downward spiral (conversations from my junior year of high school)

  1. On a Zoom call, my Psych teacher tells me

“You’re so mature for seventeen”

Sixteen, I say quietly

And I think Jesus Christ that’s young

Maybe I let it get to my head

  1. “With these grades, you’ll have no trouble

in university,” the counsellor 

Reassures me, and I nod for her sake

Promise, I’m not gonna take an opportunity like this

and throw it back in your face

Hope that it’s true

  1. My grandpa says that “music stopped getting better after Elvis”

But we both know 

That it’s not really about the music

It’s about who he was

A zest for life you lose and can’t replace

And I think what if my good old days are already behind me?

What if it doesn’t get better than this?

He says “You’re going to do well in the world”

And I think what if he’s wrong?

What if my downward spiral has only just begun?

  1. I tell Granny about the courses I’m taking

Against my better judgment 

And she says, “That’s good, that’s really good”

Calls me a “smart cookie”

And holds my hand with trembling, bony fingers

I hug her and laugh, say goodbye 

and pretend it’s okay

  1. I’m in someone’s office

He’s tenting his fingers like a steeple as light streams through the blinds

 “All right. What grade are you in?”


“You’ve got nothing to be worried about”

Off the top of my head: student loans, scholarships, letting down everyone who loves me, climate change, housing instability

I could get to the front of the line to pay

And lose my wallet at the bottom of my bag

The bus could run early

The plane going by just a little too low could be the one that drops a bomb

People could be cruel, and unfair

They could be absolutely right in their critique

I take the piecemeal

Thank him for his time, and go

  1. “I can’t wait ‘til I get my license

I’m gonna drive to your place, pick you guys up and go”

my best friend tells me on the phone, while I’m sitting outside

Racking up long-distance fees under the outdoor light

And I say I just wish you were here

I wish I could see you more than twice a year

I wish it could feel like it used to, before everything

Got harder; before we grew up under fire

And they say “Ugh, I know”

  1. “I mean, if we’re all just gonna be stardust, it’d be nice to just know”

I’m sitting at my desk, trying to stop scrolling through my phone

And I say something about

How you’re overreacting to an uncertain situation

Putting the cart before the horse

But really what the fuck do I know

  1. You’re lying in my arms and we’re shivering

Lying on your trampoline and watching the sky get dark over the trees

I feel like all of this has aged me

It feels good to tell the truth to you, 

And I wish I never had to leave

As I watch the clouds turn pink in the sky

  1. “There’s so much I’ve missed the past two years

I’m just trying to cram it all in, and now I’m exhausted”

It’s pouring rain, and my fingers slip over the keypad

On the bank machine, and for a moment I forget to put my cash in the slot

God, I know

I am tired, like a quiet ache

And I don’t have the energy to do anything but watch

Time slipping out through the cracks between my fingers

Making a mess on the floor

Counting down to the moment I just crack and say

That I can’t fucking do this anymore

  1. “It’ll come with practise

It just takes time

Just keep trying, and you’ll get there, all right?”

But it’s so hard to imagine

A view at the end of the climb

Whatever you want to call it

But I’m tired, and fed up

After only two weeks

I don’t think that I’m cut out for this

It all goes faster in my head

I’m running on a treadmill

In search of a finish line

Then get off, broken and exhausted

And curse myself for not moving an inch

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