borderline

oh, how beautiful she was when she finally died

all the anger and pain flew out of her eyes

and her face was relaxed in a tiny half-smile

but her hands weren’t yet cold, so i sat in denial

and outside the children’s laughter rang strong

i sat in her room, wondering where things went wrong

why all of their hands were warm, except hers

how this was the path i never thought she’d prefer

but only in death was she free from pain

from the struggles she dealt with which turned her insane

maybe i’ll be that lucky, to blow out like a flame

to have my face in the paper, and the world know my name

do you think that it hurts, to die when you’re young?

to go prematurely to the land you came from?

i think that it’s better than lingering here

where every word you speak burns in my ear

ghosts

i am haunted by people

whose names i don’t know

i see their blank faces

because i was too slow

their eyes follow me

as i walk through the halls

because i couldn’t help them

no, not at all

The Day She Died

I hate the way some people die

When no one’s there to scream or cry

I hate the way they die alone

As I stand nearby, face turned to stone

I know I can’t cry when they die

I shouldn’t feel this. It isn’t right.

They tell me off whenever I do

I must be strong. I can’t cry, too.

I mustn’t fall apart, they say,

As they turn their heads and look away

We’re all pretending not to cry

But shouldn’t someone, when a patient dies?

I hate the way she said to me

“Doctor, help me. I can’t breathe.”

I hate the way I stood by the door

And watched until she breathed no more

I felt my heart break a million times

Because no one else was there to cry

And when they came to take her away

I dried my eyes, and went on with my day

I hate the way some people live

When they only take, but never give

I hate the way they roll their eyes

And call my excuses blatant lies

But I know that behind their sighs

Is innocence — they didn’t see her die

And I am glad that they don’t know

Just how some die here, all alone

And they don’t see the tears I hold back

Because of the “courage” and “strength” that I lack

…but if I’m alone that day that I die

Do you think anyone will pause there, and cry?

Tiny Hands

My mother’s eyes get sad sometimes

She thinks about hands smaller than mine

Tinier hands that she used to hold

That withered too soon, and too soon turned cold

I know that she thinks about them when I’m gone

And I know she thinks of them even though it feels wrong

And I hate that I’m helpless to shield her from pain

I hate that I wish she’d just forget all their names

And I hate when I feel that I’m lonely, too

If I’m lost without them, what will I do?

I have to be strong. I’m the only one left.

But my mother is sad. Her eyes fill with regret.

What did she do wrong, she asks me sometimes

And we both think of hands that are softer than mine

Beautiful hands that we used to hold

But then those hands disappeared, and we both grew old.

Dog Days

His hair was dark, in messy curls,

He said, “I’ve come to save the world.”

It was half past two, but crime doesn’t sleep

Thank God he was there to bring us relief

He jumped on a railing, and called to the sea

“Be wary, wrong-doers. You shall answer to me!”

Then he left in a flash, with a spark and a hop

But it wasn’t too long before something went wrong

He fell with a bang, with a thud, with a scream

And then a vile villain rose from the sea

“Wa-ha-ha!” he said. “Is that the best that you have?

I’ve killed your little hero, your so-called superman.

And now who shall fight me? Who could it possibly be?”

No volunteers spoke out. So I said, “I guess it’s me.”

I rolled up my sleeves and marched up to that beast

Who paraded in regalia around our recently-deceased

And I balled up my fists as I swung towards his face

And I knocked him straight down, knocked him back in his place

But the vile villain laughed and said, “What a surprise!

I guess women take over when all the men die.”

But I don’t like sexism, and I told him so

And I told him just where I thought that he should go

“Well, I’ll tell you what, girly,” said the beast, with a bow,

“I’ll let you live tonight if you go home right now.”

But I wouldn’t leave, I said. It just wasn’t right

To leave the city alone on that inauspicious night

So I said that I’d fight until I dropped dead

And then the villain said to me, “Girly, go right ahead.”

