After

“She always talks about after. Always comments
on the low light in the bedroom, how she can
count each ring of rib and pick out the blue pulse
at the hollow of your throat. I try to imagine what
isn’t mine: the softness of you in a bedroom that
smells like skin and her beneath you, nails in your
back like a crucifixion. I try to imagine the cocoon
of you, the possessiveness of your embrace, how

your fingers curl around her wrists like manacles.
She is slave to your passion and you are too—slave
to that untamed thing within you that croons with
wild abandon and hangs its head when you are
spent. I wonder how she can manage to keep herself

together and talk about it so normally, as if you do
not crawl into bed night after night together, feet
bound at the bases of each other’s spines like hands
praying. She doesn’t say the most obvious: that you
are beautiful, that the sight of you above her—or
below her—moving, eyes open wide and mouth

gaping is enough to shatter her. That the tilt of your
neck against the pillow and how pliable you become
beneath her hands and the little ‘o’ she leaves behind
on your shoulder with her teeth like a branding as
she comes makes her love you—impossibly, achingly—
more. It is

a love that leaves you both scraped out and hollow,
as if it has burned you clean through.”

— Kristina Haynes, “After”

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April 28, 2004 (Oops, there was another, lamer one)

Icon: love that perfect frown
subject: whatabadidea
eventtime: 2004-04-28 02:21:00
Mood: annoying

Another one of those “I Remember” exercises, which is really the only kind of writing other than complaints that I put in my notebook for English class. Anyway, the point is to start with “I remember…” and then keep listing stuff that comes immediately to mind. Yeeeeaaah. Edited to protect the innocent.

I remember warm rain and half the sky light colored
I remember roller skating on the garage roof – so sketchy!
I remember fairies and roleplay and being oddly admired for being creative
I remember getting all A’s
I remember swordfighting with cardboard wrapping paper tubes
I remember [my uncle] trying to teach me how to stage fight
I remember spotlights
I remember forgetting lines and almost beseeching the audience to let me give up
I remember crying on [The Actor]’s shoulder
I remember making assumptions
I remember being surprised at what [Christos] and [Jim] looked like
I remember feeling how much the Final Fantasy movie sucked
I remember victory
I remember sitting in the kitchen reading gameguides at breakfast
I remember fear of entering the ruins to the south because ghosts would corner you as bells rung, deep
I remember loving [my uncle] more than ever
I remember being let off the hook too many times
I remember salamanders
I remember admiring the pictures
I remember filling in the blanks
I remember chickens getting in the story and wondering how
I remember innocence
I remember jokes going over my head
I remember being annoyed by this
I remember sex being (the worst) taboo
I remember being fascinated by it from birth – playing doctor
I remember only getting to do that once
I remember when [Mary] wanted to set me up with my cousin
I remember hating him
I remember [Jake] with a fever on my couch
I remember seeing [Kathy]
I remember several people named [Kathy]
I remember thinking [Peter] was enigmatic
I remember finding out this was false
I remember [Beth] sleeping on my shoulder
I remember touching with _____
I remember harassing _____
I remember love triangles
I remember breaking down in history class
I remember turning around and smiling
I remember kicking the lockers ’til I bruised
I remember being petty and cruel so many times
I remember being forgiven every time
I remember eluding description
I remember being called “so-and-so’s girlfriend”
I remember boys kicking cans in the snow
I remember the trenchcoat kid and being told he was a douche
I remember another boy in a trenchcoat and my grandmother suspicious of him
I remember loving him (in a totally – “hey that guy’s kinda cool” way)
I remember discovering _____ had aborted his child
I remember [Nika] being clueless
I remember wanting, wanting, wanting
I remember [Lena]’s everpresent expression
I remember support
I remember Super Mario Brothers’ Super Show
I remember Fraggle Rock
I remember smoking up and coughing and heat
I remember [Ally] sitting in the same spot every day
I remember when [Amy] told me _____and ____ were an item
I remember finding out ____ didn’t know
I remember the courtyard in the spring and relief
I remember vending machine lunches
I remember flirting – badly
I remember comradery
I remember [our music teacher] being dumb
I remember ____’s lips
I remember that the only lips I’ve really liked belonged to boys named Justin

April 12, 2004

Icon: rush of blood to the head
subject: last post. promise.
eventtime: 2004-04-12 23:47:00

In writing class, we were instructed one day to start writing freely, James Joyce style 😉 beginning every sentence with “I remember”. And it is just….bleh….I shouldn’t share this…but I will anyway. Yup yup. I wrote another one. And it’s not poetic or anything but….yeah.

