a space for youth writing & mental health discussion
a space for youth writing & mental health discussion
i. my dearest america-- i profess that yes, i may not be pretty but i am not exotic. america i wish i didn’t believe in otherworldly life but i can’t seem to forget how you gaze at my dark hair & sun-kissed skin like an unearthly artifact. i bury my green card that says that i am a daughter of an alien & it grows into a dandelion weed. america if you are a garden of eden i crave to drink your ambrosia from chopsticks & porcelain spoons and still taste salvation, swallow your life’s elixir in jasmine tea & rice wine and sing that i’ve lived the american dream. my dearest america i profess that i have too much longing, lying to myself that no, i am not hungry.
yours truly, a girl who spills tears over your flower boutique’s freshly cut flowers because you’ve stripped them of their elegantly tangled roots.
[Content warning: self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and references to emotional abuse]
the concept is easy: my mother is
a smoking gun, lying on the worlds
she bought and kept, keeping her
eyes steady on my slow climb down
to her. when we talk, it is in jokes,
Over the roads in front of the Homigot,
the air is spiced with miyeok. The gritty
breath of autumn bends through the roar
-ing morning as silver quilts of clouds over
the fallen foliage and withered flowers,
drift through the blue in the sky – graying
in which we are introduced to a flesh/ gathered in gorges and islets/ and the cherry bloom of blood/ as if to remind us that a small wound is yet/ a wound. feel/ the dull touch of scar tissue pooling under/ bruises and remember pain/ loses its efficacy the longer it stays./ see/ how the body that sees too much/ blinds itself.
on randall jarrell’s death of the ball turret gunner
loosed from this life
thin cradle of reality
to its rotting core
[Content warning: self-harm, suicidal thoughts]
a kid in his very last years
of school will always be some
new and terrifying phenomenon;
churning between existence and
adulthood because we know only
one of them allows you to breathe.
Begonia petals shift across the garden,
eloquent like cursive
on the page. Spring’s sweet
release. I ride the west wind. Air knows
no bounds. Root -less. Like this body.
I am told that is poetry. But I yearn for
an anchor. A hand that fits mine.
A trellis to home this vessel
it left you splintered
clefts in all ten fingers,
your hands rendered ineffectual
yet still able to support a skull
so hike up your head
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.
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
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.
[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.
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.
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.