Comments Posted By Ai

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teeth

The soft brush ran over the thin enamel, so gentle she could hardly feel it. She pulled her lips taught and wide to avoid staining them. Her attendant, passed down from her mother, was trained and deft, unafraid of mistakes because she had learned better in her shaky youth. But it remained painstaking work, and art, and she almost felt bad for her lady’s comfort, her lips starting to tremble, surely going uncomfortably numb. Her eyebrow twitched. Almost.
When the brush finally lowered for good, the elegantly-clad woman did her best to relax her lips gracefully, but they snapped closed like an over-extended bow. Her attendant pretended not to notice and slipped her a mirror. Her eyebrows were almost completely gone, erasing her expressions. She sorely opened her mouth to darkness, her teeth black, erasing all imperfections of yellow or rot into uniform mystery. She leaned forward to return the mirror to her attendant, edging on the extent of her motion in her layers too many to count. Unmoving, emotionless, with black teeth set in a mouth as mysterious and quiet as the night.

» Posted By Ai On 03.22.2019 @ 12:07 am

similar

Her little fists were balled up, wrinkling his shirt, holding him in place. He was bigger and surely stronger than she, but it wasn’t her strength that kept him glued to the spot. It was the feel of her tears, soaking through th fabric, wetting through to his chest. The feeling of utter uselessness at he hesitantly patted her head, slowly sinking her into a hug. Perhaps she wa crying so hard becuase she didn’t know the words for the feeling rampaging across every inch of her insides- don’t go. Every time he made the slightest move to pull away, her umoving firstfuls of shirt made him refreeze at the slightest resistance. He didn’t have it in him to tear away, but the farewell had stagnated, and the door behind was still cracked open, beconing him to finish his exit. He placed his hands over hers and she loosened. She hadn’t the words to stop him. The look of his back, slipping out the door- would it be the last time? There was a stunning silence behind him, punctuated only by the sound of the door creaking closed. The childish wailing was already far away, not even the sound of sniff. It was empty, a complete void behind him, growing larger as it followed his steps in retreat. It had bloomed in her the moment she released him, and as he looked down, he saw he too was being sunk into a sea of nothingness. No- he was the beginning, and everything he touched, everything he left behind, was swallowed in his wake. The last bit of him above water felt a spark of joy, that they would still be connected, if only in emptyness.

» Posted By Ai On 03.10.2019 @ 6:23 pm

mustard

Their eyes were shifting around the room nervously, skittering around him. As they thought of the consequences of their coming words, all the while knowing they wouldn’t stop them, he had already figured it all out. He knew what came next. Denying anything would any dig them in more. Shifting the blame to the true culprit would be no less suspicious than hiding a bloody candlestick behind his back. His severe, unsmiling cheeks that seemed to suck joy right out of the music flowing from the horn of a slightly discolored gramaphone. The way his avoidance of pleasantries and desire to speak privately with their gracious host now coming across as an agenda. His medals, tucked away on the inside of his off-color suit, and how before walking into evening they stood for sacrifice and valor, and now only proof of his grim abilities to look past blood and emotion. He eyed who he knew would speak first. The one looking at him now, directly, nervously. He knew behind the nervousness there was an eagerness to pin the blame on anyone else, on someone else, on someone more convenient. He took a deep breath, and he let it out, all eyes now on his dignified wrinkles, accusing each one.

» Posted By Ai On 02.21.2019 @ 8:56 pm

plates

How many times had he washed the same dishes? Some with the majority of the food left, all dumped into the some soddy water, chunks of filet mignon and string beans tangling in his fingers like seaweed every time his fingers dipped below the murky surface. He so wanted to clean the finished dishes one, twice, three more times, until the water spots disappeared, the dishwasher leaving its mark, but it all was reminiscent of the browning suds, thick with oil, staining the stainless steel like blood, wadding in corners like wet paper bills. He wanted to scrub the water spots right off.

