Author: Emily Sipiora

Emily Sipiora is the author of Grown Ass Men I Have Loved. She has been published in Medium and interviewed in Idiom. She can also be found on Twitter and Tumblr.

Evelyn McHale

I am between myself and this release.
This, the messiest result– filthy in the first degree.
I stood right on this edge, very sure of myself
forever, the cruelest words:
“Why should I care if you hurt yourself?”
Is it really that awful of a crime to do this?
A quick, tidy action, with no one to miss?

Everyone remains sorry for something
still, I’ve been abandoned for what?
I have chronic tunnel vision
from surrendering myself to this rut.
The mental hypochondriac has everything to fear
this misery gnawing away at everything held dear.
The swift division, from one life to another
yet, it remains so traumatic
no different than any other.

Everything you do, for the sake of this hell
Miss McHale falls short, in heels, by herself
Forever in her stasis, the cruelest in between
more of a portrait, less than a human being.

Excerpts from iMessage

[On why I came back to the hotel at 4AM]
“If anyone asks, I was up all night consoling you through your grandfather dying.”

[To an internet friend on the first day of school]
“I don’t know how junior year happened.”

[in general]
“How old do I look? This is very important!”

[Every day, to the same person]
“Did you do the math homework?”

[in general]

[mass text message to my mother, father, hairdresser]
“What’s my social security number?”

[a photo of a music library, “A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend is the first song]
“Can we be friends?”

[from my friend Cameron who pretends that he is a rapper]
“Yea yea swag”

[From my friend who didn’t tell me about him going to rehab the next morning]
“See u in a month”

[On first kisses]
“I feel cheated.”

An Apology to the Frogs I Inadvertently Murdered

Summer has been over for months now
but I still can’t sleep until 4 in the morning
and I can’t find any of my socks

So when I go outside to check the mail
for packages that never came (thanks, Amazon)
The skin underneath my feet brushes the frost
that sits on the top of the wilting grass
and when I come inside, empty-handed,
there are little wet spots on my carpet
Unlike in the summer I spent with the world underneath my bare feet
and the cashier at the Walgreen’s began to scowl
when I said, “I forgot to put shoes on”

When I was a child, my mother who used to make me wash my feet
after playing in the sand at my grandmother’s beach house that has been for sale for two years now I used to enjoy spiders crawling over my buried feet
and catching the frogs that lived underneath the paddle boat

I stopped enjoying it as I grew older
and the only reason I went to the lakeshore was to hold my phone high enough to get a signal
I began to loathe returning to the lake house because it had no wifi
I began to loathe returning to the lake house because my iPhone had no signal
I began to loathe returning to the lake house because I desecrated the frog’s home to catch them
so they could die in my plastic boxes, bought from the discount pet store down the street
My father told me, “You’re going to the lake house with us this year, Emily”

I made myself throw up so I wouldn’t have to go, because summer has been over for months now

Do Not Disturb

I sat outside,
on the stoop, surrounded by moldy leaves
and I never understood what my friend had told me:
“When a call goes to voicemail, it feels like shit”, until tonight
I used to delete all of our conversations because I was afraid of people seeing them but I think, looking back on that choice, that I was afraid of the sub-context of them, creating new reasons for you to never speak to me again
In deleting them, I remember the way I originally felt when I received it
Enthralled, worth something
I felt like I had ruined something by finding fragments of a relationship
or maybe I just didn’t understand it
I stopped deleting our conversations and I went through them,
Barefooted on the filthy, aging steps to the basement
I couldn’t decide if I stopped reading them because I couldn’t handle it
or because I was at 2% battery

My phone died
(I died)

I followed the filthy steps to the basement

To Kali, Love Shiva

Here’s a plea for you and your Sunday morning optimism, your tidy suburban dream
The ever complacent mother, [Jack, the] ripper of all of my seams
Your casual Friday night loafers against my teeth, kicked off one by one
You would’ve been filthy anyways
but at least you had your fun

There will be no more cheap tunes to sing of your labor
the touches perverted as love
I am going to remove myself so quickly
not a whisper thereof

You stole parts of me, irreplaceable
pieces one by one
the process of my life —
the process of me — come undone

I want to blame you for something
but you made sure I won’t remember what
I’m sorry I stole your Xanax
but I can’t get out of this rut.

I am going to remove myself so quickly
and I’ll be barely a whisper thereof,
finally ruined, dead on arrival
I’ll be rung up for your fun.

