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It's an interesting struggle,
Bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders
When you brought it on yourself.
It's even more interesting when you have no support.
When your shoulders sink and your feet drag and your heart does both
Sitting in the corner, with your knees tucked up under your chin
Your head resting gently on your legs, Your arms wrapped around your ankles
Fingers interlaced.
The last thread
Holding together a mess of pieces
A last shred of hope.
Waiting for some small morsel of comfort
Waiting for some measure of assurance
But truly what remains is hopelessness.
The only assurance is that you will grab the trashcan and
Systematically purge your stomach of its contents
Against your will
And then you will systematically brush your teeth
To systematically get rid of the taste and the burn.
You will sit down in the corner systematically and wait
Wait for the burp and the burn
Wait to grab the trashcan
Wait to hold your hair out of your face
Wait for the taste of bile
Wait for the heave
Wait for the air to rush back into your lungs
Wait for the taste of toothpaste
Wait for the paper towel against the chapped corners of your mouth
Wait to sit back down and
Wait for it to happen again.
And maybe
Maybe you will wait for some comfort
But the only comfort
Is the warmth of your favorite sweater
Well worn, and comfy
But a sweater only warms so much
When your heart and soul
Have frozen over
And anything meaningful
Remains in the closet,
A skeleton of judgement.
It's an interesting struggle.
If you want to be my hero, please go away.
I've been "saved" so many times
But my "heroes" never stay.
I will spend hours focusing on you
Only to watch you fail me
Like I know every hero will do.

I used to have a hero
I called him my sunshine
even though it often rained
He was my only lifeline.
He promised me the sun, moon, and stars.
thank God he isn't here,
The sky would be so dark.
Out of all my heroes
he's the only that I kissed
now that he's gone,
He's the one most missed.

I used to know a hero
and his name was Sam
He loved me like no other could
but he doesn't give a ****.
He talked to me every single day
and opened my eyes
then he up and moved away.
He wrote me after a short while
to say that he was married
and expecting a child.

I remember a hero
who went by the name of Will
He gave the best of hugs,
I remember them still.
He whisked away my fears
and swept me off me feet
But he was hiding many tears.
With circumstances so grim
He tried to be my hero
But it was I who saved him.

There once was a hero
who did it almost right
he saved me from a dangerous fall
and left that very night.
Though his name was Vic
He called himself spiderman
Like the hero of some flick.
His one mistake was terribly small
he accidentally stole my heart
and never came back at all.

Call me a hopeless child
But I don't believe in heroes
Isn't that wild?
If you have the time
Do me a favor and **** your heroes
before they end up like mine.
Sometimes I tell myself that I am normal.
Sometimes I tell myself that I am not.
Sometimes I could drown within the contents of that needle.
I wonder at what time do things work out
I wonder how many hits or how many highs
Could help me arrive to the place of no doubt.
That is my destination, but traveling never seems to cease.
The ceiling over my resting place
Will tell you secrets, if you just remember to say, "please."
Because so often in this world, we just take
We take from whatever is there, when there's nothing even to give.
We have assuredly erased the word "keepsake"
So if you do remember to ask before you assume
If you know that good things come to those who wait
Go with a question and ask the ceiling in my room.
Ask it for the needle or the tears on my pillow
But brace yourself, "Ignorance is bliss."
Some secrets can pierce, like an arrow.
Ask the ceiling for me, if you would
Because I should like to know about myself
All the things I never understood.
My ceiling has seen me, no doubt
The naked me, in the purest sense,
That will ever come about.
Sometimes I wonder just what it would say
"Oh that girl? She lies awake every night.
The edges of her mind have begun to fray."
Or maybe something quite different,
Maybe something like, "Sometimes,
She is very quite brilliant."
I wonder if it might speak with a british voice
For I imagine it does, but watch, it's probably harsh
It probably has no choice.
Sometimes I act like the ceiling cannot speak
Or other times I simply know it can't
But when I believe it can, it makes my knees weak.
But please, I beg of you, If you can
Tell my ceiling to hide the needle
Because my skin is tired of being the doorman
For my brain, my skin would rather be
Wholesome and healed,
The bodyguard to protect my immunity.
And If you happen to get the chance
Throw a wink at mirror
For it never gets more than a glance.
Don't bother to go to my room at all
If you can save yourself the trouble
There's nothing there at all.
The ceiling won't talk.
The pillow has no tears.
There is no needle.
There is no room.
In fact, there is no "she."
Only sometimes,
In my mind,
Are there even words
To define me.
It was the summer of my fifth year
“Papà voglio una bicicletta!”
(Papa, I want a bicycle!)
“Si avrà una bicicletta. Te lo prometto.”
(You will have a bicycle. I promise)
He held my hands with lingering hope
And promised me the world.

