Excerpt for Bloom: Expanded Edition by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


l e x y c o u r n e y a


Copyright 2017 Lexy Courneya

Published by Lexy Courneya at Smashwords

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about the author

author’s note

connect with me


dedicated to my best friends,

my miracle grow™


how the clouds formed

in the beginning

when the sky was black coffee

god poured in some cream

overcoming writers’ block

floodgates burst open

words pour out onto the page

i’m dehydrated

literary catheters

pens – the catheters

through which black words drip into

the vessel of verse

divine dandruff

god scratches his head;

immaculate flakes descend

onto outstretched tongues

infinite cosmos

cradled in the void

the madonna is rocking

forwards and backwards

knitting a blanket

sapphire blue and strewn with pearls

back and forth, always


cicadas come of age

breasts bud on virgin

flesh, bursting from topsoil

like cicadas come of age

concrete jungle

the concrete jungle

teems with lemons, oil rainbows,

and pedal pushers

riot time reverie

clouds traverse the sky

like cauliflower riding

a conveyor belt

the dwelling place

manifestations of my soul:

resilient purple crocuses resurrecting through snow;

petrichor (the aroma of parched earth after rain);

peony petals softer than trickling water;

the scent of grandma’s pillow–sweet and familiar like honey for the bees;

tumble-dried fabric pulled above the knees,

warm and lavender-scented like a sunny meadow;

words that go down like chamomile tea, the soft f and v in “forgive”;

cuddles–the first cousin of bubble baths, hugs–the loving aunt;

cassette tapes clicking into place, Dan Fogelberg’s mellifluous musings;

meteor showers, shimmering streaks across pearl-strewn skies;

summer nights as sweet and fluid as watermelon drippings;

forests on forearms–trees erected by goosebumps–

the dwelling place of hungry wolves;

howling at the harvest moon, they say

te amo hasta la luna, ida y vuelta.”*

* Spanish phrase meaning “I love you to the moon and back.”

when you feel unloved

when you feel unloved, imagine that you are cradled by mother earth, encircled by sweet smelling flowers and blanketed by the warmth of the sun. seek solace in the beautiful imperfection of the tangled trees and the unkept foliage around you. with their encompassing embrace, they obscure your presence, protecting you from the harsh realities of the man-made world. you are safe and free to be yourself.

beauty in chaos

no matter how hard you try to tie up your life in a neat little bow, it will always remain a tangled mess. unlike knotted earbuds, you can’t throw your life away when its imperfections frustrate you. you must find beauty in the chaos.

glory! glory!

the optimistic mind

commands you to

drop to your

knees and




which your

eyes graciously

bestow upon your

abused flesh,

tilled (or torn) by

sharp tools and even

sharper words.

you do so reluctantly,

because you learned

very young

not to add

salt to wounds.

the saline stings

as it

seeps into

the scratches.

but the pain

is preparation for

proper healing.

your tears coax

life from

the devastation;


bleed green and

scab over with

saplings and


the optimistic mind

commands you to

rise up



your hands

to the once

saturated skeye.

glory! glory!



from your



covetable fruit,

gleaming in the

light of reality,

graces your

outstretched arms.

glory! glory!


your limbs hold

the knowledge of

good and evil

and your

trunk possesses the

strength of diamonds.

mother sun

mama!” saplings wail

their limbs reach for their solace–

the life-giving sun

how to remove stingers from buzzing memories

not all memories can produce honey like honey bees. some memories are born of wasps and hornets. others are apian princes, royal pollinators of the buds of reminiscence. accept this truth, and the stinging will subside, alleviation your compensation.


contents of the mind

snapshots of life

taken at irregular intervals.

evaporated teardrops

and emotions eroded by time.

a collage of puzzle pieces

and futile attempts to assemble them.

a hazy depiction of who i am

and who i will become.

epiphanies that only spark


pages blank to the naked eye

that spell out what i feel inside.

questions that lurk

in the shadows of my mind.

metaphors, similes,

paradoxes. . . .

the twists and turns

of a road called life;

i maneuver with uncertainty

towards a goal unknown

and a fate unseen.

false leads,

dead ends,

and a mystery left


the smoker

exorcist addicts

watch dark spirits rise from lit

cigarettes, entranced

what is normal?

with no two the same

each human is different

does that make us strange?

we call others strange

if they are not the same as

most of the others

but if most others

are not the same, then why must

they call others strange?

if we are all strange

then strange is normalcy and

normalcy is strange

when my eyes are closed

blinded by beauty,

riches, and fame, i see best

when my eyes are closed

silver tongues are gold

nothing matters more

than the mating call of an

albino peacock

misplaced luck

clover fields littered

with cockroaches–luck spent on

those born immortal

combing for clovers

you can’t live life with

slumped shoulders and downcast eyes,

searching for good luck


cacophonous cradlesong

feuds in the night –

my cacophonous cradlesongs –

keep my eyes wide shut

insomniac mirage

as restless as the

ocean tide, i drift upon

the seas of slumber

let me in

drained tear ducts and dreamless nights make for dry eyes. i yearn to peek through the windows to your soul, but the lights within them have dimmed and the shades have been drawn. damn you! my pupils desire to rendezvous with yours. won’t you let them?

