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Shanti Starks Nov 2020
I feel so many eyes
Pressing against my skin
Peering at my surface
But I've never felt anyone's eyes
Look within
Shanti Starks Nov 2020
Mom, I wish you were here to listen
But even if you were,
You wouldn't be all there to give it
Any more thought than you know about my situation
I think a lot about you but I know you don't feel it
I thought that maybe you were right,
That you cared, you loved me and my brother
But we gave more of a **** than our own mother
Because when **** got tough we actually showed up
Before the show, when we knew you would blow up
I saved your life a few times by putting mine on the line
And you didn't pay attention when I was doing fat lines
You just cried and asked me for more advice
About another man that you incorporated into our lives
Do you remember?
Because I remember,

Just listen
I won't ever be enough
But that's just the problem
I know I had your love
Until I outgrew your symptoms
I told you that it's rough
You said, tough luck
I have to become wiser
Earn your trust, your respect, cause I'm a liar
But you would never understand
All those days I spent in the kitchen
Making food so we would have something
All those hours I put in selling
So I'd have have something to land on
When my brother was outside running with the wrong ones
I was profiting off my body, took it's toll in the long run
When I knew he had access to more than just guns
And you flew off the handle every time he wanted to run
Just listen.

Mom, I know it's been a long time
Since I saw you and my brother, he was only fifteen
I left you safer than I'd seen you in a long time
Maybe you didn't know it
But I knew deep down it was a long time coming
You were skin-deep, but I was on my knees for that plane seat
I flew back here cause it was somewhere and better than nothing
I was 13 years old, my brother was nine about to be ten
We only had enough because we knew how to bend
We left the room we had rented in Richmond
Flew to the streets of San Pedro where you met him
We were bartending, avoiding raids, until Guatemalan Independence
I was selling, he was stealing, we were dealing
Mom, I know you weren't all there but you could feel it
Years later, at sixteen, we'd crossed so many borders
I asked you for an apology and you gave me more
Lies and excuses, fake empathy, twisted tears and some sympathy
Said you never knew but I knew that you'd seen it all
Your story wasn't short, but you said you thought mine was too tall
I never understood you
Flash-forward only a few more years
I left you behind with your own plans and choked back tears
That never came until I realized why they were there
My brother's eighteen with a third grade education
And I'm grateful that I got out when I did
Put in the work, I got my diploma, started working after I slid
Lost some jobs, got some more and lost those too
Night after night on the streets and in the shelters
Been homeless on and off since nine, do you remember?
Because I remember
And even when we were living in HUD and then an apartment,
Two years out of my life, one I spent scrounging
Around on the floors of the supermarkets
For change so I could buy my breakfast from a gas station
Do you remember?
Because I remember.

Just listen
I won't ever be enough
But that's just the problem
I know I had your love
Until I outgrew your symptoms
I told you that it's rough
You said, tough luck
I have to become wiser
Earn your trust, your respect, cause I'm a liar
But you would never understand
All those days I spent in the kitchen
Making food so we would have something
All those hours I put in selling
So I'd have something to land on
When my brother was outside running with the wrong ones
I was profiting off my body, took it's toll in the long run
When I knew he had access to more than just guns
And you flew off the handle every time he wanted to run
Just listen.

Mom, I know you were there but you weren't present
When I was 13 getting high on Xanax and Oxycontin
Thought I was slick getting paid, high-ballin
Rolling mota and trauma-repressing
I wish you cared that he was ****** me
Day after day, but you put the blame on me
When it happened again, and again with other men
You acted like it was my problem if I ever brought it up
You said I betrayed you, I'd lost your trust
And I believed you, I started to lose touch
Do you remember?
Because I remember.

Just listen
I won't ever be enough
But that's just the problem
I know I had your love
Until I outgrew your symptoms
I told you that it's rough
You said, tough luck
I have to become wiser
Earn your trust, your respect, cause I'm a liar
But you would never understand
All those days I spent in the kitchen
Making food so we would have something
All those hours I put in selling
So I'd have something to land on
When my brother was outside running with the wrong ones
I was profiting off my body, took it's toll in the long run
When I knew he had access to more than just guns
And you flew off the handle every time he wanted to run
Just listen

I know you won't
Shanti Starks Nov 2020
Can I ask you a question?
If I answer yes to yours,
Will I have a family,
Be part of something more?
Will I finally be accepted?
Loved?
Cared about?
Wanted?
Needed?
I know the emptiness.
But, I lied to you love.
I always feel less empty
When I'm around you.
Even if you don't around me.
And that's okay.
You are the love of my life
Even if I'm not yours.
But, let me ask you a question.
Is there a chance?
Will there ever be?
Will you understand the reason I'm like this?
Accept me as me?
Will things change?
And will we know each other, in twenty years?
Not worth dwelling on what came before,
But now I wonder
If you want me there as a friend
Or as something else.
Either way, I'll say yes.
But you need to return my calls...
Not much of a poem, but I needed the catharsis.. I'll probably really polish it up after I process my gross emotions.
Shanti Starks Oct 2020
My heartbeat
Does it matter more
Than my experience?
My mind?
My soul?
When you say
I shouldn't have a choice
Because of one beat
Of a heart
You are saying
I do not matter
Anymore
That my body is just here
For a heartbeat
And that the rest of me
Should be
Ignored

You say,
I should get my tubes tied
Or make them wear protection
Or be on birth control
That if I can't take responsibility,
I should be forced to be sterilized
Like a rat in an experiment gone wrong

******* ****.
Shanti Starks Oct 2020
Him
He, who thought-
...and thought wrong...
-that he owned my body
Once looked at me with fear in his eyes,
because he finally saw me...
He said, "I never realized that you were
CRAZIER than me,"
I only laughed,
Smiled a shy smile,
13 is a lucky number-
I was still just a child,
I didn't flinch
As the knife went
Into
Him
Shanti Starks Oct 2020
?
You were supposed to be nothing to me.
Why did you become my everything?
You don't owe me anything.
Why do I feel like you hurt me?
Shanti Starks Oct 2020
You said god is weakness
Don't gather your strength
From poison waters
Do not drink
I still carry your weight
Across the rising tide
I will wade
Until one of us dies
Don't confide in me, no
I won't do the same
The power of paranoia
Don't underestimate

You asked me on the riverbank
If through the cold, I could feel something
No, I am numb
You said you liked me better this way
You needed to know I felt all of your pressure
No, I am numb
I am become
Death
The destroyer of worlds
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