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Janet Li Mar 2018
we went to catalina once
hoping to see seals.
it must have been the third or fourth beach
(all rock)
that we kayaked to,
when we saw it.
we shrieked with glee
until, honing in,
saw something unnatural—
a perfectly round hole
gaping in its belly.

we shrieked again.

sometimes i feel like that seal.
my heart has this round hole in it,
gaping wide,
unable to ever be filled.
why is it that we feel our emotions in our heart so strongly?

i need to remind myself
it’s just the caffeine.
caffeine gives my heart holes.
so do unanswered calls
when you’re desperate for the person
you love.

the caffeine will wear off soon,
and you’ll be able to fall into the elusive sweetness of slumber.
don’t think about
loves long past
faces, eyes, smiles you cherished so hard
so long ago.

all you have now is you.

you are responsible for the decisions that led you here.
technology has made us more connected than ever,
a dozen faces running through your mind.

you miss them all.
with the touch of a button you could be close again.
to be so close is dangerous. you can fall back in.
but you, or life, or fate, has led you here.
some things are out of your control.

but things that are under your control are much worse.
you have the power to flick that switch,
to change the train track you’re chugging down
so easily.
one flick.

of course we have free will.
i know any one of the dozens and hundreds and thousands of potentially little choices—
but really, big choices—
can change my whole life.
that’s scary.
that’s staring down into the sea when
you can’t see the ocean floor.
just nothingness.
plunge in.
it’ll be ok. you can’t go too wrong.
you’re living such a blessed life as it is.
but the possibilities are endless and swimming in them is dizzying
i have vertigo
Janet Li Jan 2018
gotta stop saying
I love you -- the words are so
stale in my hard mouth
Janet Li Dec 2017
saturday nights,
after turning in final papers 24 hours late,
are for
red grapes, and
stalking your ex's exes.
Janet Li Aug 2017
we're all the ******* same.
we wear hoops in our ears to seem gangsta,
wear black to show we don't care,
we're all existentialists fond of nietsche
we write poems and laud self expression as a new god,
the god of the self.
we listen to the most minimal techno
while smoking cigarettes that will **** us
and we don't maintain eye contact too long
or we'll fall in love
because we're so not used to raw human contact.
we **** on drugs
god forbid we let someone see
our real selves, stripped down,
not hiding behind a haze of being high.
we yearn for a greater meaning,
and strut around like roosters pretending
we care about politics
but the world is collapsing on itself
and all we can do is write facebook posts,
millions of the same laments.
we don't actually care,
except as a way to boost our own egos for being informed.
we care about living in the moment,
paying exorbitant amounts of money to
rave in a desert with thousands of other people
also living in the moment.
we don't want ugly friends,
beautiful friends are so much more instagrammable.
we all care about having perfect sunglasses,
perfect shoes,
perfect hair,
more than having a perfect world,
perfect understanding,
perfectly imperfect, fought for love.
no wonder we keep smoking to
shorten our hedonistic lives.
our minds are decaying while
our bodies are getting primed up,
glossified, matted, blurred,
made more perfect every day.
nazis have an undercut? well,
every boy in america has one too.
go punch a ****,
not because you think it's the right thing to do,
but because you want to be cool.
we're all just followers, all just tools.
and writing all this out makes me the biggest tool of all,
because it's nothing that hasn't already been written
a thousand times before.
Janet Li Jan 2017
twenty-something years ago he emerged
into the light from a state of submerged
he now fills the air
with beauty and care
and all the lovely things of the absurd
Janet Li Nov 2016
self love and affirmations
are so cringeworthy to me --
that's mean, i know.
the perfect depiction of
but it's so needed.

sometimes this space feels too small
with no more balcony
you blow smoke directly in my face
stain our ceiling fan black
give me a contact high
while i try to multitask on five
things at once,
ever more unsuccessfully.

i've lost all focus.

i just want a clean bed,
soft sheets,
a sink free from ***** dishes
and every manner of walking and
flying insect
-- this constant infestation.

i just want clean air,
to breathe,
bikes that don't break and
don't get stolen.
shoes that protect my feet
from the grime that slickly coats
the sidewalks of LA black.
shoes that are also pretty.

i don't have any of this.
money, money, money
i'm always crying over you.
i'm sick of your ****,
but i'm forever bound to you.
and you treat me cruelly
taunt me with everything i can't have.

"joke's on you my friend,
you better guess again,
cause everybody's gotta pay their way"

"death is easy, life is hard"
Janet Li Dec 2015
weigh down the insides of buses
streaming out the cold air vents
seeping into seats

drifting in and out of sleep
passing over state lines
in and out
like a whisper nobody hears, each
person immersed in their own heaviness,
traveling for a job they're stuck to
or a girlfriend they've pledged to

songs you love on repeat
clinging onto anything that reminds you of
home while you're on the road

blinking as you pass another overpass, another truck, another
rest stop
everything gray
everything the same
running like an ant on an anthill
trapped in one world
not even knowing the scale of the rest

discovered among old notes, written who knows how long ago, still accurate
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