So I swung once, then twice, then thrice

I swung so hard I saw dancing lights

Then I realised he’d hit me right in the head

He’d hit me so hard, I fell down dead

And I watch the city as I sit by the moon

A city that villains run, sealing its doom

But no one sees villains for quite who they are

They see them as royalty, as diamonds, as stars

They worship the ground on which beasts lay their feet

They worship them all — I could never compete

So I sit here lonely, and I sing a sad song

Because I died for a cause that could never be won

And just as I wonder what it was all for

I hear a small knock on my celestial dome’s door

And in comes the superman who died before me

The only other one who’d tried to save the city

And he sits beside me, but we don’t exchange words

Because the premise of everything seems rather absurd

We both died for nothing, we both died in vain

We both died for people who don’t remember our names

We both died to save them from the things they now seek

We both died in silence. Now, they’re out of our reach.

Starlight

It was the night that I lay dying

The people around me all were crying

But they were strangers I didn’t know

I was safe in my bed, but I had to go

Every breath that I took burnt deep inside

Every heartbeat felt electrified

I could feel my bones shaking the frame of the bed

The sound would only stop when I was dead

In the window I saw them, there in the sky

The twinkles of starlight. They made me cry.

How could they mock me with such reckless glee

They’d live forever, much longer than me!

They didn’t know anything of my painful end

They waltzed in the heavens among all of their friends

I fixated on one, but, as soon as I did

I saw it twinkle out. It, too, was dead.

cancer diagnosis

it was like a dream i couldn’t remember

one of those, where the boy meets a girl

something nice and sappy

the lights were dim enough for it

but, in the end, i realised that the shadows

were long to hide all of the secrets the room

had seen.

it was like a street i walked past as a child

one of those, where the houses all the same

and each has a mum and a pop and a dog

except the one at the end, with the ivy,

that house was haunted

abby sousa disappeared there when she was 8

and jamie parker went crazy by just looking

in the window

it was like a song i sang without knowing the words

i made them up when it came on the radio

but one day i listened and wrote them all down

and that’s when i realised

what the song was all about

it was the stench of cigars when i didn’t smoke

the way it sticks in my throat and makes me choke

i didn’t want to go with it

but i had no choice

and when the doctors came in

i realised i should have stood up

Seas of Despair (Edited)

Her eyes are oceans trapped in her head

She flies over seas as she lies in her bed

She counts all the stars that only she sees

She fights for control. She won’t look at me.

She hates this thing that she has become.

She hates all the things in the past that she’s done.

But she knows can’t change her sordid past

Those kind of memories we both know will last

Her eyes turn stormy blue as she lies still there

They’re deep and relentless. They’re seas of despair.

sweenette todd

and the kitchen walls were stained

with blood from all the hearts i’d

lost and loved i didn’t want to feel

the pain no not when they never

felt the same so why not end it

while i could when i cut them up

it felt so good but it never lasted

long enough so i did it again and again.

but they never loved me.

sandbox

i sit down by the sandbox

and think about my day

i watch the fruit flies buzzing

i watch the children play

i think about the people

i couldn’t help today

and because i couldn’t help them

we had to walk away

and i think about my mother

a goddess carved from steel

she always knows what to say

she knows just how i feel

but she’s not here with me right now

to share my sandbox seat

her absence burns inside my heart

i feel so incomplete

but i sit by the sandbox

and think that luck is mine

because i know that my mother

is not yet out of time

and i’ll go home and see her soon

just like i always do

but i met someone else today

who’d give the world to do that, too

i sit down by the sandbox

to see what i’ve become

i think about where i’m going

and where it all comes from

will i go out in balls of flames

or will i drown alone at sea?

will there be a cavalry

who invades lands just for me?

do you think my heart will putter out

or will my lungs go first?

what would happen if my arteries

bulged until they burst?

will i leave this land alone?

before my mother or after?

will i leave this land in tears

or will i leave in laughter?

i don’t know. i’ll never know

until the time has come

a time that comes so easily

that comes for everyone

but it’s not my time yet — thank God

though i can’t speak for all

and as i stand up from the sandbox

fresh snow begins to fall