Then, there was one day.
Mama was in the kitchen
Cooking for Papa and I
We were going about our way.

I was waiting to eat
With my fork in my hand
Papa had the newspaper
Then Mama took her seat.

The front doors caved in.
Some men in fancy clothes
Yelled weird words at us
Papa wore the only grin

We went with the men
They said, “Come.”
We went along nicely
And followed the men.

I saw many people boarding a train
Thinking that I didn’t want a bicycle
Because I was going to see the world
When I got on the train

There were no seats on the train.
I could feel the heat of those around me
As if I was trapped inside an oven
Charring my life with pain.

The smell of death was trapped inside the train car
It crept up under my fingernails
And overcame my nose
It was branded on my heart like a permanent scar.

As the blood slowly drained from my skin
A mellow grey crept up into my face
******* the life out of me
Bleeding out, like a ballon popped with a pin

But I wan't the only one
The number of casualties reached morbid numbers
I could see the death in peoples eyes
Their hearts were put out by an invisible gun.

I asked papa what was our destination
And he said with a smile, "Camping."
But he betrayed himself
For he looked the epitome of degeneration

I tried to lean against the wood
With my hand on the wall
My knees were weak
The indication of my boyhood

I saw fears in the eyes of the old
And tears in the eyes of the young
Even though it was like an oven
It was desperately cold

I pulled my hand away from the wall
And it was splintered and smudged
The train ****** to a stop
And then began roll call

"Parisi?!" "Qui!" Papa yelled.
I said, "It must be like school here."
"Azzittire!" The men yelled.
"Be quiet," Papa said, "or you'll get expelled."

By now my spit had turned to chalk
And my eyes were moist
My stomach was like lead
And I began the sleepwalk

They gave us our "pajamas"
We wore them all day
We wore them all night
Our striped "pajamas."

One night, I didn't see Papa
I didn't see him the day after
Or the following night
"Dove ti trove Papa?"

I held on the taste of hope
For it had been ripped away from me
I stood waiting.
And swallowed.
I swallowed the overwhelming fear.
I dug my nails into my palms
until my knuckles were white
White and covered in bruises and dirt and dried blood.
Against the weakness in my knees
I tried to still my shaking body
But my shoulders sagged
My knees gave out
And I found myself on the ground.

The men came in.
They wanted me to walk.
Papa went on a walk before he left.
We went outside
And I saw the green grass
the first time in months

