All the feelings I had inside raised to the surface of my skin as purple bruises and when they faded completely—so did you.
That’s a lie— I touched burst capillaries for hours circling fingertips around smaller circumferences each day. I knew the blue and black wasn’t healing: yellow, brown— but rotting on my skin slowly sucking back in decay.
I took a hit to the teeth you knocked out my voice and it lies where my knees lied.
I liked that voice. It had never been to the seashore but sounded like shells jangling in a Mason Glass. I’d press my lips to your ear— you’d swear you heard the ocean.
I didn’t hear you cry, I searched the floor to pick them up (as I imagined I’d do at the beach one day with you). Tides had already taken some and pushed in new ones.
I left the shells and I left you calling my name and I left “sorry, sorry, sorry” and I left my white sweatshirt.
Pop open tank: $3.37 a gallon. Insert card; remove quickly. Enter pin. Regular? Plus? Premium? Receipt? No.
Bacon, egg, and cheese Shmagelz— breakfast at Sheetz in the same skirt I wore last night.
I noticed your eyes were brown for the first time yesterday. I guess we should leave the light on more.
We make excuses (we’re twenty-something young and beautiful mouths on the can of a Natty Light) laughing at commitments we don’t need right now— and no, Lana Del Rey, he won’t, I won’t.
Right now— we’ll tie ourselves down with sheets we don’t know and morning-after strands of hair dressed up like birds singing freedom from feeling anything— (but only the caged and the courting bird sings).
You’re impossibly pretty and empty, useless like the fourth button on my cardigan I forget exists until I dress in the morning and notice it’s missing.
Right now, you take my hand absentmindedly, I let you, absentheartedly.
I’ll burn through you until I get where I want to go.
Because if you pulled me in, sober, and asked me to stay, I’d go (running on empty).
Wow, just found out your name is Sydney, which is cool cause so is mine! And I also love and adore poetry, and now...I hope one day I'll be in ur position w/ people admiring my poems like they admire yours<3
Your writing seems so personal and insightful, are they based of off people in your life, or just how you perceive others feel?
Both! Everyone says to write about what you know. But everyone knows heartbreak, tragedy, happiness, etc. Whatever degree we’ve all felt them, is relative to our own experiences. Our most painful experience is still our most painful experience. Therefore, if we just apply our feelings to what we’ve already experienced and put them into ones we haven’t yet experienced—we should be able to write about it. I usually start out trying to write from experience, but then something else entirely takes over and I realize what I’ve written is something that’s never actually happened to me—but feelings sometimes become more real when shown through a fictional situation. Also, for the sake of art, one usually needs to alter reality or create something entirely fictional.
She was a tackle box full of thread and needle, bits of scrap metal, paint sets, nuts, bolts, screws, macaroni and Elmer’s glue, scissors and construction paper, gas flames, an electric arc, a laser, an electron beam, circuit boards, sculpting clay, typewriter keys, jars of glitter, strings and beads, wires—she was a heart-maker and they’d come to her with empty chests, saying, “I must’ve left it in the pockets of the blue pants I sent to be dry-cleaned,” “I think I set it down in the dressing room,” “I swear I had it this morning.” And so she’d assemble them new ones—customized, fully functional, and they’d thank her and shake her hand and run their fingers through her beads and ask how much for accessories before swallowing the heart she made, they’d wait for the beating to start to love someone not her, and then the breaking to start, and the forgetting to start and the losing to start and they’d come back to her.
Your writing is absolutely amazing! What inspired you to start writing poetry?
I’ve always been a literary nerd and I love reading. Words fascinated me. Just reading poetry for school or picking up a poetry book at the library in my spare time in high school, I admired the way others were able to articulate completely new and different images of the world, using phrases and descriptions of things that I’d never seen before. When I began to try to write poetry myself, I found it became something like a self-discovery exercise. Being a normally quiet person, poetry really helped me find and develop my own voice.
I’d say it was after a creative writing class in my sophomore year of high school. Afterwards, I started seriously trying to write it more often in my senior year when I got a tumblr. I’m now in my junior year of college.
Your friend looks up at you, serious now, says, “You’re falling for her.”
You smile that smile that really isn’t one, sinking under
the RAM and sensory memory—(shut off the power and it’s gone); the hard-drive and the cortex— the cortex, a cache storage. In you, what would be RAM transfers to long-term memory when you’re asleep, you wake up, look at her, serious now, grasping at what you said, what she said— her dress on the floor, mascara smeared beneath seas of hair—she is as fragile now as she was beautiful then. You blink away 64 bits of information at each clock cycle.
You want your synapses to stop strengthening— stop weakening—stop storing information— so much like a computer, yet there’s something else there that isn’t on a circuit board.
Between chemical changes at connection points, between neurons, you try “clear history” of all the memories of her and all the hers
and all the implications of falling.
You wonder why it isn’t lifting into love.
