i’ve seen the secrets of the sea

swum with monsters made of daydreams

i bought your story

about the things that lurk in the deep

i’ve felt the waves lap against my feet

and the seaweed twist around my fingertips

dragging me places the sun doesn’t reach

and no one else will ever follow

and watched the bubbles drift out of my mouth

i’ve seen a land where secrets hide

in treasure chests and states of mind

i’ve looked in the mirror, and met the eyes

of someone i don’t know

i’ve fashioned myself a monster

hiding in the darkness, never to be seen

i’ve hidden pieces of myself in the deep

and bolted them down

never to wash ashore, and never to be found

I thought I was going to be a lifeguard for a while–and maybe this just goes to show what kind of little kid I was, but I always had this weird, morbid fascination with drowning, probably just because I learned about its effects super young. (Not in a suicidal way, just in a sad, weird little kid way.) I remember, always getting really freaked out by that moment when you dive to the bottom, and your lungs burn, and you push to the top, but you’re not sure you’re going to get up in time–and then you surface, and it’s fine. I do a lot of swimming, even now; I’ve always loved the water. That’s where I tried to draw this poem from.

peace (a personal narrative)

When I was young, I used to love to listen to the radio, and imagine what it would be like for someone to be so interested in me and my work, that they’d ask me all these carefully selected questions, and listen with rapture, and thank me profusely for my time afterwards. It was always my favourite thing to do on long car rides home.

I come from a family of people who almost made it; a long line of close brushes and has-beens. Sometimes, I imagine all my ancestors’ dreams, hovering over my shoulders, and ducking under my skin.

When I was young, I thought that someday, the whole world was gonna scream my name. I thought I’d do whatever I’d took–I’d push all my friends away, I’d leave my family in the dust, I’d accept any deal I was given. Any chance to make my mark. To make the world a better place, I hope. Because those two things aren’t always the same.

It’s hard, not to romanticize the tragedy of it all. The tortured celebrity, who has everything in the world, who’s loved by so many people, and still hates themselves. Drowning in all that glory, and attention, and money. Honestly, it’s hard not to romanticize having, period. Not having to worry about rent and food and electricity. Knowing whatever you want, you have enough money to pay for it. And whenever someone needs help, you’ll be able to help them without a second thought. It’s a good problem to have.

I spent my entire childhood holding the weight of generations worth of dreams on my shoulders. I have grown up hungry, for something, anything more than an average life. But where that used to inspire me… now it just feels heavy, and impossible. Like I’ve already failed before I’ve even started.

I want to be happy. I want to be reasonable. I want to do everything right, I want to show the world how good I can play the game. How strong I am, how wrong they were. I want, and I want, and I want, a thousand different things, most of which I can’t afford.

I want to make art. It’s the thing that makes the world spin around, that snaps me out of my darkest moments. I love it, more than anything else. But I don’t want to be a tortured artist. I don’t want to suffer for a dream. I want to be known and adored, to have the entire world sing my praises–but the idea of people criticizing me makes me feel like I’m collapsing inward like a dying star. I feel so young–soft, and small, and vulnerable, like a baby deer at the edge of the highway just begging not to get hit.

And… shit. I think I might have spent the past three years writing about how all I ever wanted was to be at peace. Not… to give up everything, for this massive career, and more money than I know what to do with. Not to change the entire world, not to be unforgettable, at the cost of my own sanity.

Just to be happy. To have a good job, a good life, and nice things. Success that didn’t come at the cost of my happiness. Maybe that doesn’t sound like the most revolutionary idea, but trust me. It is.

sob story (3)

it hasn’t been like this for a year / or maybe it was two, beats me / cause time is a blur in my head / and the past few years feel like some kind of daze / like sleeping under plastic sheets / condensation dripping down my lips / and i’m not sure when i’ll wake up / but when i do / it’s gonna be fucking brilliant / okay? / i’m gonna spark like a supernova / gonna burn it all to ash / except… maybe i won’t, you know? / cause we’ve gotta keep our metaphors realistic / so maybe i’ll just kinda feel groggy / and i will go and make some coffee / burn my tongue and spill the milk / heat up a burrito and call it a day / and i will walk along the asphalt until my knees ache / and my jaw cracks open / and life’s gonna go on, i suppose / i’ll put off anything remotely challenging / and avoid new opportunities like the plague / cause everything i want feels a thousand miles away / and i’m wilting, slowly / and in the wallpaper silence / i can’t help but wonder if this is it / glass ceiling shattered pieces / digging into my shoulders / as the smoke alarm blares / and i won’t make it out in time / we both know that / but i’m still but as the fire closes in / i’m running for the exit

Yay, another addition to this suite of poems! An update on that poetry book: I’ve been actually writing it, it’s growing very slowly in my Google Docs. So we’ll see where that goes. 🙂


yellow car syndrome

the world is what you make it, my dear / so close your eyes / and wave it all away / that’s another problem, for another day / you don’t have to look too close / at the animal guts on the side of the road / just grimace, and try to look away / it happens, doesn’t it? / pretty things die every single day / and the weight of it is going to weigh down your shoulders / oh baby, your luck isn’t gonna change / so you better learn to deal with it / come on / why don’t you run, and hide away / why don’t you fall asleep under your bed / with the lights on / and scare off spiders with a broom / your little baby heart skipping a beat / cause you never grew up, not really / just fossilized inside yourself / buried hidden layers in the dirt / like sidewalk chalk between wet fingers / it makes your skin crawl, doesn’t it? / and maybe that’s just in your head / maybe you were thirteen and desperate / maybe you burn, burn burn / with half-baked assumptions and fever dreams of a future / to sweat out later / ’cause the world is what you make it / flickers and skips in your mind / you won’t remember in the morning / and surrender quietly / to the sun beating down on your back

So, for those of you who didn’t know the word for this until a while ago like myself, yellow car syndrome (or red car syndrome, or blue, whatever, the first time I heard it used it was yellow car and now I think it sounds better) is the phenomenon where once you become aware or something and start looking for it–for example, thinking about buying a yellow car–suddenly, it will seem like everyone on the road is driving yellow cars.

I don’t know if this scares other people like it scares me, but I think the idea that my perception of reality is that strongly influenced by what’s on my mind is one of the most terrifying concepts to me, and I tried to capture that in this piece. The idea that there are all these things that I could be missing right now, that my brain is just tuning out is absolutely horrifying, I don’t know–I guess we all like to think what we see is an unbiased perception of what’s going on around us. Every time I start noticing things this way, I’m just reminded that it’s not.

bed sore

she’s been sitting here for days, don’t you know? she’s been waiting on the future to carry her away. with its bleach-scented smile, and its spandex cape. but no matter how long she’s waited, it never really came.

as her skin turned decrepit, and paper-thin, and the bubble bust years ago. so she now watches from the window, as the sky goes cold, and laughs a little ’cause it’s funny, if you think about it.

how we whisper horror stories under the covers at night; mine ourselves like coal, burn hope for fuel and go up in smoke, just like that. she comes up with solutions in her mind, sharp and misshapen, and scraps them on sight.

maybe she’s in shock. maybe she’s dying slowly, because to this day she can’t bring herself to step outside in fear, that the grass won’t be greener on the other side; that utopia tastes better before you feel its gnawing kiss. but i don’t mind.

’cause i can only write poetry with half-closed eyes. like it’s a last resort. my mottled, fading words dying of bed sores and bruises. they fester, and they rot, yeah they’re gonna eating me alive, but what am i supposed to do?

because the only people left now are me and you.