a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
Drip drop. Plink. Splish Splash. The sink is leaking again.
But we only fixed it a while ago. Was it not just a little while ago?
I don’t remember.
Inspired by Frank Bidard’s “I CARE IF I AM GUILTY”
What is wrongdoing but the conscience of others?
Why can human beings not agree on its definition;
Why must it be left vague?
If I ask what is wrongdoing, you will tell me dishonest
Centuries of travel taught me countless lessons, the most important of which I shall pass on to you today. Encounters with dangerous landforms and deceiving aliens convinced me that one—and only one—sense was trustworthy. Even on Earth, water appears to bend an otherwise healthy straw, a nonexistent person always seems to knock on my door, the sweetest chocolate leaves the bitterest aftertaste on my tongue, and I can smell the salty ocean from the middle of a desert. Perhaps these illusions seem insignificant in comparison to the world—something interesting to acknowledge but nothing worth worrying over. I understand if that is what you believe. After all, distrusting the senses you have relied upon throughout your life would be stupidity. But the truth is that you could not be more wrong. You, an infant in the universe’s eyes, are adorably innocent and ignorant, and your life is limited by the world you live in.
Let’s journey to another world.
i wash the grease from my hair with shampoo
scrubbing until the hot water burns my scalp
red and raw
It's 6:10 PM
Same as yesterday
I'm by the counter
Broken bowls at my feet
Watching you cook dinner for two
By the same carbon monoxide oven again
day after day fling themselves off the way;
the particles of sand coalesce at the bottom of the scuffed red timer. and i,
Lullaby of birdland, that’s what I always hear
When you sigh
Never in my wordland
Could there ways to reveal
In a phrase, how I feel.
I put my finger on the globe and spin
the equator beneath my fingertip
somewhere in the ruckus of the traincar
through the crowds and stained floors
i must have gotten tangled
the strings of my conscience
knotted in the webs of remembrance
slowly pulling me back into the station
'the locusts have gone; i'll mourn the mother you were and the girl i could've been still'by Neo Rui Qin (13, Singapore)
TW: abuse, mentions of self-harm
Pulsing in the tiny capsule of my mind is the tempo of rattan sticks my limbs are chiselled with, an intrinsic rhythm engraved into titanium bones, ever-recurring—even when you say you’ve changed.
ma(1), I don’t believe you.
“How much you get for maths?”
I knew it wasn’t going to end well, not at all. “85.”
I used to think, if dreams did come
I’d want to be with a girl before I died.
Well, shit, I got what I wanted,
got a girl and kinda died just after.
the teabag hangs bloated in its own bloodsoup / tries to sink as an insect does / trapped in amber / or as I do / smothered
The wind whips through my hair asI
Swing under weeping trees – alone except
For sparrows waltzing in the grass. Here,
Beneath an opaque sky, I hear.
start by pulling the threads tactfully
unravel the words until syllables are sharp
and pierce your rib cage until your heart is wet and spills crimson
I don’t know what it was that made me stick my hand through the car’s window.
Drenched in sweat, sizzling sidewalks were halting to a cooling point now that nightfall was returning.
I stretched my hand further out as we drove past a grass field. I could touch the air and cradle my emotions for once. The sky was clementine orange, and the moon was returning home from its day-long journey.
My hair was carelessly fluttering in the wind, and I could feel my forgotten love for Summer seep back into my splintered bones.
I realized that I had been unconsciously smiling towards the sunset.
history is the dailiness of weapons prescribed upon our bodies.
it is, and all at once, a cleaver wedged in the funny bones of secretaries,
that is, a meat thermometer defacing the frozen cheese pizzas on which
we sacrifice our metaphors for contemporary sin.
My mother is a woman,
One who enchants the wind with a golden tongue,
twisting blasphemous words and hymns from lands far from me,
One whose back is whipped raw and harsh by blue fires fueled by endless rainfall,
One whose womanhood contradicts her role as mother.
Crooked, quivering fingers,
Dipped in glittering gold.
Lick the iron dust from silver-painted nails.
Plucking novas from the night sky like ripe apples,
Impossibly frigid, cradled in the calloused white palms.
(eyes the colour
of stuck thorns)
TW: mental health & self-harm
“My hair was kept so short, combed flat when wet. I never knew my hair
was wavy until I was nearly twenty-two and never went outside with wet
and uncombed hair until I was twenty-eight.”
-Kazim Ali, “Home”
Trigger warning for panic attacks.
all i know is the pressure of the monstrous mountain
as it crushes my chest, grinding against my lungs,
chipping away at the air in my throat until
all i can feel is debris, sinking into my skin,
TW: death and grief, obsessive-compulsive disorder
Sometime during my sophomore year of high school, in the middle of one of our increasingly frequent fights, my mom said, “I lost my mother to fear; I won’t lose you too.” My father took it a step further.
“Think about Grandma Mary,” he said. Then, “And look what happened to Grandma Barb.”
jasmine tucked behind your right ear,
kohl carved under your eyes,
your whisper is song; & & &
if your mouth is a harmonica,
let me make music, thunder
as we bathe in moonlight, under the ocean of purplish
stars who will gaze at us, cheeks rouged
the boat I made did not take all night
but I folded and taped
as I licked my paper cuts
my eyes propped open with pins
and when it floated in the pond
my stomach capsized upon itself
watching it float idly along behind the others
“We should probably go inside,” Elle says. “It’s dangerous here, you know.”
The two other girls don’t listen. They stand with their backs to the house, watching the sky
curdle into black above. A sheet of dust covers the road, clothing the air in its smell. The street lights have gone out. Inside the house, the TV has turned to static, the screen blinking to life only in intervals; any minute now and it’ll be dead.
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.