He had woken up at noon, missing breakfast altogether, instead opting for a ham and cheese sandwich. He held his phone, checking notifications and responding to texts as he ate. His dark, wavy locks appeared as if they had been home to a few pigeons throughout the night. After scarfing down his sandwich, he spent a total of five minutes throwing together an outfit, before stuffing a towel into an adidas cinch bag and biking to his friend’s pool. He had to be at work by four, and it was already nearly one. By two thirty, he was back home. He texted his friends and posted on his story. Then, he got ready for work, throwing on shorts and a random lacrosse shirt. He left at three thirty. At nine fifteen, he saw a girl, maybe a year younger than him, with what was obviously her family. They were carbon copies of the mother, blonde hair and blues eyes for all three children. He snuck glances at her while she waited in line for ice cream. Wavy, tangled hair and sun-kissed shoulders, exposed by the blue, floral tube top she was wearing. It seemed as though she was laughing the whole time she waited, her ocean eyes seemed to be perpetually smiling. Jeans, rolled above her ankles and beat-up flip-flops. She was looking at him occasionally, too. She didn’t end up at his window, but one he was working near. He watched the surprised look on her face when she was handed a waffle cone filled with two scoops of chocolate ice cream, enough for her to be handed a small dish with it. The rainbow sprinkles really were the finishing touch. He saw her stealing glances at him while he scooped ice cream for another family. He looked over, instinctively. Their eyes met. She blushed, quickly looking away. His gaze lingered a moment longer, before he got back to work. He saw her leave, not having finished her cone. Ten o’clock finally rolled around, and he drove straight home. Walking into his house, he shut the door slowly, as not to wake his mom or brother. Another ham and cheese sandwich for dinner, but this time he added pickles and tomatoes, for good measure. He carried a water bottle up to his room. After his shower, he put on his dad’s old hoodie. It still smelled like him. Tired and somber, he pulled out his earbuds and started his most comforting playlist. All the songs he remembered his dad listening to when he was younger. Earbuds in, hoodie on, he fell asleep on top of his covers at midnight.
i do not believe any longer.
The god you speak of, the one you devote time to every week, is merciful. loving. generous. Where is their mercy for the kindergartener who has a cyst in his brain? What could he have possibly done to deserve twenty hours of seizing? Where is their love for the people who have tried to leave the world you say he created for us? The ones who have lines up and down their arms, across their thighs, lining their hands? The ones who have held knives against their throats? With empty pill bottles in their hands? How can you sit there and tell me there is a god above? That your god is the one who looks down on us? That everything they do is for a purpose? I don’t see your god’s damn purpose. What’s the purpose of giving us food, then cursing a teenage girl with the mental illness that makes the need to throw it back up? What’s the point of putting us here and watching us struggle? The only generosity I see is when your god assigns tragedies. Why am I here if I’m only going to die one day? What good are prayers if only the rich white families have their requests granted? What kind of god asks you to kneel for them, when we could stand and do more than they ever have for us? What fucking kind of fucking god leaves us with more questions than fucking answers? I wish I could believe in your god, but I live in my own world apparently. Maybe faith is your way of coping but I do not believe any longer. I believe that one day I will die in this world. One day my body be buried in the ground where it will stay and rot. One day I will be gone. One day, none of this will matter and I won’t be here to care. But for now I choose to believe in my reality and not your god. Because your god seems more like a devil than a savior and your heaven seems a lot more like hell. And there’s enough hell on the earth you say your god created to last me until I get the chance to meet them.
It’s a lack of control
Irrationality taking hold while
you reach to grab onto
something, reaching into the air realizing
you can’t hold onto memories.
It’s knowing that you can’t stop
Nothing is how you wanted it but
everything else is stable, yet
you’re the one falling even
though you were just letting go.
It’s remembering you’re to blame
Had you only held on tighter, perhaps
you would still be in bed, still
wondering what would have happened if
your fingers had slipped.
What is it like to have loved and lost?
Were the moments stolen from fate worth the inevitable? And when we laid together, wrapped in that old, plaid blanket, watching cheesy rom-coms, could you feel the seconds ticking by? Every exhale was one of exhaustion. Counting the minutes we had left, knowing each one was something we’d never get back. Sleeping felt like a waste. Did my friends notice the bags under my eyes? Would I still be able to feel your arms wrapped around my waist, from when you turned on those overplayed, pop love songs, and we swayed under the stars? Each day that I could fall asleep calling you my own felt like a victory.
What is it like to have loved and lost?
