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Anonymous said:
i love her but she’s so far away

i opened my mouth and the distance ran in;
the two of us a pair of hands that forgot where the body begins

this is supposed to be a poem but i am the one you left at home 
i’ve got anchors at my feet 

this is supposed to be a poem but when i woke up i said,
now my life is empty and we’re

calling it a poem

Anonymous said:
i think about your words a lot fuck i love you so much, is that even real??

of course it is, because i am, and the entire life of writers is to unspool, to spill onto floors, because our lives our mirrors, and no matter how much we pretend: we live waiting for readers to love us. and without readers we don’t exist!!!

Anonymous said:
he is the worst man i have ever known

hey when i looked at you in the full roundness of your eyes i said i could find a part of you that i liked, right. because my mama always said that i should give men more chances, and that’s kind of fucked up but it’s the way things is. you know? girls are always always always bitches, but a man gets another chance no matter how many times he’s got no reason to be pardoned. 

and i felt bad whenever i said no, or “i don’t like that” or “you move too quickly” i felt bad when i shifted away or went home or ran with my heart still locked in me. i felt like i had to make excuses for saying things, for being not-with-you, for not liking your opinions. give me a chance! you hollered at every intersection.

you’re right and i’m sorry i’m sorry i’m a bad person - i got a “gut feeling” and that’s not fair, is it, i’m supposed to have a hand of cards all f ull of your guilt or else it’s my fault, and it’s my fault, and i’m a bitch, and you’re actually a great person, and this is a dream, but god, when i flinch, i feel the crack in my teeth.

Anonymous said:
she's my best friend but god i wish she wasn't

you know something when we were sitting next to each other and the dorm wall was behind us i thought. oh, so this is what happy is.

i like that somehow in the end you’re the victim. when i look back, you always were. i liked that you were wounded, a stellar broken bird

oh, come on now. we both know who locked who out. oh come on now. we both know that you cracked a bone between your teeth and said

oh, my love
i thought you wanted me to eat?

Anonymous said:
hi, i hope this isnt weird, but i wanna get one of your poems tattooed (eventually) and i know some people are uncomfortable with things that they made being made into tattoos, how do you feel about it? I absolutely adore your work

yes yes yes yes PLEASE and then show me (as long as you’re comfy!) i only write things to protect people and if i have magic (i do) it goes into these words to find you. what you write on you will be yours, not mine. and it will go with you.

it’s tuesday and we’re drunk anyway and our ankles are in the pond and my back is flat against the dock and you are looking down at me while i tell you sad things. i close my eyes and spill out secrets because once they rise in me i can’t stop them until they bubble past my teeth.

“it happened,” i say, “and then it kept happening.” i find a laugh in my chest where i know there shouldn’t be. sometimes i pretend i’m an anchor because there’s a difference between sinking and drowning. i peek one eye open to you, where you’re frowning.

you don’t say anything. i worry i’ve gone too far. told you too much, and now you’ll see i’m a project and you’ll leave. you’ll untie the boat. you’ll leave me stranded in the storm. all that cliche shit everybody writes about but hurts worse than words know. because people leave, and leave, and leave, you k now?

“it’s good!” i blurt, because i can’t stand the silence, i sit up quickly, i splash my feet, i pull funny like a blanket up and around me, “shit happens. what doesn’t kill me made me a bitch on wheels.” and shit happens. it happens until it crawls down your throat and just when it would be better to die, you get a breath in instead of choke. shit happens and you wake up and it happens and you go to sleep and it feels like the same shit, all grey and ugly and the underbelly of the beast, shit happens but you can’t talk about it because otherwise, people know, and you can’t show other people you’re weak.

but you’re not laughing. i ruined whatever we have. your lips twist to the side. i try untalking, unmaking the mistake, coiling back up all the useless garbage about my dumb life which isn’t even that bad, i’m just whiny. “i’m good now,” i say, “i&r squo;m okay,” i say, “it sucked at the time but now im fine,” and i say it, because the lie feels right, but i hate the way your face looks, like you’re trying to see under my skin, like now that you know you can’t un-know. like you’ve solved the problem and the equation reveals that i’m a piece of shit.

“i’m sorry,” you say instead. “that shouldn’t have happened.”

i bark a laugh, try to talk, but you shake your head. cut me off. “no,” you say, “i’m here if you ever want to talk.” you keep searching with those wide eyes so i gotta look anywhere else, anywhere else, down to the fish and the water, down and down, away from the only thing i haven’t figured out how to laugh about, away from the glow of you and the warmth that radiates now, away from this terrible truth you’re weaving between us, “i love you,” you say, “i’m glad it didn’t kill you but it shouldn’t have happened that way.”

oh no. oh god. oh god, wouldn’t it have just been easier if you had waved it all off. can’t we just make a joke and move along. oh god, oh no, not this, not love. i can’t handle it. i’m not strong enough.

