Samantha Paige (they/them)
Samantha Paige is a student of several years and a poet of many more.
Their work examines uncomfortable subjects in a disturbed way, considering the details of mental illness and sexuality with sublime raw imagery. Their first poetry collection, laden with rust, was released in 2017. They have also been published in the Ariel Chart Literary Journal and poetry anthology Love and Catastrophē Poetrē, which will be released in June 2021.
i don’t know how you live
with your mouth so full.
i’ve never seen you open it
but your cheeks
must be ripping at their seams
from all the pride
you refuse to swallow.
corpse of an artist
see my warm, rancid flesh splash
against summer tide’s white tile.
watch as i hold my head between my fingers
and squish as hard as i can.
see the swarm of locusts erupt
from the gape of my mouth,
a puff of dust from a journal
long shelved, since forgotten.
watch me step on my teeth until the
bottoms of my feet sprout cavities
and infection kisses the nape
of my decaying desire.
watch me rot from the inside out.
her lithe fingers
traced the back
of my slip dress,
her lips were
softer than the
promises she knotted
into my curls
as her eyelashes
now i see her
in the slow current
of the river
and the gentle caress
of the moonlight
and the back
of a slip dress
that sits untouched
in the back
of my wardrobe.
i wish i had hugged my mother
then my bile would taste less like gasoline
and instead burn the embers of
maybe the thoughts that hang in my throat
would have gone home with her
instead of embedding under my skin
between my rotting teeth.
my tongue is swollen with promise and
i’m filling with rust again.
asleep / awake
one is soft footprints
across the hazy ocean floor,
dripping slowly down
rose petal waterfalls,
drifting into the sky.
the other is
a colour-block painting
against an endless white wall,
by unkempt whispers,
and i still can’t tell
which is which.
out of touch
i’ve really missed my friends since
i tripped off the face of the earth –
i should have reached for the curls of a memory
to tug me back to a place where the ground was less gaseous,
but instead i pressed myself against the wind’s strong chest
and let her take me.
as my skin blossomed with blisters, gentle blooms on a vine of sickly green veins,
i heard their voices become one with the clouds,
dissipating into the atmosphere that holds me
limp like a puppet without strings
being suffocated by distance.
the radiator has been broken for three days
cradled by the narrowness of my bedroom,
i am hit with waves of loneliness
that slither along each of my bones,
a skeletal frost weeping in its wake.
i thought the snow would freeze my problems in their fading tracks
but instead i find myself in the cavern of their footprint,
four walls and an open sky that drifts further
when i reach out with the icicles
of my inquiring fingers.
the sweet smell of warmth tickles my memories
when i close my eyes hard enough i remember
until the cold presses its lips on the back of my neck
and the too-soon-set sun lays the thick quilt of night
over the empty jam jar
of another day i couldn’t seize.
i just want to exist quietly for a while,
nestled in the softness of your breath
(though i’m not yet familiar
with its warmth or its rhythm).
my nose has been buried in your letters
(which make tiles on my bedroom floor);
they smell like chilly mornings
and the sight of a fresh smile on your lips
in my mind’s hazy eye.
my hands burrow in the dirt of your presence,
enwreathed in life that somersaults off
the gentle curves of your joy that has oft
lulled me to vivid dreams, rich consequence of
a lifetime of distance held in the palm of six weeks’ time.
tectonic plates shake at the thought of our souls sharing space,
sipping on circumambient joy out of chipped china bowls
(and the chips, of course, give them character
much like ourselves whose shells
are now far from as intended
but beautifully damaged regardless).
my palm will taste yours; bittersweet apprehension
that sends shockwaves across each bitten fingernail.
the clock on my tongue reads 5:53
as i shout goodnight
across the endless moor of isolation.
what my room remembers
she is eight
and her eyes
overflow with wonder
as she watches
her father’s paintbrush
dance across her wall.
she is eleven
and she pulls the flimsy fabric
over her washboard chest
and stares vacantly
into the vanity mirror,
filled with admiration
but also doubt.
she is fifteen
and her tears
sing me to sleep
as she mourns
the boy whose name
she will forget.
she is eighteen
and she curls her hair
as she sips gently
on coarse fire
to relieve her shaking nerves.
they are twenty-one
and they are nowhere to be seen.
honey drips off her cheeks
as the sun cradles her head
against the fresh heat of the golden sand,
a soft chorus of the sea’s shed skin.
rosy circles frame the blush across her nose,
softly promising memories
that we will clasp in the locket
of our tart subconscious.
the leaves shout in whispers;
the breeze blesses our union
with a gust of sacred warmth
across our shoulders that are freckled
with the other’s kisses.
the current shines in the softness of her irises,
and i watch my future dance in their mischievous glimmer.
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