» Posted By Ai On 02.12.2019 @ 5:25 pm

benefits

Still bright-red circles spattered across the classifieds, but now its digital, a photo of a chance in a paper. One by one, the strike-through font dulls the circles the color of firetrucks, help becoming scarce as the fire grows malignant. It’s not enough, it’s not enough, not even asking for much. The circles entrap less interesting prey as time goes on. Drag my waking days down to death, for a chance to survive.

» Posted By Ai On 02.07.2019 @ 5:23 pm

wedding

He enters the room, little snowflakes gently making their way from the crown of his head down, never settling. An eternity and this was his favorite part, seeing them for the first time. He always showed up early to see them while they at peace. He takes a bit of that too, for himself, before claiming it all.
The house groans and pops in its veins to outdated radiator heaters, but not a single step creaks the aching floorboards. He is a professional, there are no nerves left to spare.
He takes one last look. The eyes don’t stir, it’s been a dreamless, fitful night. But they do not open. Strands of hair curl over the skin lazily. You’ll never have lost it, he thinks, but its’ grey tint would have only brought you closer to me. He spies a pair of glasses, thick with lens. You’ll have gone blind, he thinks, but I would have been here for you anyway. He spies stripes of daisy yellow on the neck of a pajama top sticking out from underneath an over fluffed quilt. You never would have stopped painting yourself in such bright, offensive colors, he thinks, but I would have taken you in them then as I do now.
There is no thrill to his bare bones, but he brushes the strands of hair away from the face out of habit. He turns it towards him, and the light sleeper doesn’t wake. They never do. He leans in, a soft, lipless kiss,
another promise to forever walk them home through the dark.

» Posted By Ai On 02.06.2019 @ 5:03 pm

adapted

As the world speeds up, all the life slows down- the cells, dividing as always,
mechanic in their organics,
at the same pace since the first split in the universe,
but in the last word of the tome of existence,
the fires were lit,
burning the oil and firing the pistons,
fighting disease and making revisions,
and the cells, ripping genes from one into two,
now too slow to grow defense against the fire new.

» Posted By Ai On 02.03.2019 @ 5:21 pm

cello

The towering neck eccentuated by thin strands of mustache reaching below, lazily curling up at its end. A voice deep, soft, only occasionally trailing off with a gravelly hum. Weight against your shoulder, a comforting closeness, even with your eyes shut he speaks, and the sweet tone of his voice, the one only for you,
is all the reassurance you need.

» Posted By Ai On 01.23.2019 @ 9:43 pm

swaying

The trees blurred into one swampy sickly-green outside the window, as bangs stretching from above a pair of downcast eyes bounced loosely with every jostle from the train, travelling up a defeated spine. The handles above moved in sync, but the eyes only saw the rims of shoes, a smudge, some curled-up wrappers, a couple of dead bugs. There, the world was perfectly still.

» Posted By Ai On 01.15.2019 @ 7:22 pm

qualify

Black on white
typewriter type
a list too long,
to short,
Goldilocks right–
a smile, shake of hands,
no indication where you stand
til the phone rings, or the weeks go by
but what you’ll never know
is why

» Posted By Ai On 01.10.2019 @ 11:08 pm

overtime

Surprising to see clocks still exist– why? for what purpose?
The air chills and the sun sinks–why does it rise?
The dark is no longer permission to quietly leave,
it just makes the day longer by including the night.
The dandelions cower and close,
they are sleeping in an icy blanket
by the time I get home.

» Posted By Ai On 01.09.2019 @ 9:41 pm

vacancy

The couch was still dimpled,
one beloved spot.
Out on the street corner,
molding with rot.

Sole severe wooden post,
A sign, fresh paint smell.
Vintage wooden floor,
stories left to tell.

Somewhere nearby,
on the unforgiving street,
the forgotten tenant,
neighbor you used to greet.

