"I can tell already you think I’m the dragon,
that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon.
I’m not the princess either.
Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down.
I walk through your dreams and invent the future."
"I opened “You slut” and found church pews
I opened church pews and found desperation
I opened desperation and found music
I opened music and found my father
I opened my father and found my broken heart
I opened my heart and found you leaving me
I opened leaving and found “You are impossible to love”
I opened “Impossible” and found a scream
I opened a scream and found childhood.
I opened childhood and found a swingset
I opened swingsets and found first kisses
I opened first kisses and found scared mothers
I opened scared mothers and found my mother
I opened my mother and found a scream."
"When I first learn the shape of
my mother’s bone-thin hands,
I am four
and crumpled in the corner like origami.
She tells me to hit back,
women can’t be weak in this world like twisted knives.
She must teach me to hold my head high,
even with both eyes blackened. This is living, she says, I promise, I will never lie to you.
This is how I learn to use my fists before my words,
kick the boys rather than kiss them.
I was not taught to be gentle,
in my family of bleeding mouths and blinded eyes.
I was a warrior since age four, a memorial
to all the girls who never learned no,
mordant and messy.
My mother taught me that love is a game.
Leave it to the boys –
we’re here for a fight.
This is how I learn that we live to die."
"Here, where the walls don’t stop bleeding, is where they find your poetry. They don’t understand the flesh you have glued back to your bones. Some nights you wonder if it counts as falling in love if you only stumble into it. The city inside of your stomach tells you everything is on fire. You write about the smoke to get rid of it. When you try to scrub yourself clean, the soap only ends up in your eyes. It burns for days, like always. It is never an easy burden being able to see everything so clearly. When your worst nightmare asks if this is still about him, you say, ‘Baby, you aren’t even close to being in these pages anymore. If I had a chance to create another world, do you really think you’d be in it?’ When the monsters get lonely, you finally learn to stop holding their hands. You finally learn that yours were made for more than this."