You tell me that you have almost given up,
that there is nothing left to live for but guilt.
You tell me you’ve almost come to the point
where you know you’ll give up,
and stop fighting.
You tell me there isn’t anything left,
that it’s too hard to wake up each morning.
That it’s too hard to get through each day,
that it’s too hard knowing that there will always
always be another day coming, and you don’t know
if you can do it anymore.
You tell me how you’re so tired.
You ask me what to do, but I don’t know what to say anymore.
I’m at a loss for words, I’m at a loss for advice.
The whole world keeps turning,
around and around and around and around and around
but what happened when my own world stops,
what happens when the gears stop working,
and the heart stops beating.
What happens when I am alive in a world, I feel is dead?
I don’t know what to do anymore.
I don’t know what advice to give,
to reassure you that everything is going to be ok,
because I can’t even believe that myself.
Is that clear to you?
I’m sorry, I really am.
But I don’t know what to do anymore.
I try to help, and to listen,
but what can I do?
I try not to cry,
and stay strong,
but what happens when I break?
Where are the stars in this darkness,
where is the light?
Please tell me because I can feel
myself drowning in a sea
and too many possibilities.
How can I help?
We’re just so tired of life,
too many thoughts,
to much silence,
too much darkness,
too much unreal hope.
But that’s all it is.
To us, it’s just a word
that is used to make people
think that life will get better.
Hope is a lie to you and I,
it doesn’t exist, it’s just a dream.
We don’t want you to leave,
if you left us, our world would fall apart
until it was nothing but crumbling dreams,
and broken words, nothing but bloody tears,
and twisted limbs.
It’s too late to turn back and fix our mistakes,
it’s too late to stop the world from turning against you.
The deed is done,
the words have been said,
we cannot go back.
But what can I do to help you?
Please tell me,
because I’m so tired of not knowing what to do,
Please tell me,
because I’m so tired of having to stand by and watch you fall,
without knowing what to do to help.
Joshua’s Rain Room
We sat criss cross on the floor of his bedroom. Across from him I watch him drop his pen and look up abruptly. Creasing my eyebrows I meet his gaze.
“I love the rain.” He declares.
I roll my eyes looking back to my homework. “So does everyone. Next you're gonna say you’ve always had an adoration for sunsets. I’ve seen that movie 37 times.”
“No I mean it.” His eyes get wide now and his hands land square on both my shoulders. “I’ll buy a house one day. I’ll have a skylight window in my bedroom directly over my bed so I can watch the rain coat the glass at night. Actually scratch that, I want a hole. A hole in the ceiling so when it rains the water will just-” And then he uses his outstretched arm to palm himself in the face.
I giggle but he isn’t joking. I realize this is a side of him I haven’t seen and so I put my pencil down and search his expression. He wants me to take this seriously. Separate from his usual rambling and playful conversation while we work. So I fix my countenance and nod solemn.
Suddenly he looks nervous, unsure. He opens his mouth and then shakes his head softly closing it again.
“What?” I say breaking his silence.
“I try not to presume what heaven will be like. But I don’t think it’s wrong for me to think about things that God loves being there, that makes sense doesn’t it?”
“I guess so.” I say this slowly wondering where he’s about to take this.
"When I pray." He begins. "Sometimes I've asked if it be his will that I could have a rain room."
The corners of my mouth want to curl up at the childish honesty of his words but I stay straight and serious so he'll keep talking.
"What's that mean?" I prod.
"I want a room, an empty room where it just rains. A pouring constant sweet rain that echoes for miles contained in one room." He's smiling now. His voice has risen a bit louder filling up the room with theatricality. "And well it's eternity isn't it? I could literally spend a thousand years in the rain room. People would ask like, hey where's josh? And you can just tell them that I've been standing in a torrential downpour for the last century, that I'll be back sometime soon. I couldn't get pneumonia because this rain wouldn't have the capacity to do anything but give glory to the father. No wrinkly fingers, no slipping, no runny nose. That's what I want, a rain room. A room that's raining forever and ever."
