By Amiri S.
Loneliness loves me like you used to
She likes to hold me like you used to
Likes to listen, to brush the tears off my cheeks
Though I guess she’s always been that way
It used to be just me and her
It makes me wonder when you took over
When loneliness relinquished me to you
She loved me but she understood it was time to let me go
I’m welcoming her back
I’d rather be lonely than numb
Seems as if even as my heart grows cold
She will always want me
Even as I find ways to get rid of her, she will always hold me
Even as you tear my heart in two
She’ll find a way to stitch it back together
Loyal until my smile banishes her
Somehow she takes over for you
Content to have me even when you no longer want me
I may never be in your arms again but I will always belong in hers
Loneliness may as well be yet another relationship of mine
Because I belong to her and she belongs to me
And eventually she will lose me, she always does
But I know I will always go back to her
And she knows it too
You used to be the same way
You loved me
And loneliness does, too
But she stayed and you didn’t
So maybe I should have said you used to love me like loneliness always has
By Dylan W.
He weeps for the innocence of his children
Ripped away at the hands of his servants
He weeps for the souls of the innocent
Stripped of their purity and thrown to the gutter
Told to keep quiet and no one will know
He knows these servants use him as an excuse to preach hatred and bigotry
To abuse and mistreat his children for their gain
Behind the locked doors of confession where none can see
The tortured souls cry out for salvation
And reach their writhing hands to the sky
But feel nothing but the cold breeze of a careless earth
Yes he weeps
And his tears burn as acid rain
Acrid and sulfurous as they fall
And none are spared
By Krishna P.
I have sailed across storm waves,
And left truths unsaid.
I am desperately searching for a place
Where I can put these cold thoughts to bed.
I have tried to set them on fire before,
Hoping to see them crumble away to ash.
Little did I know those thoughts are fireproof;
All they did was fight back.
I have battled through thunder clouds,
Tangled in the threads of distortions cast loose.
This overactive imagination will not let me sleep;
I lay awake every night, alone and confused.
There are red lights at every corner.
I am a prisoner of my mind.
What even is real in this twisted world?
I am captured in deception's confines.
I have been clashing against lightning.
Unfamiliarity is flashing before my eyes.
My hope is tied to sinking weights,
So comfort has not yet arrived.
The ticking clock is just an illusion,
Tomorrow or yesterday do not exist.
The vertiginous darkness is nauseating,
Leave the thoughts be, I'll put myself to bed instead.
To the Past Me
By Arin P.
I know this message will never reach you
but I wanted to write it anyways
I wanted to tell you
that boy, Ryan, doesn't love you
he's tricking you
don't be afraid to say no to him
it will save you a lot of time wasted
and will make the trauma a lighter load to carry in the future
Pay attention to two people by the names of Vincent and Ian
for they are the best thing that will ever happen to you
In a few years you will have some of the worst years of your life thus far
it'll be agony but you'll get through
otherwise I wouldn't be writing this, would I?
Though you will try to die once
you won't get very far
because that Vincent will cross your mind and save you
he used to be called Kelly, if that gives you any hint to who he might be
You'll be going through life with very few people
few people, but the best people
And hey, your journey isn't over yet
we've still got a far ways to go
I love you so much, okay?
I'm rooting for you.
We're all rooting for you.
This Idea of You
By Nhi H.
just for tonight
i’ll let you whisk yourself alive
i’ll let you fox trot me slowly across
the bedroom floor
into the universe of our maybes
i’ll let you kiss me on the forehead
the grassy meadow
where i’ll always find you
waiting just for me
i’ll let you tell me you love me
the breezy bright night
where your eyes shine like a thousand diamonds
my midnight fever dream
i tried my best to let you go
but just for tonight
i’ll hold on tight
- this idea of you
By Andre E.
When the clock strikes midnight,
The children gather at the bar where
The horned Bartender sits,
Waiting as he licks his blood-stained teeth.
The Bartender slides all the drinks down the bar,
Some of them without names, some of them with names.
The children catch the drinks with glee and
Yell “Cheers!” as they gulp the acid down their rare throats.
The Bartender’s hands are always busy,
The children’s tongues growing thirstier by the minute.
So when the floor becomes fuzzy and judgement fades,
The Bartender sings to them Happy Birthday with
Everyone joining in with cacophonic harmony.
The Gates are now open,
The tips of the grilles flaming and burning.
Voices of agony cry from inside
But the children climb on in anyways.
