one eye open

started saving up for college at six years old

squirrelled away birthday money in preparation

 for a world that didn’t give a damn about me

i was gonna be an actuary

make a lot of money

and never worry about rent

or if i had enough money to pay for food

started planning for the end at seven years old

‘cause the documentaries said we were burning up the sky

and there was nothing i could do

and i’d kill

to go back to fifth grade, and give myself a hug

‘cause i sure as hell wasn’t doing it

when i was that age

and neither were you

because the kids aren’t kids they’re machines

they’re weapons, they’re standing in place

cracked-glass skulls and coffee-cup brains

cause she doesn’t want to walk home at night

doesn’t want a hand on her shoulder

she hasn’t had a nice dream in years

and that says something, doesn’t it?

that even your dreams, the only thing that matters

is raw, pounding fear

and when he falls asleep, he just wants it to be like in the movies

wants it to be fun, and easy

wants adults to have his best interests at heart

wants someone to hold him, and call him sweetheart

but the adults are worn ragged and thin

only off at ten-o-clock

the kids, they are burning down

they are taking their lives in middle school

they have lost and they have loved

they’ve seen it all at twelve years old

felt every rotten word on their tongue

the kids are not kids

they’re chessboards and loaded guns

crying with one eye open in darkened bedrooms

bitter and unlucky

calloused fingers and stars entwined

and i wish i could go back in time

i wish i could give you a hug, and tell you

that things will get better

even if i don’t quite believe it yet

i wish i could preach to the choir

and tell you to do as i say, not as i do

‘cause i’m a wreck, really

smashed out on the rocks, fingers sticky

from slices of honeydew

wish i could walk back in time, and find the girl i could have been

sometimes, i miss her too


I’ve always felt like the way childhood was characterized in the media versus how it actually happened in a really messy, fucked-up world were two different things. And I wish it was fun, and easy, and that kids didn’t grow up so fast. Because I think what to what I was like, and hear stories from my peers, and it just breaks my heart.

denmark

i had this dream last night

that i ran away

somewhere the ocean stretched out forever

and the world was cold beneath my fingers

and i woke up in a sweat

cause god, what if i left behind everything i know

for a chance to escape

’cause maybe this is what it’s all been coming to

maybe this is the only way i’ll be okay

the only way i won’t spend my whole life running

won’t work until i bleed

gasp feeble breaths through the lump in my throat

and watch my mother’s face take shape in the mirror

where i used to see my own

i had a dream i wore nice dresses

and bought a house near the city

where the grass is green

and i don’t drive myself half-insane with worry

i make my bed and pour some tea

i forgive myself, slowly

’cause i’m living the dream in a one-bedroom apartment

where my poems are soft, and gorgeous

and i’ll never go home


So, I woke up a few days ago at, like, 5am (without an alarm) with this inexplicable, desperate, life-or-death urge to move to Denmark. I went back to sleep, and then first thing I did, woke up and went on this weird, half-asleep research frenzy.

I have family there, and I’ve always heard stories, but I’ve never seen it before–and I think I really want to. This poem isn’t totally literal–for the sake of this poem “Fenmark” represents this ideal I know only really lives in my head, this sort of bittersweet, desperate fantasy of escape. I hope I’ve left it open enough to be interpreted by the reader.

swim

when i was a kid, i loved swimming

going fasterfasterfaster, feeling the water part around me

like a god

a good daughter

a proper lady

.

so i learned frontstroke, and backcrawl

and even tried to pick up butterfly

but i couldn’t

my tissue paper body ripping at the seams

i still try it sometimes, out of habit

’cause you would have been so happy

.

when i was a kid, i realized

there was no warning sign i could not dismiss

false confidence and forced bravado

i was born for this

.

to cry on camera

’cause i can make misery look gorgeous

straighten my hair

and shatter my life like stained glass

and get drunk on my own tragedy

.

so i swum down to rock bottom

and stayed there ’til my lungs burned

i remember how i learned to worship the pain

and grab bricks from the bottom

drag them up with feeble kicks

of little feet

.

remember thinking to myself, on a bad day

that if i could just stay under the water

i’d be happy

with the tin-foil silence

that always felt like home

.

and i stopped swimming years ago

but sometimes, that feeling still slams into me

’cause i’m drowning

in the 40-hour workweek

the thrumming pressure

of it all

building up in my throat

.

i rinse off the chlorine

in an echoey changing room

and i don’t let my fears show

refresh my notifications

grab my backpack, and go home

trophy

i had an idea for a poem, but i forgot what it was. i guess i just… lost it, like my will to keep going, so now i’ll just scrape along painfully, like a flat tire down a long, dusty road. and hold out one day longer in the name of a stupid, aimless hope.

i had an idea for this poem. i knew exactly where i wanted to go. and i should have written it down, gotten it inked onto my skin, because i know it’s not the end of the world… but it sure does feel like it, ‘cause i’m dizzy, and i’m tired, and i always feel sick. so i worry, but i don’t show it, just put myself high up on the wall like a trophy.

i sit still, and smile vacantly; take it all in. i’m calm, and collected, until when it actually comes down to it, and in the moment i’m needed most i shatter like fucking ceramic. i wasn’t raised for failure, i was raised for a purpose. and i don’t know what’s happening, but i can’t handle it.

and there are a thousand versions of myself that came before, and each one of them haunts me in the night. with their half-mangled words, and their mutated fingertips. i think i’ll join them, someday, no matter how hard i try.

because there is a better version of me, just waiting to be found. with her shiny hair, and her glowing eyes. she thinks she’s perfect. thinks she’s got it all figured out.

but i don’t. so until then, i’ll just have to settle for burning this whole place to the ground.