Poem a Week: I Never Feel Closer to Death Than When I Imagine Life

Alternate title: DEAR GOD I NEED THERAPY SO BADLY PLEASE GET ME INTO THERAPY THERAPY THERAPY

TW: suicidal ideation I guess

Once, a boy who thought he knew me
but really only knew the version of me he romanced in his head
told me I was a cold, emotionless robot.
His mind could peel away my layers,
down to the skin and the heat and then further,
to the flesh to devour me alive,
but I am not your darling, not your baby,
not your girl who is respectable enough to wait
but ready enough to do what you want when you want it.

I run hot, but you wouldn’t know it to skim the surface of me,
and that’s probably all you’re ever going to do.
Every day I pour all I have into keeping myself contained,
to keep the white-hot sparks of my soul and the electrified static of my skin
away from anyone who might ask me to share it.
I am selfish and too good and too awful
and too, too tired.

I can’t commit to what I want for dinner,
to how I want relationships to function,
to living.
And I can’t commit to dying.
If I could, I imagine a gentle sinking,
a coolness and a quiet calm,
freedom from everything I don’t want to touch
and everything I don’t want to touch me.
I imagine no longer having to clench my fists and hold my tension
coiled tightly in my neck and shoulders
and drag myself through the viscous, oozing muck of existing.

Sometimes, at night, I strip off my pajamas
and toss and turn, in the heavy, sticky heat of summer
or the freezing cold of winter, always burning, burning,
burning from the inside out.
I try to keep myself going by finding the small pleasures of daily life,
I try to schedule spending time with the people who make me feel a little less trapped
and suffocated by my own body,
by the world,
by living.

But, as Warsan Shire once said,
You can’t make homes out of human beings
and so here I am, trying to make a home out of myself.
What Warsan Shire didn’t say, but what I know to be true,
is that you also can’t make homes out of hollowed-out burning buildings
and you can’t form secure structures on the foundations of graveyards
and so what is left to do but give in?

I no longer believe I can become something else
or do anything else,
and most of the major parts of my support system don’t understand
what this feels like, the enormous impossibility of another minute,
another hour, another day.
An entire endless lifetime.
I never feel closer to death than when I imagine life.

What is the difference between a cry for help and a cry for relief?
A cry for attention and a cry for nonexistence?
The flailing of a drowning hand and the quiet acceptance of lungs filled with water,
sinking down to the place where it’s cold and dark
and all the sea witch wants is your voice?
Having a voice and feeling compelled to use it
and losing a voice and feeling the weight lifted off?

I don’t know.
There’s a lot I don’t know, but I do know this:
that the price of life is too high
and the price of death is too high,
but the lure of one is stronger than the lure of the other
and one day, I am certain this will be my undoing.
The question of which particular day seems very far away
and insignificant in the knowledge of this truth.
Agony to apathy, desperation to destruction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *