Response: Crush

Editor Kirsten Larson, Editor's Choice, March 30th, 2015

"Just like that, I ate up every heart you ever gave me."

Response Crush NAILED Magazine column

In our monthly Response Column, NAILED asks readers to respond to a particular word or topic. We are seeking raw, honest personal responses that aim less to answer questions and more to raise them. Responses in the form of art, photography, essay, story, poem, and rant will all be considered for publication. April’s topic is ADDICTED, please email your responses to by April 19th, for publication at the end of the month. (Word count limit: 1,000 words.)

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Response: Crush

All The Letters You Gave Me, by Robin Carlisle


I burnt all the letters you gave me.

Even the one where you wrote a poem. Can you believe it? You wrote a poem.

I burnt it.

I’m sorry.

But before I burnt them, I sat on the floor in my too hot apartment on the shitty-nubby carpet, beige, the color of love run out of love letters, and I took a hole-punch to every heart you’d ever drawn for me.

Every letter, every birthday card, and envelope. I had a grocery bag filled to the top. Stuffed. Every post-it note and napkin. Your dad called. Don’t forget your doctors appointment. I’ll be at band practice till 10:00. All the stupid little littles you left me, I kept them.

And the good stuff too, the bad stuff really, the love poem and all the rest. How you called me Queen Pretty, and the way you wrote it with that giant exaggerated ‘Q’. The stuff that was only ever meant for me, it all ended with that same heart.

Your heart.

I removed them all.

The tiny hand machine in my hand. Your words and your hearts in the other. Centered in the circle-scope I dropped those hearts to the floor. Cla-clack back-shatter sound of metal on metal breaking through paper. Picking them off punch by punch.

Your name, three letters and a dash just after that fast and loose heart, just after the hole in the page.

Most of those hearts didn’t connect at the bow and the point was rarely taken seriously. Broken before we ever were, those half-assed hearts.

But it’s not trueYou meant every one.

I know that.

I looked for hidden hearts through the yelling of your all caps. Sometimes those silly things were scattered all throughout. You were a girl like that, with your hearts and your words and your sentiment.

Your hands were softer than mine too. But so much bigger. Soft and strong and big. I pushed away the memory of your hands. I actually flinched not to remember. Pulled my face away from the You that wasn’t really there.

It didn’t work.

I could still feel your long soft fingers in my hair and your thumb on my jaw pulling me in. I could see your mom’s amber brown eyes, behind your triangle squints, trying not to look away or close. It was so hard for you to keep eye contact, but you did it for me, because you knew I needed it like air.

I punched and punched and punched and cried.

Covered in tears and a hundred scribbled hearts on rainbow flecks of paper.

When I was all done with the punches I sniffed my snot back up in to my face. Wiped my tears with the back of my hand and my bare wrist.

Stuck my finger into the splatter of a tear on my leg and dabbed up a baby-blue dot with a tiny ink-blue heart right in the center.

Your heart.

I put it on my tongue, rolled it around in my spit and swallowed it.

Then again. I dabbed up tears. From my legs and from my face and pulled those tiny hearts up off my lap. Up off the floor. Colored dots on every finger tip.

I licked them off.

Faint wood and scholastic. Less than stale.

The flavor of nothing.

In ones and twos and threes, on to my tongue. All the tiny hearts in my mouth.

I chewed and mashed and crushed your hearts with my teeth.

Then chewed some more and crushed some more. And swallowed and swallowed and swallowed the hard pulp.

I never meant to do it.

But just like that, I ate up every heart you ever gave me.



Robin lives, works and loves in Portland Oregon. She has a book in her, at least one. She is working like a Golden-Wolf-Hound to coax that book out into the glowy blue light of her computer screen. Things are looking pretty positive for her in that direction, as she has surrounded herself with huge beating hearts and gargantuan firing brains of the writing persuasion. They generally seem to think she’s pretty worthy. Which, well, it’s a place to start.

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Crush and Crushability, by Zinn Adeline


  1. The sound of the bending aluminum. Quick and snappy. How it folds in the hand like an accordion. Even my girlhands could crush. The way it bounces into the can full of other bent, discarded aluminum accordions. That sound, the click clicking of the pile. A high-pitched bellow. And the discarded aluminum accordion stench. Yeasty. Sugary. It seeps into my work shoes and pants. No amount of bleach can wash it away. But the sound, forever rings in a young bartender’s girlears. Or a drunk’s. Or a father’s. The cans sound differently, have an entirely different rhythm to their clink, when they are smashed like accordions than they do when tossed into the bin whole.


