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

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.

stages of grief

1. this can’t be happening, because i have dreams to chase. because i’m fourteen and the ball is rolling for me, or that’s what my english teacher said. she said i hope it doesn’t stop and i felt like i was flying, when they said they were proud of me. this doesn’t happen, not to me. ‘cause someone bigger and smarter’s gonna make it ok. it’s just another two weeks, it’s just another two days. it’s just another holding-your-breath-underwater kind of day.

2. and i didn’t ask to be thrown

into this fucked up shitstorm of anger and hope

i didn’t ask to spend all day sitting alone

and trying to get out of bed

i’ll watch shitty tv until my brain turns to mush

just write and write and write for hours on end

and the sound of the blender

or a car going past

is enough to melt me down to tears and i’m screaming

and i’m slamming the door

and you were supposed to stop this from happening

you were supposed to be good, and fair

but you weren’t, you fucking shit

you walked out and you left me 

standing all alone in the thick of it

3. but i can’t be feeling this, i can’t deal with it, or i’m going to shut down. i’m gonna stare at the pictures on my phone until my eyes glaze over, and i don’t feel quite so alone. i’m gonna crumble like the dry, hot summer soil any other way. god is dead, but mostly so are all my heroes. so is everyone i thought i could turn to in a crisis; they’re just gone gone gone like whispers in the night. and those that remain are flickers of light across the bay. (i’d rather they were dead to me; i’d rather close my eyes and watch the hurt fade away like wildfire smoke.) 

4. i could dig this grief a garden

or i could fashion it a grave

i could sit in the mud of it for hours

i could stare at this bitch in the mirror, cut off all her hair

watch the new grow back in its place

and feel the years blend together

watch myself get a little bit stronger, and taller

a little bit sharper in the face

i could watch my life roll past me 

through the rolled-up car window

just blink and you’ll be nineteen, all living on your own

still swallowing back the lump in your throat

and trying to numb the ache of your old-woman knees

but the one in your chest, it’s cold and it’s empty 

singing for something that i will never reclaim

5. and maybe someday my heart won’t feel like a singing bowl

forever ringing out one damn moment in my life

but all i see right now is water, ‘cause i’m standing by the shore

i’m not ready to be an adult

cause i didn’t have the time to be a kid

so i lie down on the rocks and i close my eyes

feel the january waves hit my shoulders, rush over my head

fill my mouth with bitter saltwater

again, again, again.

This one took me ages to write- I’ve been reflecting a lot on how my feelings have changed over the past few years.

daze

these days, it all seems to blend together like different colours of paint on a pallette, congealing into brown and grey. and the sun streams through my bedroom window, but i don’t have time to go out today. i come home tired, and i wake up worse. i scroll through my phone, and i waste my time away, then stay up ‘til midnight in a panicked daze. yeah, these days i don’t know what i’m going to do next. what my life is going to look like in a year. these days my feet ache, and my back is sore, and every success makes me wonder when i won’t be able to do this anymore. and i walk slow around the halls of my childhood home, trying to memorize every creak in the floor. ‘cause you hate it ‘til you’re already standing halfway out the door. i lie awake ‘til two and i can’t get to sleep. i hope it mattered to somebody, i hope there’s at least one person’s life i’ve improved. these days i spin around my mind,  ‘cause i’m just terrified i’ll lose you too. i go to school. i go to work. i close my eyes and let it fade. i watch each second pass in the clock on my computer, and i wonder if i’m wasting away. i get my bed all nice and made. try to smile at the little things, and look on the bright side. it’s just another one of those days.