He continues to have dreams heís betraying me but not feeling guilty about it. I keep having dreams he is gone. He walks away and I am broken. I dream I am driving in a car with my cousin. The windows are down. I am supposed to be at school, but we will be late. Fuck it, we are free for a moment. I steal money from an old woman that cares for me. She hates me. Three dollars each day for lunch money. I don't eat lunch, but save the money, pushing it into my pockets. The old man tries to fuck me and I block him with the money. I am on my stomach and he's pushing. I scream at myself to wake up, to realize this is a dream. I jolt awake and try to convince myself it is all right, that it is safe now. His voice breaks the silence, whispering. "Just kiss me." I know I canít kiss him, transported back.

your words are beating out

pompously flavored indirect liturgies

I scream out my sufferings

until my throat is raw

the wind is chafing me

sand, skin, sweat

all one song

I pulled my hair back with a manila elastic rubber band, pushed stringy hair out of my eyes, scrubbed at flushed ruddy skin and observed fat, watching tears pool at the corners of bloodied eyes. Black coat hanging loosely draped against the fat. A knife pulsates, sticking vertically out of a limp body. Snapped back into reality, I know I piss him off when I just want to be alone. I cannot let him see me cry. I hold the tears in, not understanding why suddenly he is not as safe as he used to be. It hammers, twists, bursting to puncture through flesh. I curl from my current position into a tighter ball, bringing my knees up to my chest, pressing his eyes closed with my fingertips. It rips at me while he rests in silent dreams, the faintest hint of a smile pulling across his face. The lump in my throat grows, eyes burning without moisture. I grip his T-shirt - holding onto some reminder of him until I'm falling. I hit rock bottom fast, screaming, punching at the thickened air. It's over that fast, my head on the rocks, sand in every crevice possible. Sweat, dry mouth, stomach pains, all bring me back to reality. Shaking, my hands knead the empty blankets next to me. I am left wrecked, a broken indentation in the soft cotton.

I hate how he won't listen. How my thoughts don't mean anything to him, how stupid I seem around him. How stupid I have to be with him, always playing the fool. I wish I were something else. I feel like a child again, wishing more than anything that I were good at something athletic so my parents would love me more. He cannot understand me at all. I run out to the woods, this place of comfort. He follows me, telling me to go back indoors. At that moment I want him to take me in his arms and tell me itís going to be all right.

I am tired of being a fucking job. I am tired of being something needing to be taken care of. I have created this hell. I cannot promise him anything. He has shaken me, his voice threatening. Illusions of safety are shattered. Only the blade remains.

You smell of cheap booze and cigarettes

though you beg me to deny it

We talk too much, filling in the silences

bricks against cement we undress halfway

tossing aside morals, thoughts

Nothing happens and you apologize

curse yourself

It's easier in the dark

to tell secrets, divulge fantasies

When the light is on the edge of the horizon

I am reminded

I can no longer stay here... too tired, worn out. Body aching, emotions raw. I realize now I am alone, have been alone. I cannot take this. I wish I were stronger. For him, for everyone. It's never been about me. I feel so selfish staying here, bringing him into my hell. I cannot go on like this, I cannot stay here. I'll keep this up for as long as I can. Everyone thinks I am better now. I wish I were all right now. I wish I were not constantly here. I wish I could be what he deserves, but I know in my mind I am not. I keep going over in my mind what I could be doing wrong, what he could not like about me. I donít tell him I know something is wrong, although I do. Itís painstakingly obvious from the way he treats me, the way he looks at me at night versus morning.

I begin making a list of what I want, music mixing. I want to get beat up. I want to be washed in blood. I want a black eye. I want to cry for another reason. I want to get mad - scream, cry, fly into a rage. I want to let go. I want to float into oblivion. I want darkness. I want to shun the light. I want to stop calorie counting. I want to film. I want to capture feet stomping, hands clasped, forehead sweat, flabby arms, laughter, anger, pain. I wish I could have taped the car, him, the woods. I wish I could bottle up happiness. Wish I could throw out pain. Wish I could blast out my eardrums, poke out my eyes, find some solution. E=MC*2. 2+2=4. The absolutes in life. All mathematical. Boy+Girl= what? Real numbers? No real solution.

I turned off my phone, cut of my connection, closed off my heart. No pictures. Washed his smell out of my clothes because I am tired of needing him. The pink Gumby's card is still on my bed. His number. Not his writing. This is a stageshow for everyone. Our audience. Images projected, protected. Copyright. Alcohol, painkillers, razors. Everything is too raw here. Threats. Reality mixed with dreams. I am unable to tell the difference between dreams and reality. Someday I'll fuck up too badly. A time bomb. It is ticking. Black, red based and sparks, on fire.

We wait in the dark. I am alone. His hands are molding my skin. I am clay. Not the right consistency. I am watered down, slipping away. An overturned table, covers too tight. I am cold, slippery. I am his project - community service points. If I hired him why can I not fire him? I am being so selfish.

4 beans in a row. I cannot make the combinations. He wins. I give up. If I went limp would he stop being angry? If I collapse, I would want him to vault me through the flaming doors. I cannot be alive any longer.

It is all dreams now. I search for some way to die. Teach me. I took the tubing to the window. Tight. Breathe deeply. Relax. "Did you leave the note? Did you find a job? Did you mail the letters?" Relax. Play the song on repeat. "You were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun..." Wilco. I cannot rely on him any longer. It occurs to me that I am simply fucking up his life.

