a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
let me make this confession
before it strangles itself in my throat
this is the only love
i have ever known
clenched like a fist in anger
knuckles blanching white
I air my grievances in a blank room
with a woman across from me
She sits with a pen, breathing in my words
Coughing on my tone of voice
I think she knows my mind is an
abandoned swimming pool
The algae flutters on the bottom as the
warm sun beats down on the cool water
It should be beautiful growth
But it only makes me ugly
[Content warning: self-harm and suicide]
her raw, patchwork skin,
there is a burning candle, lit within ivory moon-ribs.
its wax drips down
through her sunken chest,
and when it is spent, the
undead heart will finally rest. once the flame has
filled her hollow lungs,
[Content warning: racial violence]
Hanging abandon, testament of life
look away we don’t see colors. The stench of
summer forces air into branches, rustling leaves,
up from what remains. Look towards it. Look up.
i admire her perfect hands,
seemingly sculpted by aphrodite herself.
her flawless nail polish flaunts itself
like the glaze of a pot fresh out of the kiln.
my fingers are shredded and ravaged,
providing a humorous disparity
for only the gods to laugh about.
I’m scared. This is unfamiliar territory. It is the great plains that have not yet been discovered. I am Columbus, but I have no spine. I am Lewis or Clark, but I am not as brave. I am Armstrong, but the moon is menacing.
You wait for me in the water. I fiddle nervously for you are just out of reach. You smile at me and beckon me to join you. Shall I? Will I? I fiddle again. Your sly grin is irresistible, but the water makes it so. You do not leave me by myself. You wait patiently just beyond the seam where water meets land. You ask me again. I cannot refuse.
The Bukhansan trees
let go of their autumn leaves, setting
them free from the frolic of the wind.
They spiral across the slope, colors swirling
as they fluttered in the wind, finding their way
through the wild grass. I try to catch one
what’s in a cup of tea? is it the discolored mosaic of tea leaves that lay at the bottom? is it the sensational warmth you feel as the soothing liquid sails on your tongue? the ember that burns brightly on a cold, wintry day? is it your remedy? the herbal serum that heals your soul? no, my cup of tea is different.
It was grandmother’s 70th birthday,
in the summer of 2014
at a garden in Seoul, in a family photo.
The muted strokes of white
across the sky leave
transitory patches of blue,
sunlight bleaching the soil.
There is a glass between you and all of your dreams. And up in the sky, somewhere along the stars, a smoky white trail of hubris sits. I am telling you now so you don’t forget. When you wish upon a star, it does not listen. Stars don’t grant wishes. This is the way the world works, between inklings of draught and the suffocation that comes when you lose your chest. This is the way the world forces your falter.
[Content warning: self-harm/death]
"i’m not allowed to have sharp things."
does that explain anything.
maybe it does. maybe not.
before you’re layered in baby powder,
yet to blend within.
Inside that bowl
covered in jagged rocks,
you glow, a deep turquoise
that’ll soothe me like
a cup of chamomile tea.
I saw a place for Fakers in Hell,
Constructed wholly of filthy silicon walls,
Plagued by the sound of the knell.
Right in the middle of this insanity,
There lies a wide and deep well,
Towards the trenches lead with indignity.
[Content warning: domestic abuse]
Mama, I feel like a stranger in my own house
Tell me do you hear me now, can you help me out?
I can trace every touch, every step, every breath we made
Halls of this place heard his yells
Walls of my room listened for my sobs
Hope the brackish tears make the memories fade
[Trigger warning: suicide]
i am standing in the pews draped in all black and you are wearing your favorite all white sundress.
no one can see it, but if i squint hard enough, i can just make out your petticoat peeking out of the casket
and if i squint even harder, i imagine your hands lifting the old oak open
bursting out from your supposed eternal rest with no warning at all.
There is a black spot under my driver’s seat window
It is non-unique, joined by other assorted stains both greater in size and darker and color than it
Because the car has been allowed to fall into disarray.
There was a time when I welcomed that. I saw each dent scrape and scar adorning the metal body as a sign of a life-well lived, a journey well-travelled, for the poor old car who will someday sit in a scrapyard, unloved
The scavengers who loot it for parts will know it was once loved by me, or by someone, anyways. I suppose the who doesn’t matter.
The painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat is comprised of microscopic paint-dots; instead of blending hues, Seurat relies on optical illusion. Dots which stand separate on the canvas, are blended at a distance from a given person’s point of view. The painting resonates with me—not just because of its subject, or common interpretations of the piece. The art style, pointillism, articulates aspects of my world view and experiences. I’ve even attempted a few pointillism paintings myself, although the extent to which I succeed in those paintings’ executions is debatable. Regardless, I’m compelled to express my appreciation of Seurat’s well-known piece through my painting experience, my interpretation of the art style, and my interpretation of the pop-culture representation of Seurat’s painting.
What lies beyond her eyes?
Well, no one knows what she dreams and thinks.
Every grin and every glance is a guise
in the depths of cyberspace, as she sinks
into the battles raging within
waiting for someone to see beyond
her eyes and into her life beneath its skin.
Isn’t it funny
how things never go according to plan
like how not all dandelion seeds will take root,
but wasn’t it beautiful
the way they rode the wind’s hand
and landed so far away?
[Content warning: starvation; implications of eating disorders, self harm, and suicidal thoughts]
there’s a hungry thing with its gaping mouth calling to be fed
starving, clawing for an escape on the insides of my ribs
17 years of sleepless hours spent trying to scrub the coldness from my bones. the moon and I share a secret loneliness through my stardust-smudged window. I ask, will we ever know?
nights spent squinting at the glow-in-the-dark stars pasted lazily above my head. the glacial uncertainty will never leave my body; it will continue to starve me until I run out of sentences. a haunting epiphany waltzes through the desolate night until it finds me alone in my glowing bedroom, heart pulsing to the movement of the pas de deux.
Stuck in a world of our own,
Humanity was always a world away,
It was just the sea, my mother and me.
I should have listened,
The sea has destroyed us.
i’ve always been
with my outer body and inner soul
never imagining that one day
they would be on two sides
of an imposing wall.
i find abysmal and cataclysmal solace in your solemn
beauty and revel in the sweet song
you sing to me as you perch on my
windowsill. your affections are weathered and feathered and we have become
tethered to one another, your winged embrace
constellating us into an indelible oneness.
When you sneak your way out of the jail cell I put you in
All the way in the center of my heart,
When you twist and turn your way through the veins
And bang on the walls just to cause me pain
I will be waiting for you.
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.