People Scare Me

People scare me because I’m seeing more and more the uninhabited rooms within them. Or should I say the rooms that are rented out by something else. They keep telling me stuff will work out, suggesting jobs that make me want to put a gun under my chin, and saying that’s normal. Suicidal unhappiness in your job is okay. You learn to adjust, learn to reach for that weekend, learn to have breakdowns in the bathroom, and you learn how to filter your pain and dilute it with different gelatins (social media, money, drugs, memes) until you have a happy little Jell-O mold, shiny and beautiful with no fucking substance. And more and more this is being elevated. People are embracing vapidity, proudly proclaiming that they are basic and petty and plastic. There’s not even an attempt to display realness, and that lack of attempt, that embrace of the superficial, the easy, is somehow being passed off as the new authenticity. How can this be? How has this always been? But it feels so amplified now. The world is so connected through wires and airwaves but distinctly separate from anything genuine. If you are always moving with the awareness of being watched, you’re not moving, you’re just hitting your marks for the camera.

Relationships, personalities, interests, all of them are being fabricated to fit the trending mold. People used to say that Western beauty spread to other countries through media, and because their media was everywhere that beauty became the ideal. Black people using skin lighteners, Asian people getting eye surgery, trying to attain a beauty that is half genetics, half fabrication. That’s what we’re doing now, but with every facet of our lives, not just our bodies. #relationshipgoals #squadgoals #parentinggoals, and in trying to reach these goals that are built on a foundation of photoshopped sand, people are losing themselves. Some were never even born. Just indoctrinated.

I don’t want to play this game, but to exist comfortably (in this fucking trap) you need a certain amount of financial support. Which means contorting myself into an employable even-tempered idiot. And I’m just freaking out…because I’m not sure I can pull it off.

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Motherhood

A once-prized

Dolce and Gabbana handbag

lying in the corner

of the bathroom floor,

stained

in tiny,

makeup-covered fingerprints,

empty,

save two bright hair ties

for little girl braids.

#lust

I think you wanted it to hurt.

I think you liked the thought

of me, knotted up

with jealousy, chained

by hashtags half-written

to open up the skin

and drag out insecurities.

You saw my body

deserving

of a few small cuts,

because I didn’t give you enough

proof

that I gave a fuck…

It wasn’t enough

to show love,

to one pair of eyes.

You needed those filters,

that tagging,

those likes.

You needed validation,

a bigger declaration,

an audience,

pink hearts and emojis

and at least three exclamations,

but

I only told you.

I told you,

my love treads softly,

walking on tiptoes,

trying to go unnoticed

by most,

wanting only to stay

in bed, exhaling slow,

lost

in the smoke curling above our heads.

You said you liked to watch it

dance,

but it was hard to photograph;

hard to get

the angle right,

hard to catch it

in the light,

so you stopped trying.

My love is reclusive,

resentful of the curious,

with eyes like scalpels

and words like pins, but you only

smile wider,

and let them in

because you love the weight

of a million eyes,

so much heavier than only mine,

so much heavier, and when small minds pry

you feel caressed,

and view their morbid interest as

affection

because ‘love’ is something you can click,

right?

You haven’t noticed you’re lined up

in their sights, you’ve forgotten

parasites kill

the things they like.

My love whispers.

It confesses discretely

knees trembling meekly,

as I set down my guard

and try hard to be louder

than a notification,

to matter more than all of them,

but I can’t.

Can’t manage more than a sigh,

can’t express my love

in a like,

can’t fucking socialize.

So I just lie

back in an empty bed

a thinner smoke bent

around my head,

recollecting

all my muted confessions

before I swallow them

down

with a scream.

 

Sunflower

She opened like a flower to the light,

letting it wash over and warm her

as she displayed her insides, trembling

but unashamed.

Each petal pulled and sighed and gave,

and she believed she was beautiful.

Gasping, pleasure moved to pain,

as heat overwhelmed her.

Her eyes opened, confusion becoming fear.

The light had misled her.

Blazing, it licked and consumed and took,

singeing away velvet,

leaving only ash.

She fell to fire, barreling and reckless.

But—

beneath the earth, blanketed and encased,

a fragile seed remained untouched,

and waited for the sure arrival

of the sun.

Keepsake

I find it more than a little difficult

to let things go.

My apartment is strewn with bits of paper:

old cookie fortunes, bus passes,

parking tickets, anything

I think I might need and a hundred things

I know I won’t.

Still,

I keep them, pressed

between the pages of books,

hidden under flowerpots,

scraps of memory

shoved beneath bed frames.

 

I find it difficult

to let you go.

My mind is littered with snapshots:

a shark in the stairs,

a laughing drug dealer with steady hands,

orange streetlights spilling

on a cracked sidewalk.

And my mind wonders,

“What if I need you?”

So,

I keep you, pressed

between the halves of my brain,

hidden beneath my tongue,

your name, pinned,

just between my shoulder blades.