I feel a wave of panic wash over me
As another unwanted hand grabs me out of the music and loud noise
I take a breath and push it down as I let the bliss take me again
Finding myself pressed up against the boy I had met just that night
I feel his hands slide across my waist
And I know that I will soon regret this
But I ignore these feelings as I let the bliss wash over me yet again
Taking advantage of the allusive peace I feel
Even if only for a few hours more
His lips brush against my neck
I close my eyes and savor the feeling of his warmth
Soft lips find mine in the dark
But I am lost in the calm
Their judgement cannot reach me
Under this wall I have built
Even if for only a few hours more
He grabs my hand leading me away
I am suddenly reminded of myself
As my feet plant firmly to the ground
My head swirls with thoughts
But they are soon quieted
As I bring his body again closer to mine
Even if only for a few hours more
As I walk down the dark street
I brush the bruise on my neck
My hair falls over my neck
To hide the secrets of tonight
Even if only for a few hours more
My eyes open to the light
My head swirling with thoughts
No bliss to silence them
I let their judgement take over me
As I swallow the cure
For another night of peace
he sits at a desk in the library.
it’s nearly midnight and you watch him
take his notes and drink his water.
you’re a desk away from him
and you know that it’s much too late
to be making conversation
but he looks up
ruffles his own hair
and smiles at you something weary
something beautiful enough to
make you smile back
more genuinely than you honestly should.
he’s a stranger but it’s fine.
it’s dead silent in here
just you and the books
and the millions of things you could say
wrapped up in them
and while you’re trying to think of something
he curls his lips around the words
you laugh and say
you want to maybe elaborate
tell him that this psychology exam
might actually be the death of you
tell him that you’ve been studying for
four hours straight and you think your eyes
might actually fall out of your head.
he laughs back and nods
“how many exams you got left?”
“just one. you?”
“good luck with that”
he laughs and you want to say something
to make him do it again
he feels special
you just know sometimes
but the air doesn’t feel like magic
it feels like you’re in a library
at midnight the night before a final exam
that you don’t know a damn thing about
but the guy a desk away from you
is still looking at you.
looking at you.
and you hadn’t noticed but
you’re still looking at him too.
“i’ve been here since like six.
do you wanna get a coffee?”
just a little smile around the words
and you put away your psychology notes
and your laptop and your book
even though you’ll need to study for
at least three more hours to understand
a single thing it’s fine.
he packs up his things and the two of you
walk to the elevator.
he lets you press the button
“what were you studying?”
and he laughs
and the elevator laughs
as it dings and opens its doors
even the environment has begun to
take part in your merriness.
you step inside
he hits the button for the first floor
and he says
“i took psych last semester.
which one are you in?”
“yeah that one’s rough. barely
“tell me about it”
and then the elevator dings again
and the doors open again
and the two of you fumble to step out
like you go first no you go first
and it’s all very cute
and you get to the starbucks on the first floor
get in line and take note of
how many people are still here
frantically cramming information into their
you two have your coffee.
you sit at a little table that
just barely became vacant
and you sip.
you got something hot and
he got something cold
and you thought it was cute because
it’s december and here he is with a frappe.
you chit and you chat
and think maybe this could be that
romance for the ages
that the movies talk about.
his laugh is like a jingle bell
happy holidays to you both
he smiles at you again and you
sip your coffee
and before you know it
it's dangerously approaching 2 a.m.
but you can’t bring yourself to
check the time anymore
you laugh until you’re not strangers anymore
and he says
“this is such a great study break”
“i’m so glad you asked to get coffee”
he smiles and says
and it’s all downhill from there
(or is it uphill?
you never can remember).
i like to think about
the time before
my life was familiar to me.
remember when the tiles of this
hallway had never
seen my footsteps?
remember when the buttons of this
elevator had never
felt my fingertips?
remember when the music that
filled this hall had never
been made by me?
my memory of the flags in the windows
and the trees breaking up
the pavement in the parking lot
and the glass doors made of
it never meant anything then.
i only thought i understood
what i was seeing
when i thought i’d never
see it again.