Laughing and chortling and singing and playing and…
The Gates shut.
The bar is quiet once more,
And the horned Bartender is beaming all too brightly.
By Lucia H.
ancestral stars sang lilting tunes
and the flames burned gold last night.
tomorrows and tomorrows; forevermore
turned to fantasies in hindsight.
shortest breath, ephemeral glory,
victories abandoned too soon,
triumphant battles turned upside down
spilled droplets of maroon.
nameless faces remain unnamed
and their ashes lie untouched.
with deathly grip and vast desire,
onto promised life they clutched.
did they think we’d be here now,
that we’d ever make it this far?
illustrious figures stand unforgotten
still present in every star.
there are many sunsets yet to come
in the shadows of yesterday;
history rolls in a mindless wheel
it repeats itself anyway.
too brief a time to blunder and gaze
before centuries have gone by.
we were not born to last forever,
but namelessly, we die.
they’ll lose you, somehow, obliviously
from the passing days they stole.
our lives do twist in their separate knots,
but our corpses rot as a whole.
remember those golden afternoons
on the Mediterranean Sea,
when the cannons rang in 1812,
when the waters were soaked in tea.
fools of mankind, once full of doubt
of fantasies playing in their heads
they prayed in vain for lovers who
lay breathless in their beds.
addled eyes of doll-like children
in pristine dresses and angels’ wings
pretended they were still alive
like only the exalted kings.
arise, I beg, from your lasting dream
and look upon tomorrow’s dawn.
how temporary, mortal, human we are;
you and I will soon be gone.
and the fires burn so fiercely tonight
while the stars still sing their song;
they’ve been here since the start of time,
and we’ve been like this all along.
Who Was I -- First Grade
I lay in the uncomfortable hospital bed
Surrounded by beeps, hushed voices
And the too clean smell of chemicals
I’ve already been here this month
I hear my parents arguing in hushed voices outside the door
It was expensive for me to be here
The doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong with me
Which meant lots of tests
Lots of tests that health care doesn’t cover
Alice’s bills were already too much
And now there were mine to add
I felt guilty as I rolled over in the bed
It was hard and uncomfortable
Like it was made of rock
A nurse came to check on me
Her southern accent was thick as molasses
And reminded me of too sweet pudding
She takes my temperature again
Better than it has been I guess
There are trying to figure out why my forehead is hot as Death Valley
Why my stomach churns and spits out food before I can digest it
As if it is poison
Why my head throbs like thoughts knocking
Begging to come out
And why black dots spot my vision like spilt paint
The nurse says today is a stomach test
I’ve had lots tests now
But they are much different than the ones at school
Today I’m having something called an Endoscopy
I don’t know what that is
I take some pills from the nurse and my parents drop in
To say hello
I never see them together anymore
They are like similar ends of a magnet
Always pushing each other away
I guess it’s my fault
Now they have not just one but two kids in the hospital
But Alice is on the other side
Where Alice is the walls are yellow and the beds are soft
In the cancer wing
I’m not allowed to visit her today
The doctor said I could make her more sick
So I guess it’s for the best
Some people come in, students apparently
They observe me and takes notes as if I am a zoo animal
I wave at them and smile
I wonder what animal I am to them
I hope I’m a flamingo or something cool like that
Only one waves back
To them I’m just patient number 551
Not a human
They stay and watch as someone puts something in my mouth to keep it open
And then I fall asleep
Apparently they put a camera in my stomach
I don’t remember it though
I was just really sleepy
And it hurt my eyes to stay open
A couple days later I got to visit Alice again
I told her all about what they did
She was sleeping
But I knew she was listening
Because sometimes silence is the best response
The doctors told me I have something called Celiac Disease
Apparently that’s why I’m sick all the time
They said I can’t eat pretzels
The question is what can I eat?
Vegetables I guess
I think this new diet will take some getting used too
I’m not sure I’ll like it much
But if I feel good I guess it’s worth it
Because my parents won’t have to pay for more expensive tests
And I’m sick of throwing up
My parents keep telling me it’s going to be okay
That it will be good for me
I smile and nod, not saying anything
Sometimes silence is the best answer
Because why complain about what you can’t change
What Love Is
By Anna C.
When I was young, I thought for sure I knew what love was.
It was to hold you in my arms.
It was to put my lips on yours.
It was long nights in my bed, parents unaware.
It was a foolish, young kind of love.
It was passionate and naive and short.
