death is not a song/ 91

Death is not a song.
There is no orchestra,
no crescendo,
no post production magic
to fix your wrinkles,
or cover up the blood,
there is no harmony.
Death is not a dance.
There is no grace
in finding your
father face down,
no flowing movements
when you load a body
into an ambulance;
hands lie on the side
like they’re made of cloth,
they droop and do not flutter.
There is no coordination.
Death is not an art.
You cannot cover up
the stench of a dead body,
cannot mask the severed head,
the bullet wounds;
You cannot move on
to another exhibition, to
another performance,
because no matter where you go,
the starring role will
always be played by your grief,
and the number of supporting
characters will rise every time you
go to the hospital- until you
have an auditorium full of
memories you did not get to
live, because everyone was
dead before you knew it.
Death is not an art,
it’s just science.
Just an end with an explanation
for your mind but
not one for your heart;
whether it’s your muscles seizing,
or your lungs failing,
at the end of the day,
death is still not beautiful,
even if you tried your hardest
to convince yourself it was.

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throwback/90

This was written a year ago, in response to certain controversial comments made by Justin Humphrey, an Oklahoma state legislator.

He says we’re hosts, like the body I’ve lived in my entire life was a rented room, one I must vacate for whomever he likes.

He says we’re hosts, as if I haven’t already been told my entire life that I must please everyone around me, that what I want is secondary to what people may think, that being good and pretty is not an added bonus but a requirement to being a woman, to taking up space on this planet, and he says he “understands” why I would feel like my body is my body, but does he really? Does he really expect me to believe a word he says, after he tells me being pregnant makes me irresponsible, that I should give up my rights because I “invited that in”?

He says we’re hosts like the person I am doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things, like the sole reason for my existence is so that my body can be used to house a future citizen, I mean I should’ve known my personal choices were something I would have to sacrifice as rent for just living, for just breathing, for just surviving.

He says we’re hosts and I barely flinch; being a girl is about learning to cling on to your humanity when every word you hear is a scalpel dissecting your personality, and if it were up to everyone else, all that would be left would be a cookie cutter daughter, a perfectly crafted woman, someone who never disagrees, someone so soft and docile, she rivals a lamb. If it were up to everyone else, I would participate in my own slaughter.

He says we’re hosts and I continue living. I continue being my own person, continue taking out my own trash, continue making my own decisions, whether irresponsible or not, I continue living. I continue living and trying to make a difference, I continue living and with every breath I take, every word I say, I prove him wrong.

better than this/89

They tell you to shut up.
They tell you to sit down, to
do their bidding, they tell
you to twist your soul until
it fits into their cookie cutter
perception of the world, they
tell you you’re worthless- beat
you until you can’t help but cower,
shame you into silence until
you’ve forgotten how to speak,
hurt you until there’s nothing left
but a hollow shell- they tell you
you’re worthless. That you’re
not good enough, that you never
will be, but does it matter?
You’re the flickering fire, the
shimmering night sky, you’re the
echo of a thousand voices, the
highlight of someone’s day, you’re
you, and that’s more than they’ll
ever be, more than they ever can,
so the next time they try to
silence you, the next time they
try to dim your light, look at them.
Look at their faces, look at their
sunken eyes and smile.
You will always be better than this.

88

I want to thank my imperfections.
I used to see you as flaws, but
I’ve learnt that every blemish,
every scar, every astray hair
makes me who I am. Thank you
for making me look at myself
and see a distinct person, not
a copy. Thank you for showing me
that beauty, beauty is not about
being perfect. It’s about being me.