Sunday, November 4, 2012

killing the messenger


I’ve been trying to pray for sleep.

But then mid-prayer I get caught up in this kind vicious cycle of fear and forgetting to show fear because in terms of collateral damage, I’ve got heaps and heaps of victims that I can’t dispose of---like empty mascara tubes and illegible receipts from diners where I bought fried chicken and ambrosia---corpses of those wounded in battle that don’t fit down the disposal in the kitchen sink. Try to understand, I was a child who realized too young that rainbows and hurricanes are made out of the same stuff.

What kind of cruelty do I deserve? And what kind of revenge will I get?

Maybe this will be a mercy killing of teenage virgins, putting them out of their misery because, yes, biology tests and leg hair and chapped lips were really worth dying over. Make me the kind of martyr that is pressed and dehydrated between the pages of a thick book, a Lily of the Valley, a daffodil, a blood orchid breathing labored hallelujah’s into an oxygen mask, yes,I have never confessed it but my grasp of gravity is limited to where you are and how far away I am orbiting you. 

You are a junk-food darling, a saccharine sacrifice of hot oil and hot plasma, sticky and cloyingly sweet in the frying pan, butter spitting and burning at the bottom, an elixir of sugar and trans-fat. My own health has never really concerned me---because I know that at eighteen-years-old, plagued by nothing except for split-ends and my indecision---I am immortal, God’s golden-headed bitch-gift to America, and for this reason, I have let you emaciate me: I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am exhausted, I am sick. I am waiting and waiting for birds of prey and paradise to descend, to render me flightless. I feel like I deserve everything. 

I feel like I deserve everything, even you, Pixie Firecracker Love Song that I've never even spoken about, much less written poetry for. But somehow deserving and obtaining have different definitions. I don’t get you. I can’t get you.

Because, yes, you are a scab-picker, a cheater, a roadkill beauty saturated in your own blood but my gosh you can sing, you are the convicted and the executioner, god of small and injured things, a hunter’s still-warm bounty---bagged and bloody---Your skin. Your skeleton. You are a small, nuclear miracle, a scientific anomaly of heartstrings too brittle and hair too pretty to be so deadly, devastating mothers and their fair daughters, sore-throated and craving caffeine in the morning, lonely caged in the delicate glass towers of your bedroom where you never considered breaking anything besides your own will to survive; you are a hot, dry summer of drought and famine but you appeared to me like a desert mirage of rain and sacrament, godspeed and hunger-pangs; my sin, my seditionist.

And I was baptized where you breathed on me, my skin glowing holy with the rasp of your voice and your half-hearted pleas for forgiveness. “Please, tell me everything. Please, tell me everything.”

To skin and be skinned, flayed alive, it was nothing like the glitter-crusted sacrilege that was preached to me on daytime television by a glowing teen icon, promised even, like somehow I deserved adoration because I did my homework and put my fingers in books to mark my place when you said my name, and I'd look up without fail, there was no priority waitlist when you were breathing nearby, hands curled into the fists you never fought with and eyes cast upon your loyal subjects, yes, even your servants and princes, the ones who begged you not to go and in turn begged you to go because you were too bright to look at, reflecting off of their clean metal cages, and every one of them that fell at your feet you kissed on the bruise before handing over to Lucifer, not your master but your parole officer, we all know that no one you touch ends up whole.

And this is for every word I stammered over in the prelude to my born-again conversion to your faithlessness when I tried to explain that, yes, I have burned bridges---if that’s what you call the lovers that never needed me---it's for every star in the solar system that I hung from my fingernails that I taunted and tamed you with. Because we made our own salvation from a cardboard cross, counting quarters for atonement and eating the cracker crumbs at the bottom of the box as Communion, Hail Mary, Hail Mary. If this comes across as blasphemous, you’re not listening to me. It's a prayer to get some sleep.

I’m seduced by apologies and applause, I am afraid of the dark, everything that I love glitters in the sun.

And so this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, not even with whimper, but with a dial tone. 

