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

thoughts while learning to drive

stop before the sign, then inch forward

slowly

don’t hit the pedestrian

hold the wheel firm and strong

don’t crash into the neighbour’s car

make up your mind

have a plan before you go

don’t half-ass it, drop out 

before the finish line

’cause there’s no time for being nervous

now you’re out on the road

now the cars are piled up behind you

pull over, they’ve all got somewhere to go

don’t panic and don’t cry

you are not three years old

just keep your eyes on the horizon

indicate before turning and look where you want to go

and maybe if i try hard enough

mimic the way she holds her head

then i’ll stop feeling crazy

then i’ll stop feeling weak

do not hesitate

do not falter

smooth motions; no stomping on the brakes

maybe if i did yoga

or got better grades

maybe if i tried another medication

until i’m all out of brand names

maybe if i took up running

cold showers

maybe if i acted like the other kids

take the car out of park, reverse, 

then shift into drive

don’t scratch the paint

don’t drive into the thorns

i’ve spent my whole life wishing i could be in control

but now it’s here, i’m sitting behind the wheel

and i still feel like i’m eleven years old

no wait i’m twenty-five

pull over for the car behind you

don’t park near the traffic

scratch that, just get out of this alive

’cause now i’m sixteen and

it doesn’t feel like a movie

but it definitely isn’t real

soft feather-fingertips and frost on the glass

the new year’s coming

brake slowly after easing off the gas


I’ve been learning to drive. It’s exhilarating, and really scary too Sixteen is a weird age to be.

happier (sunday afternoon)

i’ll be happier once i graduate

once i buy my parents’ car with all that money i saved

from working in the heat

and drive off into the sunset

my teen movie bullshit playing on repeat

i’ll be happier once i finish

with my big fancy degree

i’ll be happy with a certificate

to prove that i’m stronger than they thought i’d be

i’ll be happier when i can finally breathe

when my life doesn’t flash before my eyes

every time i go to sleep

when i stop eating leftovers for breakfast

and leave the house more than once a week

i’ll be happy when they clap for me

when they kiss my cheeks and touch my hands

and tell me they love me

when the people in the crowds scream my name

they say we’re proud of you, and everything you’ve done

so i don’t have to get my hands dirty

no wait

i’ll be happy when my grades go up

another number on a screen

i’ll be happy when strangers on the internet

figure out how to fix my self-esteem

i’ll be happy when i fix the fucking pimples on my skin

with multivitamins and a fake new name

when my clothes are nicer

when my hair curls just right

i’ll get better with time

i’ll improve because i have to

there’s nothing else to say

i’ll be happy

when you fix me

with true love’s kiss

and make all my problems go away

until my stomach aches

and my callow bones begin to crack

yet again

and now it’s sunday afternoon and i just want

to take it back

i want my neon god

i want my mother’s lap

i want cookies and cake and hummingbird food

i want the world upon my back

and then i’ll be happy

then, i’ll be proud of me

i’ll be strong and smart and good

always

good

when disaster strikes (pt 1)

they told you everything was going to be fine

so rub lavender oil on your wrist, light a candle

take a bath and close your eyes

everyone is doing their utmost

everything is going to be fine

they told you that the world isn’t ending

it’s all in your mind

so make some tea; and tackle all the bad thoughts

round them up, and throw away the key

they told you everything was going to be fine

just iron out the twists in your stomach like wrinkled fabric

watch a funny video! eat some candy!

as the city lights pulse in and out of focus

good things come to those who wait

claw the skin off your face in the bathroom mirror

play it all through again

they told you everything was going to be all right

because bad things don’t happen here

in the land of milk and honey

where life is made of sunshine

stop worrying

don’t be crazy

you’re going to be fine

when disaster strikes (pt 2)

but then it’s ending

then it’s crumbled on your lap

hands cupped around your mouth

as the city lights flicker in and out of focus

then it’s coming to an end

in pictures drawn on foggy glass

you don’t leave your room

you don’t wanna get out of bed

you’re crumbling and curling

and it’s all too much to process

as the days blend like shitty concealer

’cause maybe if you look happy, the rest will come

half-asleep most days

just try harder

sweetheart, you’re gonna be fine

and maybe i will be, but right now, it sure doesn’t feel it

right now, i don’t wanna get out of bed

and i don’t wanna sleep

because the people i love may as well be dead to me

and i don’t know how to crawl out of this

right now i’m saccharine and haunted

and i don’t fucking have a clue

’cause this wasn’t supposed to happen

you promised my worst nightmares would never come true

you told me i was crazy

kissed my cheek and called me kid

swept all the bad aside

’cause bad things don’t happen

unless you’re stupid, and lazy, and weak

unless you’re not

doing it

right


This is a two part poem I wrote about… I mean, you can interpret it however you want, but to me anyway, this piece is about some stuff I was dealing with when the pandemic struck, almost two years ago now. I remember when the news first started talking about the virus, I thought that I was just being paranoid, and that the people in charge had it under control. And then they didn’t. When you have anxiety it can be hard to figure out which fears are based in reality and which are just you being “crazy.” It’s my knee-jerk reaction to just ignore every fear I have, but I think that can be just as bad as believing them all to be true.