When she was fifteen,
Her pure pigment spirit was watered down
By the unrelenting attack of paintbrushes lined with insults, deceit, and betrayal.
She became transparent, translucent,
A breeze that rustles through the dry grass of every other soul
And then is gone.
She walks on the shards of dreams she created herself.
She threw them out the window into the concrete world
Of absolute, black and white, perfect squares and long division,
Because everyone told her that’s where they belonged.
She stood on the ledge and she jumped,
And she too was consumed.
She wears a strand of pearls tied from each ear.
She is followed by stage lights, cues,
Her achievements are her props, her director is shouting at her,
“Be more goddammit, be more!”
“You aren’t good enough!”, “Do what it takes!”
“Be better!”, “Be perfect!”, “Be less you!”
Her blank paper soul yearns to be filled with the marks of neon wax,
Smiling suns, a grass field, hands with too many fingers holding each other.
She wants to be the heat and the burned barbequed steaks,
The little beads of sweat dripping down the sides of glasses
Filled to the brim with giddy and carefree.
She wants to be the scabs on scraped knees, the cup of tea, and chicken soup.
She wants to be the keystone, gold leaf, the newest model
Because the hands of everyone but herself grabbed her
And kneaded her like dough.
They beat her and reshaped her into their own vision,
And then they held her over the flame,
To make sure she couldn’t go back
We drift though life carried on pedestals of
“You’re pathetic, stop victimizing yourself”,
“You’re hard to love”, “You’re not my child”
“I don’t give a fuck what you are trying to say you asshole!”,
“Faggot”, “Weirdo”, “Freak”,
“Be less you!”
And although pain isn’t a contest
Of who wants to die more,
Or whose family member had the worst accident,
Or whose body harbors the deepest self-inflicted wounds,
We all find ourselves trapped in the cage.
And the fog that we try and suppress and contain
Always manages to slip though the cracks
Of whatever plastic, microwave safe,
Duck tape wrapped, reusable vessel we try and trap it in.
And after trying to fight it off too many times,
We simply breathe in the smoke and let its cancer fester within our lungs.
We cannot simply white wash over the graffiti
Etched into our souls
By vandals of our former selves.
In our heads we ride off
Into the land of escape on the back of
Whatever can take us there the fastest.
We walk down beaches upon grains of children’s identities,
Shattered with a baseball bat in the blacktop outside elementary school.
We walk in forests with trees assembled from the broken bones
Of children who tried to fly.
We swim in lakes formed from the tears shed in a porcelain prison,
Streaked with red, a flash of silver, and a blank stare.
We send smoke signals into the heavens as our visible distress,
We carve letters into ourselves, crying out save our souls.
We smash empty bottles upon government buildings,
But all anyone sees is the broken glass.
We swallow little capsules of Numb and Forget
But we still feel it.