One day, I realized that suddenly I wasn’t so young
No longer was love silly and ephemeral.
It was long nights talking.
It was dinner and a movie at home.
It was holding each other,
completely comfortable and aware of each other.
It was simple and easy and warm.
I find myself holding your hand as we say our vows.
It is deep and endless.
It is a love between two people.
It is a connection that overcame blood,
when your parents said no.
It is thinking of you always, without realizing it.
This love is seemingly old, yet ageless.
It is certain. It is ours.
I never thought of love as anything more than what I had for you.
It was always shared between us, ours only.
My father died.
It was then that I saw love as more than romance.
It was family.
It was my hair being brushed in the morning before school.
It is a comforting hug.
It was long nights talking to each other in the way that only family do.
It is long car rides and silly fights and crying over the grave of someone
who was supposed to be invincible.
And then I am holding her in my arms.
She is small and delicate and the most beautiful thing
I have ever seen.
Our love is reflected in her eyes, and suddenly I see love in the way
she grabs my finger tightly. The way
she giggles at seemingly nothing.
Love is sitting in a park, one hand around her and one hand in yours.
Love is doing anything for her. It is scary and complicated.
It is unpredictable.
It is a gnawing fear that clenches my stomach, because now I have something to protect.
Now you are not the only one in my world.
She is here too.
And I am terrified. Because I now know
that I don’t know at all what love is.
the monster that loves me
By Kaitlyn R.
i am convinced that monsters exist.
they are what keep us up at night.
they stalk you and your strength, drain you until you are but a pretty face with crippled fingers, oh so delicate,
shape you into their own perfect possession.
they are what control how fast you age, not time.
each year of a life brings more chance of a monster,
each year brings new guilts, until you are handed to the butchers.
my years like to bring change and new people, dragging them along like ball and chain,
my years toss the change and people to me like a mass that grew spikes, eager to get them off their hands.
my years bring change into my throat,
blocking me like a plastic bag so heavily hung within my neck.
each year i feel it grow, with each nightmare and tear, my hiccups drag the expansion like wet paper,
sticky and thick, it cannot be peeled from my skin so easily.
last year we plucked our eyelashes and complained about their absence,
but that’s just the consequence of naivety, our youth taking too much pity on us to give us monsters yet.
this year we breathe fire and hide in our own skin because we feel the monsters breath.
we no longer complain,
build arguments and defenses with our fire breath, holding our arms like cage walls, useless defenses.
we huddle in corners, hand in hand,
because that way the daggers can’t find all of our plastic bags.
next year we will trail fingertips over rough skin we are too blocked by the bag in our necks to care for.
we will steadily lose our consciousness to the autopilot induced in us by the poison,
some of us will praise the emptiness of ourself, so pure and clean and pink within,
some of us will make red ribbons of our own body, attacking our already dead skin to do so just to prove that we, too, can feel,
some of us will pour our guts out to the butchers, carving careful pieces of our own body to try and fix ourselves, making our inner workings and thoughts into displays,
others will continue to breathe fire because their plastic bag melts quicker, their limbs stronger, and their youth more rich.
as we finish our years of blockage and shortage of breath, we will finally leak different stories from our ears and mouths, all from our same, shared world,
lifeless facts learned from lifeless mouths,
useless defenses against the monsters with sharp tongues and wire-tipped fingernails who always find a way.
we start to grow new bags,
bags under our eyes,
sprouted from the nightmares of the sharp tongues and wire fingernails that stick into our hair and mouth like sand,
carved behind our eyelids and within our pupils.
the monsters like to play with our minds like clay, repeating our names, the way our titles roll of their tongues deliver shivers into our spines, white into our knuckles, and fire back into our breath.
the monsters like shaping each of our thoughts until we no longer feel them.
their wire fingernails cut into our safety,
their sharp tongues echo chants until they are engrained into us,
we are made into dolls, so perfectly trained,
we run off batteries given to us by the monsters, telling us what to do until the butchers steal our batteries and take them apart.
one by one we are studied until we are a shell, ready to be rebuilt.
after we have been lightened and we have been carved,
the seemingly endless lineups of butchers just dying to see how we think,
our plastic bags will have finally settled, air hitting our lungs with shock and life,
and we will be given rope, an unexpected new ball and chain disguised as gifts.
just another way to keep our necks ripe,
because after all,
the daggers will always find us,
and it’s best to keep ourselves ready for the inevitable.
