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Rowan Dec 2019
It's a simple matter
this feeling inside of me
coursing down the riddled road  
beating broken lips
taking tortured scripts
leaving filaments of time behind
I’m in fight or flight
the minutes pass
slower and slower without respite
and these thoughts won’t remain in chains
and help me, I’m falling into the flames

I can’t find myself I’m stuck on
winding paths I can’t escape
stuck in small moments I can’t shape

It's a simple sigh
breath gone out
time gone by
empty chairs collecting dust
all that’s happened, it’s unjust
all the same, they’re never used
house or shelter this isn't to be abused
splintered sovereign statues
and crenellations cornered cross castles confused
alliteration piled upon itself proving nothing
but this constant voice screaming
and screaming
no I’m not dreaming

It's a simple cry
no tears for me
no howling at the moon
coerced into my lovely cage
how kind
sincerely, my mind

day after day
these targets play with my veins
and the lies are calling foul play
finally I look them in the eye
and say ‘I’m not okay’

happiness isn’t something I can buy
from the obsessions I drown
pooling saturated focus
no hocus pocus
no magic can't save me
a flick of the wrist sends me spinning
down a whirlpool of darkened depths
a staircase made of broken steps

from the mess comes no poise
just another variant of chaos
and it destroys

It's a simple thought
but I’m unable to escape this flood of
words I can’t understand…

maybe I was meant to be ******.
Rowan Dec 2019
Waiting is Nostalgic

I've seen the collage pinned to your arms
thighs stomach and wrists
Pictures you sent to yourself so you

could see what you'd carved with little
paper clips. This is how its always been,
pretty tainted with blood and I'm stuck in-

between sounding romantic about the ugly
lines drifting into our caged minds because
I've been the one wishing, pastel green

rumpled and staring at the column of
warnings disappointed death wasn't one
of them. I'm waiting to get that call, you

know the one. I daydream about how I'd
respond and I still don't hate myself  
more than you hate yourself.

Slivers of glass from my phone screen
stuck in my big toe, bruised knees, sore
throat. I got a noise complaint from my

neighbor upstairs and isn't it ironic?
I'm allowed to swear and in the eulogy
I said **** at least 27 times and 27 was

our number. Was. You're still here.
But how many minutes will tick by?
The first time you counted out 62 pills

and downed them with kale ***** you
snuck from your parents stash in the
unfinished room they always said they'd

fix up someday. The second time: black
ice down the hill by the nature center, chevy
truck flipped, roof crunching down over—

concussion, sprained arm, bruises, health
conditions (heart), too many ambulance
rides and not enough $1000 bills. Specifics?

January 3rd 2018. Swing.
September 20th 2018. Pills spill.
December 7th, my phone is on,

Doctor Who theme song, David Tennant era.
I’m suppressing my anxiety around you,
can’t even whisper. Banter ‘bout death,

back and forth and back is the dot dot dot
at the end of each joke. I strummed 17
melodies we’d written together, you

struck the lyrics and I, the tune and we
named it Chocolate Blue after the candy
colored eyes of a boy I liked in tenth grade.

In The Book Thief, Liesel sees Rudy Steiner
die, I cried at 3am, characters evoke tears
more than real people because twelve

years ago I could only show anger, they
let me stay safe when reality crumpled,
crinkled eyes aren’t only for smiles. 584

pages blamed my personality according to him.
You revealed the abuse I hadn’t considered,
but you don’t see the abuse in that *******

of a house. ******* doesn’t cover the half
of it, but your favorite insult was from a book,
‘****-gurgling fuckbuckets’. Beep. Beep. Beep.

December 8th, 2019. No sound but a flatline.
It’s how I imagined it. A call at 16:57pm. And
isn’t it peace? At least to you it is and maybe

I shouldn’t have fabricated reality. Maybe.
8121900 was your passcode, a collage I
chewed my lips to—delete, delete, save.
Rowan Dec 2019
With the sky’s blood stiffening
                  & plugging the holes in its felt fabric
I admitted what I’d known for a bit too long.

It was 19:24 when I told my best friend
                  how I’d had an anxiety attack in Poetry 310,
how I’d pulled back from the terrible ricocheting
                  bullet whizzing into each synapse, an attempt
to distract my analytical thought patterns seizing up &
                 found my limbs convulsing without command,
my breaths zipping past my lips, 100mph in a 30mph zone.

My father had emotionally abused me & I found out
                  about 14:00, staring at a wealth of information,
how emotional abuse affects kids and I was gazing

into my own scars with chewed up cheeks.
Do you know instant inabilities, froth the mouth,
lashed to ceiling, concaved roundabouts? Belligerent
                companions,  I thought didn’t exist, not like this.
Not like how I’ve been told. Hadrian, short for Josh, short
for Navan’s boyfriend, at least in most stories.
It was almost 22:00 when she snapchatted me, eyes broken:

I want to commit suicide. It was 23:02 when the police called,
& 8:47 when she thanked me. The blood,
my blood, braced for impact, was this going to be my first time?

