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there is a women in China holding a black umbrella so she
won’t taste the salt of the rain when the sky begins to weep,
there is a 17 year old girl who smells like pomegranates and has summer air tight on her naked skin, wrapping around her scars
like veins in a bloody garden, who won’t make it past tomorrow,
there is a young man, who buys yellow flowers for the woman
in apartment 84B, who learned braille when he realized she
couldn’t read his poetry about her white neck and mint eyes
there are people watching films,
making love for the first time, opening mail with the
heading of ‘i miss you’, cooking noodles with
organic spices and red sauces, buying lemon detergent,
ignoring ‘do not smoke’ signs, painting murals
of his lips in abandoned warehouses, chewing
the words ‘i love you’ over and over again, swallowing
phone numbers and forgotten birthdays, eating
strawberry pies, drinking white wine off of each
others open mouths, ignoring the telephone,
reading this poem
someone is thinking
someone finally understands
they never really
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My mother never sat me down to tell me
that humans may run the world but
they don’t own it; that they are the assistant
managers to the hotel they keep finding
new ways to trash, that they build their
society over whichever insecurity is the loudest,
that we, as a race, crave power more
than food, that we will allow others to
starve in every way possible because of it.
My father was a psychology professor, in love
with metaphors and cognition, the way the
human brain could memorize the lyrics to a
song they heard once on the radio but forget
their wedding vows, the way memories are
held differently, like new parents meeting
their child for the first time compared to a
young woman gripping pepper spray by her
side while she walks alone at night.
My father was in love with the way people
formed their sentences, the way people
remembered whose birthday was on
which day, the way people played instruments
based on their lineage and ancestry.
My father was so in love with other things
that he was divorced twice before he
realized being a psychology professor
does not necessarily mean understanding humans.
My father was a psychology professor,
divorced twice, and raised a daughter to still
believe in the infinite nature of marriage.
My mother never sat me down to explain that.
My mother never told me that I had a right to be strong.
Instead, she put me in gymnastics and dance class,
insisting that playing soccer and drums were
simply my “brother’s things”, while I watched
dust gather on the hi-hat, while my brother
sat and picked dandelions on the field. She told me that I couldn’t watch action films because there weren’t any musical numbers.
That I couldn’t take karate because I wouldn’t
make friends. My brother was put into hockey
while I was forced to figure skate. I wasn’t allowed to
touch the knives while making dinner at fourteen but my
brother could play first-person shooting games
at nine years old. I was put in a box as a child,
covered in glitter with a neon pink sign that screamed
‘GENDER’. I tried to understand why it was okay
for the boys in kindergarten to play war but not okay
for the girls to draw with blue crayons. At seventeen,
I’m still trying to understand why, whenever I lift anything,
a man will say: “That looks heavy. Why don’t I take it?” as
if I haven’t been carrying the weight of society’s
prejudicial opinions of my strength on my shoulders for years.
My mother never sat me down to tell me that
not everybody makes it out as the good guy. That movies lie.
That the person I fell in love with doesn’t have to win
every argument just because I don’t know how to
stand up for myself. My mother never sat me down to
tell me that arguments don’t always mean makeups,
that sleeping doesn’t mean feeling rested,
that being scared of abandonment is not irrational,
that sometimes hot baths just make you sweaty and sad,
and that no species on Earth has learned to hate
each other as humans do.
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recovering is not knowing
what the next morning will bring
because one day you can
feel like you’re on top of the world
like you don’t have to suffer
the way you did any longer
but on other days you will wake up
and look at yourself in the mirror
trying to come to terms with reality
and you can’t face the tragedy
standing before you because
you don’t want to see the look
in your eyes that says
‘I’m getting bad again’
because it only feels worse from there.
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The second time I overdosed,
my body couldn’t handle it,
and I threw it all up.
I texted my dad saying,
“I think I took a little too many pills”.
And every time I’ve overdosed,
I always downplay it.
I’ve always tried to act
like it wasn’t a big deal.
That having the urge to swallow a whole bottle of pills
was something daily that normal people do.
My dad hurried home and saw the empty bottle
and he shook me to make sure I was awake.
I kept mumbling “I threw it up.. I threw it up..”
while I was drifting off to sleep.
He had to wake me up every 15 minutes
to make sure I was okay.
Let me tell you now,
it is a big deal.
The third time I overdosed,
I slept through first and second period
and passed out in the counselor’s office.
I didn’t want to go to the ER.
I just wanted to go home.
All I wanted to do was sleep.
Again, I just said,
“I think I took too many pills this morning.”
The fifth time I overdosed,
my dad found the empty pill box.
I hallucinated, I had a fever.
I couldn’t move my legs.
All I could do was scream,
“Don’t take me to the hospital this time.
I don’t want to go!”
I became friends with a girl who had overdosed
she’s one of my best friends now
and when I heard she was hospitalized as well,
it just makes me realize how real this problem is.
A couple months ago, another friend of mine overdosed.
Do you realize how fucked up it is,
that I’ve done it so many times
that I know the exact procedure that she’s going to go through?
She messaged me saying,
“I took a bunch of pills,
but I just realized I didn’t want to die.
I don’t know what to do.
And I’m screaming at her over the screen
that she should throw it up and call 911
because sometimes when someone you love
decides that they hate the world,
that’s all you can do.
You can’t teleport through the phone.
You can’t travel through the internet.
You can’t be there to hold them
and take them to the hospital.
Your love is not charcoal that can
absorb all their poison in their life.
I know, love that you would have done all you could.
Sometimes words aren’t enough.
Sometimes love isn’t enough.
Sometimes a person needs to try dying
to know that that’s not really what they want.
There’s nothing you could have done.
You’ve done all you could.
Just keep loving them.
But you see the thing is,
I got lucky.
I’ve made it back from 5 overdoses
without a scratch on me.
But that’s not always the case.
My favorite teacher’s stepdaughter
locked herself in her room and overdosed.
To this day,
her stepmother still has a scar on her heart.
To this day,
on the anniversary of her death,
her stepmother still stays home from school
on the anniversary of her death.
Her sister is in a bad mental state,
and so is her biological mother.
Her family has fallen apart.
You overdose because you think
you will get a peaceful release from death.
It’s not peaceful.
It is not like falling asleep.
It is convulsions, vomiting,
muscle spasms, fevers,
and sharp stomach pains.
An overdose is not instant.
Hollywood has you believing,
that an overdose
is how a lady should exit the world.
As quiet as she came in,
Peaceful and unnoticed.
You will go out kicking and screaming
and wishing you hadn’t taken them.
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