the monsters who stick to us like sand,
who grow plastic bags made of our own fearful tears and dead skin,
who poison our hair and our guts,
giving the butchers just more reason to carve us open and see our roots, guts, and the sand that poisoned our thoughts.
you gave me violets and purple skin
By Kaitlyn R.
i want to eat my shame,
tuck it away,
because i did not ask for it.
the acidic memories slowly eating away at my head,
but you simply show me your chin and mark me as irrelevant.
you claim your circumstances gave you permission,
a reason as to why,
all i had to do was sit still.
you pulled the chair from under me,
you sent storm clouds to my eyes, the water droplets slowly feeding the violets under my eyelashes.
violets, you say, are delicate, like me,
must be handled with care,
must be handled only by you because you are the only gardener in my life, you claim.
if you are the one who is allowed to handle my delicate self,
then why do i jump when i see your hands?
your green thumb, sharpened, ready to hold me down if i try to leave,
those hands that traced hieroglyphics under my skin,
carving images into my mind,
saying it was meaningful when i didn’t understand,
saying it was normal.
you poured gasoline into my ears,
put matches under my fingernails,
hoping that when i scratch my roughened skin it would ignite new beliefs in me.
you planted watermelons into my shins hoping it would weigh me down,
keep me next to you as your perfect possession.
your palms drooled when they saw me.
your fingertips clung like envelope adhesive,
except i was kept still,
kept prisoner by your encompassing sayings.
your grasps that refused to let me go,
your words that changed my reality,
just so you could mark me as your doll.
you made me into a fragile porcelain,
with an empty head and purple face,
you poured yourself into my shell of a skull,
and ruined what youth i had left.
tales of monsters and candy
By Kaitlyn R.
if you have known a monster,
you regret ever meeting them.
they feel like candy, something which you are addicted to at first, their company so open and obsessive,
but eventually they give you a stomachache.
they use paint to cover their claws,
braces to cover their teeth,
and our nativity to cover their intentions.
their innocent appearance looks so true,
until you see what they are thinking.
when the monster finally peels the layer of skin that defined who you once knew,
you see a new version of them.
their claws start to show,
their teeth begin to sharpen,
and their intentions become more clear.
but you are convinced it’s a simple matter of their own self discovery.
so caught up in the feeling of being appreciated,
the clouds so far beneath you, the stars so far above you.
you can’t hear people when they try to shout at you from the ground.
you can’t hear the shrills for you to leave.
you can’t hear the warnings of previous victims of the monsters.
and you can’t hear your own thoughts.
the monster begins to keep you to themself.
they feed you words that jumble your brain,
they pour out your reality from your head like tea out of the pot,
and use your brain to brew a new you.
a new version of you that relies on candy.
a version of you that the monsters can fill with whatever reality they want you to have.
the monsters are not people.
the monsters are not good.
the monsters are what sold my youth like a drug,
they got high off the abuse.
the monsters are what you must run from.
the monsters don’t see a person worth respect,
the monsters see a person to empty out and refill with gasoline and they will light you on fire.
the monsters don’t see a person worth anything.
the monsters only see their next possession.
their next doll.
they see the next character in their dream where they are God.
they see someone to shape into their next victim.
the monsters seem to never stop hunting you down like predator and prey, because that’s exactly what you are to them.
To My Dearest
By Jamila B.
Such a tiny soul inside me breeds pain
I quivered as it wants to be flourished
Every day I would feel such a drain
Bear the pain, the soul has to be nourished
At long last, you are out into this world
A world prolific of storm and hijack
I now knew, the pure soul has to be furled
To not have its pureness have a sole plaque
The time has arrived to leave your sweet home
To discover the real matters out there
My dearest was no more a gentle foam
You grew to be rigid as a bear
Yesterday feels like I just borne you
I wish you all the wonders as you grew
The Real World
By Alishia M.