» Posted By Ai On 01.06.2019 @ 9:32 pm

harm

The desks were bare in eerie silence. She sat in poster-perfect posture, hands gently overlapped on the light-brown surface. She felt as still as the air. Is this what desperate powerlessness feels like?
She was screaming, clawing, and yet it was a smaller her, inside, banging against her flesh like walls.
That must be my soul, she thought.
Maybe it was stupid. It probably was. Really thinking about things wasn’t a feat she ever particularly excelled at. It made sense, maybe, on the surface, and while she knew there usually was a catch underneath, she never had the insight to reveal it.
And this seemed like the place to do it.
It wasn’t too long ago, a season or two, she had caught him brooding, looking out over the veranda, into one of those things she just didn’t have the eyes for. But she could hear it, like a storm, rumbling in the air around him, ‘it would be better if I dis—‘
And maybe she felt a little like she did now, where something started instinctively thrashing inside her, but she had wrapped her scarf around him from behind and pulled his gaze away with a start. She smiled, but that wouldn’t be enough forever—but he softened then, and that was what mattered, what she could do.
Outside the classroom window, thunder rumbled in the distance.
Did she want to run away? To not have to be here to see the devastating events she discovered be carried through?
Could this, in anyway help, or was she just a coward?
Unblinking, the only thing moving was two trails of saltwater down her cheeks. Outside the door, her last goodbye walked away, unwilling to apologize just yet—after all, there’s always tomorrow. Those words would sing him every day he’d sit next to a vase of withering flowers. There’s always tomorrow.
I have to try—thinking the words to pull her out of her seat. Something deep inside was telling her it was a mistake. But what option was left that wasn’t?
Stepping out onto the veranda, the air was alive again, the wind carrying away the last hints of fall, the thunder drawing closer, overhead. Her large scarf soaked up her cold sweat, chilling her further. She slid her hands over the rail.
A failed test.
A crying sibling.
A brushed- off hand.
Black-mirror screen.
A smile, a secret, a lie, a game, a plan, a group, a family, red eyes, a hero,
Tomorrow.

I’m sorry, I loved you so.

» Posted By Ai On 12.18.2018 @ 10:52 pm

espresso

An electricity though the veins
In dark liquid, languid days,
Force me awake, I need you, here
What I want so ever clear
To sleep, to fade, yet I reach for you still
Like a saint come to change my wicked will
The battle, the war, the foundations quake
Cracked open skin, jitters and shakes
And the teeth, they brown, a visible sin
Bulging pupils, stupor, impossible win

» Posted By Ai On 12.10.2018 @ 11:37 pm

flex

If you can touch your knees, you can touch your toes. If you can touch your toes then you can touch nose to your legs. If you can touch your nose to your legs than you can kick up to your ears… constructing a new layer to the same rule, pushing it forward, always somewhere new and difficult to go–there’s no breaks here amongst soft pink silk and blisters.

» Posted By Ai On 11.11.2018 @ 11:18 pm

motel

I expected it to be musty and stained—with a flickering yellow light and peeling gaudy wallpaper. But it was new, bright with cheap LEDs, cheap Ikea nightstands, and a blank-slate emptiness. Sterile. With a single suitcase in the corner, I would have preferred a room of cramped history.

» Posted By Ai On 11.07.2018 @ 8:30 pm

direct

A knock on the door—
I know what is here for.
I watch it rattle and shake
And convince myself its fake—
Like a bump in the night
I whisper on, “it’s alright,”
Curled tight under a quilt,
Alone with my guilt–
And the night that bumps,
Like the door with a knock
I feel my spine as it jumps
Though the door is well locked
After days unchained
And now the other side begs
To be let in to and share blame
Nerves exploding like powder kegs
I know what it’s here for,
It’s not for me anymore—
It’s here to tell me to my face
This is no longer my place

» Posted By Ai On 11.01.2018 @ 9:24 pm

wrong

The grating flick of teeth cutting through nail, ripping off in layers. A paper-thin layer of a nail left, little white tuft, its edges quickly receding into skin; too small for the teeth to get ahold of. The nailbed uneven from repeated assaults, a mined battlefield. Blood seeps and dries on the ruined landscape, dyeing it in pain, trembling like an earthquake. The poisoned land can be erased from the eyes with words- I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine—like warm wool on the eyes, more pleasant than to see.