“i love you,” you repeat while i’m stifling a sob. you put one hand out on my shoulder. i want to cut my own hands off. “what happened to you,” you say, and it sounds like an alarm, “was terrible, and you didn’t deserve it, and it was entirely wrong.”

i don’t know how to handle this. i don’t know where to go if you’re telling me i don’t deserve it when the crumbling hits. i don’t know what to do but buckle down and survive it. because what comes next if you’re right. what if you don’t leave my side. what if i wake up one day and shit happened again just as it started to all go right. what if i wake up and the truth is that i did nothing to deserve this shitty old life.

“it’s okay,” you say. “you’re going to be alright.”

coming back to my house has been strange lately. i don’t dread it. but i feel alien here. like everything that is so familiar isn’t mine anymore. apart from me. like it has turned its back to me. i know. i know. it’s time to leave.

“the books assigned to us don’t have any REAL meaning” 

yeah, i know. i am an author, i felt that keenly through my entire academic career; i hated knowing it wasn’t the case. that i was being lied to.

but we make meaning. the first time someone read into my writing and found something i hadn’t put there, i found myself smiling. oh yeah! it felt good. it felt good they tore it open and plucked something out. it felt like i had done my job well. and they felt good, too.

a lot of books assigned in school won’t have something you see yourself in. they’re general books, or they’re forced in by how cheap they are, or they are just good examples of one type of writing. it is frustrating writing essays about them, like pretending you are panning for gold while you are ankle deep in a plastic pool. these are things that were made for other people, for another time, for a different s et of hands. we cannot force ourselves to be kin to what is unlike us. our skin rejects it.

but we make meaning. there will be books - and maybe some will even be assigned - that will not be intentionally written for you, but they will feel that way, down in your ribs, like when you catch your reflection in a store front and for a second don’t recognize who you are. there will be art and dances and songs (god, so many songs) that will do this, over and over and over and over, because our hearts are these big things that love to grab onto any sign we are not alone. that our pain and our losses are not unnoticed. they will be the books you hold differently and the songs you scream along to and the art you cry about in the middle of the museum. and these same books and songs and art pieces will be looked at by other people and those people will say “there’s no meaning here. i don’t get it.”

sometimes, sometimes, i do have a meaning i tuck in to words. and sometimes even if i think the meaning is one thing, someone will tell me: here is another. and every time this happens, i am 13 again, and i feel good, and i know i made something worth loving. worth looking at. people come to me and they say: i know you don’t know me, but you know me. and i do know you, because we know each other, because a piece of writing is a two-way looking glass, where you see me, and in that honesty, i hope you get to see yourself, too.

somewhere, tucked into this, chewing on itself, is something i like to remind myself. when i am at the end of the rope, when i am scratching old wounds, when i am trying to untie my tether because none of it matters, i say: we make meaning. and i think of the books that i love that others do not. i think of the flowers that mean things to me that i cannot spell and you cannot know. i think of what i have given meaning to, and who has given me meaning. and i tell myself. yes, this is a dark time. but we will take it and we’ll put it on a loom and we’ll weave ourself something out of it, and we’ll make meaning from this life. i will give meaning to others when i can and i will write and hope others find meaning and i will live like i am meaning to, because if i’m stuck here, i mean to live. 

no, maybe it doesn’t mean anything. but maybe it’s just the wrong book. go on. keep looking.

there was only hunger around her, like she was a cliffedge, like vertigo was on her leash. there is the tide, and where it comes in, and how burying hands in her hair feels inevitable, relentless. the minute you touch her, it all seems to pull in, and in, the empty beach before a tidal wave, the magic of a girl whose smile you would kill for, the magic of a girl’s jaw, tilting up, that half-surprised grin, leaning into you, and the sound at the back of her throat, and her warmth, and how, no matter how many times you kiss her, it feels like this, like falling out of a plane, like an overheated engine, like a cup you can’t reach the bottom of, that unsatable need that devours, that yearns for more, and more, and more, so that even when you are full of her, and she is all, when it is your lips and your teeth and your palms are flush with each other - still that hunger, that expansion, that need of her, over and over and over - just as you thi nk maybe, maybe, you’ve come to the horizon and tied it around your pinky, she laughs or she turns or the sun hits her sleeping face, and you know: this is chasing the end of a rainbow. and god. how good it feels, this love of her. your girl of gold.

please forgive me for the long absence. my hands have gotten worse. i’m taking a little break, reading, and waiting for it all to come back to me.

