hero

i used to dream of glory, of gilded lights and something more. i had it all planned out on a corkboard on the wall, all my heroes just another wish away. another fight, another early morning, as i watch myself turn to stone. i used to taste it on my tongue, and i’ll be hearing that echo for the rest of eternity. if i closed my eyes, i could hear a choir singing in my throat. and i used to look at your eyes and think i deserve this. i used to clench bedsheets in my fists; i was going to do better.

and maybe in another world, i could have played that game.

now you look up to me, ask me to catch you while you fall, and i am failing in all categories. just like everyone else is. i snap too quickly, and i jump to my conclusions. stay up past midnight, laze around all morning, blaming my problems on anyone else. anyone, anyone—anyone but myself.

i used to stay up late, working in a frenzy. i used to sit inside all afternoon. i used to scribble down plans in the margins of notebooks, and now all i want to do is lie on the floor and breathe, like i only just woke up.

i used to follow my dreams with a desperate kind of certainty. it all felt years away. when fate was on my side, because it had to be. because i was made for this, no really. and in my head, it all seemed neat, and easy, a clear narrative carved into stone.

now i sit by the water, and i close my eyes, rest my face in clammy palms. now i walk slow by the shore. i bite my lips until they bleed, and waste time staring blankly at the walls and chewing on my cheeks. now i fill my head with cotton-candy, now i curse the gifts i have.

now i sit by the bus stop, watching the graffiti conversations grow. i want to scratch my name onto the railing, scribble initials in pen. i won’t do it, but i’ll think about it, every now and then.

deathbed

feel the cavern of your chest collapse

for things that should have been

for your stupid fucking ineptitude

for your failure, again, again

close your eyes, and take one

big heaving breath in

take a melatonin

forget in the morning, when you wake up

to the steam on the fence

the hot rising sun

you will make so many mistakes

leave people and promises all littered

in your wake, you will grieve and you will bite

and in your tired joints, you will fucking ache

but do you remember, when your heart was open wide?

do you remember what that felt like, that brief

half-second of euphoria

remember, when you dug your clawed fingers through the dirt

in the pouring rain, and swore on your deathbed

you would make this work

feel your estuary lungs droop, and ache

remember fury? remember

when life was a competition, and you wanted to win

remember facetime calls in the back garden, pacing back and forth

remember heart-beat-pounding you don’t have long to make this work

close your eyes

feel the saltwater course through your veins, remember

wet grass soaking through your shoes remember

the lump in your throat, remember the sting

when you couldn’t say no

and squeezing into hopes and dreams

like that first-date dress that just won’t fit

let it fizzle 

let it burn

let your fingers dance across the keys

til you’ve got nothing good to say anymore

and scribble out all

of your old notebook pages

no amount of time will ever be enough to 

unlock all my cages

and watch the landslide start, boulders rolling down your skin

snapping trees like toothpicks, imagine yourself a mountain,

as the peak breaks in two

imagine bleeding and fury

all the things i was supposed to do

bite your lip, and fall asleep

in the doorway, try to word it nice

and professional

as the winter waves crash against my shore

i don’t say a word, not yet

‘cause i can’t stand this either way

peer through the cracks of your self-made barricade

and look out at the world you see

burning and bright

you’re just as lost as everyone else

screaming and shouting out there

feel your knees buckle like atlas

beneath the weight of it all

you’re gonna crash, and burn

you’re gonna count every last autumn leaf

as it falls

liminal space

i ride the bus home from school
take the same route everyday
and find my seat in the back, pushing aside
bubblegum wrappers and love letters

someday i’ll leave this place
its cotton-candy promise, just a little rotten
to the touch
someday i’ll get tired of leaving breadcrumbs behind
someday there won’t be any romance left

in making a name for myself
or whatever else they sold me
so i’ll leave, and i’ll scratch my initials into the metal railing
beside all those that came and left before

when i come back someday,
2010s nostalgia
playing like a broken record
this bench will be covered in graffiti, the old tally-marks scrawled over

other people are gonna sit there
at our spot in the corner, behind the looming bookshelves
they’re gonna hold hands and watch the crowd
beneath the tree
throw rocks over the edge, and watch them fall

other people will take my spot by the window
watch the summers go by in a dizzy blur

find the fake roses and hydrangeas
stuck to the plants in late-spring
realize the ivy is just plastic and glue
i hope the heartbreak goes
easy on their open wounds
i hope their angels try to soften the blow
as they fall off their pedestals and bleed in the snow

other people
will walk these roads, like we did
when we were fifteen
sit on the stage, eating candy in the rain
and when we got bored, we’d share an umbrella and walk back home

other people, will settle in my place

but i’m never going to be that girl again

june 3rd, 2022

the flowers i picked last week have started to wilt. i haven’t touched my paints in ages, but i miss it. that quiet, peaceful feeling. if i fuck up, no one’s gonna be around to see the watercolour stains on my desk. i’ll wipe them up with paper towel, and start all over again. i don’t fit the old t-shirts i wore at thirteen, and i never really liked that grey sweater anyway. but i wore it, all those years ago, and for three minutes i really felt pretty, so i’ll take it with the grave before i give up the memory. the pictures on the wall are starting to peel, and the pages of my favourite books are turning yellow. i’m reading for hours, and i’m talking on the phone. practise smiling in the mirror, and think who the hell is that girl? i curse my quick tongue, wish i knew when to speak and when to shut the fuck up. for now, i’ll have to make do. i’ll sit by the lake, and i’ll think about you. about fate, and destiny, gods who never did much for me. poke holes and rip at seams, bite my lip until it bleeds, and stay up reading advice columns on my phone. but i am not thirteen, and when i see the author’s picture, i wonder: good god, what do any of us know?

heavy

sand your skull down to tissue paper and thread over the course of two weeks, in search of something that you might never reach. pace back and forth, talk on the phone. smile and nod, set the weight down on the table when you walk out the door. buckle beneath its weight as soon as you get home. feel it in your gut, shifting and squirming. in the ache of your spine, the creaking of your knees. learn about tragedies, how the darkness will only sting if the reader sees the sun, and define life aross the pathways of your veins. every night, you lie awake, and every morning you rise with the sun. do it for love, or money. or a half-baked chance at survival. go swimming in your sorrows, dress them up in bows and ribbons. eat dirt for breakfast and lunch in hope of forgiveness that may never come. walk the line, and stare into the sun with eyes that never close. feel the ice of june crawl down your spine. soften, for half a moment longer. find something else to glorify, to worship on an altar and smash to bits a few years down the line. after all these fucking years, i can’t beleive that i’m still scared to look you in the eye.