And as he wound down I just stared at him. It was one of those moments where I knew I'd remember the conversation forever. That one day as I went about my day this would come back to me and I'd get sent right back to Joshua's bedroom floor in the middle of November. I knew that night I would pray that Josh would get a beautiful rain room. One that fulfilled and exceeded his wildest dreams.
"You love the rain." I conceded sorry that I ever questioned something so sacred to him.
"Damn right." He said and went right back to fielding with a math problem as if he didn't just blow my mind. I wasn't sure why this little peek of him changed my perception so abruptly but hey, I wasn't complaining.
Looking back now that he's been gone 7 months and 4 days. I know he's got a rain room somewhere. I know it was beyond his wildest dreams. The tears still come when I recall the boyish smile sitting criss cross on his bedroom floor. The one who had no idea what would come to pass 3 weeks later. I still can't look at the photos. I can't not rush to my phone every time it dings the ringtone that used to be his frequent replies. And when people ask me about him, there's a whole life of stories I could tell them. A boy who loved with reckless abandon. Who stopped at nothing to make the shy kid in the room feel included. Who told bedtime stories like no one you'd ever met. But I always say the same thing with the same guarded grin, Joshua loved the rain.
It’s 12:23 am
and I’m spinning
while forgetting how to sleep
as my mind becomes still
as I swim in it’s torrents
I can’t seem to see
how to breath anymore
as I hold my breath
and count down until it’s 12:25
on the water now
im tossing in the waves
flailing in my bed as I
drown drown drown
its 12:28 and I’m throwing up
the food from yesterday
because my emotions run dry
yet I’m submerged in an ocean full of them.
can you point me towards land?
(no one will)
im alone in this sea
my Mother holds me in the water
as well as my father.
some boy I chose to like
left me drowning.
my Only friend did the same...
so I’ll just
drown in this isolated desert at 12:35am.
what breaks you
blame whoever pierced your skin to make you wear regret as earrings; even if,
you encouraged them. since accusations are tattered clothes against your
overused body and yet, even they seem to look better in them. they could wear,
obesity and corruptibility and scarcity and susceptibility and anything-
but somehow, they look like royalty that refuses to give in. as for you,
giving up seems easy; yet, your suffocating yourself with the keep
″trying and trying and trying”- tryings, and this is supposed to be easy but all it is,
is hurting. how can hope and despair keep dating when they know the jealousy fuels
your soul. & i know, my perception of you is skewed, and somehow, even the good
sides of you hurt me too. but it’s nothing compared to the pain plummeting you;
tell me, don’t you believe in destiny? or is it predestination? it must be more than
blind faith ’cause it not than you know what that means, don’t you?
the world’s intentionally screwing you.
when i was a child,
my mother vanished.
my father came for me
and took me from that house
où les canards avaient été mes soignants.
(where the ducks had been my caregivers.)
we moved far away
where i slept in the attic
where shoes melted
où le givre couvrait le tapis.
(where frost covered the carpet.)
one day i dragged my mattress
into the laundry room
where the dogs slept
where the dryer knocked pictures from
empty, brown walls.
i was happy here,
où je me sentais moins seul
(where i felt less alone)
where i could see my father
watching the weather from the couch
and secretly nurture the bugs
crawling under the covers
and up my legs.
then his wife taught me to pray
and began painting murals for their unborn son
dans la chambre vide avec deux fenêtres.
(in that empty bedroom with two windows)
i’d cry for my mother
et mes canards.
(and my ducks.)
now my father won’t call me
mais même maintenant je prie le soleil
(but i still pray to the sun)
please just let him forgive me
for the ways i remind him of her
et pour la façon dont je n'étais pas assez.
(and for the ways i was not enough.)
