You are not a genius. 
You are a madman made into a human, your past lives
stacked like totem poles beneath your bones, building and building
you up until it’s easy to believe that
            you’re someone you’re                         not.
They stare up at you with their menacing smiles but you
stare right back, lips curled in a wild grin, corners pulling
all the way to the edges of your jaw. 
You wanted so much. You needed so much.
All those things you coveted? Gone now. Gone to the roses and the
dirt, spinning into that vast and circular space from which
we pull life- sweet life! Good life! Kind life! Life that allowed us only
to die! Life like an exotic fruit hanging off a bare tree! Life like the
undiscovered corners of the dark city! Life! Life! Life! Life!
            You loved life so much that it hated
                       you, bit you back on the lip,     laughing—
All these things that you have loved and all these things that
you have done—broken, mad, lying down in the street
and waiting for the traffic to come take you to
your next life. (Did you know? You are within me now, your
            darkness, your fire. I can feel it burning me from the inside out.)
Life is the ritual of existence that we are forced to encounter. 
To not just hold it in our hands but to take it by the reigns and
                       Ride! Ride! Ride! Ride!
You stand behind the bars of a New York jail and contemplate the way
in which you rode, not striding, but stumbling, perhaps. 
                       Just barely making it through. 
America; 1940. Let me paint the picture for you—
the rumbling cars and the smoking clubs and the sounds of trumpets
and dancing pouring from your windows, lovely little girls with
their hair curled up around their faces and their dresses flowing outward
from their waists, hitched up just enough so that you could see their
            ankles, that sinful flesh! Oh, how it spurred you away, the women!
            The perfume! The pink lipstick and sweetness of them! 
Your love was no sweetness. It tore you to pieces.
Splintered you into a thousand shards that no one knew how to
put back together. And so you walked the rest of your
life with one foot in heaven and one foot in hell, the devil dragging you
down to meet him. 
I go with you now. And we waltz in the caverns of fire, spinning
and twirling so that we might never return. 
Lest the world turns on without us;
Lest we forget our lives. 



In another life we run with
the wolves, sprinting with the gait
of madmen, ice
white fur shining against the bright blood
of our bruised hearts. 
I run towards you, 
my Machiavel, my stranger,
my lover with the proud mouth
and iron eyes. Wherever the wolves
rip apart their flesh, 
where they paw at their ears
and howl out into the stardust,
where they roll and fight and
bleed, where they burn and break
and bend, where their
balkan skin meets the icy current
and the elements clash in an
explosion of sparkling teeth and
the desire for something more—
there I will find you.
My Machivael. My ghost. 
My refuge and my nightmare. 
You are my god, a burning meteor
flinging itself towards Earth with
the force of all the heavens
banishing you from their realms.
I do not—cannot—know you. 
My Machiavel. My grave. 
My destiny and my solider. 
You are Janus with the half-grin, 
Agamemnon with his golden mask. 
You are the town crier, the ringing of
the death bells, the music and the
haunting. You are the snake
and the sniper, the
river and the wave. The joker and
the fool, the runner and the bird. 
The air, the ocean, the forest, 
the deep dark night sky hiding until
they are forced to reveal their true nature.
My Machiavel. My stranger. 
In another life we run with the wolves,
and we howl, and we maim
and we cry and we climb,
and we climb, and we climb. 
My Machiavel. The girl with a thousand
names. Lover. Stranger. Ghost. Grave. 
Destiny. Future. Desire. Nightmare. 
I do not—cannot—know you. 
I know only that you
are everything—
hanging off of every breath,
locking yourself out of every room.
And I fear I will never have enough air
or be able to find the right key. 


COLUMBIA ; 1948 

I am broken like the gates that were barred to me, my dear
my darling, my beast, my ghost, my lover, my Machivael
You, with the open letter, with the yes, with the signs, with the opportunity to amount to
something more. Ginsberg with the glasses and the excitement and the fear and the
letter, goddamnit, Ginsberg with the letter that I waited so long for and never received- 
what would you have done? to sit on the steps on your porch and open your hopes
to rejection? would you have howled?
I can feel it, that strange ripping desire for the something more burning like acid beneath
my flesh, beating my heart into ash, pounding, pounding, pounding
What are we? What are we? What are we but blood and bone?
Dust and ash? Our feelings are a commodity imagined to make us feel better
about who we are—fodder for worms, food for mud. Nothing nothing nothing nothing
I see you smoking in your dorm room in nothing but your white boxers and the
thin wire frames of your pseudo-intellectual glasses, the smoke billowing around your hair, curling
into it, tendrils of the fire illuminating the emptiness that lay behind your brains. The laugh, the
smile, the howling yawp pulling itself from your chest, and in the middle of this man-made
chaos that you love so much, we stood, dancing in the fire, him and I;;;;;;
burning, burning, burning, him with his devil’s horns and me with my black halo
of someone who aimed to be so much and failed so sorely—
the world never could contain us. Never knew how. Darkness and light and forgiveness and
redemption that we begged for but never received. We are here now. Here in the shadows that
haunt us when we walk, that loom over our shoulders and breathe down our skinny necks.
They will come for us. They will come for us. They will come for me with their hollow eyes
and their skinny frames and their moans of those we lost. We must
welcome them with open arms. We must turn our eyes to the sky and thank the prismacolor
god that sent them to save us, to rescue our sorry sinner souls. 
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for saving me from                                    myself
They come for me now. I say hello and smile. 
I am no longer lost; I am home, I am home; and I am home;
Filled squarely with the darkness that gave me birth.
Filled wholly with the nightmare that kept me alive. 



Thou art not divinity. Thou art ruin and carnage embodied in the
human form. Bones & Ribs & Stranger’s Kisses. 
Thy body is not a temple. Thy body is a business, open
only to those who present cause to aid in thy annihilation of self.
There are no gods for thee to pray to, no book of stories to save you now.
Thou has’t sacrificed thy soul for the pretense of beauty— 
for the body and the blood and the teeth. 
They will bite you. Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!
This is not a kind world. It was not meant for us to have.
Blame thy ruin on the sidewalk cracks you stepped upon as a child,
upon the cursed names thy tongue has’t spoken, the
fairy tales in which thou dids’t not take caution. Welcome to the
universe of the damned, the broken, their smiles stitches on their lips, 
here to maim and murder. They will come for you now. 
Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!



Welcome to America, thy great world’s whorehouse. 

Everyone can have her, that great land mass of dried out plains and
fields expanding over the carcass of her bones—America! 

Gaunt and provocative, her music the steady thump of gunshots and
fireworks and trucks barreling along the highways, criss-crossing
like her veins from one coast to another, dusty pink and oceanic blue. 
She will die out soon, go hungry without injustice to feed on, spitting up the
remains of yesteryear until they lie like dead animals all across this great
country, citizens of rotting flesh and strawberry hair, eyes still glued
to their screens, even as they tell them the end of the world is nigh. 
They do not care, the unholiness of their practices normal to them, those
who sweep flakes of gold across their eyelids while children starve in the
streets, their hands reaching out, shaking, to grasp onto tomorrow—America!
Invincible. The home of the free and land of the brave, the greatest nation in
all the world. Lying barren and washed-up on her own shores.

SPENCER GEORGE is an eighteen year old writer, student, blogger, and feminist. Spencer is the founder of the #NOTYOURGIRL campaign, which encourages teen girls to embrace feminist principles and shed the fear to be their true selves. A student at Barnard College, she recently published her first novel, The Radiant Valor of the Rough Self, the story of a boy who suffers from dissociative amnesia in the wake of his family’s murder. She can usually be found drinking soy lattes and writing in coffee shops.