“honey, you don't 
frighten me
 
i was born from stormclouds
nothing from this earth
can stop me from flying.”

i am a bird that was hatched from electricity // r.i.d

when the sun went down we didn’t cry for our mamas because she one time said don’t hollar for me when you made your grave so deep so instead we lie in them, in the coffin of our beds, fake vampire shit, watching our bodies turn into husks and telling ourselves, tomorrow, tomorrow, we’d wake up and it could be okay, and that made it worth living but damn, hadn’t we dug ourselves down, down - made no room for a nest, too much dirt in our legs - come on, then, trim the edges of our bodies until we’re sculpted into something unfamiliar, that fear of mirrors, that fear of who we are when we’re alone again - i want to be in a place where i forget how it feels to be sad but i’ve never made it to the place where i remember how to be happy, so come on. cry on my shoulder and we’ll both suck the venom out through the love bites life gave us and we’ll both live on, and live on, and live on.

you were picking blackberries and her lips were stained and you couldn’t stop staring. she kept reaching to cover her mouth. “is something in my teeth?” she kept asking, and you kept just saying, no, no, no, i promise.

right now the two of you are dancing around a something-that’s-not-nothing and it swells up between you, too vague to know the shape of it yet. how do you tell her without scaring her off that she takes up a whole house in your head.

you’re scared of the might-be might-be because what if this is the moment and you miss it but worse what if it’s not the moment and you mess it all up, so you watch her and you pick blackberries and you don’t say, holy shit you’re goregous

writing-prompt-s:

Your mom admits to you that you have some… supernatural blood running through your veins. But she doesn’t remember what kind, cause she was kinda a hoe. 

my mom is a sex worker.

this is something i don’t talk about. i’m not embarrassed about it - my mother is a bright, intelligent person putting her three kids through private school - but holy shit i hate the way people talk about sex workers. back when “your mama” jokes were a thing, i once ground my teeth so hard that i cracked one. opening a bloody mouth and saying “shut the fuck up” worked better than i expected.

sometimes people find out about it. holy shit is your mom a hoe? that word, spat like a knifeblade. hoe, tramp, slut, skank, loose, cheap. everyone seems so happy to identify her. cut into her side. nobody ever says that shit about the people she sees. nobody ever calls her clients bad things. only her, the lady who works twelve hours for us, who has no insurance, who has no protection but her own wits, who knows how to dance in heels and how to seriously coupon and finance and work. god, i hate the word “hoe”.  har, har. your mom was kinda a hoe.

har, har. your laughter is a broken bone.


stacy is puckering her lips in the mirror in shock-red lipstick. her hair is blonde and curled. her face is so white-white-white. fair. “so, like?” outside of the bathroom, the club is pounding, “is it true?”

I lean against the sink. my arms are crossed. i toss my own hair out of my face. i am pretending i am nonchalant. “yeah, i mean, i guess.”

“so you, like, don’t even know who your father is?” as she fixes her eyeliner, her lips quirk in that way. har har, you r mom was Kinda A Hoe. 

stacy doesn’t know about the sex work. stacy only knows: “so like all three of you have different dads?” she asks.

“there’s all kinds of families, stacy,” Lena says. Lena, who is gorgeous and has been my friend since we were five and is the only person in our friend group who Knows The Truth and has the most amazing silky black hair and wonderful beautiful eyes and this kind, kind voice. and i might be in love with her. but okay.

“yes, lenaaaa, we know you’re the voice of social justice and activism,” stacy drawls, “i’m just teasing.” when lena does not seem Too Amused by Stacy, stacy rolls her eyes. “Let’s just, like. go drink. jee-zus.”

stacy swings out of the bathroom. lena and i look at each other. i drop my eyes first. then there’s this silence in which i hear: har har. your mama was kind of a whore.


< p>family, i’m afraid, is kind of a big thing in spanish families. sometimes, this is annoying. suffocating.

more often it meant my mother was there to tuck me in, to tend my fevers, to feed me, to tell teachers off for overstepping. her favorite thing was telling stories. she was always “still working” on a fairytale book she wanted to publish for children.

she tested the stories out at bedtime, always made them about great-great-great grandmas for us so we could feel a family that we didn’t have in the states. here, with just-us-four, our lives expanded over the sides of the bed to include great women. never men. 

these women - now our women - could grow plants, could turn tides, could call storms. some were scary, some were plain, some were funny, some were awful. they were power-hungry pirates, long-living fairy queens, destroyers of nations, peaceful rulers with plenty.

this was the best of family. the four of us crowded ar ound my mom and her words, smooth, aching, full of love.

but sometimes, sometimes. when mom was at work and it was just us, i felt it.

i felt like our family was a joke. because who knew, after all, who my dad was.