The barrel of the gun was staring me down
fixated on my chapped dry lips
and then I saw my Papa.
I had never felt so whole before in my life. Not that my life had been particularly interesting or wholesome or rewarding or even long, for that matter. In fact, I was relatively an infant. The great mystery of life was something I promised myself I would solve. But somehow, for that one specific moment in my brief existence, I found myself feeling quite content. It was a moment unlike any I had witnessed before, that I could remember, at least.
I have no recollection of my childhood.  I have two memories. Only two. Two faded, crumbled, sketchy, detached, painful memories. And to my dismay, the first memory is of a moment where I was being chased by my cousin’s dog, and then: falling, and sliding, and wailing; the stucco cement erasing the skin on my legs, leaving shreds of flesh on the heather grey sidewalk. I heaved myself up and ran to my aunt, wobbling and wailing and whining all the way.
She sat me down on the edge of the table, and picked the gravel and dirt and stones out of my shredded skin. Or, what remained of my skin. After that, she found a tube of Neosporin +Pain Relief ointment, and slathered it generously from my thighs down the front of my legs, to my knees, and down my shins to my ankles. And since the damage down was so widespread, there was no single bandage to cover the new landscape of my legs.
My aunt came up with the most reasonable solution, I suppose, and took a box of Band-Aids, and emptied it onto the table, and began unwrapping them one at a time, and placing them, one at a time, onto my legs, in the most strategic way possible, covering the most ragged, tattered, ****** shreds of flesh first, and then, with the remaining Band-Aids, she covered the less pulverized areas, until there were no more Band-Aids.  And then the box was empty, and so a second box she brought to me.
She handed me a cluster of tissues to wipe away the tears that were slithering down my face and dripping off my chin. And so incessant were the tears slithering down my face that my reddened cheeks began to burn. They began to sting and itch, and so my eyes began to dry out of pure sympathy for my cheeks, and so the box of tissues was saved from the same fate as the box of Band-Aids.
No wonder I am deathly afraid of dogs. And luckily, allergic. But I digress. My second memory, of my childhood, escapes me at this moment. They tend to come and go, and only when I truly focus on them often, and bring them to the front of my mind nearly ever day. But in the interest of my story, my second memory isn’t that important at all. Or perhaps it is, but I cannot remember.
Now back to the moment of wholeness. I had spent an exorbitant amount of time, focusing on a rising darkness welling up deep inside me, somewhere in my chest, behind my lungs, deep in my very soul. In that moment, I was sitting on my bed, with my knees tucked up under my chin, hugging my legs against my chest. I was searching for some amount of comfort or release from myself. But I could not find any.
Since I couldn’t find anything remotely helpful inside myself, I climbed out through the window onto the roof. And I sat on the sharp rough shingles. I felt the stucco texture under my skin. And I traced the scar on my right knee. And I unconsciously held my breath, remembering the pain of one of only two memories. Then I exhaled and blew away the stale breath in my mouth, and let my shoulders drop down and my eyes closed.
And I realized, on the inhalation of my next breath, that when I had stopped searching, for just a fraction of a moment, I was content. I got quite nervous, for a second, and became frantic, for I feared that once the moment was gone, the darkness would once again rise.  But I found in several seconds, that the moment wasn’t gone, and the darkness hadn’t reared its head. I found that the simple unconscious reminiscing of a moment from years gone by, the simple pausing in my racing thought, opened me to a world of contentment. In that moment, I ceased to strive.
I laid on my bedroom floor and sunk my face into my elbow. There was nothing. No sound. No movement. There was Blackness. I was engulfed, I did not feel my heart and I did not feel my lungs. Time went on, unscathed, but I remained in the Black. I do not know anything. I do not know who came in my room. I do not know what they said. I do not know what I said. The jarring crash of a constant sound kept pulling me away. Every labored second time bore forth, I was unaware. I had gone somewhere so far that I was nowhere. The dust lined the back of my throat. Then I knew everything. I desperately wandered around looking for the Black. I had no provision but the Black. I had been unaware. Perfectly unaware. But I could not find the Black. So I was aware: no salt ever was so tasteless, no liquid was ever so dry. No pain was ever so miniscule, no mucus was ever so breathable. No, there was nothing. Not in the Black.This prejection of perfection, I could not emulate. I close my eyes and there was black. It had ears, a mout, eyes, a nose, and touch. There was a pit in the middle of my soul, somewhere between the bottom of my rib cage and my pants. I tried to find the Black there, but it was gone. Instead there was grinding and crashing. There was color. There was noise. I was refusing to really acknowledge it. There was aching and burning; there was pressure and banging. There was blue and there were barbells. There was a bed; a Bible and many books. There were bandaids and bottles and bows and bespeckled things. There was a blue monster and blue shirt. There was blue gatorade and black cords, and there was black shoes and black clothes. But there was no Black. There was brokeness and bruises; beige and bumps.There was a bunny and beauty products; a balustrade and a bathroom door. But there was nothing, and with it was no Black.
There is a more gruesome side of life
Or rather, there is life.
There is an up
There is a down.
Like the heaving chest of triathlete
Throbbing up and down
Like the pounding feet against the asphalt
Ticking off mile after mile
Like the steady streamline of a swimmers momentum
Breaking with each stroke
Just like life.
But so often you ride the crest of the wave
And when it begins to break beneath its own weight
You gasp for air.
Like a disappearing commodity
You struggle and contort and persevere
In raging blindness
And instead,
You swallow up a mouth full bitterness hate sorrow and self-pity
And spit it out when the calm returns
Only to find
That the water left when it was spewed away,
But, My Dear,
And it’s a “but” of much dismay,
But My Dear, I do regret
The bitterness, hate, sorrow, and self-pity
You failed to spew.
And now,
Now life is miserable to you.
But, I know how it goes.
We both do.
We both know that after a while
The bitterness and hate and sorrow and self-pity
Will fade from your mouth,
And your lips will curl into the slightest smile
But I fear, and you know all too well
Each time the wave breaks
You become more immune
You become more accustomed
And eventually it will just linger on,
And you and I know
Just how dangerous it is
Because you wont even recognize
That you are infected.
And the bitterness and hate and sorrow and self-pity
Will become the only taste you know
So be careful my dear
Those once sweet lips
Have become bittersweet
And I fear the hour
When all that’s left
Is bitterness.
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