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Question: What do you do if your car crashes?
Answer: Don't crash your car.

I drove myself home from the hospital the morning after I drove myself insane.
A note in my hand listing ways the doctors could direct to get me home safe from my own self.
Come to a full stop at sharp edges,
Steer away from liquids you can drown in,
Put in your caution lights so people just drive around you,
Take your medicine,
Don't drive alone,
No not that medicine
Here's a phone number in case you have something worth saying,
Bus to class,
Unless that's too hard.
Flunk out
Call your mother.
Don't tell her everything.
And it becomes a challenge just to say I'm not okay.

Because after a disaster like mine,
No one wants to hear you haven't healed yet.

And I can't count the number of times I've been offered a vaccine instead of a remedy,
and scoffed at when the cast comes off and I'm still a little too broken.
As if I haven't healed fast enough.

Don't tell me I'm being overdramatic,
Don't tell me I chose the broken glass,
the bending steal.
That it was all avoidable had I just not blinked,
Had I just slowed down and stopped to think
Had I just snapped out of it.

I wouldn't have crashed.

Question: Have you ever gone driving in the rain?
In the snow?
Cause then you might know how it feels to lose just a little bit of control.
And the next moment find yourself in the bottom of a ditch,
waiting once again for someone to pull you from the wreckage
Because you can't save yourself.

I wanna save myself.  
And I don't need to know how the engine works.
Just teach me to read the warning signs when I'm heading south and there's no way for me to turn around.  
Let me know that when I start to let go, there are safety nets 'cause sometimes my mind is more of a balancing act, the bridge accident than a joy ride
So give me air bags,
give me seat belts,
Give me a crash test dummy.

If I cut the brake lines, show me how to coast to a stop.

Because people cannot live in a plastic bubble, rolling around at 5 mph for the rest of our lives,
repeating caution signs:
Don't blink,
Don't breath,
Don't move,
Don't freeze,
Don't drive,
Don't park,
Don't live.
Don't tell me don't tell me don't tell me
this is defensive living

Sometimes veering off the road, eyes shut tight on a straightaway covered in obstacles bigger than ourselves is the best we can do to survive.

Question: What do you do if your car crashes?
Answer: Just crash your car.
Part one*

When the boy at the bus stop whistles at you on your way home from the Take Back the Night march,
Give him the finger.

When your boyfriend tells you he only likes long hair,
Shave your head.

When a stranger calls you a ****,
Say thank you.

When your mother tells you not to write the poem,
write it anyway. Perform it. Take the criticism, take the prize.

When they target your hometown with hate crimes,
Explain calmly. They are mistaken.
When that doesn't work,
Fight. Yell. Make them afraid to cross you.

When your best friend needs to cry,
Be quiet.

When the world tries to ignore you,
Don't let them.
Be strong, be proud, be courageous.

You are a role model.*

Part two

The first time he hits you,
Stay with him.

When he asks for your forgiveness for the sixth time,
Give it to him.

When he does not stop at no,
Close your eyes. Wait until he's finished.

When the girl tears down years worth of built up confidence with one number,
Starve yourself.

When a boy whistles in your direction.
Give him the finger. Turn away. Hide your smile.
It shouldn't matter that he was the only one who noticed the colour of your lipstick.

When your lover sheds kisses on your wounds,
Laugh. He will not ask you to stop.
You would not ask him to stop unless this was somehow different.

When you begin to backslide,
Do not ask for help.
Break down in public.

Love them when they start to worry.
Love them like you never learned to hate,
Make them scared that you will.

You were supposed to know better.

Part three

You are an abstract work of art.
A compilation of every sort of experience wrapped up in one.
You have made mistakes, you can make up for them.

Be proud.

When they try to lock you up,
be proud.

When they try to hold you back,
Be proud.

When they call you a hypocrite,
Do not run, do not be ashamed.
Forgive them.

*Forgive yourself.
Here, this is my voice box. Please be careful with it because I only have one, its not as loud as yours, and sometimes it cracks when I get nervous,
but for only three minutes of your time and the part of your mouth where it turns up at the end, its yours.

I've always known you thought of this world like a trading post. That each person you meet is absentmindedly trying to bargain away your most important parts,
every piece of gold and silver you have to offer, every wink of eyelash, ever giggle
As if we are untouched, untarnished miracle,
but a rarity waiting to be stolen.  

This life, you say, won't always just give you what you want.

It is all a game of operation that you are so good at.
You know exactly how to pull away people's most important parts without compromising your own.
Giving crocodile tears and counterfeit laughter for footsteps to walk in time with yours.

You guarded your heart like a bird in a cage,
so when it stopped singing, you began handing out ribs you thought were expendable like housewarming gifts in hopes a little company would bring its song back to life
Only I think someone stole it.

Because even though no buzzer went off, you seem to be looking for something to fill that space,
something like someone else's passions, something like power,
Something that is big enough to push out your chest like the way used to, when you still believed that people were worth more than the sum of the parts the could afford to give you.

Now you're all barter and a handshake with fingers crossed.
All swindle, all smooth talk, all scam
and no fairness.

But I am not a pawn shop.

There are things in this world I will forsake for the right deal:
the blush in my cheeks for an extra set of hands,
the grace in my step for the memories of dancing,
lend me your tenderest glance and I will give you every grown up tooth you can see when I laugh
But we are not made of infinity.
You ask for my lips to shape your favourite words
But never my eyes or my shoes to stand from my point of view.
You say their is a beast in my heart, you can see its outline in my jaw,
You offer your tongue to use as a whip
train it not to whisper or sing or beat out of time like yours.
Like the figure eights it creates in the rhythm I dance to were eternal.

I cannot afford to trade this.

I knew a boy who sacrificed his lungs for some peace of mind, and lost both.
I've seen girls who traded in liver and saline for a kiss that they would never be able to call their own
I have watched you chip off your vertebrae one by one, hand out pieces of your spine as currency to keep people off your back.
But I know when something is worth more than the sum of what you are willing to give me.

If you want me to tame the flutter of my heart,
Best bottle up your tears and make room for my own,
or else give me a reason to smile.
What is our life? The play of passion.
Our mirth? The music of division:
Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,
Where we are dressed for life’s short comedy.
The earth the stage; Heaven the spectator is,
Who sits and views whosoe’er doth act amiss.
The graves which hide us from the scorching sun
Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus playing post we to our latest rest,
And then we die in earnest, not in jest.
 Jan 2013 Axiomighty
I prop myself up
On fun-sized candy bars
And *****….
(Well maybe not *****
Since we both saw
What happened that night)
But I spend my
Dreaming of
Your arms and
How it felt to
Be wanted


I jumped headfirst
Off the diving board
But this time
Instead of the sharp slap
Of angry water
I fell in slow motion
And had a chance
To see your eyes
And the smile of
Your sun-dried concrete
Before you
Broke my neck


I’ll revel in the
Silvery cellophane
Of discarded wrappers
And cheap plastic promises
And the slow drip
Of love
Running from my
Rusty-spout eyes and
I will dance inside
The hollow echo
Of words you said
But never meant

— The End —