Helena Kvarnstrom Cheltenham Badlands 2006Excerpt from "Violence"

"and i’ll bury myself so deep inside you and i’ll be your tragedy and you won’t have to find it anywhere else, pay for it on movie screens and play it in your songs, i can be all the tragedy you need and i’ll tell you all my stories and you’ll look so serious and maybe you’ll cry and you’ll say you’re so sorry you’re so sorry and i’ll write myself onto your palms onto your lips you’ll swallow me hard you’ll wonder if you’re one of my stories too and one day the back of your hand will run into my cheekbone.

your hand will run into my cheekbone and i’ll become sand.

the times you fell in love me with were: when i ran out of the store and you found me on the floor in the bathroom and i would not stop shaking. when i could not breathe on the bench. when i borrowed scissors from your mother to cut up my pills and did not brush my hair. i am running out of reasons for you to love me even before the piss yellow snow melts and you know it is up to you now. you love me best with a wet face and swollen lips and i don’t mind much.

sometime in december i run out of the house with no shoes and it is the first time i have left for a week. i cross ashland and stare at the ground and there is no one to see me, past the laundromat where you buy me gum and rubber bouncy balls while we wait for the bleach to take away that week’s accidents. the laundromat is owned by a very nice hispanic man and it is called soapy’s. that’s where we tell people to turn left to come visit us but no one comes anymore. it’s so quiet at night here and then the freight train goes by and i regret not getting to the tracks sooner just to be close to the sound. you watch tv and imagine my body crushed by boxes carrying lumber, cars, and children’s cold medicine. "

Helena Kvarnstrom