  1. The scanning of 7-year-old girleyes, desperate to see. Searching the camp cafeteria for her knee-length shorts and loose T. Her twenty-something torso and tan calves. The familiar tight brown ponytail, no fly aways. A clean simple face and perfect plump cheekbones. My eyes scanned and searched, without the rest of me. The body’s first crush. The eyes knew what to do. What to look for. Always the peripheral scanning for a sign of her. Never talking just staring and sweating. And smiling. Then the day she appeared in tight shorts and tank. It was her night off, another counselor watching after her campers. Loose waves and wisps framing her face. Eyes lined in black liner. My eyes fixed. Stuck. Blinking and fluttering and clearing away the blurs. Her shorts, though tight, were still long. And her tank, though tight, was a men’s tank with tight ribs and she still wore a sports bra. My eyes on her eyes, black with liner. Blur. Girleyes desperately trying to see, but. Blur.


  1. The smell of the thinning leather ball glove, in place to catch, yes, but also to protect from the blow. Old, soft, flimsy leather. He had it since he was a boy. I, now no longer a girl, can still smell that soft flimsy leather. The leather of my girlhood. He came home from the worksite, reeking of dirt and stale coffee. He didn’t shower before taking me out to the yard where he would sweat some more in the heat and humidity. But he put that glove on his hand and the smell changed. I threw hard. You’re crushing it, he said while removing the glove to massage his hand. I’m bruising again, he chuckled in disbelief before putting the glove back on, work on your changeups for awhile. Softer pitches. I wound my girlshoulder and I threw harder. My worn spot in the grass, where I planted my girltoe and took my stance, was exactly 46 feet away from him perched on the step, his old leather glove resting in the strike zone. I breathed deep through my nose—leather, dirt, coffee, grass—and threw again. Hard. He removed his glove, again. Massaged his hand, cradled his palm, as if all of the bones of his fatherhand had shattered. But he put the glove back on. Again.


  1. The small, round, pellets, tasteless and cold, pulverizing between my back teeth. Slurp the liquid, separate the pellets, hold them for a moment in your front teeth, then move them with your tongue, place them just so in the crevices. Chomp. My hand let go of the red plastic cup. Because my father reached across the red and white table cloth and took it. My teenagegirlhand. He slipped the cold gold band around the second finger on my left hand. Told me the promise it represented. I brought my hand close, saw the tiny blue stone and the tinier diamonds, and lowered my hand back down. Took back the cup. My fingers close around the red plastic. It comes to my lips. Cold. Tasteless. Slurp. Separate the pellets. Place them just so. Cold. Taste the cold until you can’t stand it. Until you can’t help but push down hard and crush the ice between your back teeth. Then it’s flat and it slides down the back of the throat. Cold. Slurp. Slip.


  1. The weight of her touch, all of her, on top of me. She, a fairly large woman. I, a fairly stocky girlwoman, mid-twenties. The first time I felt her touch, I sat next to her in class while she talked. A boardroom style classroom, students and teacher mingled together around a big square table. Her voice, though not large, carries. Mingles and mixes and marvels. Her leg, also fairly large, reaching into my space and my knee resting against her. Our class, her class, oblivious to my private touch. Her voice in my hair, echoing in my ears. Her voice echoing in her bathroom while I sip the fine bubbles from the glass and soak my skin in the sudsy bubbles of her tub as she read aloud. My body long and thick and plump, filling up her tub, cannot drink enough of her voice. Her voice in my hair, her mouth against my ear. Her voice telling me about my body. My skin. Her skin. Her body covering me like a blanket. A blanket that stops at the chest where I don’t hear her voice, but I feel her breath on my nipples. Her mouth teaching me about my skin. Me under her, forcing to feel. All of her, heavy. I, unable to move or react or think, finally feeling touch. To show me the way to my own other, I needed to be touched crushed.


Zinn grew up as Emily Wozniak—a patriotic, rule following, confused-christian-softball-playing-straight-girl—in St. Louis, MO. She is currently peeling back the layers and regenerating as Zinnia Love Adeline in Portland, OR, where she lives and loves out loud with her primary partner and their firey little human Blaze. She is writing about this process and pursuing an MFA at Eastern Oregon University.

