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Justin Lai Dec 2020
squelched between bodies spiralling into escalators,
my trained eye couldn't help hovering a little left

right there, coming into view at the watch store,
though never caught dead anywhere near M·A·C

but neither should my stares, blatant without restraint,
fixed on a trio chattering like keys jangling

to the beat of a million other stolen glances,
only for them to slip away for some froyo.

rather than melt into a fruity confection myself,
I steel my eyes back into the spiralling masses

blocking out three gym bags marked 'WATER POLO',
my untrained heart pulses still for their suntan

and the bleachers of yesterday, the sight and sweat,
jocks jangling for position in glistening waters —

only then did I dare scream my lungs out,
safe in the crowds of a high school roar.
the bj stands for bugis junction, it's a local shopping mall okay xD
Courtney O Nov 2020
Want to know why I did not die?
Because I did write.
Want to know why I survived?
Easy - because I write!

I was 13 - I was lost
and I wanted to **** myself
I wrote a letter to, but instead
I had a story to be told
my own...though I did not know...
a brain to arrange - my feels,
my thoughts
Art up, broken child!
Bleed onto the page and go drain the pain!
Do something! Make sense!

The night was threatening and I could not sleep
Everything so sharply and hurtfully real
I touched life and oh, ****** blisters
all over me
Opposites coming close
I am the mixture of them all

And my soul was shabby and in ruins
I could not tell what was me and what wasn't true,
so many times
Nothing was clear but the soreness
I felt, yet that was the proof I was there, too.
Art up, broken child! Do not lick the wound,
stitch it with a few rhymes!

And there were faint rays
of what could be
The kiss I never got these days
The dreams I had that got delayed

Later, the flow got stopped - because I got clogged
All pain, all emptiness, all doubt
Frozen inside, fetters outside - caught up
I decided to retreat because I could not be
yet I thought I was striving to be freed
Had no certainties at all, so my mouth I shut
so my power I shunned - I was blocked

So I can never shut up
without shutting down
And my words came back at me
as soon as I entered again the scene
I am here because my pen never sleeps
Therapy can be expensive but notebooks
are cheap

Yet now sometimes I feel so full
My pen is bloated in it too.
And we lie happy, satisfied,
just seeing things go by,
just wanting to be by your side...

something big
goes on when I don't write
melancholy Jan 2020

I'm just a little girl.

You make me happier than anything else

With the books that you read me

The smiles you give me

The warmth of your body

As I sit on your lap

My downy blonde head

Rested, listening to the heartbeat

That lulled me to sleep

In your womb.

You tell me,


You are my sunshine."

You're mine, too

So I bring you

Pictures I drew

Purple weeds that I picked from the yard


Flashing love, optimism

With my crooked baby teeth.

I love you, Mama

I do.


I'm not a little girl.

I like boys

And have opinions

And bleed

Just about every month now.

I roll my eyes

And speak my mind

And disagree.

I want to read those few books

You don't think that I'm ready to read.

I make you cry now

Almost as often as I make you laugh.

I remind you of the sharp, dangerous bits

Of your own adolescence

With all the added danger

Of my Daddy's set ways.

I'm sorry, Mama

I am.

I can only become a woman

In the ways that you teach me.

I love you, Mama

I do.


You know I'm your girl.

I might have Daddy's face and sense of humor

But it's you and I

Talking about our respective friends

As we work in the kitchen

You on the main course

Me on dessert.

We laugh

And sing along to Courtney Love's mad howls

No matter how much everyone else winces in response.

Let me tell you a secret, Mama:

I don't want to grow up anymore.

I feel safe here

Always at home

As long as I'm with you.

I love you, Mama

I do.


I'm still just a little girl.

It scares me to death

To see you hurt

When there's nothing I can do

To ease your pain.

Part of me wants to do

What you did for me:

Tuck you into bed

With a hug

A kiss

A ginger ale.

"Sleep tight


Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Sweet dreams

Love you

See you tomorrow."

I want to **** this ******* cancer

Eradicate it

From you

And every man, woman, and child

Who's ever fallen

Into its hideous grip.

I don't want to ever have to leave your side, Mama,

Wouldn't do it

For anything in this world.

I'm sorry

For any nasty thing

I could have ever said to you.

I'm sorry

If the stresses

Of a single moment

Or years' worth of them

Ever stole a little bit of joy

From you and I.  

I love you, Mama

I always will.

I'll do anything

If it means we can take each other's hands

And kick this thing's ***.
Anavah Nov 2018
I try to be strong in action and words  every day
Every morning I open my Bible and start to I pray
Whispers of imagined blessings  in the starts
Positivity, I have learned that, is a farce

I try to hold up ideals that I have broken before
In the hope that I can redeem myself the next time
The distant bell chimes calling out my death
I ignore the knell in an immortal hope sublime

I follow distant shadows on indistinct walls
My insecurities grace the surface and slither and crawls
I scoff at the reptilian camouflage of self-sufficiency
Knowing it is the pain carrying me on.

