous bullets you’re trying desperately to avoid. Can’t you see that they’re the same bullets that used to shoot out of you not so long ago – the same ones that brought life to the death around you many times before?

You’re wasted. You say your good intentions have all been shot to hell.

Can’t you see it’s the same hell you’re choosing to live in?

But you’re blind to all logic.

Do you remember? Do you remember when you opened your palms and you found fingers – just lines and creases – where heaven used to stand?

Remember that Earth-shattering realization that you let it all slip away?

You say; I tried to hold on with all my might.

But it’s all gone and I can’t seem to get it back.

Are you trying?

You don’t hear me.

It’s just that one word echoing inside your skull.


You’re pulling at the strings that keep you standing because love is a play and you’re done being dragged around by hands that aren’t your own. All you want is the final act – the one where you fall to the ground and kiss the scissors that cut you up.

All you want is to sit here. Motionless.

All you want is to sit and reminisce.

All you want is your heaven.

And if you can’t have it you’d rather not exist.