Do you remember your first friend’s suicide? I haven’t yet.
But waiting is nostalgic, counting taps of my foot.
Bleating for help, cry wolf, cry & die. Stonewall had enough
death seamlessly woven into history textbooks. Say,
maybe I ought to up & lie about tension riddled bodies when
my parents materialize. Afraid’s a word I studied
until it memorized contours of misshapen, looming, dried out

pride. Baked in the imprint of my fingertips, bruised, bashed,
cantered to lissome ledges overseeing basket-sized lakes.
Now it’s 14:58 & the lights won’t turn on & tunnels don’t mind

loamy silences with crippled arteries.
Rowan Aug 2019
He couldn’t see beyond the veil of mist obscuring the burrows
where the army of undead stood, where the price he had paid for living awaited.
In the gloom of a moon trapped behind a nimbus night,
they didn’t shuffle or groan or whisper terrible things,
nor did they appear grotesque and layered in slabs of their own blood.

He slunk forward to meet them, eyes darting in wild arcs,
skinned lips bitten a bittersweet rosy delight.
It was fear written on his face, not anger or pity or nostalgia,
or maybe it was under his eyelids, beckoning him toward what couldn’t be considered friends,
they were acquaintances of coincidence instead.

The sincere light had been snuffed out long ago,
back when people believed in gods who gave a **** about them—
now they had to make their own ******* miracles.
He might’ve laughed at the word if he wasn’t stuck in a place resembling the Asphodel Meadows…
they weren’t heroes or noble or mighty, they were the murdered, the slaughtered.

He joined his brethren, his body warded off in a grave he felt didn’t matter;
nothing changed because of his death or the hoarse public howl.
The ranks reminded him of the scene in Lord of the Rings with legions of men and women standing strong against a matching foe, but for the foe itself—
their foe numbered fewer, a cluster of pale beings with roaring eyes full of fallacies.

He couldn’t see back where he had burst forth from, but he didn’t try—
his fear hadn’t evaporated, it swirled around him… no, it coiled around all of them,
a mass of heaving exhausted dread spanning too many centuries.
They were all the same in one terrible condition, one method of mayhem done,
he fell to his knees and cried out, for he saw past the veil—

swathed in hopeless suits and scapegoat words, their nation had let another gun prevail.
I wrote this after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. I'm exhausted of hearing this news, day after day, week after week. I wrote this in that exhausted and fear.
Rowan Jul 2019
What it meant to me
was what the branch means to the cardinal,
was what the pencil means to the poet,
might have been how the sky storms
to someone sitting on a window bench with
eyes seeking something solid, something sold.

What it meant to them
was a history of books that aren’t yellowed with age,
was the Sudoku puzzles in the newspaper only grandmothers use,
it could have been what ramen meant to a college kid who’s two meals a day
consist of sodium and carbohydrates, who’s eyes bend down, but they’re not allowed
to look away from something crucial. It made them gag.

What it meant was
we’re living in a cage and college debt (1.5 Trillion) is only one of the bars to freedom in a country renowned for liberty. That’s too expensive, but not for war.

What it meant was
I’m in the middle of my personally gifted depression and anxiety and my friends say,
“We all grew up with parents like that, we all got ******,”
and she was right. I don’t know someone who hasn’t dealt with
what this world’s handed us on a silver plastic platter.

Can you tell me after all these years
how we’re to cope? There aren’t enough therapists. There isn’t enough trust between our minds and our beliefs. (Ex: Do I deserve help? No.)

What it meant to me
was the words I couldn’t say, out loud or in my head,
was the crossword puzzles, titled “Emotions”,
might have been reading the news and
finding there’s another empty seat in a class I’m not in.

Do you want a pretty ending?
Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t,
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.
We’re not given much choice in too many matters,
but the cardinals are resting on their branch and
the pencil is tucked between my fingers,
and every storm ends to begin again.
Rowan Jun 2019
Let’s make this my way
a dash of something I won’t talk about
a flood of thoughts I repress and a dozen quacking ducks,
where did they come from?
No, that doesn’t matter,
nothing matters, not in this world we live in
China’s ‘ethnic cleansing’
Venezuela’s corrupt regime
ICE and US Border Patrol
Must I go on?
Oh, alright I could but I’m not sure everyone wants to hear about
how wrong they are
because obviously the solution to a venal government who only wants ‘what the people want’
is to shove a horse in a hospital, right?

