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The painting was death: self portrait of an artist at the top of a tall building looking to reach the sun on paper wings. I don’t think I told you that hope was the last to leave, but it has to be, the gray sickness fills your veins with cement until even the act of breathing is far too much work. I lost her, me, the girl with kaleidoscope hair and fingers that crashed syllables together. I held a brush with skeletal claws and painted the mirror reflection: empty space.

But there is a moment that is different, you have to wait for it, I think. The hollow-eyed men wait and wait and you have to snap, have to drag them out into open and throw the canvas down at your feet. It doesn’t matter what you paint, only that you’ve got to cure the plague, you’ve got to reach for whatever is left of you and pour it through your fingertips.

It’s like the sky, like the dawning and bursting and breathing of the universe, folding and unfolding itself beneath me, asking me to see how similar I am to beauty. The paint is a smear, a flower, a lover, an explosion too close to see and yet I am sure it is me.

I cry in the presence of hope, in front of the tacky surface that is proof that there is something inside me that is alive and pulsing and bright. That I am capable of great beauty no matter how time has wounded me. That if I bleed I can choose to do so in shades of roses so that someone may pick one and feel the beating of my heart into theirs.

-am kennedy, “Ineffable”

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The painting was death: self portrait of an artist at the top of a tall building looking to reach the sun on paper wings. I don’t think I told you that hope was the last to leave, but it has to be, the gray sickness fills your veins with cement until even the act of breathing is far too much work. I lost her, me, the girl with kaleidoscope hair and fingers that crashed syllables together. I held a brush with skeletal claws and painted the mirror reflection: empty space.

But there is a moment that is different, you have to wait for it, I think. The hollow-eyed men wait and wait and you have to snap, have to drag them out into open and throw the canvas down at your feet. It doesn’t matter what you paint, only that you’ve got to cure the plague, you’ve got to reach for whatever is left of you and pour it through your fingertips.

It’s like the sky, like the dawning and bursting and breathing of the universe, folding and unfolding itself beneath me, asking me to see how similar I am to beauty. The paint is a smear, a flower, a lover, an explosion too close to see and yet I am sure it is me.

I cry in the presence of hope, in front of the tacky surface that is proof that there is something inside me that is alive and pulsing and bright. That I am capable of great beauty no matter how time has wounded me. That if I bleed I can choose to do so in shades of roses so that someone may pick one and feel the beating of my heart into theirs.

-am kennedy, “Ineffable”

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That girl was hiding by just standing
still, pressing back into the stale
lincrusta, unblinking and unaging
and imaging that the world was an
infinite loop of rubber that stretched,
compressed, twisted, but never tore.

They couldn’t find her after the house
fell down but they put down a
gravestone anyway, she watched them
build a monument in stone to a
fleeting god that reached up to grab
the sun before it was struck down.

She stood in roots and traced her
lineage so far back that it ensnared
her, engulfed her, so that when they
wrote the history of the world she was
no where to be found.

am kennedy, “The History of Wallflowers”

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That girl was hiding by just standing
still, pressing back into the stale
lincrusta, unblinking and unaging
and imaging that the world was an
infinite loop of rubber that stretched,
compressed, twisted, but never tore.

They couldn’t find her after the house
fell down but they put down a
gravestone anyway, she watched them
build a monument in stone to a
fleeting god that reached up to grab
the sun before it was struck down.

She stood in roots and traced her
lineage so far back that it ensnared
her, engulfed her, so that when they
wrote the history of the world she was
no where to be found.

am kennedy, “The History of Wallflowers”
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On the subway you press
your palms into
cold plastic seats
and will yourself
to be just as sturdy,
to take vandalism
as though it is beneath you,
to see carved-in names
across your belly
and know that they
do not change
who you are.

am kennedy, “Vandalism”

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On the subway you press
your palms into
cold plastic seats
and will yourself
to be just as sturdy,
to take vandalism
as though it is beneath you,
to see carved-in names
across your belly
and know that they
do not change
who you are.

am kennedy, “Vandalism”
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What do you mean, you ask the owl,
But he never blinks and you sink
Into the thick painting of night.
There’s a cat in the moon and you
Watch her tail curl a question mark,
As you try to find all the scrambled
Letters half buried and forgotten
In the soggy grass.
The trash cans are all lined up
But even they don’t know why it is
You stumble down streets at 2am
Like you’ve lost something vital,
And you won’t sleep until it is found.
The cigarettes all burn out in the
Long hours before dawn, and they
Leave soot trails beneath your eyes,
You don’t blink and you don’t think,
And you no longer know how to sleep.

am kennedy, “Somnia”

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What do you mean, you ask the owl,
But he never blinks and you sink
Into the thick painting of night.
There’s a cat in the moon and you
Watch her tail curl a question mark,
As you try to find all the scrambled
Letters half buried and forgotten
In the soggy grass.
The trash cans are all lined up
But even they don’t know why it is
You stumble down streets at 2am
Like you’ve lost something vital,
And you won’t sleep until it is found.
The cigarettes all burn out in the
Long hours before dawn, and they
Leave soot trails beneath your eyes,
You don’t blink and you don’t think,
And you no longer know how to sleep.

am kennedy, “Somnia”
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It is the music:
clutched to her rib cage where
she breathes air into sound.
Just wait, the violin whispers
as it climbs up the patter of keys.
Stay, stay, stay, a broken record plays,
winding it’s way around a crescendo,
pulling the peaks up to a string scream
where she tips, slips, and slides down into the drumming of her own heart
beat as it plays her, repetitiously,
to sleep.

am kennedy, “The second movement”

Format Quote

It is the music:
clutched to her rib cage where
she breathes air into sound.
Just wait, the violin whispers
as it climbs up the patter of keys.
Stay, stay, stay, a broken record plays,
winding it’s way around a crescendo,
pulling the peaks up to a string scream
where she tips, slips, and slides down into the drumming of her own heart
beat as it plays her, repetitiously,
to sleep.

am kennedy, “The second movement”