“you’re hungover,” says Roja. 

“i am not,” i say.

“you’re hungover,” repeats Azul, louder. i flinch at the headache their words create. they give me a grin the size of a planet.

“i’m not hungover,” i plead.

“mom, she’s hungover,” the two say, in almost-unison. 

my mother is moving quickly. she always is, i think. all of my memories of her are a windstorm. powerful. real. taking care of things so effortlessly.

she puts food in front of us, fixes the orange table cloth under the plates, shifts our chairs, takes her place. folds her hands so we all say grace, even though azul and roja are making faces trying to ge t us all to laugh. 

“amen,” says our mother, and we all dutifully repeat it, even though all of us have a touch-and-go relationship with he-whom-rules-the-universe-and-all-things. 

the thing about spanish tables is that they’re rarely quiet. you’re holding an individual conversation with each person, and then there’s also a few conversations that happen between the whole group that you can reference at any point. all conversations happen at once so you’re always kind-of-yelling.

so when mom says, “there’s bad news” between second helpings and is-there-dessert, when we all get silent: it means something.

her lips barely move. “they’re shutting down the websites,” she says, “i’m losing my streams.”

we stare at her. her hands, so delicate, so hard working, are folded into church roofs. her head is bent. “i’m going to try a nd find other cam work, but,” she takes a deep breath, “i just wanted you to know. i might be going back to… other things.”

“the streets, ma?” roja, first born, suddenly turns too-serious. loses her light. a shadow is over her eyes. “ma, i can go back to working at johnny’s.”

“i’ll go back into food service,” i blurt. 

“i can do haircuts for money,” azul talks over me, their hands searching, and then we’re all talking, quickly, desperately, offering time and money and anything we can think of.

mom holds up her hand. and then one at a time, she shoots us down. “no johnny’s,” she says, “he was trying to recruit you into gangs, and not in this house.” she turns to me. “you had too many allergic reactions. over my dead body will my girl die because i couldn’t afford to keep h er out of work.” and then to azul. “azul. we’re going to find you work where they don’t misgender you. but not that.”

mama takes a deep breath. “you’re all too young anyway.” she puts her hand down. “this,” she says, “this is my thing.”

and then it is quiet at a spanish table, and it feels suffocating.


people always say: oh, if i drop out of school, i’ll just be a stripper. i’ve seen the blisters on her feet, i’ve seen the tips, i’ve seen the shit she puts up with. it’s not “drop out of school and just become a stripper.” it’s much, much harder.

my mother never brought clients home. her job, for a long time, felt normal to me. lots of people had mothers that worked late shifts. that came home tired and kind of cranky. we lived good. not just rice and beans. how was i supposed to know “being a hoe” was a bad thing. 

i asked her once, what i was going to be when i grew up. if i’d be a hoe too. her back straightened. 

she said i came from a long, thin line of people. all who fought their way to this land. who only had one child, maybe two. she said all three of us were miracles. that we were all a mix of our own personalities. that we all would see our strengths, our weakn esses. that we could only grow as people. that azul had healing and rojo, light. and that i, middle child, was a growing star, would one day bloom. that one day we’d wake up, and we’d know who we were meant to be. who we are.

she talked about our long line of ancestors. these mythical creatures, full of mystery. 

“who knows what you’ll be?” she whispered. “you only have the best of me.”


mama would have killed me if i had taken up smoking, but stacy’s parents ask us to call them by their first name and tell her your body your rules about these things. she’s leaning against the wall. “i’m just, like. if i didn’t know my dad, i’d be like. what am i?” she peers at me. blows out smoke to the side. stacy is obnoxious and sort of terrible, but when she’s out here smoking, she seems sort of vulnerable. always crossing her arms and sulking.

i am too bu sy staring at lena, who is in the sun, drawing something beautiful in chalk. her hair is so pretty, her hands so smooth. she always signs these works with her chinese name, which is just as smooth. i want to fold her into my mouth.

“how about your blood type?” stacy presses.

i gotta shake myself. “like, what. what i drink for breakfast?”

