kalina, 16

the writings and ramblings of a confused teenager living in stifled suburbia.

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blink once, blink

where are you? it’s snowing
in mid-april, but that’s probably
not the only reason

why i feel so cold.

this time of the year, i always feel
so strange, so detached—

like someone took scissors to 
the threads holding my ribs
together and cut through the knots

blink once, blink 

the snow is blinding, but the lack of you
is worse.

and i could have lived a thousand different lives
walked a thousand different pathways
spent a thousand different minutes

some days i wake up empty, wondering
if a butterfly’s wingbeat could’ve changed
everything: wondering if i could wake up
the next morning in the slums of Dhaka, my mind 
whirling with hunger, my eyes clouded by dust

and still i wonder why i landed here, of all places
surrounded by undeserved light
and we breathe deep
             think shallow
piling our wishes heavy atop everything we have.

some days i wake up full to bursting, wondering
if somehow i could shrink away to nothing
dreaming of being thin, while just miles away 
there are children struggling to get a single meal
trapped in a city of black and white.

it’s a black hole, this want—
and we are all so trapped, entangled in ambition
doing things to write it down
saying words to create evidence
that we are alive. (are we really?)

one thousand lives i could have lived, yet i have
been given this one. 

(i should hope that others are just as lucky)

if only it was easy
to cut through the fog and
come to the crashing realization
that the strange sensation you’re feeling
is love, and that love
is something you hold 
and it’s there for someone else.

(but i have never known 

take your rose petal tears and
scatter them.
there are worlds beyond this one
for you to blossom, skies
beyond ours for you to take flight.
somewhere in the silence of 
rebirth, you will find peace
and i will watch you emerge
and wait for your star to rise
into the night.

we collided in a flurry of heat and light
sparks against the cold, against the silence.

you were a prince
carrying my glass heart 
like a crown, thrusting past the hollow confines of
a lost generation—

but complacency won us over, and silence reigned
over the tumult of fear and change

still we remained, clinging
to the static.

it was love that picked us apart, sending us lurching 
through snowy suburbs, slow towns, silent
in our instability.

we were lethargic lovers, always lingering—
always waiting for the final blow, spiraling 
aimlessly until we engineered our own descent
splintering into tears and unsaid words.

inertia ignited into a thousand blades of
light, slicing the feeble threads that held us
together, shattering the absolute.

i lost you in the fire, mouth dry, skin charred
lungs flaming, torn open with regret—
the last sparks snuffed out in slow snow
ending where we first collided.

moonlight left a smoky trail in the night, pulling
at the loose ends, peeling back
          residual shadow
until there was nothing left
but white light, blinding
in all of its glory.

you opened your rosebloom eyelids
quickly, as if the light was not enough
to propel you past your 

i should’ve followed in your wake
i should’ve let the rattling thoughts
          in my head die;
yet i could only watch as you
retreated into the light,
a ghost warrior
a happy soldier
          fighting to remain

yet i turned away, my steps slow
like cool honey, watching the light
recede with every step forward;
                          watching my thoughts paint
contemporary disasters
                          watching them build walls, shape
mountain ranges between 

your bliss (blindness)

my agony (vision)

you are a thin line—
s t r e t c h e d
until you cannot be anything
but straight, pulled
by opposites, strained
by the need to snap

(but they won’t let you.)

there is a paradox to this
kind of living, i think;
tethered to a new sort of
freedom, you sit with
locked jaw and wait
for someone else to say
the words that die
in your throat.

(freedom is limited by the fear 
of losing it.)

and you wonder, with sickly
exhilaration, what it would be like
to lose your footing and 
to fling yourself off 
the shelf they set you on
and tear off the label they gave you
when they first saw
you were different.

(but difference drums a bruise of shame
around your neck, and you strive
to destroy it.)

thin line, you grow thinner each
and every day; each and every
time they point at you and call you
by your noose, you s t r e t c h
and now there is nowhere left 
to go, but  a p a r t  —

                 a p a r t  —

                 a p a r t  —

(and when you finally burst, they turn
their backs and grumble about
ungratefulness, and the need
to put you in your place.)

well, i’m excited to announce that my submission to Scholastic Writing Awards has gotten a (national) Silver Medal!!

I wanted to scream when I found out, but i was in school, and it would have been really obnoxious and embarrassing, so I didn’t. I just want to thank everyone in the writing community on this site, because honestly, if I hadn’t started writing and gotten feedback—follows, likes, sometimes a really good comment, features—I probably wouldn’t have been so inspired to keep improving my poetry and my writing in general. (not to mention, i’m doing well in my AP Lang class, and i think that has to do with y’all, too).

So thank you so much! and I hope everyone writes and continues to improve forever, because it’s literally the best!

i played the cards all wrong and my
heart got lost in the shuffle. 

i should have known better than to
gamble something so essential
but on second thought it never really
did me much good anyway.

i can’t mourn the loss of
something so traitorous.

the chorus of the morning lies
still and silent, void of the clicks
my ears have started seeking
out from these obscured forests.
these are trees of smoke, and i
lie still like smoke, waiting for 
death to call my name, or to call
me forward and run me ever closer
to his grasp. i am alive, and most
of the time i wonder why; i am alive
and most of the time i imagine i am
floating high above the smoke that
i am slowly becoming. blindly, i
bite down; blindly, i press down
leaving bullet cases and blood
to mark my descent.

hazy morning sun
obscured by smoke
draping lingering settling
on my tongue
on my skin

strangled cries
i might have heard
i might have made
heat runs a race
up my lungs
clear through my heart

i am almost smoke

all the life inside of me
bursting forth
until everything is red
with fire and blood
blood and fire

islands we sought
islands we became
water in our eyes
flames from our mouths
broken breaths
torn throats

we are almost smoke

the water is up to my chin and i
am trying to keep my eyes dry
                                 (lately all i can ever do is cry)
there’s a list of things i can’t do and
they weigh down on me until i slump
                                 (forward, onward, i can’t keep walking)
my fears are so heavy, pressing down
on the top of my head, stacked so high
                                 (i can’t find a way to throw them away)

my fears are always present
and they claw at my throat,
threatening to escape
when i open my mouth to speak.
sometimes they surface as tears
and other times they are 
white-hot, burning a hole
through the back corner of my head;
sometimes they are words, and they
exist only to flatten me until
i become one with the dust
that barely clings to the ground.
i know i can stand for myself, but
sometimes it is easier to prepare
for the crushing weight of failure
before it actually happens.