star (siren of the night)

siren of the night,

i scale the alps to reach you,

and you spurn my hand?

the longest knives

blithely bumbling around the gallery,

Gogh’s muse hums a mellifluous melody,

perfecting the sirens’ serenade.


aim to imitate him–

attempt to capture

his golden hues.

with a satin jacket

stained by sulfur

and a crown adorned

with canary down,

he’s yellow pigment


he beams,

and blossoms bloom for him–

i bloom for him.

is he sunshine?

he rests on the bench

beside me, warming my skin

with his rays–

feelings soon to fade;

he extracts a switch blade

and incises the wood with profanities,

desecrating this temple of treasures–

a temple created for him.

i wipe honey from my lips and

dab vinegar on my wrists–

drain reverence from my eyes

and withdraw into myself

like withering wisterias.

he makes a buzzing sound in my ear; i flinch.

grazing the honey bee inked on my wrist, he asks,

why do you fear the creatures you adore?”

i gaze solemnly into his eyes

and my tongue, heavy with premonition, replies,

because my beloveds brandish the longest knives.”


insults grow on your

fingernails–talons with which

you lacerate me

corpus flori

my heart

was once impregnated with

concentrated love.

then melancholy

thrust forward

its jealous sword,

leaving lamprocapnos

spectabilis behind.

i waited for a savior

to darn my

bleeding heart,

a savior which

never came.


depleted of ardor,

i burrow into

a potpourri sachet,

hoping that


will adore

the bittersweet redolence

of my withered remains.

too shallow

brackish rivulets

wander my cheeks, taunting–too

shallow to drown in.

rest for the weary

god draws a deep breath

and blows out the candlelight;

all good things must end

hydrogen bond


are an

oxygen molecule –

a concept

intangible yet


welcome is the

sting of remembrance,

preferable to the

dullness of disremembrance.

i wouldn’t dare erase

the recollections

of our love – like a

hydrogen bond, they keep

you and me



a p a r t.

fiat lux

i dream of

serendipitous rekindling–

the post-mortem trysts

of star-crossed lovers.

reactive spirits

(vodka and motor oil)–

combustibles charged

with longing and lust–

coalesce into

molotov cocktails–

conceive supernovae

which outshine the entire galaxy

in moments of

ephemeral euphoria.

mi amor,

meet me at the juncture of

Venus and Cetus.



can eclipse the sun.

kidney stones

don’t despair, my love.

life's kidney stones will pass, though

not bereft of throes

sad girls

sad girls

are still–

beautiful girls

happiness will come

does the sun shine as brightly on the way things are right now? perhaps not, but the sun can shine as brightly on the way things will be.


cash or credit

to him

replying with

i love you

is like

paying with credit when

he only accepts cash.

he demands tangible compensation.

he desires golden dollars–

shiny girls whom he can

touch and feel and use.

he wants to

hold their faces

in his

greedy palms and

say with covetous eyes

you are mine.

affidavits of a rape victim

he will always live within me

like a twin absorbed in the womb

or the zika virus, rousing when

it comes time to bear children.

he will exist

in my memories,

in my voice when i say no,

in images of tall men with greedy fingers

locked in my hypervigilant gaze.

a former courter in a courtroom.

expression cold and eyes dead

as bullet casings,

immorality solidified

by medusa’s snakes.

his facade masks all

traces of culpability –

the lines which he made

and crossed with his

unwelcome touch.

he possesses

the remorselessness of

either sinner or saint,

his face an interrogation lamp

burning with suspicion.

with flushed cheeks,

i check

and recheck

the locks

on the door to my sanity,

smelling the sheets

for signs of a rat,

listening to the tapes

for sounds of consent,

recounting my steps

until I’m back where i started,

my virginity still intact.

i convict him


and time again.

he is guilty,

i mumble to myself.

he is guilty.

he is guilty.

he is guilty.

he is guilty.


my compulsion

to confirm the crimes

proves as

insatiable as

the man who

committed them.

my fingers feverishly

transcribe my truths in

tangible form

so that they may become


affidavits which

i compose for myself.

an affidavit.

an affidavit.

another affidavit.

only yes means yes

you claim that

staging a coup

against my sovereignty

was merely

a "miscommunication,"

a “misunderstanding.”

but the real


lies in

believing the sincerity of your

sorcerous fabrications.


your soul

finds solace in the

teachings of narcissus,

my shuddering soul

spends its days

translating hexes into honesty.

i love you.

actually meant–

i love your silhouette.

i want to spend the rest of my life with you.

actually meant–

i want to spend the rest of this moment ravaging your flesh.

i want to demonstrate how much I love you.

actually meant–

i will trespass on your boundaries, your innocent skin.

you are mine.

actually meant–

i now possess the deed to your body.

