Not for the first time, a single, brown hair drifts into the hinge of her glasses.
The two plastic ends meet.
Clinging together, they strangle the hair.
It snaps off.
The girl pushes her glasses up her nose,
In the shower, water splatters the white tiles
as she washes her hair.
The shampoo scrubs away the dirt and more.
Long dark strands of hair tangle around her fingers.
They streak down the tile like thick rivers,
too thick, too much hair.
Her eyes drift over the mirror
not looking long,
not seeing the scalp peaking through.
But as she turns the corner, she sees the wall through her hair,
A soothing blue
that amplifies the calm buzz of the razor.
Buzz buzz, like a lazy fly on a hot summer day.
“Are you sick?”
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Dark brown clumps of hair paint the shower walls.
They slide down
to clog the drain.
Stress. Stress can do this.
But so can disease and genes.
Stress. I stress too much.
Maybe it’s all in my head, each hair clinging
to my skin, snaking around my arms and legs.
I ignore it.
More hair wraps around my fingers as I slip conditioner through the tangles.
This is real.
I swap out my shampoo.
I take up yoga.
My friends notice.
They stop telling me that it’s stress.
Scalp peeks through no matter where I flip the part,
no matter how carefully I pull the strands back.
I see the doctor,
receive a diagnosis,
Strands keep falling from the follicle;
they break in half.
I count each individual hair,
measure the circumference of my ponytail,
measure my worth.
Type “bald” into Google.
Find men or cancer.
Type “beauty” into Google.
staring at laminated infographics plastered around the doctor’s offices;
staring at our phones, holding our breath and hoping to receive a text.
rereading the inspirational poster stuck to the ceiling, hoping the dentist’s drilling will end soon;
counting down the days to the next holiday, the next vacation, the next party.
for that person we like to say something first.
til the alcohol kicks in before we admit to our feelings.
until they’re gone to tell them how we feel.
Better to wait for the right time,
wouldn’t want to look stupid.
Bustle of the District
where people rush around in suits.
So much to do, work hard, play hard, focus and accomplish a lot.
with rolling hills
and space to hear yourself think.
Where the focus is family
St. Louis, the island, the small town city mutation.
Comfortable, but not safe downtown.
Diverse, but not progressive.
The distance is difficult.
Far from family and friends.
But it’s freedom.
Freedom from memories that hold like quicksand.
Freedom from that box of other peoples’ expectations.
A new perspective, a chance to find me outside of them.
Tree tops sway,
leaves darkening to a shamrock color.
That’s when you notice the grey sky
and the cool undercurrent in the wind.
Listen to the familiar creaking sound
of the branches and bark rubbing together.
That’s when the leaves flip,
white side up.
The air’s almost electric,
the humidity heavy with coming rain.
until the drops fall,
heavy and fat and
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In this world, there are only two categories
and everything falls into one of them.
An action is good or bad.
There is no it depends.
There are no explanations.
It just is.
In this world, we gender inanimate objects.
Girl toys, like dolls.
Boy toys, like blocks.
Cooking. Cars. Clothes.
No crossing lines.
In this world, we fear the undefinable.
We have to categorize.
We have to make it make sense.
We have to teach stability, teach fear of change.
We have to base our opinions on the little pieces we see,
these half truths because we don’t like being wrong.
It’s hard to be wrong.
It’s hard to be open minded, to put in the effort to change our thoughts.
Isn’t it safer to return to our hometowns and be told we’re right?
There’s nothing to fear.
There’s nothing to change.
In this world, we are always right.
In this world, we only listen when we agree.
Did you like this poem? Leave a comment or continue reading. This next poem is about oppression and being free to be yourself. http://www.wedbushwrite.com/open-cages/
Blue wings beat against the
until they shatter.
What is the price of freedom?
What if they lock you up again?
What if they force you to hide?
You’re allowed to exist.
You don’t need their permission.
You aren’t hurting them.
Why should you hide
just because they don’t want to see people like you?
They’re the one with the problem.
Ivory bars encase the privileged sparrow.
It stays in its world,
the only world it knows,
and it hates those who change it,
who challenge it.
It teaches its babies the same.
One way to think.
And the babies accept it,
why venture far?
Birds are meant to fly.
Open the cages.
Let them learn.
Let us all be free.
I want to drive to the end of nowhere with you,
down memory lane where we will see
who we used to be.
Do you remember
how young we were,
when we could conquer the world,
when nothing could defeat us?
Is that trust still there?
Could we get together
and go back?
Would we recognize each other
if not by face?
Are we the same at the core?
Are those girls gone?
We could stand in the same place,
the same house,
feel our ghosts,
but feel nothing.
Do you think of me?
Do you feel nothing?
Absence is harder to notice,
the words not said,
the face unseen among so many.
How do the cogs work
in the machine?
My name will never cross lips.
Not when being with her is cocaine.
Ingest her and she fills you.
She fills your life, making every moment beautiful.
She plays with your hair, does your make-up, makes you feel special.
The clock still ticks
when the face breaks.
Thin girl wears your clothes
and repeats your words back to you.
You’re her doll.
And you want it.
It smells like Fall now,
bonfires and dead leaves.
Beneath my jacket, the skin on my arms bubbles,
trying to fend off the cold.
In a year, I’ll have to know
where I’m going and
I’m already scared.
Fog cuts off the sidewalk in front of me.
Good thing I’m walking.
I want you to be standing on the corner,
right where the sidewalk turns.
I want to navigate together not just because
doing it alone makes my throat close
but because it’s pointless without you.
My feet slap against the pavement.
Too late to turn around.
Phantom fingers from the past pull me
Or they try.
That girl’s gone.