I am addressing (A) you from a length of space and time (B) that likely makes little sense to you. (C) My words are (A) fractured and soft (B) pale birds of pained wisdom (C) that have accumulated (D) near salted wounds. (E) I see and hear (A) you every day. (B) You weren’t joking (A) when you told me (B) that you were omnipresent. (C) May we be? May be. (X)
My understanding of time is (A) adhesive and slightly stretchy, (B) both as a concept and a construct, (C) like a stamp with newborn wings (D) or a sweater that’s coated in mud. (E) I love (A) the ongoing fiction within. (B) I am (A) free yet passive, (B) lucking my way out (C) of a joint resolution. (D) How long has it been (A) since we last danced (B) to your old cassettes, (C) making light of cracked tape (D) and right of due wrongs? (E) Remember when you were awakened (A) by your loss, (B) smiling from chin to cheek (C) in a bare kitchen sink? (D) I can’t recall (A) the specifics (B) but have been assured (C) that you weren’t okay. (D) I struggle with (A) these words despite (B) knowing them by heart. (C) My mind waves (A) back at me while (B) I respond (C) with knotted answers. (D) Were you awake (A) before the fog settled in? (B) Was the day-to-day (A) as gruesome as it was gray? (B) I am thinking of (A) items that are sitting above (B) our kitchen countertop (C) and hiding beneath the couch cushions: (D) of sugary spring water (E) and powdered fake milk (B) of business envelopes (C) and intestinal damage. (D) I’m not sure how you (A) pulled it off, (B) back then and today. (C)
Can we talk (A) about my projected love life? (B) I want to be (A) the girl who bows down (B) to sheer romance, (C) who sweats blood (D) instead of tears, (E) who keeps it together mostly, (B) who makes love (C) to sugar-free acid, (D) who catches the fall (E) with a curt smile, (B) who has, quote, been through a lot. (C) I want to be (A) the one who knows (B) where the keys are, (C) who bumps then nods, (D) who tinges with regret, (E) who keeps it mostly together, (B) who covers these loose lashes (C) with wavy mirrors, (D) who stands aside a beaming shadow, (E) whispering, “I love you more.” (B) I want to be (A) sharp and cross-eyed, (B) woo-y and blue (C) near the end of each week. (D) I want to be (A) slow and somber, (B) attending to and aching for (C) more delicate words tomorrow. (D) I want to be (A) second to the one and only one, (B) the indulgent arbiter (C) and the fashioner of faux forms. (D) I want to (A) mostly keep it together. (B)
I am sometimes offered (A) prizes when I remain sticky (B) like unsalted butter (C) with a return ticket home. (D) I love (A) me in my own way (B) , I think. (C) I can’t tell (A) if you are being sincere, (B) but I think (C) the silence might be worse. (D) I’d rather live (A) with the bricks, (B) the brags, (C) the slits, (D) the smacks, (E) the zifts, (B) the laughs, (C) and so on. (D) I’d rather experience (A) it all (B) than cope with (C) what’s left of me. (D) I’d rather fail (A) if that means that (B) I can finally hear (C) those two foreign words: (D) you’re alright. (E) I’d rather remain (A) unnoticed by day (B) if my evening lullaby informs (C) me of my worth. (D) Let’s regroup and refresh (A) yesterday or last week (B) where these words stiffen and smirk (C) like the walls around us. (D) I’ll bring (A) Tylenol for kicks. (B)
I made (A) the mistake of being (B) young in my early years. (C) I left (A) the womb with limited guidance, (B) looking for opportunities to leap (C) I made attempts (A) to jump, swim and move. (B) I was a child. (X) I wanted to eat (A) my cake with the candles (B) still fuming (C) then eat the candles too. (D) I wanted to believe (A) that I was capable of (B) winning the world over (C) despite all of my despites. (D) I wanted to wield (A) your kind of power (B) while adorned in plated earrings (C) and draped in worn wool. (D) I wanted to gain (A) the approval of (B) solid gray figures (C) while dodging eye contact (D) when convenient. (E) I wanted (A) to smile, say “hello,” (B) and quickly walk away, (C) thinking to myself, so what? (D) Who can I trust indoors? (X) I wanted to care (A) for me. (B) I wanted (A) everything in one room, (B) under my guise, (C) not flinching an inch (D) for as long as I say. (E) I wanted to see (A) your teeth shining and (B) silently humming the words (C) ya salaam (D) as my actions turn to stone. (E)
I made (A) a few friends since then. (B) I made (A) friends who were young (B) and sweet and kind, (C) like the life that I could see (D) and touch (E) but never feel. (B) I made (A) friends who were bold (B) fresh and smooth (C) like the cough syrup that I feared (D) but probably needed (E) when I was home, sick. (B) I made (A) friends who were shallow and sheer (B) like rain on a warm day, (C) splish-splashing for hours (D) then evaporating in due time. (E)
I keep thinking (A) about where I am, (B) versus where I was (C) two weeks ago. (D) It seems like we were (A) destined to live and breathe (B) in the form of a question. (C) I want to put (A) my body through (B) the never-ending state (C) of being in-between. (D) I’d rather want (A) than be. (B) I’d rather dream (A) than sleep. (B)
I wear (A) burnt dots on my face tonight, (B) and I don’t have time (C) to hide them at dawn. (D) I can see (A) how they got here (B) since I have not washed my face (C) in over a week. (D) I apologize (A) if I look weird. (B) I don’t mean to (A) but I think I know (B) why you are upset. (C) The truth is, I don’t want (A) to be there (B) when you call. (C) I want to be (A) at your beck and call, gawam! (B) but not in real life. (C) I wish I had (A) the guts to make my words (B) hot and sour, (C) but my mind wears me (D) down most days. (E) I try my best (A) to be your kind of good, (B) to cross fires and hold hands (C) and smirk on the slow walk back home. (D)
My decisions revolve (A) around your standards, (B) believe it or not. (C) I attempt to (A) mind my expectations. (B) But I find (A) it distracting that you fire (B) a set of words (C) that only I can comprehend (D) and shrink beneath. (E) I try to ignore (A) the thoughts that run down my back, (B) begging me to glue together broken seams. (C) I’d like to see (A) you put this kind of effort (B) in the folks who sat beside (C) our dinner guests. (D) Silly, I know. (X) I think I need (A) time to leave me be and (B) let me see as (C) I flex my new wings. (D)
What takes place internally (A) when you switch code? (B) What happens to your core (A) when all attention goes to your crown? (B) Why alter your face (A) when greeted with new faces?Most of the fragments in this passage were not included in the text generator due to their unique format, but the highlighted words were. (B) Why can’t I wear this (A) to the dinner party? (B) Where do these (A) twisted teeth belong (B) in your universe? (C) Where can I (A) find you later? (B) What did you mean (A) when you said insha’Allah (B) to my well-intended goals? (C) What was going on (A) en route to Boston? (B) Was the distance doable? (X) Where did your mind go? (X) Who is going to believe (A) this caked story? (B) Where should I put (A) these dishes? (B) Where can I find (A) you later? (B) Can you take (A) a look at (B) what I have done? (C) Do you need to be (A) now that I have left? (B)
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