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Spineless

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

TW: Implied self harm

i. dead night, hollow desk.

your lamp is a tacit limelight,

the paper in front of you is a death sentence in graphite, and you—

a

complacent paper puppeteer

strung

stung

slumped over artificial light and a dull

dull itch

ii. in your veins,

nausea, seasick, sickling

selfish 1AMs, yeses, i love yous and of courses.

retractable box cutter.

liquid

on the cold white tiles.

 –

iii. top of the morning!

routines keep you grounded:

water

fruit (fresh)

eraser shavings

yesterday’s trash to the unused side of the table

iv. gratification?

easy.

eyes out

for the green light in every nook and cranny—

yes. excellent.

of course!

‘well written’, ‘brilliant’,  ‘A*’ like morphine on a page.

v. back pain

past 3 PM – past the last ‘exit meeting’, the nausea oozes in,

air dense with molding dusk.

sedated

static

haunting

gnawing up your spine.

slow burn

wading through feverish quicksand,

the ceiling sinking into your wire sling neck—

and the twisted spine that runs beneath you, holding you to attention,

compelling you

to feel the emptiness, look it in the eye.

look at yourself.

vi. st. andrews

because you don’t dare ask for more.

shy

a euphemism for spineless.

dead fish eyes

           chained to green lights: satisfaction of knowing the rules, even as the last summer that matters slips through your fingers.

vii. deadbeat wire balladeer,

how you long to break.

like chalk,

like release,

till powder grates up your throat

ix. to unfurl,

like petals, soft, yielding,

to yearn for nothing keeping you standing,

to feel the searing, intoxicating emptiness of the wire’s leave

from your flesh, to walk on burning sand,

and dissolve when morning comes—

spineless, fearless

 

Senior year crept up silently, and graduation will soon. This piece is a collection of ruminations and little scenes so numbing that they become lasting states of mind: the light of the late night computer screen, the familiar neck ache, the papers and dust piling up. Is this really how the last years of highschool should be spent? Spineless – for being afraid to leave the toxic comfort zone you’ve created, being afraid to look for happiness outside routine validation and praise. Spineless – for killing your body over trivial years that span less than a fifth of your life. Or maybe, it’s not too late for the kind of spineless I’d like to be – unconfined by the rigid structures I’ve curled into, bent myself out of shape for. Maybe if we learn to let go, we’ll know how to be at peace after a long time.

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