Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A stupid eighteen-year-old writes a poem about being a stupid-sixteen year-old thinking about death

I am sixteen years old, and in less than forty minutes, I’ll be dead.

Omen number one:

Flew alone from Paris to Rochester,
tired, sweaty, jetlagged.
It should be 4 am, but the sun glares outside
in all its defiance
over the field of all-American
winged metal birds of prey.
All boarded the flight to Kansas City
sat and waited, when it came time for takeoff
Engines roared, sparks flew
coast, sputter, stop.
Voice over the intercom:
Crack in the engine.
Everyone get off and wait
for a new plane.

I am sixteen years old and in less than forty minutes I’ll be dead.

Omen number two:

Finally made it to Kansas City
more tired than before
The sky insists that it’s night
in what should be early afternoon

There’s a storm coming.

That’s what they keep saying
but outside I see nothing but dark
a little too calm, maybe.
One by one
but mine, from Kansas City to Cedar Rapids.
Maybe they thought it was short enough
that it would all be okay.

I am sixteen years old and in less than forty minutes I’ll be dead.

Omen number 3:

We walk out into that strange dark
to board the tiny plane.
Not many people flying to Cedar Rapids
so late at night.
All sit down, duct tape on my armrest
my window
This plane is old.
Start engines, begin to move
All of a sudden
Blaring alarms
Red lights flashing in the cabin
Everyone jumps, pilot switches alarms off
I begin to shake. An overwhelming sickness,
a bad feeling is consuming me.

I can’t stop shaking.

I want off, I don’t want to be on this plane anymore.
I don’t feel safe. My mouth tastes like a penny.
I can’t get off.
My dad is expecting me at the airport
in a little over forty minutes.


In the air, I can see the storm.
We’re right in the middle of it.
Lightning flashes every two seconds,
right outside my window
I can see its tiny metallic teeth
dangerously close to the wing
that flails in the tumult of the rain
like a piece of cardboard.
The plane is shaking, being tossed through the air
sometimes feels perpendicular to the ground.
We’re shaking. I look toward the pilot.
There’s a curtain, I can’t see his expression.
Jesus Christ, just tell us if we’re going down!

I’m going to die.

And my mind clears.
I’ve never thought so logically about my own death before.
Now I know what people think about.
Now I know I’m not so above
the clich├ęs of humanity
of those mindless sputtering pleas
that people always offer
at the moments before death,
as if they were so important.
Will my parents identify my charred remains?

No, they’ll just use my dental records.
What would be said at my funeral?
What could be said?
Nothing, except she died too young.
Had potential but didn’t do anything with it.
God, and I was such a bitch most of the time.

What would life be like for my parents after this?

For my sisters?
Would I be canonized
in the minds of those who loved me
like so many youthful dead girls?
Would I create a special hole
in the hearts of all the friends
I would have lost touch with anyway?
It’s weird how normal this is
how routine, how average death is
how utterly easy to come by
It doesn’t happen to saints
but girls like me
who are just going home
who step in the wrong plane
at the wrong time
for no particular reason.


Dear God
I know I don’t believe in you
but maybe I should
You’re the only one who can do anything
In a situation when logical action doesn’t matter
like in war and Kafka.
I know I’ve taken my life too lightly
Entertained too many suicide fantasies
Wallowed in depression and self loathing
Said too many times it didn’t matter if I died
but it just doesn’t make sense that I should die here
I always thought I would die alone
in a hotel, in my mid-forties
face down in vomit,
like all the most accomplished writers.
I haven’t written a single book yet!
I haven’t made my mark on society
like I always thought I was meant to do.
I know now that it’s not that easy
that you hold all the cards
that life is something you can rip away
at any given second.
I’ll use my life now
I’ll build churches—
no, but I’ll write, I’ll fight injustice, I have ideas!
Let me live this once!
If I don’t accomplish anything, kill me!
 I want to live!


I don’t know how
but we hit the ground safely
I love the ground.
I love home.
I love being alive.
I meet my dad, and don’t tell him I almost died.

For weeks after I was inspired
my veins pulsing with the celebration of life.

Then later I was disturbed
that I almost believed in God
that I felt like I was spared by divine intervention
and I settled back into my regular misery
and the mundane.
Now the event has lost its impact
attributed to emotions run wild, delusions.
But every now and then
I feel the cold finger of death
shivering up my spine
and I can’t help glancing over my shoulder
as if waiting for divine retribution
for the other shoe to fall.

Friday, July 12, 2013

An unsent email to Ashley who was crying at the bar

Dear Ashley,

Here's the conclusion to my crying in public story. So it was on the senior booze cruise, when my college paid a riverboat to ferry our drunk asses around the Mississippi for an evening. My friend V had just had a tryst in the bathroom with a girl she had a crush on who turned out to be straight and pretty drunk. Quite a few people ended up being aware of this tryst as well, because some girls had walked into the bathroom at the time and shared their findings with everyone. Anyway, shortly after at the end of the cruise there were buses waiting for the students to make sure masses of drunk seniors didn't drive places. We had all loaded into the bus we were supposed to be in, but had to wait because straight girl was missing and her friends had to find her on the boat. They found her and brought her back, the entire bus loaded with patiently waiting drunk college students, and she proceeded to sob loudly the entire way back to campus (about twenty minutes). I was sitting next to V, who had just performed oral sex on this girl (her first time with a woman), and the girl was sobbing uncontrollably on an otherwise completely silent bus. Even if you've had some bad experiences, I suspect you haven't had someone, right after having sex with you, cry hysterically for twenty minutes in front of forty other people who knew you two had just had sex.

So that was my story. But I wanted to let you know that you're the shit, and you shouldn't be sad about things. The end.