I am a ******* that would rather feel than be distant
I feel without expression when all I should do is cope
But instead what I do is hopelessly hope
My obsession with dreams makes me repentant.

Sometimes, on lonely nights, I can't be strong anymore
I reach out for a strong shoulder to cradle my sobs
But they often melt away in my tears and shape my fears
I shiver in my feigned self-sufficiency that calls out to emptiness

Maybe I let my imaginations run wild, wild horses fraying into the night
Maybe I need to let go of impossibilities and accept the practicalities
But I would rather lose myself in eyes I have never peered in
My paradise lurking beneath unseen memories.

(c) Anavah 2018
Anavah Nov 2018
When I saw her for the first time it wasn't admiration
It was awe mixed with a twinge of jealousy
Her perfection and her confidence intimidated me

When I first befriended her it wasn't just adoration
It was an obsession and a fixation
To be like her in thought and action
Till I learnt to be better than her without being enough
That was when the insecurity started
'Will I ever be enough?'

I wasn't enough at home, not fair enough or smart enough
I wasn't witty or flirtatious enough
I lacked guts and I lacked the temperament
Of a proper twelve-year-old.
I was a doormat and a pushover
Already coming undone at my seams
Trying to emulate perfection through blinded eyes
Every day I scoffed and surrendered to my picture of admiration
Trying to secure her own admission
'Will I ever be enough?'

Then she left me battling my own wars
Hers was to conquer new turfs.
I waited for a while, finally realizing
I was a ship without a captain, left to wander evermore.
I caught a new captain in a bystander who counted his lucky stars
I admired him for being there for me when I never was.
I tried to hold on to an unconsolidated bond of friendship
With a raging doubt piercing through my heart
'Will I ever be enough?'

Many came telling me my worth.
Many left ravaging my already battered heart
Many drank my colourless lifeless blood
Many left a wretched bluish mark
I shrivelled from the inside out
Bloating in the nausea of my being
Every day trying to put me together
Every day losing instead of winning.
One day finally I reached out
Knowing my salvation lies
I put everything behind me and cried out
Only to be put on the side.

That day I realized my worth
When she was hurt by my rejection
When she refused to give me a chance
When I had never received any ever.
My insecurities still lingered
But they were a part of me now
And I did not know how to do without.
I picked up the pieces that meant something to me
Even though she was no more there to see
Yet I knew that she was never enough
Never my horizon, never my turf
I had wings to reach farther
And my flight has thus
Now begun without her.

(c) Anavah 2018
This poem is autobiographical and written to my friendship with my childhood best friend. It is true that we parted ways and she was all I aspired to be for a greater part of my life but a part of me aspires to be more and that is all I strive to be.
harlon rivers Nov 2018
Listening rain plashes
upon crystal spring waters
It hears the trailing distance
disguised in the silent gravity
chasing it down the sky;
refreshingly sprinkling
where spotless fawns
drink from mirror pond
green and peacefulness

     A man falls from
a distance he knows by heart;
dropping like a wind broke tree ...
Breaking all the silence hidden
within the deepest places
          of his soul
Hitting the ground hard
to see if he still feels —
laying there broken
feeling the raindrops
     soothe the hurt

Certain when he’s able
     to get back up,
hearing a distant calling
to the fountains of his soul —
he may fall down again
     bearing the weight
     of broken dreams
     But he’s seen it all
for long enough to know:
he’s no candle in the wind

Awakening in an unfinished life,
coming back from the dead,
     still feeling each
     feral breath enough —
     to keep on trying
to chase down the wind ...

     harlon rivers                                                           ­                          .
November 4th, 2018

Rumi said:   'Whoever brought me here
                     Will have to take me home'
Graff1980 Jul 2018
He’s been on the road
coming home
Arizona flagstaff
wearing his
jury rigged knapsack
with plastic
and cloth bags
strapped together
by an orange cord.

Sixty something,
tan skinned,
and missing teeth,
I find him
on the off ramp
as I head out
to work.

Sign says Springfield
but he is trying to
get back to
I almost pass him by,
but I remember
a younger guy,
the good man
I used to be.
He asks me to be
kind again.

I tell him
I’ll drop him
halfway there,
but he offers
a traveler’s perspective
and excellent conversation
so, I take him as far as I am going.

We roll in
just in time
for him to miss
the storm coming,
and part with
a handshake
and goodwill,
I forgot how good
that feels.
Graff1980 Jan 2018
It was a
suicidal game
of self-destruction,
as I walked slowly
on the white winter ground.

Four or more
sleep deprived nights
because of some
drug a doctor prescribed
that nearly fried
my already fragile mind.

For the first time in my life
I decided to give cigarettes a try.
Cancer be ******
because I had already been
******* condemned.
So, I smoked them.

