Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
McKala Hanes Apr 2019
I have a nasty habit of enduring out of spite

I endure in spite of my own lust for eternal sleep

Exasperated, I think;
“That’s just so like me, isn’t it?”
tw: vague suicidal ideation
McKala Hanes Sep 2018
Outside of a bar in a North Carolina strip mall, stone cold sober because I am scared to use my fake, I feel drunk as you sit next to me. Perhaps I am. I'd have to be to think maybe, maybe, maybe, when I know, I know, I know.

Your hand brushes against mine, and you're saying the most beautiful words I've ever heard, and the fire in my heart spreads up, down, left, right. But it cannot spread just four inches outside of my body. It cannot set you on fire, too.

We listen to each other and hear two very different things. You are birdsong outside of my window that I am eager to hear; I am traffic outside of your window you've learned to tune out at bedtime.  

If there are nine million bicycles in Beijing, then Beijing is my insides and bicycles are your name, because it is written on my insides nine million times. But there are no bicycles on Antarctica. There is no use for them there, just as there's no use for my name to be perched on a straight girl's ribs.

You tell me my weird hobby of listening to French rap music is awesome, that it's so cool that I'm teaching myself three languages, and that you want to be me when you grow up - I laugh, because you're several years older than me. Selfishly I catch every droplet of your praise.  I ruminate on it for hours, for days. It means more to me than it should.

My name sounds like a compliment from your mouth. I try not to say yours too often, so you don't grow tired of me being around. If I can't set your insides on fire, I want you to want to be my friend. Even that feels like I ask for too much.

In every scene, I see you in the foreground of the narrative. For me, it would be on honor to be one of your background characters. Narratives are richer with them anyway.

I look at you and you are the Harry Potter movie marathon I wait months for. For you, I am the 2 am infomercial you fell asleep to. But I don't mind half as much as I should. Even white noise has its place in someone's life.
enjoy this poem about a one-sided summer not romance not between a bi girl and a a straight girl
McKala Hanes Mar 2018
Musings that never found a home in a completed poem


      and he swears he saw a million futures in his eyes and they all led back to him


      his eyes were like the middle of an ocean; calm and steady to expertly mask the worlds of chaos underneath


      to trust is to give away a piece of your heart and hope its new owner doesn’t crush it between their teeth


      and you wonder if telling the truth and cleaning your conscience is worth breaking your own heart


     he almost made her believe that, that she was brilliant. she wanted to believe it, but she knew better
McKala Hanes Mar 2018
The most dangerous sentence I have ever heard is this; ‘you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.’

As some who struggles to even want to be in their own body sometimes, the idea that I have to love myself to love other people is hurtful. Kind of terrifying, even. Because there are days that I want to put coals into my eyes to keep from having to look at myself, but I’ll be ****** if I let one of my friends call themselves ugly.

I hate myself sometimes for no reason other than my brain chemistry wants me to, but I love other people  just as fiercely I don’t love myself.

Some days, I find it hard to smile for myself, but I will do anything to try and make someone else smile - which in turn makes me smile, and makes me feel like I had a purpose in getting out of bed today.

It’s my love for everybody else that makes me want to keep taking my medicine, keep talking to my therapist, and fills me with enough self-worth to love myself at least some of the time these days.

And some is better than nothing, isn’t it?
McKala Hanes Mar 2018
“Are you okay?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

                                                           ­      “No.”

“Should I leave?”

                                                        ­           “No.”

“Would you be mad if I hugged you?”

                                                          ­          “No.”
McKala Hanes Mar 2018
Stop me if you’ve heard this one - depressed twenty-something writes slam poetry to keep herself together, and she can’t tell if her writing is a symptom of her illness or a sign her recovery.

She bleeds into the keyboard her very most intimate thoughts, assiduously translated into saccharine metaphors with at least some semblance of poetic rhythm, because it’s okay to talk about her depression like it’s a disgruntled crew member staging a mutiny for control of the ship that is her body, but not to say “you know, I’m just. So. Numb sometimes.”

