a space for youth writing & mental health discussion
a space for youth writing & mental health discussion
It began at the base of your navel,
a lonesome twinge, a subtle ache for something more.
But you refused to grant it nourishment,
to feed the monster you dubbed
a hindrance against yourself. So call it
pathetic, call it unstable, turn your back
and do your best to forget.
[content warning: domestic abuse]
911 what’s your emergency?
‘he is going to kill me; he is going to kill me’
Then one-year probation,
just like O.J Simpson.
Daddy was my hero; I never said a word. none
of the screaming and shouting I had heard,
Scratches not like falling in the playground, just
ones that kept her bound.
she sat at the bank of the sea, gasping like an athlete. her face, like a flour in an oven, swollen as water dripped down on her dress.
If a portrait can sit comfy
on a pleated seat
placed at the top of your heart.
Drinking the pelt, by the smooching
and caressing your cold lips.
in the ruck of my fault,
fighting the croaks
that lurks around my ears;
while my shadow
sits on the rustling brook
by the sideways.
If your life flashed before your eyes,
What would you remember?
What your first kiss felt like
Sloppy and full of possibility
As you stood beneath a sky of stars
Open to the world
You're ashamed of what you dream at night
pour out like
the pockets of my
[content warning: self harm]
Our arms bulged, grotesque muscles in just-visible chunks.
Our veins danced with each push of the dumbbell,
like shovelling into panting earth.
We imagined snaring grey, jiggling worms in the dirt of the earth.
We imagined letting them crawl up the molding handle,
up our faded button ups, and down our sweat-soaked stretch marks
[content warning: eating disorders, self harm]
your ribs, fingering the clinging
meat rack by rack, selecting a prime
cut for picnic lunch, still
raw, bouncing with fleshy aliveness of a
[content warning: eating disorder]
i’ve emerged into the town
you might call death,
of cold and austere aspect:
the clapboard houses
sewn in rows of needling teeth.
there is no excess here except
the acrid second scents of cookies,
second cake returning from sojourn
animal of an overbalanced body,
a worthless, grunting ballast.
you see this, how the poet abjures
his naive lark in eden:
a lockpicked safe—
voyeurs tucked in reflections
to turn on me my eyes,
to pin a mirror
to the lid’s inside—
I rise from the kitchen stool, staring out
into the woods where leaves swirl down
from the maple trees. Winter dangles
from the sky, growing ice on the Hydrangea
flowers I’ve watered and grown. Above me,
the sun blurs between a misty cloud, casting
shadows around the house. Brown boxes
wrapped with duct tape crowd the floor,
My halabeoji’s urn was marbly
like a flower vase. Days before he died,
when he needed to stand,
umma and I helped him up, umma’s cheek
against his skinny arm while Aunt Jiyoo
told me to stay outside his room.
She said he had lost half his body weight
and he looked as light as a child,
how she bathed him in warm water.
after magenta skies
there was only twilight
you called out a name in the night
and my sincere self answered it
then came the rolling storms
twilight tears of hurt pride
moths burned by the flame
fireflies no longer aflame
Sweat festering on my neck
The red of the track glazing into my eyes
Shameful numbers on my Fitbit stopwatch
God, I just want to sit on the bleachers
It was the air that blanketed over
me that reminded me of geometry,
carving me into terracotta,
I discovered my new talent for withstanding the
clashing of dynasties, then
forsaken in the tombs.
[content warning: mentions of death]
i could end the world
if i had to & end the world for the people i
cherish the most people that stabbed me
with their broken shards almost as much as
i choke them with my words
[content warning: toxic relationships, substance abuse]
in the backseat of a stranger’s
honda, the cigarette stain on my wrist still shines
like alabaster. i am laced into
my white dress from junior prom, but i have
a feeling we graduated years ago.
At dusk on Manila Bay, I watched as the Sunlight
dyed the canvas of the sky with its orange hues,
just like how a bowl of spilled boiling Sotanghon
Soup slowly fritters away.
So yellow, so parched, so wrinkly
The aftermath of an envelope after you’ve torn open a letter.
Dry, like lips in the dead of winter, but it's July.
She emerges from the plains of the Serengeti.
I’ll call her Zuri.
This cheetah is so free in her gait and gut
A freedom I thought I had.
[content warning: self-harm, suicide]
for years i felt it lurking,
the constant pressure.
whenever the demons came out to play,
i coaxed them back,
back into the abyss.
Ma, you could braid my hair in the most intricate possible ways, adorn them with lilies and rosemary,
paint my nails with the prettiest shade of pink
- but I will never be beautiful.
Lilies, rosemary, braids: They’re all too fancy for me.
Pretty pink’s too pretty.
And your stunning hazel hair has translated onto me as this pitch black, frizzy mess.
My limbs feel cold, soggy, like half-
raw oats. Grumbles should claw
from my stomach, tugging at shirt
and skin, but there’s only silence.
Her body bled into the ground,
I’m told, crumbling like run-over
my brain is a slaughterhouse, home of a monomaniac serial killer
and i am made of a destiny to sing elegies for the souls of words lost within
its crevices. i tally the deceased with a weighing scale--
the days left that my name can still be tolerably defined as “human”.
I do not need a muse
To write about my dad
Because hurt is enough
Less is more
But not with parents
Distance makes the heart grow fonder
But not mine
(Mine grew bitter)
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.