Pushed to the edge,
I punished myself
with cold indifference
popping the last bits
of this sick prescription.

I asked the doctor
if I could take these
before I went to bed.
I guess he didn’t
listen to a word I said.
Was it his ignorance
or merely negligence
that nearly did me in?

On the fourth night,
I watched my best friend
collapse from his asthma
because he was
running to call the cops
to come and save me.

His efforts made me laugh,
as I indifferently considered
just finding a place to hide
while I waited to wither and die.
harlon rivers Nov 2017
No one passes through here ever stays for long
i can't even seem to catch sight of my own road home
The body hanging at the end of my own line i don't recognize
waiting for a change  ―  that never comes around

Fleeting through the primrose path crossroads in a blur,...
right now i'm standin' here like a brainless scarecrow all alone
Just another familiar frost heave pothole barely shunt
swerved around like an unmarked bump
on this frozen lonesome road

i let you see it and you told me what it was ,..
but the rear-view mirror only reflects the tracks left behind
Looking for the Black Box to unearth the cause of the crash
somewhere underneath a black and white rainbow i can't find

If you see a wayfaring stranger that abides undone
don't even stop to feel the ache that trickles down
Just hit the gas and hold sway the wheels go round,
look off---- the dead raccoon lay sullied at the side of the road

No one passes through here ever stays for long
i can't even seem to catch sight of my own road home
The body hanging at the end of my own line i don't recognize
waiting for a change  ―  that never comes
and yet life unfolds as it is intended
a life well lived ― every bump is felt,
it's a long road we've been traveling on
with twists and turns,  switchbacks and potholes
tough times change, undo,
     melt down ―
••• redux •••

written by: h.a. rivers ... 11 .13 .2017
writing happens ―
Graff1980 Oct 2017
A sharp cry of fury pierces the quiet atmosphere of the public housing complex. Neighbors from almost a block away can hear incoherent statements of rage and disgust. However, they seldom hear the sounds of violence. One would have to linger just outside the door to get an inkling of the ****** noses, busted lips, ripped shirts, pulled hair, bruised skin, or reddening flesh punctuated with shouts of “I don’t hate you; I hate your action” or” you’re going to end up just like your father rotting in cell.” Even “say you’re sorry, say you’re sorry or else” or “If you got it so bad why don’t you call DCF and have them take you away.”
Though the statements varied and the violence was different it always ended the same. The young boy locked in his little room watching the world spinning on without him. No books, no games, no hint of fun allowed, or the ire of the matriarch would be incited and more violence would ensue. Only homework, bible, and sleep were allowed. Some days dark moments of despair would creep in. The little boy would eye the electric socket with curiosity and desperation. Thinking that all it would take is a butter knife. Jab that in there and this would be over.
Sometimes he would grab the blanket, crumpling it together till it formed a hill then trace the strange pathways around the cover like his index finger was a car, or imagine his route of escape from this silent prison. Other times he would lie on his back still as death only breathing. In and out, in and out over and over again till his body felt as though it was moving with the tides of an unseen ocean. On rare occasion if only for a minute or two he could almost feel his body recede and his consciousness float up and away. What a strange thing for an eleven year old to experience.
At night in order to fall asleep he would imagine himself with his favorite fictional heroes, saving the world, and being part of their family, accepted and loved. After an hour or so of strange heroic and familial fantasy the boy would slip into the safest place he knew. Daring to dream, reality would fold in upon itself. Spheres of varying color, overlapping and blending would float through his unconscious world. Space dust and sparkling stars urging him on into the strange void. Even the blinking explosions of dying star ******* greedily at his ethereal essence seamed a sweet relief from the daily nightmares of life.
In the midst of this mosaic wonder there was a perfect peace. He could softly surrender the darkest moments of the day. Bubbles of light would gently cradle him in their warm and wet reassurances. He could almost believe this was heaven. There were no loud or sudden movements of fury, there were no bruises or busted lips, only the sweetest freedom.
Waking, that world of wonder would retreat into the clotted corners of his already anxious mind. Until, their comfort and wonder became only impressions, which were eventually swallowed by the day. A day that would be spent ******* in a plastic cup or just draining himself on the ***** green carpet to avoid being yelled at or beaten for leaving his room.
From the window, he watched his peers play unhindered by the dark shadows that seemed to linger in every corner of his home. Sometimes he envied them, other times he found himself furious with them, laughing gleefully at the thunderstorms which interrupted their play time. Still when sleep released him to his playful peace there was just enough joy to sustain him, just enough happiness to get him through the day till the dreams would come again. Then again, inching ever closer to maturity, then to freedom of his flesh from the maternal *******, then freedom of his mind much much later in life.
Now with the ease of an old friend he visits those wonders each night; sometimes waking in tears of gratitude and pain other nights waking with a sense of reinvigoration and determination. Each day a blank canvas to paint a better world upon, and each night a brighter adventure then the one before.
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