i remember you giving me eyes

 outside Chicago your brothers 

your sisters anyone who happened by 

mom pushing meat 

and potatoes. we took sides 

off editorials in the Reader you 

gave me eyes young and in trouble i 

could not see i never wanted to hurt you

but i did  #katyamills 

august 4

the echo the sound 

of industry

the brick houses the train 

whistles the desire

kept you up all night. chicago

was full of lost souls

searching 4 they



extremity of the heart

if there was snow
there were snowballs
you hit me with one

started a battle

blew into a hundred thousand particles

each little packed explosion tasting

touched by love

winter when i remember

how deep
we fell

by instinct



bookstores and books
we bought dropping the change
into hands holding cups like a prayer
outside mcdonalds

soon there would be
nothing more
to live


chicago. summer

this energy has welled
pulled us into the hollow

this energy has shifted
can we trust it?

who cares!

let’s get up and go to the store
together. look at the clouds!

giving us all and the
trees a glow

i have fifty cents
i will buy you a


Girl Without Borders

Girl Without Borders by Katya Mills

I am the author of this book. I wrote the greater portion of this book when I was in my twenties, living in Chicago on the west side (not far from where the Smashing Pumpkins got famous, and the movie High Fidelity was filmed). I used to go to the coffeeshops in Bucktown and the Polish Triangle with my laptop to write. This was late 1990s and you could get your ass kicked for writing on a laptop in public. It wasn’t cool to be a geek. Writing from my protagonist Will’s perspective was not difficult seeing as I am gender fluid myself. I was a pretty tough chick or I thought I was, rather angry at the world, introverted, rebellious in attitude and spirit. I hung around other punks and geeks I met in the bars, cafes and small clubs on Division and Damen, and in Wicker Park and the Ukrainian Village. All I wanted was to be left alone and write. I was in some existential pain, I suppose, lonely in my heart. So I gravitated toward others who felt injured or broken. I had more than one love/hate relationship, the characteristics of which you will find in the novel. You can call in creative nonfiction if not fiction. If you ever go to Chicago look up Quimby’s bookstore and the Flat Iron Building. I wrote the greater portion of this book a stone throw away.

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whisky sour in my hand
somewhere near division
the heart got exploited
by the vision
turnin inward
on myself
awaiting the great
fade out
double zero

city and the music of noise

was america was
chicago was life worth

working for ina cross

road. you and me and any one

fought through the seasons

the vocals the


the steam of whistling


i could feel the touch
the warmth beneath your voice

in a cold world
you could shout you could scream

you would have to

to be heard

then the aftermath the streets

the faces ina diner

ina hard won heartfelt

part of town
mocha skin tones made by

sun and genes
cream and sugar and
coffee black

where noise is music

toasting broken hearts and

dishes and bottles. you woke me up
i can feel you today thousands

of miles away
i can laugh
i can cry ona dime ina city

and the music of


i was and wasn’t


en scene

stolen car

desperate men


conspire for quick



there will be



i carried paper with me

in a knapsack
or an overcoat pocket in the winters
of west side chicago

my back against bricks
i held them under weak hanging
lights threading open mics

the Appalachian trail
did not stop me

the subway trains
the bars
the libraries (of course)
into parks where the sky
opened up all my thoughts

often i lay them out
beside my jack

i felt the social
around me

dead air

i didn’t
so alive
was i