Clarice Starling / Lolita

I used to think I was Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks
when I rolled the elastic waistbands of my skirt into itself, over and over again or when I handed over a crumpled twenty dollar bill for last season’s heels.
I used to think I was Angela Hayes from American Beauty
when I stole my first tube of MAC’S Russian Red
or when I ripped my contact lens with an eyelash curler.
I used to think I was Harley Quinn from Detective Comics
when I justified on catering to their whims
and cried when they didn’t cater to mine.
I used to think I was Tracy Flick from Election
when I started getting the attention I had thought I wanted
and I shoved it right back into their face.
And I used to think I was Hayley Stark from Hard Candy
when I pretended to be shy, then pretended to be aggressive.
In reality, I became passive.
I tell myself that I am neither a conquest or a hobby
nor am I an answer to an absolute malevolence.
Nevertheless, it happens.
“I cannot get out,” said Clarice Starling,
look at the tangle of thorns she has made.
“I cannot get out,” said Clarice Starling,
look at the tangle of thorns she has made.

It Will Never Feel Like October Again

“Wait, so you two never dated?” I asked, hands inching outside of the car window and fingers slipping into
the place where the windows
hid inside of the car door.
“What? Of course not,” he replied,
the headlights of the cars on I-90
flashing across his face for moments that passed like eternities as I waited
for an explanation
that never came.
And so just like the cars that disappeared into each other
over and over again

The days ran into each other (was it a Thursday or a Sunday?) and through the times
that we saw each other, we drifted apart
and through the ages that began to fall,
days gone at our feet
we made the decision not to speak

Excerpts from the Notes App on my iPhone

September 20th, 2013
I skipped school because everyone else was applying for internships at the job fair
I went to the cafe and ordered coffee and grilled cheese with my xanax
I couldn’t tell if I was paranoid or not, but when I walked to the roof the police officer at the tobacco outlet eyed me
Something has changed

September 21st, 2013
Last night at the District a homeless person waved at me, the waitress shook her head and said “don’t pay attention to him, it only encourages them”

September 22nd, 2013
Last night downtown I saw teenage boys (middle schoolers pretending to be older than they actually are) with icky iron on shirts with phrases that read, “I’m With Stupid” and “100% Trouble”
I want to experience the thought process of the decision that led them to thinking that this was okay

September 23rd, 2013
My younger brother got kicked out of school
and when we went to collect the things in his locker
he looked outside the window at an abandoned tv set across the street
As we put his folders, gym shoes, and textbooks into the back of the car
He looked at no one in particular and stated, “The television is still there.”

September 26th, 2013
There are cornfields across the field near my grandmother’s house that remind me of the Wheat Field with Crows by Van Gogh
Regardless of the time, weather, or any other circumstance, the crows are always taking off as we pull into my grandmother’s driveway.


I stumbled onto the filthiest parts of this city
and I lied to my mother, and I stole from my father
and your family- your gallery, misfits, strung together
by bottles of Pinot noir (I liked the taste)
and a lack of discretion (I’ve been such a waste)
to me, being much more

It was a humble beginning
Rockford born and raised
I spent myself foolishly
instead of counting your days

My mother gave up on him:
“When did he fall apart?”
My aunt turned away
“You’ve always been smart.”

You gave breaks to wander, I blew smoke
I feel awful- you were the one who choked
Another girl foolish, your family soon shocked
a death too quiet,
a life quickly stopped

I know that I’ve told you
I’m sorry it wasn’t me
but it’s been three months
still, I think we’d agree—
If art is art, something taken to heart
its life cannot be wasted
and you should know you’re apart

(from all of this,
the filthy alley beside here
and the homeless beneath the bridge
this is too sentimental
and unhealthy, a smidge)

I’ve never thought of heaven, but for someone like you?
If you’re there, maybe I’ve really ought to

Ian Curtis

I have felt stuffy, stale, dull
and I feel myself rotting
I’ll complain, again
about how I will miss out on all of my friend’s lives and how I will never see anyone again

I will have said too many goodbyes
and told too many people
a terrible excuse:
“I’m sorry that I can’t go to homecoming with you,
I have to find another resident for the vacancy inside of me”

and as my actions elude my own reasoning,
I’ll give more one-sided apologies

and when I get home, I’ll be at the kitchen stool

I was the only one home


the house is vacant