When you ask her how she’s doing today, she responds with “I’m okay” because neither ‘I’m dead inside, how about you?’ nor, ‘Actually, I didn’t wake up ready to depression go-back-to-sleep, so pretty **** great!’ nor, ‘Hoping work today will be eventful enough to distract me from my existential dread,’ are acceptable answers.

See, when she says ‘I’m okay,’ what she means is, “I got out of bed today. Hi-five for effort?”

Depressed twenty-something jokes about how she’s tired because ‘Oh, I didn’t get my full 18 hours’ when she actually slept for a more than adequate ten hours. It’s not acceptable to say ‘I’m tired because of depression’ because that just brings down the mood, doesn’t it?

So she laughs along with every ‘you’re young, you can’t be tired all the time!’, and downs sweet tea, Diet Coke, and coffee that makes her stomach turn and her bladder empty every f i v e minutes, seriously, five minutes because maybe if there’s enough caffeine in her system, she won’t look that bad

When she says ‘I’m tired’, she means “I can’t stop it.”

Depressed twenty-something talks about her future, as if she has one. I’m going to speak six languages, I’m going to work for the U.N., I’m going to live abroad, as if she’s actually certain she will ever leave her small town again. She’s preparing for a future she is at least sixty percent sure she’ll never have. In this economy? With her station in life? Whaaaaat? She’s chasing her dreams knowing they’re dreams, just hoping she ends up...somewhere.

She’s not sure if it’s just the depression and the tell-tale symptom of hopelessness, or if she’s finally a grown-up and is just being realistic. And if she’s telling you the truth? She isn’t sure which one she’s more afraid of it being.

When she says ‘I’m saving for college’ what she means is, “Higher education is marketed to the poor as a way to rise above their station, but actually it’s just going to make things worse, but if I don’t go to college I won’t even have a shot at upward mobility, so...yay student debt?”

Depressed twenty-something keeps an extra bottle of her antidepressants in her work backpack, because her sleep schedule and therefore eating schedule is so irregular, she can’t take her medicine at reliable, set times. But she takes it twice day with her meals.

She doesn’t mind it. In fact, she can’t even think about her life before medication without getting sad. Because yes, sometimes it takes a while to get the motivation to get out of bed. And yes, some days there’s just emptiness where her feelings should be. Most days though, there’s this annoying part of her brain that she just has to keep telling to shut up, and sometimes it listens.

When she says ‘I have to go take my happy pill,’ she means, “I have severe clinical depression. And I have to take medication to live a functional human life. And I want everyone to know because I’m not ashamed.”

When I say ‘I have depression,’ I mean, “I’m mentally ill and I always will be, but most days, I’m happy some of the time. Some days, I am happy all of the time. And some days will just be hard.”
McKala Hanes Mar 2018
She’s shiny. No, not like a diamond, or a new toy, or when you polish a glass just right.

    … Not even quite like a star.

She’s just…

s h i n y.

To call her a beacon of hope, of joy, of anything would be patronizing, would be dehumanizing, maybe even fetishizing and associating any of those words with her makes you cringe, makes you ache with rage at yourself, but -


She is the agonizing sun in your eyes when you are driving and the sunbeams that feed the flowers in your garden.

both the highlight of your day and also the worst part
for the warmth in your chest, the fire in your heart,

You suppress and deny until you are almost fool enough to believe yourself when you say “i’m not in love, i’m not in love, i’m not in love”
She shines

She shines so bright it hurts, but you want it to hurt, you can’t imagine it any other way

So you burn, and you burn alone, and maybe always will, because the words dancing inside you -

“Hi, my name is - ”
“I like your skirt”
“What was the homework for Spanish?”
“Hey! I noticed the scratch down your arm, I also have a cat - actually, I have three”

- die before they reach your tongue.

                            … she’s probably straight, anyway.
Next page