You Are Important
I have never met you, but it sounds like you are going through a lot. I wanted to tell you that you are loved by God, and you are an important part of this world. There will never be another like you again - you offer this world things that no one else can. I may not know you, but please know that I am rooting for your happiness and better days for you. Whether this piece makes you cry or not, I hope it helps you feel a little better, and I hope this serves as a reminder that you are an important, loved person that makes this world better because you are here. And I want to thank you for posting your challenge, as I want to continue working on my writing, and this challenge has given me another opportunity to do that. So thank you, God bless you, and I hope you have a great holiday!
blonde boy blonde boy
ripped skinny jeans
blue-eyed sad boy
acid wash hoodies
your mom was a druggie
went to school where i met you
you hated everything
blonde boy blonde boy
bouncing legs and
vapes in class
you smoked your pot
popped your pills
followed in her footsteps
you never did fit in
you went to school and
pulled up late for class
they ignored you and
mocked you and
laughed at you together
they took your money and
they took your clothes and
stripped you of your dignity
they blew smoke in your face
wrapped their arms around your neck
watched you choke and twist about
your eyes went dead
six months later
you followed their footsteps
and hell welcomed you
with open arms
i miss you everyday
your big smile and your laugh
i miss your sweet face
your boldness and your words
i hope they gave you a switchblade
to carve your poems into your grave
I looked a girl in the eyes today, and I read a story in them.
I read about her past and her worries.
I read about her self consciousness, and her desire to feel accepted by the world.
And I know exactly how she felt.
Because when I turned away from the mirror, I felt a tear slip down my cheek.
The Most Normal Thing
Layla sat in the coffee shop, trying to focus on her copy of War and Peace. Surely, by reading this classic work of literature, she seemed like an intellectual, perhaps even classy. Her decorative scarf was tied around her neck and she believed that this, too, made her mysterious, as if she could be both elusive and obviously intriguing.
Her cardigan hid the scars running down her arms.
She is waiting for a text from two guys she probably won't hear from today. That was it, and perhaps what her life stood for at the point: waiting for the little screen to light up with a revelation, I'm worthwhile after all.
In the psychiatric facility she has now frequented five times, she has struggled with the concept that she is a worthwhile person. Her romantic struggles were often the root of her spirals down to rock bottom. She did things to herself she wasn't proud of, but then again, who would ever know?
One of the men finally texted her, her little screen lighting up and her manic fingers rushing to open her phone. She had attempted to make New Years plans with him. He was texting to turn her down, two days after she sent the text. She later learned that he was two-timing her, and had plans with someone else. But in that moment, it almost felt okay.
Wasn't she doing the same thing, anyway?
Okay, she thought. That's okay. I have the second guy.
But the second guy also turned her down. He asked if they could just be friends.
Of course I care about you, he texted. But it's obvious you feel very strongly about me and I'm not able to return those feelings, at least at this point in my life.
But, Layla thought, he would never actually return those feelings. She had done this before. It was always the same.
She thought of her times in the psychiatric facility, and her thoughts of being alone forever. No one, she felt - now with certainty - would ever love her back. It was her fate. She thinks briefly of going home and tying her decorative scarf around her neck, pushing a chair out from under her.
Now, not only did she not have New Years plans, she had no one else to text.
She thought of her old friend, the one who most likely took too many pills and was no longer on earth, and how this had happened to her, too. She thought briefly of her once saying to her, after a man had dumped her: I should have known it would always be just me and my dog.
Layla wonders if she will ever find someone to marry. Her little sister had just gotten engaged and she had nothing but rage inside of her. She was thirty. She was too old for this game, too old for this kind of rejection.
She would walk out of the coffee shop and lock eyes with a handsome man. He would look away immediately.
Layla thought: I am not pretty to look at.
It was this thought (perhaps self-pity) that led her to spiral. She looked at women who were pretty, and therefore married, the ring perched on their finger - not in victory, but in an average way. A way that was normal, something that had happened to them, like brushing their teeth.
She thought about how women who were in committed romanic relationships carried on with this, their normality. She thought about how they raised families with loving partners. Again, it was so normal to have this. It drove her to tears each time she thought about it.
It made her blood boil.
Layla leaves the cafe and takes off her scarf, the one to make her a pretty girl. She decides that not only will she never find love, she will never get married, and have the most basic human life in existence. Maybe she needs a chair.
She is alone.