I can’t write.
Poetry isn’t birthed all at once -
I get hurt making it
Every lyric has a place on my wrist,
each rhyme sounds like a clock ticking,
every stanza: a notch under the belt,
bruises on the waistline.
No matter how many pages I fill,
my cup does not overflow.
This is what happens when poetry
turns into suicide notes.
Don’t you know,
midlife isn’t 40 for everyone
Now we live longer,
I am 14.
I have already written my last will and testament.
Don’t you know how heavy the scales are?
Don’t you remember when
mermaid skin could help you breathe?
Now we can’t breathe at all.
held up sticky baby hands
before we learned the alphabet.
We are the ones
on the broken boat
welding the mistakes you hid under duct tape.
We are the ones with the earbuds and gold chains,
Torn hand-me-down clothing that doesn’t match.
Why shouldn’t we befriend anxiety?
Why shouldn’t we invite depression?
Our lives are the ones
with expiration dates too early
yet we are the ones
shunned for suicide.
We can’t even die on our own terms.
Our wrists are
marked up like modern art.
The cold deathly ocean
looks more inviting than the leaking ship.
No wonder we can’t write.
We have only coffin lids and morgue towers
to stand on,
and the only product of our labor:
prayers and weak lawsuits.
The book blurs when it gets wet,
our typewriters jam,
We loot stores for seeping pens.
If you could know
where the poetry goes when you swallow…
Would you still consume?