Ha, but what’s the point in talking about everything wrong when we could
just not talk at all?
After all, that’ll cover everything else.

Depressed? I’m fine.
Anxious? Are you sure?
Every other spectrum, fix isn’t the word
here we show you how to get better,
we don’t fish out a black striped tie because
that’s too much of a blanket statement
about what, I don’t know.

A flow of red sludge, is that blood?
No, that’s the sea bleeding pollution,
hey, while we’re on the topic,
how about the rainbow painted oceans
castrated by the slick money maker?

Meh, what with a shoreline I can’t really control,
there’s a bunch of squiggly lines over in the upper left corner
and a random splash of water all over the canvas that’s not waterproof canvas
there goes California, Virgina, Manhattan, and Iceland.

Do you have a morsel of food?
Take that law abiding citizen and toss her into the category of ‘alien’
because she looks criminal, right?

Hey, they said you’re not human, are you?
Nobody asked.

Are you listening yet? Yes, you!
Red or Blue?
Green or Labor or Conservative?

That’s how it goes, or so I’m told,
I don’t really know how other countries work,
but the War of the Roses was pretty cool.

Oops, there goes your head,
wait that was the reign of terror.
Well, it seems quite terror-y again.

Finished? Maybe, I can’t tell,
the thoughts just kinda blurt out onto the screen
between the neural connections and my fingers,
Science rocks!

Of course, silly me,
You want to hear more, what an idiot I am.
Here, just look online, you’ll find another ten thousand reasons
why my generation wants to die.

You thought that was the end?
What a fruckle bumbler. I made that word up in my head
but guess what? Urban dictionary already has it, funny how it works.
Or not funny really, just… cruncklesnajin.

Hmm, I’m good at this. No, I’m just tired
of living where sharks and quicksand is more frightening than
the money disparity
of living where religion isn’t supposed to be a part of the state
that’s what they wrote, and I’m nineteen.

****, I’m only nineteen.

Let’s make this my way,
without my control,
without my considerations or desires or thoughts or power,
who’s to say? Perhaps I’ll find out tortoises speak sanskrit, because that how that works, or they’ll find another dead body in some back alley and we’ll shrug our shoulders with apathy, it’s just another day, have some tea.
Rowan Jun 2019
I have an extensive knowledge of things
many people might call useless.

I can explain to you the evolution of the Doctor,
the Dalek’s rise and downfall, the breath of a Rose.
Merlin and Arthur live in tandem, two sides of the same coin,
and it’s hard not to see, they mean more than simple friends in their reality.
Castiel, Gabriel, Lucifer, Hael, Michael, Eziekel, Raphael, among many are
the warriors of God, a man who writes comics about the Winchester brothers.
“Yeah, you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” is my favorite quote from Russell Howard’s Recalibrate,
and Danial Sloss’s bit about jigsaws hits a note, a truth Ed Sheeran does too, in the last line,
“And before I get to love someone else, I’ve got to love myself.”
Of course, they mean romantic love, it can take someone loving you platonically to learn to love yourself.

I crawl around the corners, searching for this information, the tidbits I can throw at people,
Look and see me, I’ve got things you ain’t never seen before, as referenced to Secretariat,
said by Eddie Sweat. Tiny things, picked up from Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, ‘tis I, the frenchiest fry’.
I have a store racked with snapshots of a million different stories packed tight in my head and I’m desperately trying to shove these facts to fill this void I cannot fill.

I can tell you blue waffles are Percy’s favorite food, that Nico deserved better and look at me like come and watch the kid with a slowly declining mental health as he attempts to give you what he cannot give himself. Bo Burnham. BBS came from a video featuring a yellow school bus and a fuckton of shouting. Terroriser and Danisnotonfire are comfortable in their gender, and so is my friend Evan. **** the terms and conditions of masculinity, take the signatures and white out the scrawled names, break away from the lines we try to box you in.

Tumblr doesn’t always get it right, often times they get it wrong, but somethings I’ve found on there have helped me calm down a friend from an anxiety attack, have shown me truths I don’t want to see. It also taught me that carrier pigeons could fly eighteen hundred kilometers and were used as early as three thousand years ago. Have you ever seen what fan art can do? The stunning creations made by people who don’t expect any money or expectations? What of the fanfictions? We have to pay for food, water, electricity, but yet we can delve into books, a lifeline for many, for free? Kudos to them.

This is the world I have fought to live in since I can remember. This is the hunger I am trying to sate inside of me, but it only grows and I can’t keep up with it. When I can’t be me… facts, connections, the only places I can feel through are the books, movies, shows, YouTube videos. I make reference after reference, hoping to connect with someone else, to find a place I belong and…

And I can’t stop. I can’t stop. I can’t—
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