“yeah, okay.” she rolls her eyes. “i meant, like. if you’re the same as your mom’s or your dad’s. i’m AB because of my parents.”

lena’s mouth twists to the side. “yeah,” she says, “i’m o because of my dad.” the chalk sweeps. it will be destroyed by sprinklers in about an hour, and she knows that.

i shrug. “i don’t know.” when they stare, i offer the only thing i think is normal. “we don’t do blood tests.”

what?&rd quo; for once, lena looks to be on stacy’s side, “you don’t do blood tests?”

another shrug. “mom said it was like, a religious thing. i don’t know.”

“babe,” lena says, which is a word i’m not allowed to react to, but i do, “where in the bible does it say no blood tests.”

i stammer a reply, but stacy is already talking. “you should go into a clinic,” stacy offers. “do, like, a basic one.”

lena looks at me again. neither of us can figure out if it’s a bad idea or if it’s a good idea and we just hate it because it came from stacy.


the first person who called me a hoe for knee-high stockings got a fork shoved between their first and second fingers. we don’t live in that school district any longer.

my mother told me that strong women were always being chased. that we were called witch, slut, skank. hoe. she said so what? be a witch. don’t let them crush your magic. 

but i didn’t feel very magical. i just felt dirty.

i was nine. isn’t that something.


i fidget in the chair. 

“well, this is something you can learn at school,” says the phlebotomist. “it’s a very simple test.”

“yeah,” i say, taking a deep breath, “i just …” might be making a huge mistake, “i just wanted everything checked.”

“i’m o-negative,” she chirps, putting her things together. “universal donor.”

“fun,” i offer, because i don’t know how to respond to that. 

she puts the needle in my arm. and everything kind of goes bad.


when i was twelve, i was catcalled from a car. it wasn’t the first time. but they followed me for block after block aft er block after block like vultures. hunting me, you know? hungry for blood. and when i was breathless and panicked and ran and hid inside a bodega, they chucked a soda cup at the door. 

“slut!” they called, before driving off.

i stood inside of that shop with my breath clouding the door and the word banged around in there.

 like mother, i thought, like daughter. 

and my hands turned into fists.


my mom is leaning over me. for a second, i think i’m still in the chair. my bed feels unfamiliar. she’s sitting on it with me, has me tucked all the way in.

“hi,” she whispers. 

“oh my god,” i say, “i think i attacked a phlebotomist.” i try to rise, but her gentle hands push me back down flat. she takes out vapor rub and starts warming it with the tips of her fingers.

“blanca,” she says instead, in a low voice that means this-isn’t-a-joke, “there’s something you need to know.”


the problem is, when people find out about it, they think the whole “sex worker” thing is why us children exist. that’s not it. we aren’t my mother’s accidents. but always, that assumption. har har, again. your mother was kinda a hoe, and now you exist.

my mother was artificially inseminated. we were purposeful choices. 

so how’s that for a twist.


“you know the stories about your abuela and your family,” my mother’s fingers drag vapor rub over my collar bones, even though i don’t need it, “and her country and your country?

i don’t know where this is going. “ma,” i say,  unsure why she’s bringing up her children’s book at a time like this, “i think i like, hurt somebody. for real. how did i get here, even?”

“your abuela,” my mother pretends she hasn’t heard me, “was called a witch.”

“i know, ma,” i push against her hands, trying to sit up, but she’s got me caught by sitting on my legs. “did i faint, or something?”

“and her mother was called a witch,” my mother continues.

“yeah,” i am too scrambled for this,  “in your stories, i know. did i hurt someone, mama?”

my mother holds my hands. rubs vick’s into them. slowly. “everyone from your family,” she whispers, “chased and killed and hunted for being witch. her mother and her children and their mothers before them. on and on and on again.”

“yeah,” i say. “her mother and her mother and her mother.”

&ld quo;and your mother,” she says, so low i barely catch it. her fingers hook under my chin. and gently, gently, she lifts my jaw. locks eyes with me.

“and now,” she says, “it will happen to her children.”

her eyes glow. and i understand in an instant.

you open up your palm and inside is ugly so you close them again, quickly, before you see the things you let go of.
 
today you’re thinking about people you lost touch with. some of them you’re not sad to see go. it’s her birthday today. maybe you should leave a note. remember that one time you tortured me for sport?
 
but then some of them swell up inside you because you know it’s your fault. what, are you supposed to saunter back into their lives after so many months? just tip your hat and say i know you’re happy but what if i came around again
 
you let them go because it’s better if you don’t call them up. if you don’t make things awkward. if you don’t act like you know who they are or what they’ve done. it’s better you give them space, right. better you sail off on your own. 
 
oh, her engagement looks gorgeous. you send her a note. it’s a very forced conversation. nothing flows. okay. okay. 
 
you look down at your palm. it’s time to let go.

c
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