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sirens and sailors

Girls like us appear picture perfect:
the ship at the bottom of a glass bottle.
But we are sirens leading
sailors to shipwreck. We stand our ground,
sea nymphs luring mariners to destruction.
Girl’s breaking boys’ hearts like it’s nothing,
rolling limbs up in sheets, we whisper
over their corpses who the hell are you to save us?
who are you to die trying?
Pushed past those small town boys and wished them the best.
Tell ‘em to never look back. We reasoned we just helped them find an excuse
to leave this small town where starvation and addiction
are drinking games girls like us play on school nights.
One shot of vodka for every meal you skipped this week.
Girls like me tie our virginity’s to our sleeves with fishing line,
giggle coy and pretty. We were dangerous and devious,
flirts and teases. We sung through the sand in our teeth,
we were supposed to be independent, fearless.
But before college my friends smashed their demons on my hull
with wine bottles and sent me out to sea. When I pulled back
into my small hometown harbor six months later
I didn’t know how to tell them I spent my freshman year
on a bathroom floor, curled around the helm of a toilet bowl,
praying the cold tile would numb the shaking in my hands.
How I counted days survived with notches nicked in vomit swollen skin,
split skin open with the shards from those wine bottles
they left me till I couldn’t see straight from a combination of blood loss,
exhaustion, and starvation. Spent shaking in the arms of girls
who never chased boys around the playground with me,
were never there to swim naked in the ocean with me.
I can’t even remember what happened
most of my first semester. I just know I was constantly on the edge
of hysteria, and when I came home to my friends
and tried to explain that I was losing it, that the control we shared
between scraped knees and splinters was slipping,
they pretended they couldn’t see me. Thought by ignoring me
they could somehow teach me.
And this is what my hometown was like,
everyone pretended they couldn’t hear the salty rasp of tongue
in cheek, pretended they couldn’t see skinny girls like me speared at the helm
of a ship humming a sailor’s elegy, (hum)
just hoping someone would listen.
I know we’ve all got sharks
in our harbor, that I am not the only one to make it out alive.
That tears mean nothing when you’re floating belly down
in the ocean, but goddammit if you thought I wouldn’t try and sing
my way out of this one. Are you finally listening?
Before today my body was useless. My skin
a blanket of burden I wrapped around my bones
to keep myself warm. I have been words burned
to memory before. I have stood beneath ash falling
like snow and embraced being a person inverted.
Someone who doesn’t matter to anyone.
But I’ma sing till I shatter the glass of that clear perfect bottle
and set the ship free. I am turning away from this harbor now,
growing up and getting out.

new slam piece

3 Jul 07

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lines 48 to 52 are amazing. this story... kinda reminds me of some of my friends and our hometown... hit something deep, and I might figure out what it is later, but for now, I'm in love with this poem...
 — EchoesRemain

nice poem
 — hank

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