Corporate America is heaven.
-Avery Jalaine


Monday, October 1, 2012

the coolest girl on the block

Reasons Why It's, Like, Totally Cool to Have Kaitlyn Lindley as Your Best Friend:
1. She's super duper pretty.
2. She wears, like, rad clothes that make everyone insanely jealous.
3. She can sing "Come Thou Fount" without opening her mouth.
4. She's cool, so people assume that you are, too.
5. She chews quietly.
6. She gets a 50% discount at Gap so if you ever want to go get, say, really soft underwear, you're in luck.
7. She can make rainbow cupcakes.
8. And rainbow pancakes.
9. She is the smartest of all people and she is all-knowing about Boys and the Whole Wide Universe and also 1984 by George Orwell.
10. Sometimes you can sleep on her trampoline and it's fun and you talk about Boys and the Whole Wide Universe and also 1984 by George Orwell.
11. She makes up cool songs.
12. She draws the best monsters/unicorns/kitties out of everyone I know and that's saying something because my dad draws monsters/unicorns/kitties for a living.
13. She's going to be an Illustration major (MARK MY WORDS).
14. She has REALLY NICE collarbones.
15. She makes fart noises a lot, and that's funny, obviously.
16. She can talk to little kids like they're real Human Beings instead of Aliens From Mars which is hard.
17. She tells funny jokes.
18. She forgives you for being a snarky, cynical, judgmental, misanthropic,pessimistic people-hater and reminds you very nicely to "Stop hating everyone in the entire world, please" and even when you don't and you still act like a hormonal sociopath, she is still your friend.
19*. She forgives you when you forget it's her birthday at first even though you talked about it LAST NIGHT and you're CLEARLY A RAVING IDIOT and you ramble on about environmental biology all the way to class and don't even remember until she not-so-subtly reminds you, so.... HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAITLYN, I LOVE YOU.

Cons of Having Kaitlyn Lindley As Your Best Friend:
1. Everybody thinks you're a total lame-o wiener loserhead compared to her.
2. She's sort of stingy about giving you gum.

*There are 19 reasons and Kaitlyn is 19-years-old today. I planned it. See? I am a real blogger.

You are the Grimes of my heart.
-Avery Jalaine


"Eve," you say, "I bet no one has ever loved you more than me in the entire history of the world." 

You mean this as a compliment.

And the irony does not escape me.

I Googled you today. Because I suck.
-Avery Jalaine

Friday, September 28, 2012

killing in the name of

**This one deserves a dedication, but not one that I'm about to post on the worldwide web for everyone to see. Thank you.**

Once upon a time there was Heaven, Hell, and Avery: an uncomfortable love-triangle that never sits still. Hell is a bridge-burner, a people-pleaser, a Lost Boy. Hell's a little cafe, a little French bakery, a little piece of the place where you grew up minus the sod and the shingles and the grocery store brand PopTarts, yes, Hell is where I meet you on the corner.

And my time in purgatory in neither here nor there.

"Hell," you say, "is a little hole in my heart. Hot like strong coffee and prepared for war."

"Hell," you say, "is actually quite roomy. It's actually quite tropical this time of day, when the kids are in school and the daytime news in on. Hell has government-funding and healthcare benefits and fire departments with firemen made of bread and butter, and fire engines made of human hair."

But I know all about Hell and fire hydrants and homesickness. Hell is my home away from home, a little place where Heaven is hemorrhaging. I've written enough prayers across the sky in stars, hoping to scar myself, I've stepped on enough fingers and forgiven enough sinners and paid enough credit card debts to call myself a saint; I speak blasphemy fluently and gracelessly. I'm happy here. Skinned and sanctified. Gospelized and canonized and photographed more beautifully than I actually am. I've been neither kind nor dishonest, but my side of the family is known for exaggerating, so every time I prayed for rain, I prayed for hurricanes. And every time I said "welcome home", it was your name. the advice I give and the advice I get are the same: Don't kid yourself.

Call me Avery, the incorruptible and disreputable queen of many virtues, the lazy Shiva, the last gynecologist on earth, the one and lonely, yes, Avery, a name I've tarnished and sweat upon, but it still sounds pretty in your mouth. I am an uncomfortable member of the human race.

