I Chew All The Skin From My Hands

Whenever I think about money, I automatically become depressed, often even suicidal. I can’t pay for this phone, let alone the bill. Car repair payments.

It’s a piece of shit.

I can’t afford my school’s tuition, I can’t even afford to buy books for a class I need to take. It’s all just so stress-inducing.

I wrote a little today, which was good.

I have a lot of work to do in the next week and a half, but I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done.

“You always push through,” everyone says, and they’re right, although sometimes I wish they weren’t. I am strong, but I’m not as strong as I need to be.

Goals are merely floating specks of dust at this point. Goals are fucking vapor. Goals do not feed me anymore.

I had to leave class for a few minutes to let tears stream freely down my face as I sat on the toilet–how’s that for a good morning? My advisor is useless, my brain is an empty can of sardines.

My only wish for today is to sit in the sun and smoke cigarette after cigarette and talk to someone, about anything, about nothing.

“You Have Talent” II

On Wednesday I emailed my poetry professor, sending him a brand new poem that counted as a revision for our first assignment. He raised my grade from an 8.5 to a 9.5 and I asked if I could have a hard copy of his notes after break. He responded telling me to see him in his office the next afternoon.

The poem I wrote was a volatile, completely honest poem depicting certain aspects of my own mental illness. My professor himself has been open with his own mental health issues, so I wasn’t sure if he was going to bring me in for a therapy session or just simply give me critiques. It ended up being a bit of both.

He said my poem sounded like a detailed diary entry, which he said wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. He said it was a “victim poem,” which I scoffed at, but he was right in saying that. He also said he thought it was an improvement from the first poem I submitted and I deserved the A but I needed to “work through some shit” in order to make it work, as well as either add self-deprecating humor or change the form to something structured.

I agree. I also told him I normally don’t write such material. We both agreed my title was shit. But I’m really shit at titles.

He also told me that I deserve an A in the class and I’m a good listener. He said I seem to withhold scathing comments but I also genuinely show compassion, which he says makes for a good poet. As for grad school, he said he would write me a letter himself, but either way, with my “talent,” persistence, and GPA, I would get in. He said I would have no problem getting in.

He asked if I was bummed out. I said I was always bummed out.

He asked if I had a boyfriend and I regret telling him I’m not straight.

We talked for about 40 minutes. It was nice. I’m still unsure about his teaching methods, but he even said to come talk to him if I felt bad about the class or was questioning anything.

I learned while in community college that it helps to have a professor on your side. It always helps.

-Zara

Carved (A Braided Essay)

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Michelangelo, David, detail

I wrote a poem titled “Carved” and for my nonfiction class, haphazardly molded it with bits and pieces of my own narrative. Hope you enjoy.

Old blood seeps out of the gash

and I think about what Michelangelo would say

if he were here with me.

Everyone hates their body.

He wouldn’t want to paint me, number one,

because I’m not a man, and number two,

because I’m not defined, rippled, taut.

Everyone hates themselves, to some degree.

As my cat purrs and kneads the folds

of my skin I know he doesn’t mind my soft parts,

the extra pillows.

I hate those parts. The physical parts. The parts that should mean the least but end up meaning the most.

Michelangelo would hammer me to bits

and carve me out of new marble, form my arms

into thick tree branches that refuse to sway

I want to destroy myself. The leftovers aren’t there for nothing. My body is not a temple, it’s an empty alleyway to piss in, a cheap house desecrated by flames and vandalism.

in even the heaviest winds.

He would chip away the excess, chisel a delicate

nose and round pupils.

My organs are useless. My skin is too beaten up. My teeth are falling out of my skull as I speak.

The calves would be sturdy, the stomach,

smooth, and he would ignore the fact that I am

a cousin of the apes.

Things are easier when someone else molds you. I’m not a sculptor. I shouldn’t have been given the job of creating myself.