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ADD Crush Me, by Fiona George


When I wake to too many texts, emails, notifications from everything and decide I won’t respond to anything today. It’s identifying with the things they use to describe depression, but knowing that it’s something different. I feel pinned to the bed for other reasons. It’s that I have to be where the whirr of the outside world can’t get to me. Where all the tiny hands grabbing for my attention can’t reach me. Where no one wants anything from me, not even time to say hello. Where the life I live cannot pull me, pin me underneath it.

I know I should be on medication, but the way it makes me feel.

But the meds keep me going, real type-A like, almost all the time. Till I start fainting on them. A negative reaction, a chemical reaction. But it just feels like I can’t go that long without shutting down.

But where they really shut me down, emotionally. I don’t notice this until the fainting takes me off these meds. And I’m supposed to get new ones, but I don’t. Because I feel happy for the first time since the first pill. Then I feel sad for the first time in as long. And even though I will wake up feeling crushed onto the mattress, my organs like they may just give up on me if I don’t give up on the day, it’s okay.

I know I will feel something else soon.


Fiona George is a Portland native who has been lucky enough to land in Tom Spanbauer’s Dangerous Writing workshop through little fault of her own. She is a proud high school dropout who hopes to get out of food service.

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In Calgary, by Melissa Queen


In Calgary it is always night and always cold
how she imagines it. So she pictures
his white breath against black air.

She’s never had reason to imagine Calgary
as anything real or concrete before,
so she has no idea
how to picture the license plates
on the backs of all the cars
in the parking lot of the truck stop diner
where he’s stopped for supper
and a cup of black coffee most of all.

On either side of them both,
he in a truck stop,
she in an airport bar,
there are strangers on stools.

She’d not expected to hear from him again,
but insulated by two years and nine hundred miles
he calls her from Calgary.

It is easy enough to make sense of the airport terminal
bar in which she sits:
a salad in front of her, and a drink.
She doesn’t want to eat the salad—only
she ordered it to earn her place at the bar.
Just one drink doesn’t seem enough,
not when her suitcase takes up space as well.

The fog has set in over the runway.
In airports she always keeps an eye out
for people from past lives,
but none of these strangers
carry faces she can place.

Another drink and it becomes easier
to imagine the truck stop.
There’d be a bowl of beef stew he doesn’t want to eat—
he’d have ordered it only to keep his place at the counter.
Just one cup of coffee hardly seems like enough
the more of these diners one finds one’s self in.

[Stanza break]

His voice over the phone
makes Calgary something real.
But even stretched across the lonely expanses
of a bar, a diner counter, a terminal,
a runway—his words
keep drawing from his mouth
white clouds into black air.


After earning her Master’s in poetry from Ohio University, Melissa Queen now teaches in rural Eastern North Carolina through Teach for America. Her work has appeared most recently in Rattle, The Rumpus, Midwest Quarterly, and Green Mountains Review.

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There’s a Fetish for Everything, by Morgan Chase


Enter the world of Crush Fetishism:

Arousal by the bodily destruction of food, objects, insects, even one’s self is a unique paraphilia in the fetish world. To crush, or in this case to be crushed, is a dangerous indulgence that those with strong, sexually submissive urges seek to have fulfilled. This specific form of crushing called “trampling” involves the fetishist being underfoot as another person steps, jumps & stomps across their body, including sensitive areas such as the face, neck & groin.

As a Professional Dominatrix, I receive such a request often. The thrill of trampling is not one I experience from the “bottom” but on the Top, standing tall & often while wearing heels to further heighten the experience for myself & the client. The application of this pain & pressure with the force of my weight in such a prone position creates a severe sensation.

I conduct this crushing act in my  Detroit dungeons & even capture it on film for private film collectors as well as fetish producers across the country. Having been featured in BDSM exhibitions & live demonstrations of it at the nations largest adult conventions has led to my sought after status in this little niche.

I find the practice to be quite graceful; a living stage for my dominant dance.


Ms. Morgan Chase, Detroit, Michigan’s Premier Dominatrix is young, experienced, and with a unique perspective, she possesses an intelligent, psychological approach, which when paired with her charismatic charm and strong, militant background has created an unstoppable impact. Brains, Beauty and Brawn, changing the BDSM scene from the start. Visit her official website, here.

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Header image courtesy of Ms. Morgan Chase.

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Kirsten Larson

Kirsten Larson is a Contributing Editor at NAILED. She lives near Portland, Oregon. She loves words and is very curious. She received her MFA in writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She writes for The Huffington Post, and is an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University. Her work can be found in NAILED, Huffington Post, Pathos, M Review, and several other places. She is currently working on two books.