The reality of my mentality is that no one is there for me
You can't expect me to be the same girl you've dreamed of me becoming since I entered this universe
I thought this warning was universal
I was brought here with an absentee parent
So, excuse me while my mind discovers new ways to fill the hole
I've been trying to place a square piece into a circular hole, yet I don't understand why the object won't hold
The reality of my mentality, is that I'm falling off of a cliff that I don't remember climbing
I've been stalling to get to the next section of my life
Yet, I can't understand why the clock moves faster than my heart can beat
I just want to beat this level
So that I feel accomplished
The awards seem to open a door that I wish would open on it's own
The reality of my mentality is that I hope I won't have to do this on my own
I want to talk to you, but when you cross my mind, I forget how to work a phone
So, when I tell you that my phone is out of service
I want to tell you that my tongue slips to the back of my throat when I think of you
All I can see is blue
But I still miss you
The reality of my mentality is that you don't care for me
I blame my anxiety on you like your heart is a tree for the toxins in my mind
I turn a blind eye to you just so I won't have to see my fears manifest into reality
See, I assume what your heart is thinking
Just to see my sinking
On the outside, I'm blinking
Honestly, I'm just thinking
Thinking about why you even think to say we're falling for each other just the same
If I can look up and see you crawling
I'm tired of your presence bombing my heart
While I'm left wondering, if I've even left a mark on yours
The reality of my mentality is that you're tired of my antics
I love to say that no one is there for me
Yet, when I fell I had so many drop their load to help me
The reality is that I don't want any of you to leave me
I want to invite you in, but the yard is messy, so you probably don't want to see inside
If I open the door for you, please listen to the reasons why the trash is a blessing
All I ask is that you remind me to be welcoming in my home
You have to remind me to clean my glasses so that I'm not staring at the raindrops the entire time
So, I can understand that the world isn't crashing down
That I didn't sign my life away for constant torture with a seal on the envelope
I'll finally have a chance to live
In the real world
When I Look at You
By Sara W.
When I look at you,
I see what I can’t have,
When I look at you,
I see what I can’t even dream of,
When I look at you,
A smile spreads cross my face,
Yet It’s just so hard to keep it there,
You’re so pure,
You’re so kind,
It’s what I’ll never be,
Your worries fly out the widow,
Banished by the angels,
That now only seem like guards,
Blocking you from beyond,
But now I realize,
They only blocked out pain,
Now that they’re gone,
The pain stabs down hard,
They say not to spend your time trying to grow up,
But that’s near impossible,
We always flock to what destroys us,
In the end,
Now that I’m here,
The place where I always wanted to be,
I feel guilty of nothing,
But numb all the same,
So while I look at you,
And a smile masks my face,
I’m still only reminded,
Of what I missed,
And will never have again.
What Only the Moon and I See
By Julia K.
the moon is still glistening
in its perch amongst the clouds,
when it illuminates my mother’s frail
body like a harsh spotlight,
mocking the diminishing seconds
before she must stir awake.
her movements are agonizingly slow,
strenuously silent, and painstakingly nimble,
for she is careful not to disturb
my brother and me curled alongside her,
our small frames pressed into her sides,
vying for our mother’s body heat.
when she turns to close the door,
her face is shadowed by the wispy
curtain of her greying hair and the evident
exhaustion etched into her deep wrinkles.
her hands are trembling like autumn leaves
shuddering on the skeletal branches of trees,
before they fall to the ground
withering, crumbling, decaying.
i creep downstairs to whisper a goodbye and
see that she is already dashing out the door,
her stomach empty because she tells me
she is never hungry in the morning, but
my ears do not deceive me.
there is a deafening symphony roaring
and gnawing inside her,
a hunger that cannot alone be
satisfied with even the heartiest of
breakfasts, but can only be tamed
by assurance that her children will not
suffer the same fate as she did as a child,
tossing and turning from hunger while
looking dishearteningly towards her parents,
who reek of alcohol tainted with the stench
of idleness and negligence.
in the morning sky that is still
painted an impenetrable soulless black,
the only thing that is undeniably visible
is the strong resolve of my mother to give
her children the chance for a life as bright
as the glistening moon that is still
gazing down upon her in its unreachable
throne in the infinite heavens.
By Kirstin P.
A canvas can come in many forms
Varying from artist to artist
It has different material and meaning
For each person who uses it
Fine arts require a canvas to paint on
Sturdy and tight
With the right amount of texture
Different sizes for unqiue individuals
Stylists need customers
To prove their skills
On hair and nail
Or on a face to transform
Writers, poets, musicians
To write, to compose, to plan
To express to the world how they feel
Everyone needs a canvas
One built for them
It may take time to find the right one
But every soul has one waiting for them.
By Kate L.
The adoration that felt too soon
she gives herself false hope
It was only one day that her feelings came out of the blue
That one time he spoke a beautiful anecdote
She admires the talents he’s been given
the simple being he portrays
Not to mention the charm that is driven
That makes her feel in many different ways