Hey Jude, she is not an anchor.
Falling is too quick, and you are not so quick— (curled under your sheets, you think she is small enough to fit inside a seashell). And she could not be so quick to lift you.
For her, for you it isn’t so smooth as falling and landing. It is a constant lifting motion—she offers to be a crane, though not as able—still afraid of reaching the bell at the top of the rock wall. Says she can’t promise she won’t want to let go and free fall.
She doesn’t want to be linked, like you don’t want to be linked— doesn’t want to be an astronaut alone beneath the saltwater, keeping you in place—but ocean waters away.
Nobody wants to be held too tightly their eyes see shirt stitches instead of sunsets.
But the neurons make their connections— synaptic plasticity— and you remember her soft, breathing
Don’t look at me like I drew wings between my shoulder blades, picking out pulled feathers from my pores as if I were a down pillow because I guessed ships and cars sank and wrecked in your ribcage.
Everyone is a vessel of ruins, of Macchu Piccus, of Pompeiis, of Babylons, of Colosseums.
Brokenness doesn’t always discourage tourists.
When kissing you, it isn’t hard to taste the ash, the rot with the sweet, the mint, the alcohol—
it is almost like tasting wine.
Starting, straight angle view— the color range rolled against the edges; side view to spot brilliance, tilting the glass so the wine thins out; swirling to check for tears, quick short inhales through the nasal passage then a small sip held inside the cheeks: fruity, flowery, herbal, grassy with hints of vegetation, earthy, leathery, smoky, honeylike, vanilla, beer-like, oaky— complex yet balanced
—we are only complex.
It isn’t just your chest, a clock, and my ear that listens to hear blocked trains and springs, to notice the minute wheel is turned 20 minutes ahead (when you’ll have left these sheets walking down Odessa Dr, swinging car keys) and the hour wheel spun so far back, the hours are months— it is still set on the last girl.
It isn’t just you, who runs this clockwork.
It isn’t just you, who doesn’t tell the right time.
the imagery in your words is unbelievable.. i am in complete awe of what you write. have you always been like this, or is it something you acquired over the years ? (:
Thank you! Imagery really comes from how you see the world—your unique way of seeing of how the world around you is shaped. And this perspective is something every good writer is born with, and each good writer brings a different image out in their writing—a glimpse into how they see their world. However, developing the skills to precisely word these views is definitely something I was not born with. I am always, and will always be continuing to practice and improve my writing skills.
He came to me in such a way I had to keep turning to keep him in my vision. Walking in circles made him think clearer, he said. The night he came his thoughts and the sky were clear. He traced stars with his fingertips to tarry the time—maybe he was waiting for one to fall to speak for him—for it, instead, to tell me what I’d made him do—for me. It took a few more orbits to talk. In a way, he was a constellation himself, that arched across my sky. Orion, he pulled my wrist until my pointer finger laid on the belt, is best seen in January and is completely gone by June. I’d have to turn my head all winter to follow him. He must’ve thought hard those months—I felt dizzy.
Now, he is footprints in the snow on the roof leading up to my window; a blanket spread shoulders to shoulders across a sill; a light on in a girl’s bedroom and two lips meeting between the line of 60 watt bulb light and cold specks of starglow between the blackness. I’d open my window to him and gusts of tiny white ballerinas would twirl in and the whole world around us would be magnificent and invisible. All the heights above us, I couldn’t see: the shimmering shingles beneath the tangle of power lines—moonlight catching stitches of sparkles in snow flurries—and the laced branches of trees bundled up in coldness. A little west—the highway headlights move slowly. From up in the air the mismatched patches of lined farm field terrain flicker with small shapes of light from porches and billboards and shop signs and traffic signals. Even higher still, an airplane blinks red light, by blue light, by red light—and the clinks of soda cans on a flight attendant’s cart repeat softly as she passes by a sleeper—quietly. Quietly, the world breathes its unseen magnificence. Quietly, the unnoticed beauty is humble.
I see only from my height. I see only his eyes and feel only his trembling lips over chattering teeth.
Just following my question to what inspired you to write "Canvas Skin". I connected to it negatively from my own personal experience. Is this what you were aimed for as you wrote this piece?
Just to clarify, when I said I was happy you connected with it—I did not mean that I was happy it describes a situation you are/were in. Rather, what I mean is that I’d be happy if it meant something to you and, in turn, helped you overcome your fear and speechlessness. I was aiming to reach out to those who have also felt that way—to let them know that they are not alone, and to help them realize that it is not okay to live life passively. It is okay to define who you are yourself and to stand up for that definition. That was the aim.
What inspired you to write "Canvas Skin"? When i first read it, i didn't find any meaning to it, but after reading it two or three times something sparked and made me connect to it. Your imagery is just outstanding.