Do you love me? Circle "sometimes" or circle "no".
-Avery Jalaine


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

tupperware and wine

If this was a toast, I wouldn't shame you by raising my glass. If this was a toast I wouldn't drink any perfumed sparkling cider, non-alcoholic, fair-trade, kosher under all laws of Man and God alike---yes, cider, unsympathetic and I wouldn't drink a drop to you or your family or mine. Because every wet mouthful reminds me of other mouths untailored to the sport of dissolving sugar in water---calling it ambrosia---and making small idols, little golden calves if you will, out of bridesmaids and birthday girls and The Happy Couple and each success, each little wonder that makes everything shiny again and gold-tinged in the fizz of virgin champagne, was somewhere I couldn't be. 

I have missed you growing up. I have missed most of the moments that you stood and raised your glass for, you spoke for yourself at a banquet---something we gasped at, and then applauded---and you thanked the hostess, you drank something that was sweeter and rarer than your own blood, you even acknowledged the band; but you didn't finish quietly or apologize or take your seat graciously, thank you thank you, with that look on your face that says "I am behaving myself". You had the grace of a Bible and the charm of a beggar, you broke rules and hearts and peace treaties from distance nations where they didn't want to fight wars or cry tears, but they loved you---they couldn't help it, you were so primitive and good to look at---oh, they loved you and All's Fair in Love and War, and if it's love, it's usually war as well.

There isn't room for you to make speeches in ballrooms or auditoriums, there isn't glassware for you to drink from with your lethal lips, parched as you are, dying of thirst, begging for water to save your life but me?---cruel bartender and girl-next-door---I refuse you and all your fine gifts, your dangerous hips, I beg you not to toast to my blue eyes or my hangnails or the mean streak you've noticed that I have because I'm jealous. No, there isn't time for you to come to me bearing goblets upon goblets of water and wine, goblets stacked up to the very sun; you can't raise them all to me now and say "To you. And always, to you". Murders in ballrooms must not be committed. Girls with long hair and bad dreams must not be broken-hearted.

I am very young, and afraid.
-Avery Jalaine


Sunday, May 6, 2012

hey, heartache. hey, supermassive black hole.


Hey, kid. I hope you're growing up okay.

This one goes out to all the Mandelbrot Set girls and boys out there. You're glorious.

Cardboard shipping crates. Packing peanuts. I've never told anyone where I'm going.
-Avery Jalaine

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

i smell the blood of an englishman

No, there was never enough bread or air around here. So I learned to eat and breathe like I was coming home after a long time. 

I'm always coming home. 

Trial and error.
-Avery Jalaine

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

saturn's rings, and many many moons

I'm sick of seeing bad movie reviews because they remind me of myself.

And I know that there a lot of different people in the world but I can only see two kinds: the ones that I love and the ones that like the movie "Grease".

I've been answering questions with questions lately. I've been justifying what I do. I've been rolling out of bed at 1:30 in the afternoon and saying "Good evening" when I do it because I can't make myself believe that the sun has been rising earlier than usual. I'm just tired.

And maybe I'm tired because I try to count all the people that I've met before I go to sleep at night. Maybe I'm tired because I spend my time looking up synonyms for "oh look what a glorious day it was" instead of synonyms for "good" and "bad". It was a pretty devastating day, but, for heaven's sake, it was glorious. Maybe I'm tired because out of all the love songs in the world, I chose the one with the key changes and the bridge that leads back to the beginning. Half the time I'm making it up as I go. Get it perfect, Avery.

I take up a lot of space and that's why I have no problem saying, "Move over", and stepping on toes and using my elbows. All I want is for All Of Humankind to turn around one day and say, "Avery, I'm in love with you. Avery, you're gorgeous". I'm unrealistic. I get that. I also want red hair and a suspension bridge that goes straight to Kaitlyn's house. Sometimes you have to compromise for black low-tops and the month of April.

Look at everything. If you want a house, so do I. If you love the opera, so do I. If your knuckles bleed, so do mine. If someone peeled back my skin and looked underneath all of... this, this skin and this soft spot for Fridays after school, they'd probably find a lot of you under there. I have less substance that I let on. I have a lot of hair, and fear. If you sing a solf├Ęge, so will I.