» Posted By Ai On 10.31.2018 @ 11:47 pm

plot

Dark speckles had begun to embellish the back of his hand, each a trophy of stupid courage for all the times he had refused to put on sunscreen. His skin was already losing its elasticity—he didn’t even have kids yet.
The ground beneath his boots slid with each step just a little from the morning shower. The sharp afternoon sunlight didn’t always make it past the greedy summer leaves, leaving pockets of mud near spots of dry earth. He imagined a little girl with bright pink boots sticking in the mud, little fingers stretching out, asking for her hero to come rescue her. He’d joke she’d never need rescuing and start to walk away, only to turn around and sweep her off her feet—nearly out of those muddy boots—just when she would be giving up hope. He’d put her on his shoulders, saying nothing of what her dirty footwear was doing to his shirt, only pointing to the trees, the grasshoppers, filling the air with so much information maybe some of it would stick.
It was a small, happy story he’d visit in the quiet, one he’d be reminded of it fantasy whenever he would pay his bills or look into his wallet while cancelling plans. He thought about white-picket fences and suburbia, and thought how he wouldn’t even dare hope for so much. He grunted as he began the last sharp incline he would have to face.
I remember there being so much more.

» Posted By Ai On 09.24.2018 @ 5:39 pm

tires

A light fog hung from the steep, rocky hillside that overlooked the pick-up angled upwards on top of a jack. Lug wrenches scattered on the countryside highway shoulder, because no matter how many he filled his trunk with in the name of preparation, he never bothered to check and see the bolts were not a standard size. Laying half under the vehicle, he half wished it would come crashing down to crush him. A digital address book with help a tap away, but he left it in the glove box in stubborn shame. Crawling out, he grabbed hold of one last wrench hidden under the spare. Just good enough. He popped off the lug nuts for the front tire, pretending to himself it was easier than it looked, rolled over the spare and affixed it. A sigh from the exertion and the thought of his refusal to call for help also meaning refusing to call home about being late. Knees popping, he shuffled to the rear and put the jack in the now-empty spare tire impression on the dirty trunk carpeting. With a stretch and a step toward the driver’s seat, he paused,
At the popped rear.

» Posted By Ai On 06.28.2018 @ 6:09 pm

washer

Dragging a bursting and torn laundry bag across the cracked asphalt to the laundry mat, sign lit with one flickering light bulb left calling out to insects through the night, she reflected on her own washing machine in disrepair. It had been months, the machine ironically gathering more mold and dust than it ever cleaned, streaked soap stains from detergent dripping down the rusting sides. One phone call, an hour or two, and it could all go back to normal.
She popped the coins and watched the yellow stains pressed against the front-loading glass as they refused to fade in a double dose of bleach.
She cracked open the third book this month, and would finish it before the drier pierced the late-night July air. It was the third book she had read this year.
The chug put her in a stupor, and she saw every Thursday night ahead of her—the cheap yellow plastic cobwebbed to the walls, the stale heat, a snow-topped laundry net and a huddle against the dryers. The same swash, the same buzz, a different novel.

» Posted By Ai On 06.24.2018 @ 6:38 pm

keys

“…And that’s how a key turns,” He said, picking up the transparent lock model with a sense of pride that only comes from telling yourself how much you like your family’s business your whole life. The newcomer, on the other hand, was inspecting how each of the little bits of metal she packed everyday fit so exact to lead to one conclusion. One tenth of a millimeter different, and nothing would function. The little pins jumped into place to fit the grooves of the key she slowly put in, until they lined up perfectly, and the lock turned smoothly, over and over. Just a hair out of place, and it won’t turn at all.
She returned to her workplace and began methodically separating the colored bits of metal methodically,
Not a hair out of place.

» Posted By Ai On 06.21.2018 @ 12:07 am

lawn

a light breeze cuts through an abandoned battlefield, and the discarded blades sticking out of the ground rattle in the wind.

» Posted By Ai On 06.19.2018 @ 12:21 am

unstoppable

With a sudden twist, the metal bends and becomes snakes, trapping and ankle, and their bodies vibrate until they are shaking wildly, interrupted only by a shrill, long scream at their tails; unable to move out of the way, the little wheels become round blades, with no breaks strong enough to stop the rush.

