all i ever do.

i’ve been rerunning old situations

breakdowns, relapses, frustrations

wishing every night that you’d call.

knowing i’m holding on to nothing

say i don’t care but i’m bluffing

wondering if you miss me at all.

you keep throwing back the same sentence

of your best claim of self-defense

saying you needed to hurt me to take care of yourself.

did you forget i wrote you a thousand love letters?

but maybe i should’ve known better

they could’ve filled books but now you burn down the whole shelf.

& i know you’re off somewhere right now

with a new life as i wonder how

you trashed your promises like they weren’t treasure too.

& i have to pretend i don’t mind

that i’m left here behind

trying my hardest to be happy for you.

& i hate that even as you’re pinning me with the blame

i still love you just as much all the same

a stupid dreamer believing something’s meant to be.

fantasizing life like a scene from a movie

where you turn around say you’re sorry

& fall asleep every night beside me.

& they tell me to move on from the past

good things never last

yet here i am still trying for you.

& don’t you remember when you promised me every sunset?

the rooftop conversations outweigh my regrets

do you remember? because that’s all i ever do.

–wolfcalls

haunted house hearts.

i’ve been watching reruns of old movies

taking shots alone at empty bars

cocaine on california beaches

muffled sex inside of strangers cars

i don’t want to be a bother

but god, i wish you knew

that when i say i miss home

all i really miss is you

there’s been a hundred things that should’ve killed me

& i stitched myself together & moved on

but now i realize that in your eyes

i’m already long dead and gone

you dance around questions like i’m a stranger

as if i’m someone you never knew

& i’m right here, living and breathing

but i’m still a ghost to you

& every time i try to take a step closer

just to show you it won’t pull me apart

cemeteries reflect inside your tears

i guess we’re both haunted house hearts

screaming, sobbing, shaking

why can’t you see that i’m real?

second guessing, rationalizing

don’t tell me “it’s just how i feel”

but i swear on heaven and hell if you touch me

your hand won’t pass straight through

& just in case there’s no second life

let me spend this one with you.

–wolfcalls

something you don’t miss.

i tell myself not to look

at old pictures of you

i tell myself it’s pointless

there’s nothing else i can do

but if it was all that simple

i would’ve stopped a long time ago.

& i tell myself that it doesn’t matter

that i’ve been replaced

but the more reality i avoid

the more i end up having to face

& it keeps me up at night

— & i wonder if you know. 

i bet that she’s beautiful

i bet she’s easy to get along with

i bet your mom just loves her

& i bet that you promise

that you’ll be there the rest of her life

— funny, that sounds familiar.

i know that it’s not right of me

not to wish you all the best

but if i’m being honest with myself

i can’t get this weight off of my chest

that i think in spite of everything

it should be me there instead of her.

no, i’m not gonna beg from you

i’m not going to get down on my knees

but i would be a liar if i said

that i didn’t hope one day you’d see

that sunsets never looked brighter

before that first time we kissed.

& god knows i hate to sound desperate

it’s not what i want to be

but if i could conjure magic tricks

i’d spin you around and into me

don’t you dare pretend it’s nothing

don’t say i’m something you don’t miss.

& i’m sure she’s wonderful

i’m sure when you call her on the phone

her heart skips a beat to hear your voice

but do her arms feel like home?

i know you could still be happy–

but why don’t you smile with her like you did with me?

i hear she’s everything i’m not

a gentle girl who doesn’t have trust issues

but you’ll be running all your life

if you keep trying to find girls who will fix you

but there’s an empty spot in my life

if you decide it’s where you ever want to be.

–wolfcalls

terms & conditions

here’s to yet another graffitied bathroom reunion between us two,

kissing me all over & all i see is blue,

it smells like cigarettes and sulfur & i thought you already knew?

all these terms and conditions have never applied to you.

clothes & condoms on dirty tiles just like how my self control fell through,

but it’s after school on a tuesday; what else am i supposed to do?