A mix between feeling like you’re not standing up for yourself or your own opinions or what you really want because of fear, and that feeling you get when someone is trying to change you or judges you wrongly and you end up going along with it without saying anything. If you don’t become the person YOU want to become, other people are going to take that job from you. Thank you so much for taking the time to re-read it! I’m so happy you connected with it!
I think you thought my skin was canvas (you painted what you wanted over it).
Maybe it’s my fault.
(Maybe I didn’t get enough sun), my skin became paper.
When about to share an ice cream, you asked if I preferred strawberry or vanilla and when I said, “either” (even though I wanted mint) maybe you thought I was blank, I think, I never spoke enough— it’s only natural you’d french kiss me just to fill my mouth with your own words.
And when you asked if I loved you and I said, “yes” when I wasn’t really sure, it isn’t strange you molded me into a drinking cup you imagined and designed
when I never made an effort to give my clay skin shape.
Poetry is universal. Even if you do not write it—you inspire it. How can you be so modest as to hate it? Probably none of your thoughts are original but it is somehow comforting to know the thinking patterns of life on this planet are shared throughout. You find your own thoughts in poetry—things you couldn’t make sense of on your own; lines of a poem, like picked up pieces of your own mind—like little lenses that make sense when compared to a different lens. A poet is an optometrist flipping lenses of the phoropter until you see clearly. A poem is an instrument to measure your refractive error and a prescription all in one. Poetry is necessary for vision.
When I come across a poem that reiterates a thought I’ve had in a more precise and articulate manner than I ever could have expressed—when I come across a poem that is able to transcribe my own feelings so that I feel a burden lifted (people are always afraid of the unknown, but a poem can make an incomplete thought or feeling a solid object able to be held and inspected and seen) than that poem becomes a light. That poem becomes a light shining on the soul of the poet—a flame that spans from them to me and on the way leaps to light the lampposts of all those who have read it and connected with it. In this way, a poem lights the darkened areas of hearts and souls and minds across the world and when we are able to see what we hadn’t before—when our paths to others are lit—we become less alone, we become filled with courage to travel them.
She was petal-rimmed blue eyes, not like mine: brown like firewood. But they would burn, blazing streamers stretching for the sky. You were always watching to catch the clouds that passed her pupils while I would give rise to higher flames, reaching, rising, gripping air and always, always burning.
Hi Sydney! First of all you're incredibly stunning! Second, I really love your words. And your Advice page was SO helpful for me. So thank you for that! And third... I want to ask you something since I really love your work. The other day I heard someone say that if you write in your computer instead of writing in paper then your work isn't the same "quality" and it doesn't have the same "value" what do you think about it? ...
Writing is an art form that I believe develops, as other art forms do. For a painting to be considered a high form of art, one used to only be able to paint realism—like the Mona Lisa. But now pop art, once considered a low art form, by Andy Warhol and action paintings by Jackson Pollock have also become worth millions and are displayed in museums. Literature used to be recorded on clay tablets in Mesopotamia—should we all continue to write on clay because it is difficult and is one of the original means for recording? Most writers continue to upgrade their tools based on the current technology: paper, typewriters, electronic typewriters, word processors, computers. Each method has its benefits and downfalls but the means for writing should be left up to the writer’s preference. In the end, no one is really going to know how the piece was written. Even if a writer slaves over countless sheets of paper with notes in the margins and lines crossing out passages—if what he is writing is crap, it’s still going to be crap regardless of the tools he used to write it or the perseverance he showed by using such a time-consuming method. A typewriter generally forces a writer to choose words more carefully and precisely because of its permanent nature—but that doesn’t necessarily mean a writer will skillfully do so, nor does it mean a writer cannot choose the same words on a computer screen. Ultimately, the quality of your work is found in your skill as a writer and in your completed work—not in the way you choose to write that work.
I always liked the phrase “catch some rays,” I liked the idea of sun caught like a baseball in a mitt on the surface of my skin as if somehow my body leapt up from the bleachers and caught the foul ball and just held this sphere of sunlight somewhere inside.
I, Your Body is a Graveyard, Wanderlust, I Will be Okay, Dreamed You, Mobile, I could go on and on. They are so so beautiful and alive and relatable I want to read them over and over and over. Truly. This ask doesn't even have a point to it, I guess just that your words are amazing if you didn't already know :)
This is what inspires me to keep writing, thank you (:
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
I’ve created fantasies of you in my mind. I’ve sculpted you in glass bottles like sand art adding layers of color and glitter filled it up to the rim and left no breathing space— stopped you with a cork, stuffed you in a crackerjack bag and made you the prize.
Pitched a striped tent around your figure and made you the ringleader of feathered elephants, stilt-walking men, trapeze artists, tightrope walkers— but I’ve fed you to the lions.
Dreamed you up of daises, tied your stems together with blue ribbon; but a bouquet never looks as good as it does the moment picked.
I’ve drawn lines on the walls of your parents’ home above the last mark your mother made measuring your height— you will always fall short.