Selected Chapbook Poems

by Julia Alexander

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These are some of my favorite poems from my four chapbooks.
You can find a Collection of Bruises I Cannot Show Off Here:

If you enjoyed these poems and want a copy of As My Voice Shakes or TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL they are only available in print. For free copies send an e-mail to

Me and The Dirt I Rise From has yet to be released


released June 5, 2014

I recorded this in my bedroom while eating leftover Chinese food.



all rights reserved


Julia Alexander Connecticut

I'm a part time poet and a full time cry baby. If you get too close to me, I'll write a really emotionally confusing poem about you. It'll be exhausting for both of us.

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Track Name: I Spent More Time in the Shower at RIC Than I Did in Class- (taken from A Collection of Bruises I Cannot Show Off)
I Spent More Time In the Shower At RIC Than I Did In Class
I spent half a semester in college.

I studied the way a girl can turn
into a rabid dog when she is trapped.
I was chained to a fence and scratching at fleas.
I allowed myself to destroy another
person’s life just because I was caged
and she was different,
and she was an easy target.
I spread this infection purposefully,
and I could never apologize enough,
so I have not apologized at all.

I studied the way a girl can unravel
when her problems are never fixed.
I let old wounds fester. Nothing
ever healed right. I let myself scratch
the scars wide open. I spent more time
getting high in Browne Hall than I did
in class. I am not proud of that.
I spent more time crying
in the shower than I did
in class. I am not proud of that.
I did not ask for help because
I did not know that I was sick.

I studied the way a girl can look
at the house she grew up in so
differently when she is no longer allowed
to sleep there. I made myself stay
away from here for long enough
to know that the best way to say
“home” is with tears streaming down
your cheeks, is with your whole body shaking,
is with longing, is with your father’s arms
wrapped around your shoulders.
Track Name: Frat Parties Are Fun I Guess- (taken from TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL)
instead of writing
another poem about
wrapping my shaking body

around a stranger, stumbling
across campus, and stitching

slurred sentences to explain
the reasons my skin bruises

so easily,
i will only write poetry
about paper,

about the way you can
always see the creases
when you unfold

pieces of paper
i am starting to think

that it’s the same

Track Name: Womanhood (Whatever That Means) - (taken from TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL)
1. I sit on the chair we dragged
into the bathroom and look in the mirror.
I watch thin fingers
try to brush out my rat’s-nest.
Thin lips ask why I
don’t keep it clean.
She cuts out chunks that are too
far gone to be bothered with.
I watch wisps of blonde hair
fall to the floor without saying a word.
2. Learn to hate the places
my body chooses to protect
with hair.
Learn which hair is clean
and which hair is dirty.
learn to hate the hair.
learn to hate the body.
3. Drink bottles of water
until my stomach becomes the
ocean I am drowning in.
4. Sit up straight.
Sit up straight.
Push your chest out.
5. I ask him to wrap his
boney fingers around my mouth
so that I am not tempted
to ask him to stop.
6. I slide myself between
a set of dirty sheets
and a heavy body.
Pretend to like this.
Pretend to be sexy.
Pretend to feel fine about this.
7. I bite my nails until they are bloody,
until I can no longer use them
to try to scratch my way
out of this coffin called Skin.
8. Fold your arms across your chest.
Do not speak.
Look at the ground.
Make yourself small.
Become the empty space.
9. Skin reddens as his fingernails
push deeper into flesh.
I don’t think it is supposed to
be like this.
Hold back tears.
No one wants to see you cry.
10. Run my own fingers
through my hair and wonder
how it ever got this tangled,
wonder how I will ever get the
Track Name: How Could I Forgive Myself When You Still Aren't Here?- (taken from TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL)
i cannot forgive myself for
swallowing poisons in the hopes
of drowning every thought
i have of you.
i cannot forgive myself for
letting other men swallow me whole.
he told me my skin tastes
like cherries and menthol
with pieces of my flesh still dangling from
his teeth. i didn’t wipe my blood away
as i kissed him goodbye.
i will not forgive myself for
trying to erase you from my notebooks.
you are staining my skin like the coffee
i spilled all over every page.
you’re stuck to me like leeches.
i don’t mind letting you drain me.
i’d like for you to drain me.
start sucking out all the poison.
Track Name: Working Through It- (taken from Me and The Dirt I Rise From)
Working Through It
the second
the hot tears,
the pushing,
the holding.

the steam from
the shower,
washing away the
putting the dress
in the pile of
dirty laundry.

the time passing,
tending to the
open wound,
the world continuing
to spin no matter
how many times
I beg it to stop.

the acceptance,
the removal of bandages,
the motions of this life
in the after,
everything as painfully
the same as
the before.

the reminder,
the denial,
tell myself to stop thinking about it.
the steam
from the shower,
there is no blood left to wash.
there are no wounds left to heal.

this is not what I wanted to write about
this is not what I wanted to think about
ever again.
Track Name: Figuring the Rest Out As I Go Along- (taken from Me and The Dirt)
Figuring The Rest Out As I Go Along
I think so much.
I should really have something figured out by now.
I should really know a thing
or two
about the way
a hawk circles
and then its inevitable decent,
about the way
a girl unravels
and subsequently sheds her skin,
about the way
a body rots
and eventually is forgotten.
I should really know a thing
or two
about that.

I’ve got thoughts,
too many thoughts
like two snakes fighting to swallow
each other whole,
like phones ringing off the hook
on both ends of the line,
like a tap that won’t stop dripping
no matter how hard you tighten the bolts.

And, people have tried to snuff
me out so many times
I cannot tell the difference
between the ashes and the new,
between clean linen and filthy rags,
between me and the dirt
I rise from.
You can hurt me if that’s what you want to do.
You can smash my head on the pavement,
and you can watch my legs keep twitching afterward.
You can shove my head underwater,
and you can watch my eyes pop out of my skull.
You can watch me crawl away
tail between legs
every time you spit my name.
You can hurt me if that’s what you want to do.

But I see something
at the end of this tunnel
just a candle flickering
but I still see it.
You can’t blow that out.
You can’t blow me out.
You can’t stop these thoughts from
slipping out of my throat.

Trust me.

I’ve tried.