Because I have only been loved and won.
and it crashes over you
waves breaking and spraying
the voices swirl around you
talking and laughing and screaming and yelling and crying
you see the empty cups scattered around your room
the plates piling up in the kitchen sink
when’s the last time your bed was made?
the curtains opened?
it drags you under
but pushes you back up
you come to hate breaking the surface
more than you hate being pulled under
losing track of memories
you can’t remember
was it two weeks ago or today?
every time you see someone it’s like a new face
the waves twirl you into a ballerina
spinning in circles
lost in the movements
days are weeks and weeks are months
but minutes are years and seconds are eternities
suddenly it’s now again
you’re standing on the sandbank
struggling, fighting, chasing after your breath
and it crashes over you
I had a friend, who had a cousin. We were all the same age, sitting on the same couch, watching the same dull children’s movie in the humid cool of summer’s midnight. The cousin’s father was an alcoholic. We were all bored of the movie we watched solely because there were children totting around. He asked me, “Do you believe in God?” And I, being the naive, sheltered child, responded, confused, with a yes. He asked me, “And you just go along with the idea that God created the world?” And I shrugged, not knowing where he was going with the conversation. He asked me, “Then who created God?” And then his aunt, my friend’s mom, came in, telling him it was time for him to go back home with his father. I remember him crying. He didn’t want to go home. He repeated that through his tears. That was the only time I had ever seen him cry. It’s always stayed with me, the crushing reality that made a ten year old boy question God, while I was questioning which of my friends would be home for me to play with. The unfairness he had been through, to see through the stories of love and equality that God provided. He never mentioned if he believed in God, he only left me with questions. And I still think about that day.
He begged her to go back to bed. No, she wanted to stargaze for a moment longer. She always thought it was such a waste for all that light to travel for so long, only to be ignored by the sleeping people. That starlight danced upon her face, making her eyes sparkle. He watched that starlight catch in her hair which brushed her shoulders when she drew them up in a fit of laughter at his jokes. That starlight that projected a memory in his mind. It replayed. He bent and bent and broke. And she’s sitting on the windowsill with her feet dipping out into the cool spring evening. He’s lying in bed, trying to ignore the starlight painting her figure by the window. They’re trying to ignore the divide. He can’t fall asleep. He doesn’t want the memories. He’s frustrated and she’s just sitting there, sitting there fine, bathing in the starlight. And suddenly he’s yelling, goddamnit, why can’t she just come back to bed like a normal person. She jumps. She slips. Fingers grasping at the starlight, it can’t hold her any longer. It glints off his irises, a cold regret filling them. Her shadowy form crumpled in the front yard.
They buried her in the daylight.
We’re all in a hurry
Can’t seem to slow down,
even for a moment
If we falter, if we pause, we drown
Drowning in the feelings and the happenings
Feet pounding on the pavement
one, two, three
one, two three
drowning out the feelings and the happenings
one two three one two three
we’re always running
towards “it gets better” one two three
muscles burning, body aching we keep running we keep moving
if we stop, that’s it
because for all they teach us, for all the times they yell at us for being wrong
we don’t know how to think
we know how to
we just can’t
if we think about one thing then we’re thinking about it all and if we think about it all we’re crushed by the weight of everybody’s problems that are suffocating you while society’s expectations to be the happy go lucky character have you in a chokehold and
and suddenly we cant breathe
when they want us to be calm when they don’t know what to do with us they say “just breathe”
breathe with our lungs made of fire, breathe when we can’t but “just breathe” they say
just breathe in their lies and breathe out resignation
they don’t know what to do with us
if they slow us down
but if we keep moving like this
we go up in flames
the diamonds crack and the golden melt
We can’t slow down
We’d rather go out with a bang,
shoot a flare gun to the sky,
than break when no one’s watching.
Everyone is drifting away
The words you type
The way your voice sounds
How you light up with laughter
It’s lonely this way
Seeing you in the hallways
Never anywhere else
Hearing you hung out with her yesterday
Wondering why she’s better
Except it’s not hard to discern why
She has the right words in all the right places
Why would you bother with someone who’s too afraid to speak?
It’s better this way
Watching all of you fade away
The memories are enough
The times you could forget imperfection
Wishing you still could
But I need to get it through my head that I’m not good enough.
I need to understand that ignorance is bliss and even though the days where I forgot my shortcomings were the best of my life, they’re not reality.
The reality is that I’m draining to be around.
I’m not funny or smart. Not creative or unique.
I’m not noteworthy at all.
I sure wish I was.
I wish that I was artistic like you
Or funny like you
Or a genius like you
I wish I was as attractive as you
I wish I could be good
Good enough for anyone
I only need one person
Not alone, per se
Lonely as the realization hits you
That you’re better than me
I’m powerless to stop it
I guess I’ll be alright
That’s what everyone tells me, after all
Right before they leave
As you leave
Hollow, metallic, robotic
I’m not me
I watch myself do everything I would if I were me
but I’m not me
I’m just a spectator
Emotionless, it’s hard to care what happens to me
I can feel things but it doesn’t seem quite real
Every moment seems so slow, but I blink and two weeks are gone
Where am I going?
Every time I slip away it’s harder to come back
It’s more difficult to tell if I’m back
I’m not me anymore, I’ve changed
The thoughts reverberate in my mind
Empty of all else, they grow
Taking root, they blossom
To the point where I don’t want to eat
I can’t sleep
Everything seems pointless
I’m not me but if I was, I’d be sobbing
I’d be hiding from the monster I’m watching right now
The one who’s typing out these words