my soul has already wasted hours

rendering my words into

legions of languages

in search of opportunities for misinterpretation &

determining if the spaces

between letters left room for

false impressions.

and let me tell you this:

rejection tastes the same

to every tongue.

i’m not ready for this!

always means–



always means–



always means–



always means–


be not mistaken, he whom I have

banished from my queendom:

only yes means yes.

dear rapist

assaulting is awfully similar to

assassinating. they both begin with

an ass. an ass like you. and end with

an assignment to hell.

dear victim-survivor

remember that

you are


and believed

in the eyes of

those who


stay strong,

my love,

for things will

get better.

and above all,

heed these words:

your voice

holds a power


by the


[san] Andreas

lips like tectonic

plates–when they clash, oppressive

edifices fall

rise of the rape survivor

a mind tethered to trauma,

a spirit littered with lacerations.

Her stitches spell “RESOLVE ME”

under the magnifying glass.

Her scares spell “CASE CLOSED”

in the crystal ball.

the path to recovery snakes

through the Garden of Eden,

encircles the Tree of the

Knowledge of Good and Evil,

and travels through God’s

booming voice.

the Truth

She proclaims to mankind:



earth to earth, dust to dust–

wounds turn to flesh as Her

burdens turn to ashes.

a severed tether, a cradle of cinders–

Her psyche transcends


mobilized for mutiny

we come from

the free bin

at garage sales,

from pink price stickers

fused to fetishized flesh;

we’re labeled as

yours for the taking”

worth less

for the labia

between our


we are women–

worn down and written off

by large heads and

lecherous tongues.

we are warriors–

mobilized for mutiny,

wielding glass shards

scrounged from

broken ceilings

and distorted mirrors.

we are warlords–

owners of ourselves,

subservient to no one.

we will speak

when we aren’t spoken to.

more than your trauma

it may seem that selfhood is an illusion, if not a privilege for the lucky. but you must spurn the notion that you are nothing more than trauma's carcass. like a vulture, scour the vestiges of your being for a semblance of untainted identity. string together the pieces of yourself that are unrelated to abuse – your authentic self – as well as embrace the aspects of yourself which trauma created – your acquired self. learn to love all of your component parts, even if that means coming to terms with your hybrid nature; begin to exist in the overlapping section of your identities rather than futilely attempt to establish residence in one or the other.

you, my dear, are an Arnold Palmer. you are half original and half trauma, but entirely human.

a promising prophecy

boys will be boys”–an

epitaph on the tombstone

of our rape culture


a love like ivy

the battered cottage

with its mismatched shutters


patchwork roof


for a

love like ivy:

a natural love

that slowly

grows on you

until its existence

seems as obvious

as butter spread on

pumpernickel bread

a gentle love

that abstains

from dismantling

your structure

unlike the amorous

storms which

came before it

a healthy love

that requires tending, but

not coaxing–

whose affectionate vines

gravitate towards you


(you mustn’t

persuade them to

come or to


such is the love

that you,

dear cottage,


spurn anything less.

the healer


words drip from his lips like warm

honey, descending

into the kettle

of aqueous anguish lodged

within my ribcage.

somewhere between my

despairing heart and failing

lungs, tempestuous

wellwater transforms

into sweetened tea. his tongue

provides remedies.

absent adoration (starved hearts)

to those with shrapnel

for mothers–caregivers who

leave their adoring

children hanging like

a fragmented sentence. to

those who cling fast to

human companions

and burrow themselves into

the chests of lovers,

suckling maternal

love from a wet nurse’s breast

fruitlessly; who wrap

themselves in body

heat and hearken heartbeats as

though they’re eavesdropping

behind tightly-closed

doors–attempts at inventing

a memory of

when their mothers held

them close. to those who always

unravel when they’re

alone, love yourself

thrice as much so that you don’t

grasp at mirages

to satisfy your

starved heart; you must become the

love of your own life.

me to me:

you are the love of my life.

about the author

Lexy Courneya is a college freshman whose love of poetry began in middle school. This book, which Lexy began writing 6 years ago, documents Lexy’s journey through abuse, sexual assault, and various mental health struggles. Lexy hopes that her poems about trauma will provide validation and comfort to others who’ve experienced trauma as well as raise awareness about sources of trauma, namely sexual violence.

author’s note

Sexual violence is difficult to talk about in the United States, because our society is plagued by rape culture–a toxic environment characterized by slut-shaming, victim-blaming, patriarchal definitions of masculinity and femininity, etc.

Survivors like me are often silenced by this culture (as well as fears of compromised safety and re-traumatization). Not only are we silenced by others, but we’re also silenced by the legal system; according to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, about 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have been victims of rape or attempted rape, yet only .007% of rape cases result in criminal convictions and even less eventuate jail time.

Through writing poems about sexual violence, I hope to give a voice to the voiceless–to raise awareness and bring validation to my fellow survivors. My heart swells for those who have found the courage to speak up about their sexual assaults (as well as those who are unable or unready to speak up). You are survivors and you will heal, slowly but surely.

connect with me

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