–wolfcalls

a+g

here’s to my lover,

from a brief meeting by chance–

an electric kiss & an exchanging of numbers & a promise to see each other again

finding myself enamored by this complete stranger

wondering about you

wondering about me

wondering if you were going to be just another passing ghost in my life,

wondering how long you would stay

& so we started through the awkward first phases

stumbling over the “what’s your favorite color/movie/song/what do you want to do with your life?/what do you hate/not hate/want?”

the ultimately anticipated “do you want to date?”

just before the entire world flipped upside down around us

& yet…

as the outside collapsed in violence & sickness & isolation

you were still holding my hand.

here’s to my lover,

to all the things i love about you–

from the outlines of your body

to the sound of your voice

to the reflection of your eyes in the streetlights.

your nicknames for me–

(& i will never not be your “little cat.”)

your arms tight around my body, your shoulder under my head;

even the way you sigh & roll your eyes when frustrated makes me want you,

your unconditional patience,

your unending kindness.

your adamant refusal to give up on me.

even how you tease me about being short (i am in fact, an average height, but not everyone is genetically blessed to be 6’3). 

i like the dark shadows under your eyes when you’re tired. 

i like how you insist on cooking me dinner even after a long day.

i like how you kiss my head after a fight.

& i love you.

here’s to my lover,

to all the beautiful parts,

like watching the sunsets

like stargazing in hot tubs,

the movies, & the car rides where you let me blast my trashy pop music,

the takeout dinners 

the sex

& the spontaneous dates 

here’s to the roses you bring me home when i have a bad day

the endless conversation

the relentless laughter

when you carried me on your back & ran through the commons

the way you try to learn all my music 

& your quiet endurance of my daily political rants.

that calm quiet of sitting & playing animal crossing together at the end the day,

happy just knowing you exist, & that you’re here, with me,

going to that first, hesitant “i love you” to the point where it becomes as casual & natural as anything else,

hey, i love you & i do my best every day for you, because you deserve nothing less.

hey, i love you, & i never want to stop trying for you, over & over & over again.

he’s to my lover

the ugly parts, the hard parts, the exhausting parts.

the mundane parts, like my hair constantly clogging the drain & your socks consistently missing the laundry basket,

& what the hell is with grocery prices anyway?

the bad parts, like the 3:00 a.m. fights

the “leave me alones/ i don’t want to talk/why can’t you just listen’s”

the almost break-ups,

the conversations that go around in circles.

the horrible parts, the blood-in-bathtubs, razor-in-my-wrist parts

the my-parents-kicked-me-out part

suicide tries & psych wards,

pills & vomit & sleeping all day & refusing help from the one person who wants to offer it in the right way.

the panic attacks & mood swings & irrational behavior & yet you don’t even flinch, love, you never blame me, never hold it against me, leave your arms open for me every time.

& when the fights are over

when the psychotic breaks are over

when the psych ward was over

when everything is over

you’re still there.

here’s to my lover, 

my partner, my best friend

whose arms i wake up every morning inside of

& fall asleep inside of every night.

whose voice still gives me butterflies & whose kiss feels like home

there is no one i would rather get glared at by old ladies in the grocery store for holding hands with (what’s a nice american boy like you doing with a foreigner like me?)

no one i would rather share secrets with

no one i have better inside jokes with

no one i would rather love;

only you. it’s only ever you.

& isn’t it funny, isn’t it something straight out of a novel

that a one-night stand evolved into this? that a fleeting hook up turned into forever?

i love you.

i love you.

i love you. 

–wolfcalls

about you.

do you miss me? 

you’ve said you do, at least, dad said so in the card that he slipped in with my mail when i dropped by to pick it up. but what about you? there was no card from you, and often no replies to my texts either. maybe i should stop trying? maybe i don’t try hard enough? 

i know the reasons you kicked me out. i’m just not quite what you wanted, right? not stable enough, not religious enough, not straight enough or modest enough. i’m too much of everything you tried to repress in me when i was younger. but i want you to tell me—was it worth it to you? teaching me a lesson about staying out late or kissing girls or wearing crop tops on my Instagram? was i so much of a disappointment, a waste of an adoption, that you had no other choice? 

do you regret the choice you did make? 

i wonder how you spend your days now, if they’re the same as they always were before i left. waking up and getting straight to work, taking out your stress on everyone else afterwards, grocery store runs and friday nights with dad away from the house. do you ever pull into the road and remember teaching me how to drive there? do you watch marvel movies because they remind you of how we used to go the theater opening night to watch them together? do you look at the dog you got for me and recall how i begged you every day for months for a puppy?  do you wonder how things are going to be now, the awkward family gatherings and if i’ll even show up? do you sometimes stare out the window and wonder where i am? do you try not to, or do you still think about me? 