I don't want courtesy or kindness from you. I want an honest fight. Don't let me get away with anything. Tattletale on me. Rat me out. I'm the center of the universe, I'm the sun, and you are, too. Everything you do reminds me of learning how to swim.

"We have a wretched motley crew in the fleet; the Marines, the refuse of every Regiment, and the Seamen, few of them, ever wet with salt water." (Benedict Arnold)
-Avery Jalaine


Saturday, April 14, 2012



1. By default, everyone will hate me if I hate you. You really suck sometimes, you know? You know.

2. Your girlfriend sucks.

3. Why won't you let me just lie on the floor?

4. I would like to request that you talk less whenever you're around me. Thanks.

5. I have to live with two soccer players.

6. I guess you can love me and not be "in love" with me. That sucks.

7. Sometimes I'm going to say "I have an opinion about the death penalty" and you can just deal with that.

8. You resent me for moving on. I'm sorry, but it was unfair for you to ask me to hang around you like a weed and applaud every time the secondhand moved.

9. You totally suck around boys. Like, we were honestly pretty mad at you.

10. Sometimes you hate me and I hate that. I'm sick of bending over backwards and saying, "This far? This far? This far?"

This: "Of course."
-Avery Jalaine

a picture of my life lately

But if anyone else can clear things up, please, by all means, be my guest. I'm at a loss here.

Twenty-fingered love.
-Avery Jalaine

Monday, March 5, 2012


I bet you don't even know my favorite color.

Do all the talking.
-Avery Jalaine

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

how to write a love poem

How to Write a Love Poem:

1. Get a pen out: black ink.
2. Next, paper. Lined or unlined, it had better be paper. Stop typing it on your laptop. And stop blogging it, please, you're murdering your lover. (I've murdered many lovers. Please refer to my whole entire blog.)
3. Title the love poem: "Love Poem".
4. Carve your heart out of your chest with a dull butter knife; yes, yes, just like that: you're used to the sting by now, aren't you? You're writing a love poem, after all. There now, tape it right on the page. You're doing great.
5. Use the word "heart" exactly 16 times.
6. Rhyme the word "love" with "gift from above".
7. If you use the word "kinky" ever, it's probably not the right kind of love poem.
8. Spritz it with your headiest perfume.
9. Vow to never let anyone read it, ever, never ever.
10. Send it to your lover.

Happy St. Elmo's Fire.
-Avery Jalaine

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

why i haven't blogged in 29 days

A poem named, "Why I Haven't Blogged in 29 Days". Or, "It Isn't Because I Don't Love You Anymore".

(this isn't really a poem. more like an apology.)

It's because nothing is ever good enough for you anymore. 

And you're too hard to satisfy. You're always hungry, even after the bread and the tea, and I've set out the pasta salad and the tuna fish and the brie, and I've refilled your bowl and I've re-refilled your bowl, and I'm rummaging through the cabinets as we speak. Still hungry, even after the meat. 

What's good enough for you?

What's good enough for you?

What can I say to you (what can I feed you?) that will finally fill you up? I'm not bitter, I'm just poor. I'm not angry, I'm just running out of hors d'oeuvres. The shelves are high, but I've stocked them with canned beets.

Is that what you're hungry for? Beets?

Here's one for you: I can't sleep.

Here's another one: I doubt that you can either.

There's some peanut butter in the fridge if you're still hungry. Help yourself.

Help yourself.

Weak ankles.
-Avery Jalaine

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I want to give you a taste of your own medicine.

I don't know if I know the right words for this. 

I want this post to somehow say I Care A Lot About People But I Sometimes Wish I Lived Alone in a Cabin Somewhere In Canada but that's all I really have to say about it, and since that's not a very good post I guess I have to figure out how to scrape the same idea across a few paragraphs at least.

Okay, that's not it. You're getting offended. You don't understand yet. You're taking it personally, just like I knew you would, and you're thinking that maybe I was a bad investment after all. Let me speak. I don't want to leave you behind, I don't want to get away from here, I don't want to be lonely, all I want is to live somewhere where I don't have to wake up on time. I don't want to answer my cellphone, you know? I don't want to wrap myself around a school schedule or a curfew or the sun setting, you know? I don't want to obey.

