asheville writers

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Ain’t so Real

Published August 3, 2020 by April Fox

(They tell us)

Real women have cuuuurrrrrrrvesssss

-Gotta draw that out real slow, let the word trace along the edge of the

Fat thighs, round hips, breasts like balloons every little boy

want to die in

Real women look after themselves,

legs like stilts that hold up the pedestal balanced there,

low flat belly, chest like a smooth wave in the ocean

sharp cheekbones cut like ice if you aren’t

Perfect(ly made; don’t tell me

that’s a real woman)

Anorexic overeater tell you hormones make the lady

but that facial hair they say to shave says otherwise,

now don’t it?

(They tell us)

Real women take care of their own, work hard, bring that money home and

ain’t no real women go away all day and leave her kids.

Real women stand up for themselves, don’t take no shit

get that dinner ready on the table when your man gets home

Keep him fed

Feed him good.

(They tell us)

Real women don’t belong HERE in this restroom

Real as the ache of not being seen,

real as the ache of being questioned every day, from the inside,

Who am I, and why am I here?

Real as the knowledge that power comes from the pocketbook

and that your breasts are weapons to be feared

even if

they haven’t started yet.

Real as the leaves in the hair, the rocks in the knees on a dark dirt road cause you need

a place to stay that night

and when you’re fifteen,

nothing feels like home.

Real as the blood on the sheets, the blood on the arms, the blood on your face

waking up in tears

remembering.

Real as the day long hours wondering why you weren’t made

like all the other

Real Women

with their fat flat asses and their sharp smooth hips and their

curves worn damp with time

erased

Real like knowledge

Real like the mirror, waiting to look back

And feel complete.

Four Windows.

Published November 25, 2018 by April Fox

It just occurred to me that my house only has four windows in the entire place. That’s fewer than I had in my bedroom at the last place I lived. And I started to post something about it, basically like what the fuck guys, no wonder I’m in a funk… and then I thought about how that often leads folks to a presumption of ingratitude, wherein an acknowledgement of something that makes you sad is dismissed because look at all these other things that SHOULDN’T make you sad, and why can’t you just shove this heavy thing out of the way to give yourself a better view of the things we think are pretty? And that leads to the remembrance of all the times that people have said, not to me necessarily but just thrown out on social media, that either you are in complete control of your own happiness and are making a decision to be depressed because there is ALWAYS a bright side or that depression is some sort of noble badge you get to wear as a result of having weathered so many of life’s metaphorical storms with strength and grace, and both of those are of course utter bullshit.

Sadness is acute, and you are allowed to have that even when other things don’t make you sad. And depression is pervasive; it gets deep into your head and the reality is that sometimes you cannot see the good and sometimes there really isn’t any good (I swear if you tell me it’s good to just be breathing I will wish a swarm of yellowjackets upon your netherparts) and it’s not about where you’ve been, it’s not a sign of strength or weakness or malignant character, it simply IS. And sometimes there is help, and sometimes you just need to live in that. Sometimes you just need to have acknowledged that yes, there really aren’t enough windows in this place. Tomorrow I will get up and go to work and continue to find joy in many things, but for right this minute, in the midst of all the Christmas lights and joyful kids and central heat and air, let me please be sad about this thing, and let that be okay.

Feel.

Published October 29, 2018 by April Fox

This is what it feels like

(I don’t know)

to be kept out, sent to the back,

inked with numbers like cattle

(I bought my ink with dollar bills

you sold your soul to make)

This is what it feels like, one tenth of a percent

to send my child out, brown eyes

thick lips, pants sagged and face

inked like you don’t know

he never pulled the trigger

White as I am

you can’t tell,

arms scabbed and ribs shining

like blades in the street light

You can’t tell

I held that belly, sunken now

in the palm of my hand when he came home

small as life

You can’t tell

I wear my whiteness like armor

(you don’t know)

protect me when I walk at night, keep me in the car

when I get pulled

my brake lights shot like Walter Scott’s but I’m alright

It’s just a warning

        Careful now,

                don’t get hurt.

I know this

My breasts

        (no matter how small)

my ass is a beacon, shining out

spotlights on the fact that I am there

to be taken

that you can have the thing that I have never

until right now

given up one hundred percent voluntarily because I know

from the time I was 14 years old

that if you want it

you’re going to take it

anyway

This is how it feels

(I don’t know)

to be safe in the world

This is how it feels

(I don’t know)

to be safe

This is how it feels

(I know this, now)

to be helpless, to lie flat still frozen

in the dark to wait

for the things that gobbled up the blacks the Jews the

mouthy women the men crawling on the street with needles in their veins

the infants pulled to term and shit out on the sidewalk

screaming with addiction while the pro-life movement dangles formula and warmth

above their heads, the cost of daring to be born

to be sacrificed to hungry priests to be grown up

cut and bleeding

on the bathroom floor

This is what it feels like

(I don’t know)

to be quiet, watching, waiting

until they come for us.