i do.   

i think about you all the time.  

you call it “hedonism,” i call it “coping.”

i swear that this time

i’ll be just fine

didn’t want to be bored

so i got checked into the psych ward

& i know i said

i wouldn’t be caught dead

with another razor in my wrist

said it wouldn’t end like this

but what the hell, i never promised–

& if i’m being honest

i don’t like the routine

wanna live like it’s a movie scene

& when you ask why i couldn’t care less–

why don’t you take a fucking guess?

i’m into rainbow neon lights

& pink like marks from fistfights

& all these expensive things i’ve bought

take away from the other thoughts

candy looks an awful lot like my meds

at least during sex i don’t have to leave the bed

maybe this doesn’t feel how it should,

but it’s all worth it if it makes me feel good…

–wolfcalls

2 thessalonians 1:9

whenever someone tells me angels have wings

i laugh because they don’t know a damn thing

crosses on wrists written in dark pink

missionary doesn’t show you god the way that you think

and they tell me i’m something of a headcase

or such a waste of a nice, pretty face

like i was ever able to let go

like i didn’t make a noose out of his halo

tell me your sins lying inside the dark

tell me how stained glass left a burn mark

i’ll never again be golden

but it was worth it just to hold him…

-wolfcalls

iced coffee.

you don’t think i notice the way you look at me

but believe me i do

it’s like your eyes go straight past my body,

unhesitatingly straight through

but of course that’s all just in my head

at least that’s what you said.

i don’t know how to talk to you

don’t know how to get the words out

trying to spark that conversation

& end up circling in unending roundabouts

don’t you know how much i love you?

what I’d give for you to still love me too?

& i know i was never your favorite

i’ve never been an easy one,

but i’m still frozen in disbelief

that you actually called it quits & said you’re done

you know that you still feel like home?

but now I’m driving away all alone.

& do you know how much I want to say:

I miss the laughter

& i miss the movie nights

i miss the evenings

baking cookies under christmas lights–

the only time you didn’t mind washing the dishes;

& in springtime blowing out candles for birthday wishes

i miss the inside jokes

me admitting to something you already know

i even miss that stupid garden

that you insisted that we grow–

you would shake your head at that part,

but believe me, i mean it with all of my heart

& i miss the summers

when you’d get me iced coffee

how you’d randomly break out

singing beatles songs off-key,

i used to wake up early every morning just to say goodbye

before you left for work, & if i didn’t i’d cry

& they say you outgrow things in life

so you can begin something new

but i never once thought

i’d end up without you–

you said you’d be there forever, give me all that you’ve got

but i guess forever wasn’t as long as i thought.

now all those days i used to dream of being over

have left me longing for just one more

& you pack my things in boxes

& lock the front door

you never used to do that– even when you weren’t here

there isn’t a note, but the message is clear

& maybe this is just reality now

maybe there’s no going back to then…

but just know that my schedule’s always got space

for iced coffee again

maybe i’ll see you around town, passing in cars;

ghosts of a promise, & tough love-induced scars

–wolfcalls

ithaca lights

i’ve spent almost a full year now

memorizing every part of you

spun off from a one night stand

& completely fell right through

& i’ve spent a long time now

blocking my vision from the end

borrowed time tainting sunlight

no one wants to lose their best friend

& i know it wasn’t always perfect

know we colored outside a lot of lines

but know to me it was more than perfect

–everything was perfect when you were mine

& i swear i could’ve loved you

for the rest of my life

swear i could’ve spent all my years at your side

even walk down an aisle in white

& people always change over time

& i know we will too

but i was still betting on us

wanted to watch every sunset with you

& i know even the best love songs

always come to an end

but i’d put this one on repeat

play it over again & again

& i loved you with everything i had

–i swear with nothing less

there wasn’t a bar i wouldn’t have tried to clear

nothing i would’ve been too proud to confess

& i know you can’t relive the past

or how things used to be

but i hope that when this town lights up at night

it will always remind you of me

–wolfcalls