A Candle and Her Flame

What good is a candle without a flame?

If not for you to set me ablaze

I would not be capable of shining,

Of blazing a path into the boundless expanse of empty,

Of imparting at least some brilliance on this dank

Hopeless, pathetic humanity that often

Seems content with living in the dark.

But every time you burn me

My wick blackens and withers further,

Visibly nearing its inevitable demise.

Bloody rivulets of wax body

Make undesirable puddles of hardened life

On a glass, previously unstained table.

Smolder after smolder, passion after passion until eventually,

The final smoky breath is exhaled in an ever-hanging thought

That acts as mere pollution on the minds

Of people who will soon forget:

For the skies are already seas of smog

That no one bothers to take the time to filter through.




I Wonder How You See the World

Do the golden rays of sunshine

Pierce the overcast in a spotlight just for you?

Or do the skies darken and fold in at the smoking edges

When you dare brave the atmosphere?

Does the fog seem a lavender aroma

And feel a cottony cape against your skin?

Or is it a burning, smothering blanket of ash

That can’t be lifted from over your feverish head?

Does my smile—the one you like best—absolve gravity of its burdens

And turn your pumping blood to ichor

In such an awe-inspiring feat it reminds you

That God is real and living within us?

Or is it just a meaningless blip

On the infinitesimal string of nothing

That you believe to be your existence?


Do I make your life as breathtakingly magnificent

 As you make mine?


It’s been a while, pal

The old foe I thought defeated for good

returns now right back where he once stood

With stakes heightened and blades sharpened

His familiar bone-chilling call hearkens

Rendered defenseless by his impenetrable gaze

Abducted and dropped back into this never ending maze

With only new faces and trampled grass to keep me grounded

I reach into the past touching memories unfounded

Who are these faces, these silhouettes I see?

Where is that life and the girl I used to be?

The image dissipates from my trembling fingers and the truth dawns

I realize that they’re gone, every one of them is gone

But this is just the first of many obstacles and struggles

And soon introduced is all else I have no choice but to juggle

But believe me I will run and I will navigate best I can

And when I find the exit I will eagerly greet the evil man

For in this maze my muscles have strengthened and my brain has flexed and grown

and when we meet I’ll spit in his face and make my victory known.


Making the Worst Nights the Best Nights

I had a rough night on Saturday. Tears were shed, harsh words received, and breakdowns witnessed. While my older sister felt better after a couple hugs  and a good few minutes spent sobbing, I did not. In fact, the hugs only made me uncomfortable and more depressed. 

The thing is, I tend to become reckless and restless when I’m upset. The only thing that makes me feel happy and satisfied again is, no, not cutting, but excitement. The euphoria and delusion brought on by an adrenaline rush is unequaled by anything else. Especially when you know there’s a good chance you could get caught at any moment. 

The on-edge, readiness to bolt is the best part. Doing something wild, right under other people’s noses, is an incredibly fulfilling thing. For me it’s sneaking out and skinny dipping in a public pool or taking my neighbors’ boat for  a joy ride.

In those moments is when I know myself best. The adrenaline pumping through my body calms my jumbled and confusing thoughts, and all that’s left is me, raw and unpolished. I am myself in my most effervescent form, a creature of pure happiness and hysteria.

And once it’s over I can return home and finally sleep. Nightmares don’t dare disturb me on those nights. I am peaceful once again.

Her Face

I remember her face. But not the one where her eyes gaze dreamily at me and her crooked smile shines. In my memory those eyes are vacant, those lips are a shade of blue, and that smile is lost at sea.

                        *One year earlier*

“How long have you two dated?” Meghan, a new girl at our school asked. Tara and I exchanged a glance before I replied.

“Three years, four months, twelve days, and sixteen hours.” Tara broke into a smile and snuggled further into my arm. I never knew something was wrong.

“Wow” Meghan responded incredulously and returned her focus to her turkey sandwich.

Later that night I picked up the phone. Tara’s number had become muscle memory. After several rings, her sing-songy voice invited me to leave a message after the beep. I pulled on my high tops and started towards her house. 

“Hi, Mrs. Jones,” I said when Tara’s mother answered the door. “Is Tara home?”

“Oh, hello Andrew,” she replied granting me a thin smile. “She went out.” I stopped the door with my hand as she tried to close it. 

“Do you have any idea where?”

“Nope,” she answered anxiously as her latest dirt-bag boyfriend came up behind her and snaked his arm around her waist. The door slammed in my face.

It was night when I began the journey home, the type of night that seems to swallow you. As I passed a pier, I noticed a dark figure standing dangerously close to the edge. I moved closer and realized who it was. Tara. Before I could call out, she tipped forward and tumbled silently into the sea. Scrambling towards the edge, I fumble with my cell phone and dial 911. Immediately after the call was made, I dived into after her. 

In a matter of minute we were both pulled out. But her face. It wasn’t the one I knew. I watched as they zipped the bag over that face. 

  *One year later*

Today I’m back where it happened. The play where she ended her life and mine with it. The air is sticky just like it was then, but a cool breeze tickling the nape of my neck offsets it a bit. I know that she is the breeze, calling to me, comforting me. Tara. I walk down the pier, the rough, weathered wood scraping the soles of my red high tops. The night is dark but her spirit shines bright. The waves are rough tonight and they linger several feet below the platform. 

All I see is her cold, dead face as I tip forward into the ocean. The water is freezing, but I am already numb. As I sink to the bottom, my last air escaping in bubbles above me, I see her face. The smile is warm, her eyes are alive. I reach out and stroke her curls as we are swallowed by blackness. 

An Explanation of “The Siren”

I don’t expect anyone to read this, or my last poem, but I think it’s important that I say this.

I wrote “The Siren” last night at 1:00 am to keep myself from cutting. It was just meant as a distraction at first but it’s become much more for me. 

The razor blade is just an illusion. It doesn’t promise me love or understanding or an escape. No, it’s a siren and before now it was tricking me into thinking I wanted/needed it. Now I see that it never had intentions of helping me. All it does and all it can ever do is harm.

It’s song no longer captivates me and I think I’m ready to quit.


Sometimes when I’m lonely

Or just to pass the time

I imagine you on top of me

Carving words into my spine.

You lick your lips in malice

Your tongue flicks out and in

My blood fills up your chalice

You swig it like it’s gin.

You the faceless temptress

My salvation and betrayal

Aching for your sharp caress

Until my systems fail.

You are me in my purest form.

I am you fragile and corrupted

Between us and purity I’m torn

When my feelings have erupted.

So I’ll hold you in my hand

Between fingertips you roll

Until steering wheels go unmanned

And I lose all sense of control.

– A.L.P.