Write a poem about the true you and
what’s preventing you from
pulling back the curtain so that everyone can peer in through your
living room window and see the ways in which the internal components contrast
with all the lovely, sensible decorations on the outside.
what could be more validating to our own sick compulsion than aiming a firearm
loaded with judgments
at someone else’s reserved vulnerabilities?
I used to proclaim my insecurities with such unrecognized certainty;
I had no idea that the small, painful pieces that I
scattered in desperate poems,
or bloodied drawings,
stuffed in the back of my English folder were in fact
the very pieces that I was looking for. But,
it is not okay to question your faith, and it is not okay to
wonder if maybe the people around you have their own deep-seated
that are only buried so far down because someone told them it was not okay
to be messed up. Only,
it is usually more cryptic than that;
Girls don’t wear blue.
Only freaks get piercings and tattoos.
You’re too young to talk about sex and religion.
You do this homework because it’s good for you.
You’re too young to be depressed, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
You do what I say because I said so and
if you don’t fit in, it is because there is something wrong with you.
I spent my adolescence trying to figure out what possible neurological complication I might have been born with to make me such a deviant mess;
was it the chemical imbalance in my brain? Or perhaps,
I was just a miserable oddity,
Embarrassing my parents and peers with my malicious indifference.
I read through old journals and try to remember the moment, the day, or even just
the relative timeframe
in which my fire was smothered.
It must have been somewhere between the funerals and the Zoloft.
Why does it feel like I blacked out for a few years of my life?
Did I unknowingly break my own bones so that I could fit,
into the mold of societal norms?
The very term makes me shiver.
Am I just one giant nerve, walking around aimlessly?
sedated by the callous of unrecognized effort and the shadow of popularity?
You can’t talk about your feelings because it is inappropriate.
But, what you really mean is that I can’t talk about my feelings because it makes you uncomfortable,
Who says something like that? What is wrong with you?
What’s wrong with me is that
you’re far too content censoring yourself in a mass of spineless creatures that
have the exact same thoughts as one another but are too
to admit it,
and what’s wrong with me is that
if you spend enough time not speaking up-
you lose sight of yourself and suddenly you’re staring at the kids with
pink hair and
too much skin and
such loud voices and-
and you’re turning up your eyebrows,
straightening out your conservative shirt,
patting yourself on the back;
making unwarranted assumptions, and
suddenly you’re a cell of the very disease that afflicted those that judged you before you were old enough to know any better.
let me think,
what has kept me from pulling back the curtain?
The gut-wrenching stares,
or the constant avoidance,
AS IF the fact that I was confused somehow made me contagious and un-cool.
What has kept me from pulling back the curtain?
The absolute hopelessness and
the certain assumption that the mere act of trying might be the biggest waste of my time.
What keeps me from pulling back the curtain?
The unlikeliness of mutual respect for each other’s truth.
What keeps me from pulling back the curtain
is all of the time it is taking me to
come to terms with the fact that I am an insignificant variable
facing the terrifyingly manipulated chance that I may either give up and get in line or,
commit myself to my own standards,
and they can walk by my house decorated in cob-webs
and dead flowers
and uncut grass, and
they can stop and stare at the welcome mat complimented by a dancing skeleton and
paint chips falling from the slightly neglected siding-
they can look in my living room window;
the one with the curtains drawn wide open-
but, I would politely discourage their judgments unless they are
willing to come inside.