Again.

Published October 17, 2018 by April Fox

In the middle of the night

he is lit from behind, the glow of the hall light

shining through his skin and I want to ask him

all the things that end in

Yes,

the things that someone else with

better words and softer, paler edges

could spin into the silk of romance and something like

forever but the night

is heavy with the weight of day and though I can see him

my eyes are closed and somehow I can only ask for the one thing

that’s immediate:

water.

When his shadow crosses mine again he brings me all the answers

in a paper cup

and holds it steady till I rise to drink.

Shot Gun.

Published October 13, 2018 by April Fox

This is where they’ll find you

tattered and sore

what did you think would happen when you opened

(your mouth

your eyes)

your legs?

This is where they’ll find you,

painted on smile, don’t open

your mouth

(your eyes

your legs)

he’s always been a good boy

I heard he had a perfect credit score.

This is where they’ll find you,

battered and whole

hands tied feet bare

silent asking

What did I think would happen

when I opened

(my mouth

my eyes)

my legs?

This is where they’ll find you,

mask on, hands off, clothes buttoned up

tight

What did they think would happen when you opened

(your mouth your eyes your legs

your mouth your eyes)

the chamber?

This is where they’ll find you

standing

on the mountain that they built

This is where they’ll find you

when they close their mouths

their eyes

This is where they’ll find you.

Pull the trigger.

Dale Crover of the Melvins — Interview

Published June 22, 2018 by April Fox

I recently had the chance to chat with the legendary Dale Crover, drummer for the Melvins. We talked about their new album, “Pinkus Abortion Technician,” Crover’s latest solo effort “The Fickle Finger of Fate,” and the weird shit Kurt Cobain used to decorate his apartment back in the day. Check out the full interview here in Glide Magazine

Losing October 

Published November 15, 2017 by April Fox

In my nightmares there is metal everywhere. 

The little one is hungry,

two-dimensional

I’m not sure if he’s real or a

creation of my 

imagination and the wires

the image projected flat

onto the glass —

The eyes are still the same. 

When he was broken, once

I carried him and had him cast. 

I am waking up and

waking up and

waking up and

not. 

When I finally sleep, I’m cradling

all the tiny things

Trying to keep the other ones

from tearing out their spines. 

Altar

Published October 4, 2017 by April Fox

Let’s make a little altar here

from the things that we collected

while we walked.

Let’s make a little altar

from the broken sticks,

the colored leaves, the tiny

stones

that pressed between our palms

like everything.

Let’s make a little altar

from the love notes

and the bits of songs

the promises and tears

the handprints on the glass

in the back seat of the car.

Let’s make a little altar

with the shadowbox we made

from torn up paper, old receipts

the endless coffee cups,

the rain.

Let’s make a little altar

from the nursery rhymes and fairy tales

the hangovers and lazy days

the emptiness behind the

captive audience, the rapt and

awed, the onlookers, the fans

the stick figures, the empty heads

the arms that circled close, the

time

the blackness left behind.

Let’s make a little altar, but this time

let’s keep it out

where we can see it

keep the floodlights on

the spotlight keeping lit

all the things that we’ve collected

tucked away

and dusted off

on a holiday like nothing

Let’s make a little altar

from the darkness

left behind.

Funhouse 

Published March 11, 2017 by April Fox

Today seems like a good day, she thought,

to post a written affirmation 

in the third person

of how she saw herself

Words borrowed from someone else and 

filtered 

through a hazy layer of optimism

angled just so

to avoid showing the piles of

shit

in the background 

and viewed through a

funhouse mirror

Nails in her feet cropped out and blurred

with tilt shift

just to be safe

She is

an all-powerful

homage 

to herself, a poorly-lit

selfie

captured in words

and garbage
Such a beautiful sunrise

frames her silhouette 
And she will rise,

regurgitating self

another day. 
*For fuck’s sake, please don’t take this seriously. 

2016

Published January 3, 2017 by April Fox

Funny all the cracks that made your surface

interesting, once upon a time have filled in now

with dirt and grime and no amount of scrubbing

can restore them

Leonard Cohen left us blissful

mirror-gazing at each other, dancing

long and slow, until the end

until the end and we were

cavernous, and gaunt like insects, exoskeletons

the mismatched eyes were watching everything

and slit the throats

of all our memories, bled them dry and left us screaming

hey Ophelia

Please come back

home.

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