untitled (is still titled)
When I’m standing on the edge of myself,
I hope to take
a few steps
to see without
being sold on the sight.
I convince myself that I am the
loneliest girl in the world. Resist all reason.
Then, I remember how selfish that is,
know that someone,
somewhere is chasing the edge of their own shadow.
Instead, I practice
by holding on to something,
holding my breath,
if only to remind myself that
my chest heaves
because it has to,
because it learned how to release.
I’ve never wanted to hold gravity.
But I’ve wanted to suspend disbelief.
To be held by the invisible hands of memories that measure my pain in
fractions and factor in just how much
they can take,
until I’m reaching back.
It is on muffled mornings like this that I shake hands with my sadness.
I color myself outside the lines. And follow the yellow lines’ promises and
believe their destination to be true.
And I thank myself for being
a question with no answer,
for knowing the difference
You’re like a fist fight on my favorite Friday night. Where you send bones
and I play carcass. Excess and exchange.
And good grief, I’ve been grieving you since before I met you. Counting
strangers’ counterfeit crowns and calling them porcelain. (Co)-writing a self-
aware survival guide and giving it teeth.
This is a tongue-in-cheek way of saying:
you checked out
when you were
checking all of my boxes.
Now I’ve left my pen so that you’ll feel inclined to bring it back. Like a book
that you purposefully pocketed and have yet to return, because fuck, it has a
story beyond its binding that only you can read.
And you’ve already set your morning coffee on the insert card, so —
why not write me a note that reads:
“You make taking feel like giving.”
I want to borrow
b e t w e e n
up into my gums,
covet like a thief.
Want to spill over
edge my way
against your door.
Swear that I’ll return the favor.
Swear that I won’t come back for more.
Only every time I score, —
— body (neighbor),
I want to love you
with the lights on,
want you to always be
Especially when you spill over
and the edge of your plate
is a hard sell —
Swear that you know
this home — this body
fits you well.
Alicia Turner holds an MA in English and is a grant writer & storyteller. She can be found writing confessional, conversational poetry in an over-priced apartment somewhere in West Virginia. Her work is featured or forthcoming in Four Lines (4lines), CTD's ‘Pen-2-Paper’ project, Voicemail Poems, FreezeRay Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, Luna Luna, Defunkt Magazine, Sybil Journal, The Daily Drunk, ExPat Press, Rejection Letters Press, Screen Door Review, J Journal Literary Magazine, Sledgehammer Lit, Taint Taint Taint Magazine, Cartridge Lit., Space City Underground, among others.
Of the poetry featured here, Alicia says:
In an effort to be fully transparent, my first piece, “untitled (is still titled),” was written following the unforeseen death of former Miss USA (and multi-talented force of nature), Cheslie Kryst. I, like most, found out about her passing through social media — then, eerily found myself passing through the surface-level image of her life.
On that day, I jotted down the following:
“Curiosity kills the ego,
rips it to shreds.
Beyond a shred of doubt,
I’ve never wanted to die in a way
that is permanent.
But I have wanted to shed this skin,
Be someone that could hold gravity like that —
hold the room.”
I re-worked the piece to be what it is now, realizing that being “a question with no answer” still meant that there is an origin – that to be nothing is to be everything.
The title “Bookmarking Days” (and the context of the poem itself) was inspired by the Tramped by Turtles’ song “Wait So Long” (2010) and the lyric: “it’s a coffee-stained earth every time it happens // liven up, honey, it ain’t that bad.”
Essentially, as the metaphor goes, coffee stains aren’t necessarily “permanent,” per say, but they’re difficult to remove once left to set for too long. It’s easy to become too dependent on coffee — the “excess and exchange” of it all. People can be like that, too. The more feelings spill over, the more there is to clean up.
The central voice, specifically, is afraid to force friction where things are already woken and warm.
My third piece, “M over,” is a sort-of letter to myself to always actively take up/occupy spaces — even when my body (feels more like “neighbor,” more like “visitor”). It serves as a reminder to stop apologizing for simply being anything at all. Though my ability to practice self-love may be brief, it’ll be brave — “with the lights on.”