you’ll understand when you’re older.

mommy, what does happy feel like?

“it’s like when you smile and everything is nice.”

mommy, what does sad feel like?

“it’s like when your grandma died. it makes you frown, and sometimes you cry.”

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

“it’s like when you want to hit something really hard to stop the fire in your middle.”

mommy, what is being scared like?

“it’s when you don’t want something to happen, but instead of fire in your middle everything is ice.”

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“it’s when you really want something to happen, and you’re almost scared about it but you smile instead of frown.”

mommy, what does love feel like?

“you’ll understand when you’re older.”

mommy, what does happy feel like?

[it’s the glow in her eyes but not her face as she looks at you oddly, tired – bent but not broken but even her smile is strained now]

mommy, what does sad feel like?

[it’s the way she sobs when she doesn’t think you’re near enough to hear with no abandon, unlike the everything that abandoned her, and it’s the gaunt look to her face, the haunted eyes that seem never to escape the mysterious burdens they drag with them]

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

[it’s the screaming at the sky, the blood-chilling sounds wrenched from her, demanding at no one why they would do this to her, why her, anyone but her, and it’s the dented wall no one talks about]

mommy, what is being scared like?

[it’s the ‘i-love-you’s that stick because of the desperation buried beneath the simple words, and it’s the fact that she’s convinced she’ll never be able to convey the entirety of her meaning, but she’ll try her hardest, anyway, because what could invoke more fear than regret?]

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“mommy doesn’t know sweetie, go ask someone else.”

mommy, what does love feel like? (i’m older now, you know)

“shouldn’t you know the answer by now?”


the meaning of this is blank

and as much as my aching fingertips
itch to bleed thoughts into my lips
the urgency to slit them
to be able to say that I lit them
on /fire/ to find feeling–
the urgency is too much to bear.

i feel too much but there are no words
to express what i need heard
and the accusatory weeping
this water sliding down my face
in place of words translated to page
this water is too much to bear.

bile piles high in my throat
oh wait, no, that’s my attempt to emote
what do i even do anymore
if time was an emotion, it’s not something
that i would ever comprehend
this time i’m not strong enough
and you can find proof in everything.

my head’s always clearer when i’m at home
no fog exists inside this dome
i emote so easily because it’s all a show
slowly becoming reality.

(of course my house is not my home.
whatever gave you that notion?)

“maybe you don’t determine your own worth, after all.”

these are the days that I wonder –
why can’t you see how much I am not?

why don’t you see all the insuffiencies of mine?
it’s been a long time now since I crossed the line
the border between ‘to vent’ and ‘to whine’
and not for the best.

why don’t you see that I can’t unsee
all the flaws that make up me?
‘worthless’ is me summed up logically
and not for the best.

plate of anxiety, coming right up
with a side of burden-in-a-cup
sip of sensitive and impatient sup
it isn’t the best.

and all these descriptions sit precariously
are they accurate or just self-pity?
I fear I’ll never know which they be
that’s not for the best.

so you listen, you listen! with barely a comment
listen to the rambling of the broken-but-not-bent
the girl who’s compassionate but not content
she’s not at her best.

so you listen!
you listen.

precious, loved, and worthwhile
honest compliments you heap in a pile
overwhelm her, consume her, with your while
one of the things that you do best.

choices are what is key here
make a choice, avoid a tear
but still worry about who is dear

love and love and love and more
care is what makes up your core
out and out and out you pour
some of the things that you do best.

these are the days that you wonder –
why can’t I see how much I am?


have you ever gone through an hour, or maybe a day, or a week, where it felt like you were living out a video? everything is a hollow allegory for something held dear. time is fluid, you are fluid. you survive, but you do not live.
echoes of ‘real’ life? well, this is real life. this is the reality you face every day. it’s like you’re living in a dream except that you can read the license plate of the car in front of you as you drive to work, or school, or just back home. you feel each meaningless breath rack your body, but you don’t breathe. ‘going through the motions’ is a way of life now. ‘fine’ is a perpetual state of being.
and what’s better, this, or emotion that sucks away the things you see but don’t focus on, the things you hear but don’t register? always ringing in your ears, or maybe a buzzing – it distracts you, until you’re not paying attention and someone else pays the cost.

have you ever experienced this?
i ask, because i can no longer breathe.

Nine Lives

not black, not white, whatever those are
nothing is seen and everything is felt

they tell me i see in black, white and grey
i tell me that i know nothing else, anyway

so these are the shades to the names
they are nothing like i thought
but they’re so much deeper

thought i lived then
even have a job now

there is a boy

i know what color his eyes are

his lips in front of that crowd
and cake smeared on them afterward
a beautiful sight
a beautiful, many-hued sight

faded blue eyes crinkled at the corners

i cannot see

i can still remember, though.