cumulus

pounding / pounding heart in my chest / i don’t really panic anymore / no / no it’s more subtle than that these days / burrowed under my flesh to evade detection / but when the sky gets black / and the thunder keeps me cooped up in my room / i can still feel it / slithering beneath old cobblestones / and pounding at its cage / i should have known that sweeping a rug over my problems / was not a good response / but i still forget some days / and it’s beating / it’s beating like a muscle / eager to be used / it is raw and wet and warm / on my outstretched fingertips / because this shit adds up / like the heap of books by my bed / and i say i’ll read them / but the flickering colours on the billboards just have a way of drawing me in, you know? / and isn’t that true love / when your throat seizes up and your mouth starts to water / and in the end, i can’t say no to you / can’t protest / can’t change my mind / so if things are never gonna be better, the least we can do is have fun while we die / die / die / like butterfly wings / and fish bones / and seashells / slowly rotting to the ground / ’cause there’s nothing i can do / except watch in horror as the rain comes down

fuck you, healthline.com (but not really)

fuck you healthline.com

for encouraging me to take care of myself

and get that checked out by a doctor

or that a sliver could get infected?

or that salmonella poisoning exists?

did you know that you are dying? like, every single day?

and eventually, you’re gonna find yourself

lying on a hospital bed, watching the lights go out?

and maybe they’ll mourn you

maybe they’ll remember

and does it even matter, in the end?

so now, i am staring at myself in the bathroom mirror

and i’m starting to hyperventilate

while i furiously wash my skin

’cause the world is a dangerous place

full of monsters and pathogens

and you stupid bitch, you broken hard drive

shutting down at the slightest inconvenience

why do you think that you’re above it all?

it’s not healthy

it’s not good

and maybe so far, you’ve made it through life

with a wind-up flashlight

hazard lights on in knee-high water

you can sleep when you’ve made it

you can always catch up later

it’s not healthy

and it’s not good

but i did what i had to do

but it’s out of my control

but this is just the way

so fuck you healthline.com

for telling me to take time off

and get some sleep

’cause my body’s just a delicate little thing, really

flower petals and marrow

yearning oozing from my throat

and for the rest of my life, i will be learning how to cope

so fuck you heathline.com

for kissing my forehead

and promising that if i just get some rest

i’ll feel better in the morning

cry it out

smash some glass

cut your hair

do what you have to do to ease the pain

even just a little

twisted

it’s funny, how old habits always die hard. by which i mean, that i know logically the voice in my head is full of shit. but i still do exactly as it says, just to be safe about it.

let it rest its greasy hands on my shoulders. tell me what to say, and do. because it’s kept me safe so far. it loves me, really. just like you. it slips inside my throat, and pulls the strings, ever-so-quietly.

and half of what it says isn’t based in reality so i’m sorry, if i’ve got my head in the clouds, it’s just sometimes i think my mind is one big cobweb, and i am the fly. if i could disappear into the floorboards, i would do it in a heartbeat, and i still don’t understand why.

but sometimes, it feels like i’m walking through a dream. sometimes i collapse on my bed, and let its warmth sing me placid, and safe. wouldn’t that be better? if i just stayed in this room for the rest of my life, where everything is okay?

and i still don’t know why i let you strip away the layers of me, calloused armour built up over years, only to shatter like ceramic as you strike me to the core. i’m sorry, my dearest love, but i can’t do this anymore.

and yet, as i stare into your eyes, i still can’t cut the fucking cords.

cloud nine

so, i’m fine. i’m all right, really. back on my feet again, after so long spent struggling to get my ass in gear. i’m doing this, and it’s good, really. stitching up the holes i tore in my skin, with band-aids and polysporin.

with wishes in wells and gambler’s logic. it’ll be better next time, won’t it? if i just try a little bit harder to will the world perfect. and then, when i look into the night, i’ll think of rainbows and ice cream and limitless possibilities, not the crushing fear of failure, and the buckling knees below me. i’ll say positive affirmations into the mirror, i’ll wash my face twice a day.

but when the wifi goes out, i won’t miss it at all. so find me laughing off my problems over text message at 12am, with so much work ahead of me.

wrapped up in denial like a blanket, soft and warm and loving, in that way i’ve always craved. halfhearted workouts in flannel shirts and jeans, because there’s always more to do, always someone ten steps ahead, and if they did it, why can’t i do it too?

’cause i can work hard, i can give you whatever you need. except sometimes, when the slightest thing goes wrong, it takes all my self-control not to cry like a baby on the worn-out carpet. but i’ll keep it together for you, i promise.

i’ll do anything for the good life, like lukewarm bathwater in my palms. its clean-cut crystal catching the morning light. but maybe that’s not a good thing. maybe it’s all pointless, because we are cosmic and insignificant, and i think maybe i shouldn’t watch so much tv.

as i float mindless above cloud nine, slowly losing touch with reality.

third person

i narrate my life in third person, sometimes, when i need to get away. i paint myself a hero, a protagonist, maybe the villain on a bad day. and when it gets bad, at least it’s only ever in a controllable way. where i can watch from the sidelines, and think to myself wow, that was some compelling characterization, all right.

because if someone’s always watching, at least i’m not alone. and when i’m lost at sea, at least i know there’s always gonna be the three-act story structure to guide me home. to hold me tight, and love me to the bone.

so i close my eyes, and pretend this isn’t really my body, on the bad nights. when i can’t help but feel like the sky is falling down. i shiver, and i shake, and i pinch my wrists, waiting for the tornado to dissipate and leave me shattered on the ground.

i take one step back, and then another, until nothing makes sense anymore. and i’m a kid on the swingset, i’m strangled tongues and rusty verbs. i’m a picasso painting, but only the ugly parts. and maybe it’s avant garde, or maybe we’re just stupid. and we take ourselves too seriously, and we never call home.

we go mad for an abstract concept. for a chance to be remembered. and so here i am, staring down my demons the runaway. and maybe this is what destroys me, but goddamn, if they’re not something to describe. i make myself mangled limbs and traffic accidents, and i know that i’m not really fine.

but i am not going down with this plane tonight. i won’t let the cancer spread to me, along broken, dilapidated limbs of this family tree. i’ve come too far to give up this early. and god, it sounds pretty, doesn’t it?

like the first page of a brand-new story.