I remember the way [The Stoner]’s face looked when he was gonna cum.
I remember my mother singing me to sleep.
I remember injokes and laughter and choking on mint chocolate ice cream at [Billiards].
I remember sitting on [Christos’] couch, pressed against a [County] boy, ignoring a fight in the next room.
I remember [my uncle] telling me, soberly, then with a nervous laugh, not to be like him.
I remember bathroom floors and the Bowladrome parking lot.
I remember lying under [our highschool’s] stage and being discovered, sleep interrupted.
I remember breaking my grandfather’s heart a thousand times.
I remember being too short to see over the kitchen counter.
I remember a freshman kissing me and telling me not to change.
I remember scenes of hundreds of movies.
I remember someone saying Bono looked like Robin Williams.
I remember lying in the ocean and discovering a shipwrecked boat and chasing fish and salt.
I remember forgetting to buy Dramamine and a bartender who couldn’t speak English trying to substitute it with beer.
I remember when a girl first told me she liked me.
I remember [Amy]’s father dying and no one caring.
I remember hating Wild Wild West on opening night. My grandmother loved it.

I remember laughing my sides silly at the notion of Lexx.
I remember struggling to love someone who belittled me for appreciating it.
I remember snot getting in my mouth and not caring because the saliva was sweet enough to mask it.
I remember realizing ____’s voice sounded like Homestar Runner.
I remember the touch of hands on my waist, gentle, then clutching desperately.
I remember another’s hands making me shiver.
I remember sharp pain and being filled.
I remember trying to forget.
I remember praise on a piece and being told to write more.
I remember standing in the ice, looking at the science wing, and thinking of the first line.
I remember lying on the floor looking up at [Navy] and asking about [Lia] but I don’t remember why.
I remember [Kristy Rossi] matchmaking.
I remember awkward dancing and yet another’s sweaty hands on my waist.
I remember pining.
I remember praying.
I remember isolating myself and a man with “Chris” on his nametag and skeeball in the rain.
I remember when [my town’s] water tasted fine.
I remember laughter at dumb jokes.
I remember hearing swears and being nonchalant about it.
I remember wanting to help [my uncle] on (video)game missions but not daring to touch the controller.
I remember sitting on a rock and kissing [Rick] by the pond.
I remember ____ telling me she kissed ____, and more, and envisioned them on the same rock.
I remember sitting by the lockers and leaning my head on [Rick]’s shoulder and thinking aren’t we a pair of psychosis-filled losers.
I remember rage and smiling smiley happy disgusting faces.
I remember [Russo] giving me advice.
I remember being labeled so-and-so’s girlfriend and irrationally feeling erasure of my identity every time.
I remember freshman tongue.
I remember (the song) “Golden Years” and the joy of it.
I remember standing behind the lightboard seconds before performing and feeling deep comradery with two boys I barely knew.
I remember when [Bry] leapt onstage.
I remember licking the curtain rope.
I remember telling [Rick] he made me uncomfortable.
I remember brown puppy eyes and a self-deprecating chortle.
I remember shock and loss.
I remember tears.
I remember towers falling.
I remember desperate apologies for betrayal.
I remember waiting for the lunch bell.
I remember turning around and smiling.
I can’t remember ever remaining rational.

This Time (August 30, 2005)

I would take down all the clocks
Open up their bellies and
Painstakingly twist the cogs back
So the gongs strike 12, 11, 10

I would push back the pages
Calendars flipping past in reverse
Movie motion passing time
Backwards to a month, a year, two years

I would sit in a darkened car not speaking
I would nudge away from thighs in the theaters
I would turn my head at the exact moment
Lips touched electricity sparked and history…

I wouldn’t dance so close, so joyfully
Glancing, glancing, glancing
I wouldn’t call so late or smile so wide
I wouldn’t speak in code in halls
I wouldn’t sit down at lunch there
Looking, looking, searching
I wouldn’t allow myself to be hugged
I would forget those dreams that haunted me
Through first period, second, third, into fourth
Into fourth
Into fourth

I would erase the book’s pages
I would hold down on delete all the way back
All the way back to the moment you pointed at me
As I stood, announced lead
Insulted and amused and noticed
Barely
I wouldn’t ruffle your hair or make teases
I wouldn’t sit on desks with my legs
Spread wide like that with sixth graders near
I wouldn’t have done any of these things
Making lesbians late or grounded
Making friends lovers jealous
Making dramatic exaggerations
Or throwing purses

I would not have done any of it
In that fashion

I’d have been smoother this time

This is a work of poetry. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.