» Posted By Ai On 05.22.2018 @ 12:44 am

departure

There’s ice on the train lines,
And snow in the air.
Mounding in the corners,
Melting in strands of hair.

Shallow breaths makes clouds,
Waiting boots slip and scuff.
Bodies sway and stagger and sigh,
Retreating when they’ve had enough.

The lights turn off, it’s time to go,
A voice calls it a day.
Stuck behind the yellow line,
If I can’t leave, I’ll stay.

The end of the ride is frightening,
But if it never comes, it will never be over.
If you won’t let me stay, won’t let me go,
Then freeze me into a winter slumber.

» Posted By Ai On 05.15.2018 @ 11:55 pm

worst

A dim-lit bar fulfilling its role of making blurry eyes blind. An outline here, a flash of color there. Fingers are rough and fumble all the same, on cheeks and necks. The excitement of never seeing the next nudge or rub coming keeps them inside as if the doors were locked. The air is low-voltage and it rolls through the air like thick sludge. The corners have a slow and steady stream of shaky pairs—when they see the sunlight they’ll write it off as a dream—who pretend that the bar is dark enough no one will see them. They eye they people who take their place, and think how much more invisible they managed to be, surely. Lazy dancing that doesn’t fit into any category except loneliness. When the smoke in the air falls and the bartender cleans the glasses, the ground outside is uneven with stunted steps in the gravel, and throughout the week they will wonder what brought them there, until Friday night is upon them once again, and a single TV tray drives them from their house, door unlocked, come in.

» Posted By Ai On 05.14.2018 @ 6:13 pm

jealousy

The hottest flames, burning white at plain,
A face of indifference in midst of heat.

In a box, or a cage,
It’s all been banished away,
So you say, so you say,
It is a relic of yesterday,

But it bleeds from then to here
As the days become unclear
It is closer, yes, it is near
A stoic face still wet with tears

Soon your teeth grind down to none
Though long ago you’d said you’re done
But in the fire you see just one
A helpless you charred and undone

» Posted By Ai On 05.13.2018 @ 9:22 pm

bypass

Because the storm knocked down a tree,
You took a detour to come meet me.
Because the road was long and winding,
You didn’t see the turn it was hiding.
Because you didn’t see this sudden curve,
There are still tire skids from where you swerved.
Because those marks lead straight to a tree,
There is another detour with no you for me.

» Posted By Ai On 05.11.2018 @ 12:21 am

heated

The Earth beneath Pompeii had been molten for a long time, creeping steadily right under the skin of the city. The march of people though the carefully cobbled mosaic streets was a drum, a steady beat it advanced to. When it rumbled, the city took a collective deep breath in, let it out slow, told themselves to let it go. When the children screamed and threw themselves on the dirt in a fit, the Earth, it spit, but the mothers pretended to walk away and let the passion settle by running itself dry. When the lovers caught a glance, skin of goosebumps at their secret, the trees too stood erect, and the heat breached the air and spilled over, even as they blink rapidly and wait for the warmth to pass, telling themselves it’ll never last.
Through the breaths and the steps and actions just bordering rash,
Before there was time to turn, the city was ash.

» Posted By Ai On 05.09.2018 @ 4:48 pm

store

Relic of the past tolls,
A tarnished brass bell dangles
From a gentle curve of metal
In an archway.

A penny, a nickel, a quarter,
A dollar or two,
The years stack from one century,
Spilling into the next,
And the stakes compound,
Exploding upwards,
Endlessly.

Chipping lead paint and
Replaced neon signs
A bit of every year
Scuffed on the floor,
From mismatched wooden boards
To laminate,

Shadows of boots and shoes
Lining up for their ten-cent
Dollar-fifty
Five-buck cartons of tobacco
The lifeblood of the East
The artery pumping with each
Corroded chime
What can I get,
For a dime?

» Posted By Ai On 05.08.2018 @ 5:55 pm

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