the painting in front of me
has changed me as much
as i changed it.
if i saw the same things a year ago
as what i’m seeing today
and nothing seems the same
how different will everything be
I sit in class and stare at the back of your head
One seat ahead and two to the side
I can see the gentile features that make up your face
I love the glow of your essence
The magic that you dawn as your crown
I love you but I can’t tell you
The shadow you cast is what makes my world dark
But there’s no way for you to know
I want to hold you close and look in your eyes
And tell you how you free me
There are no assigned seats in college
But I count on your seat being filled
I need your existence so I am held in check
I need you to show me I am nothing
Just a speck in the sands of time
The sand in between your toes
As you walk on the beach with your boyfriend
And I am left wondering what my life would be like
If I could be with the girl
One step forward, two steps right
And a million miles away
dear me in the 8th grade-
you haven’t even realized you like like boys yet.
you haven’t realized that all of those gay jokes are about you
so they don’t hurt your feelings, yet.
you haven’t seen what it’s like to be labeled as something, and also that the same label happens to be what everyone will know you as.
you didn’t realize that accepting yourself a lot sooner would’ve saved you a lot of memories you’d prefer to forget.
dear me in the 11th grade-
you’ve realized that after dating so many girls,
something just wasn’t really right.
you couldn’t pin-point it so you just ignored it.
maybe you thought love just wasn’t for you.
it wasn’t until that car ride with dad that you understood why everything was so confusing.
“be honest with me kid, are you gay?”
it was something that hadn’t even crossed my mind.
dear me in my 3rd year of college-
you’re definitely gay.
you’re challenged by the fact that you can’t hold your boyfriends hand in public the same way that your sisters and their boyfriends can.
you hate that dating through apps like
grindr and tinder seem to be the
best way to find “love”.
however, you love the fact that you now know exactly who you are, and you are unapologetic.
Opening day at the zoo.
Animals chaotically placed in close corridors. Running and hiding in careless confusion. Spilt ideas, half born essays, crushed cans of yerba mate.
Brimming. Searching ceaselessly for substance and student IDs.
Rushing through the discord.
Trying to arrive.
Glassy eyes reflecting reading assignments, brains turned garbage disposal. Grinding--
like raw meat. Turning words into better words. Like turning an animal into a meal--
we disguise our suffering with flavor.
Papers being born. Assignments raised out of infancy.
Nurturing our young into society.
Rushing across red hallways,
carpet stained with stress sweat and spilled coffee,
a cacophony of containment.
Clusters and Clusters and Clusters. Low whispers and loud yawns.
The heart is throbbing.
Everything comes with a price,
A little something to make this deal have some spice
But the price isn't always this great,
But who knows, maybe I won't have to go off the gate.
Raised in the lower class of society,
I had an angry youth, that started out violently,
Committing robberies, stick ups, and home invasions,
Never got hired, so the streets became my occupation.
I was good in school.
Got good grades, but was never that cool,
Kicks game was trash coz my funds went to bills,
Mom couldn't work so I did all my deals.
I thought about college,
To try to progress my knowledge,
But the bank account wasn't solid.
That's when I got a thought, but didn't know what to call it:
The marines offers free schooling for those who sign on,
And what are the chances that I'll get called on?
Signed up at the recruitment office and got the physical,
Shipped to boot camp, and it was miserable.
Shaping our bodies, and numbing our minds,
I'd much rather pay for school by slinging dimes,
But mama ain't raise no bitch, so I stayed,
Finished my schooling like how mama had always prayed.
But I got a letter, and this shit was unreal,
I'm getting deployed to the war zone, this is a dumb deal.
If I wanted to shoot people I'd be in the streets concealed,
Walking around at night with my true intentions revealed,
But here I am, aiming between the eyes,
Being forced into colonialism thats been cleverly disguised.
A kid was in the line of fire, and I was ordered to shoot,
When I was his age I was only shooting hoops.
That's why when I disobeyed I was surprised to hear "pop".
Look up, this kids gotta gun, and up until now I've never gotten shot.
All I wanted was a cheaper means of college,
But I guess that price became:
Blood for Knowledge.