I tell him all this while heís drunk, trying to get him to understand. He tells me to shut up. He doesn't want to tell me I'm right. As though he believes that somehow his arms are going to make me better. I want to believe it, but the tighter he squeezes the further I slip. I'm going through the strainer. Smoking his last cigarette. Holding in the smoke. The phone call comes at 3 p.m. My mother does not cry. My father's eyes are downturned. Plate is broken against the linoleum, warm from the dishwasher. He turns in his sleep. The rug is stained. In my mind, I film. Tanned skin is peeling, light on dark. Shadows. He doesn't notice. I cover my scars, cover them with bracelets, a new one for every cut. I skip some, needing to save them for later. I tried to wax with duct tape. He runs his fingers over my legs, tries to tell me I donít shave every day. In the dark I think about cutting off my hair. I think about running. Destroying everything he loved.

It is too raw, this beaded emotion

that courses through our bloodied veins

Dimly lit bars and alleys you always warn me of

I have begun to stray too far

Stomach twisting

my eyes droop, still open

Phone rings, jarring my thoughts

into blood clots

Razor slips, slits

Burned myself with a cigarette, vomited up gin and lemonade and lunch. Forgot about dinner again. I only remember pissing on the side of the road, him running in to the gas station. I remember watching people in slow motion, and him with two bottles. I remember bits and pieces Ė water glass, blanket, and the backseat. I slept without nightmares again.

I've gotten so beat up lately though I'm not sure exactly how I got all the bruises. Cut myself shaving a lot unintentionally must have been kneeling on concrete because my knees are cut up a little. I have been running into things a lot lately. Not necessarily because of intoxication, more from being me. He says Iím clumsy, always tripping. I do not trip as much as he would like to think, pointing out my imperfections. I wish I could pinpoint some of his, but if I did I would not say them aloud. I no longer want to be myself, and instead begin to consider people I would like to be. I wish now I was a man. I wish I were a gay man, skinny and bony, tall, greasy brown hair, worn long in my eyes, too tight jeans, sprayed on shirts, bracelets, and a messenger bag. I would dance, rock the mike, and play air guitar. I would show up half drunk, make an exit, an entrance... and maybe, just maybe, I would never be alone again.

Ian comes to Columbia. Heís attractive, hair curled and wild. I go to St. Louis and he stays in the hotel room that night, wrapping me in compliments. I start to wonder if perhaps I should be with Ian. I don't know if I could survive the way he wants me to, with our hands intertwined, every waking moment in his presence. I feel scrutinized. I've mapped out all the pros and cons on white lined notebook paper, pasted memories on cabinets, scars turned brown against tanning skin. 2-0 in the second half, I'm blindly leading this crusade of broken instincts, caramel eyes, canned smiles. My writings are never how he would like them. They are too brutal, honest. He kisses her and thinks of me while heís fucking. I remind myself not to use that word, but continue skimming off the top layer of the sky with sharp toothed words.

I sleep with Vince again. We don't make love. We never make love. This night I cannot tell if he is intoxicated. Coughs periodically shake his body and I begin to wonder if these cigarettes have more of an effect than both of us would like to admit. He turns his head to the right when he coughs. I wrap my arms around him, try to hold him out against the world. His fingertips explore, crossing over my stomach, neck, cheeks, eyelids. They drag over my inner thigh. Every night I expect him to take advantage of the situation. After all, he says I'm so infatuated with him. He points this out daily. Every night we are closer. He is on top of me and I can feel his erection straining against my leg. He slides off, a dance of dissidence, turns so his back is to me. He lets me hold him, grasping my hand. I have lost track of the months I have known him. Two, three, four. His lips seem to trace mine. Our first kisses no lip movement, hard-pressed skin against skin. Now, like some addict, I writhe for him. We wake at 1 in the afternoon, hair an uneven word search, half smile, sleepy eyes. The silence keeps me going. He breathes in my smell - smiles. I ask him to explain but he shakes his head, half moon smile still on his face.

I leave and he says he hopes I donít return from Hawaii. That he wishes sharks would eat me. I think back to the shampoo on the top shelf in the bathroom. Strawberries, wonder if I should give it to him, wonder if I should use it.

Scott is in Hawaii. It seems as though my days are endlessly strewn with men. We sit on the hotel bed. I am trying to focus on The Crow, trying to ignore the fact that I know his eyes are boring a fucking hole in the side of my head. He begins tickling my feet. It is soft at first, fingers dragging across my skin. I pretend not to notice, wonder if I donít mention it if it will go away. He kneads my skin, probing the muscle, then begins blowing on my feet, some strange attempt to turn me on. I roll off the bed and he follows me to the floor. He leans his head towards mine and I turn away. "PapillionÖ" His voice snaps me back from the screen again. "You are still my butterfly" He coos in my ear, some desperate attempt to get me to spread.

"Just tell him you donít want to have sex with him. Itís really not that hard." I tell him and he gets angry, telling me that I am acting like a ten-year-old. I stay away from him the entirety of the trip.

When you ask if I want to fuck

do you mean do I want your fingers in me?

do I want you to run your hands down my body?

moan softly while you finger me?

curl my toes while you lick my clit?

do I want you to spread my lips?

suck my tits?

when you ask me if I want to fuck

do you mean do I want you to put your penis in me?

let you fuck me missionary style? doggie style?

do I want to suck you off? Jerk you off?

watch porn while we do it?

make porn?

when you ask if I want to fuck

do you mean do I want to bring you to an orgasm?

let you come in me?

come with you?

lay my head on your chest afterward and let you stroke my hair?

ask if it was as good for you

as it was for me?

run my fingers down your stomach?

proclaim my love?

when you ask if I want to fuck does it occur to you

that I'll be thinking about him?

that I'll close my eyes?

that my stomach will churn?

that I'll have nightmares? flashbacks?

that I've fallen in love?

that things aren't the way they used to be?

that maybe butterflies too,

fly away

because after all, people are butterflies