I figured out what this post is really about: I want to control the universe. Nah, that's not it either. I don't want all of it, I don't want the cosmos and the thirst, the federal debt and the controversy, the history, the medical miracles, the wars, the telephone lines and the chicken coops, the evolution, the snow or the sun or the grilled cheese sandwich on a hungry boy's plate. I don't want the universe. In fact, I want nothing to do with it. But I want control of is this universe: mine. It has a small, temperamental sun and a glorious forecast for next week and it has long hair. I'd like control of this universe. I'd like to be able to say "yes" to late nights and "no" to AP math and "maybe some other time" to bravery and I'd like to say "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you don't understand, but no, just trust me, no" to dates with nice, normal boys that I don't want to go on dates with. I was never very comfortable with "nice" or "normal" anyway.

I want to control the universe. 

So when I say I Care A Lot About People But I Sometimes Wish I Lived Alone in a Cabin Somewhere In Canada, what I really mean is I Want to Take You to Canada and I Want to Live There By My Rules. I want to be alone. And you. I don't want to go to Canada without you. I don't want to live alone in the cabin, don't you get that? But somehow along the way we stopped counting as separate bodies, separate faces and fingers and hearts, we stopped existing as "me" and "you" and "you" and "you". Together, we're alone in that cabin in Canada. I want you there with me, just us, alone.

I want to control the universe and I care a lot about people. I do. But sometimes I wish I lived alone in a cabin somewhere in Canada. Sometimes I wish I controlled the universe and that this was possible: you, me, and a cabin. Somewhere in Canada. I can't even explain who you are because I probably don't know you. 

This is about controlling the universe inside of a cabin. That's really all it's about. Don't read too far into it.

Standard deviation.
-Avery Jalaine

Saturday, January 7, 2012

the air up there

I've been alive for 6,498 days and that's a little defeating because 6,498 days isn't very many days at all. I haven't made a dent in this world yet. 

I've got time. But what if I don't? I don't want to spend my life walking on my hands, and I don't want to spend my life lying over the Internet because it helps me sleep at night.

Look at me. Look at me. I've got a lot of blood on my hands for someone so young and fair-skinned.

This is about telling the truth. One hand on the Bible and one hand in the bread-box, I'm horrible at accepting change, I'm afraid of everything at least a little bit, I'm half-convinced that I made you up. It's funny to me that I'm so used to the sound of you saying my name.

I don't know about "love" but I sure do like the sound my heart makes.

Okay, maybe this isn't exactly about telling the truth. Maybe it's about skipping around the truth and pickpocketing it for its spare change because I can and maybe it's about being so obvious that I condemn myself.

This is about you. (And you. And you. And you. And you.)

Let me lay you in wet cement, let me throw you hissing hot into the water to set you in stone. I don't want to feel malleable, you know? I don't want to feel like fingerprints could change me. I'm not wet clay, I'm skin and blood and I'm dying to know your middle name. If I'm going to be glass, I at least want to be bullet-proof.

You've torn the crusts off far too many goodbyes, and I might be the one with a short attention span, but you're the one who never remembers your lines. I care about the weather forecast, you know? And I care about wiping my feet at the door. You'd better be ready for a whole lot of the silent treatment. Because if my middle name is "Let Me In" then your middle name is "Look But Don't Touch". And I obey the rules.

Don't open your hand-me-down copy of Webster's and try to define "love" for me. I'm sick of theoretical chemical patterns and soul mates and biology. This is what it is. I know about love and I'm seventeen-years-old, not going to die today but maybe tomorrow, not going to grow up now but maybe tomorrow, and I know about love. Don't expect a love letter, though.

I get a lot of crap for having long hair. I get a lot of crap for using long words. And I know for a fact that I'm hated. 

But somehow you must love me, too, because you would never have climbed the trellis if you didn't, would you, Romeo? You would never have held the boombox under my window if you didn't, would you, John Cusack? You would never have dragged yourself out of that ninth pit in, what did you call it again?, oh yeah, Hell, if you didn't, would you, Dante? You would have never said a single word if you didn't. Oh yes, you really love me.

Somehow, I forgot what I was trying to say. It might have just been: I love you. (And you. And you. And you. And you.) Take care of yourself.

-Avery Jalaine