my first tattoo was a semi colon on my wrist. the second was the words "to this day" on my thigh.
if you know what these mean, you know what this will be about.
and by telling yourself tomorrow will be different, maybe you can get through today.
and as the hallways of that school building condense in on you, suddenly you are closterphobic in a time you had never been so before.
you make eye contact with no one. you've memorized every crack in corridor 22 and every scuff in room 306. the tiles on the ground have become something you bury your secrets in.
and on the day you look up, all your fears have been confirmed when you realize everyone is staring at you, and that this is when the name calling begins.
and the first one you learn is freak. the second, is bitch which also happens to be the first cuss word you've heard out loud.
the third, is worthless. it will become something you carve into your skin later that night
and if you understand these things, if you understand that this is not just once in a while that this is every day when you have to bend over backwards in order to dodge the bullets that will only ricochet and pierce into your feet
if you understand that these are days when a bed is not just something to sleep in but something to glue yourself to, but something that hides all your secrets and holds all your tears and never judges them
if you understand that 2am is the best hour of the day because you can allow the sadness to huddle around you without having to hide it behind the fashion of long sleeves in 90 degree weather
when you understand how to dismantle a pencil sharpener with just about anything, how to pull excuses from the sun, and lies from the moon how to sob into the stars like they'll carry you to sleep,
how to make yourself so invisible nobody notices when you leave the room, how to gamble away your consciousness with a bottle of pills and a four loko.
on the day that you stop talking, and you will. it will be because you understand that words are bullets.
you will stop talking in fear of accidentally shooting someone or because you're too afraid that talking will make shit worse for yourself when you walk the halls,
looking for anyone wearing long sleeves, with the ends bundled up in their hands just so maybe you could talk to them. maybe have someone who understands that this isnt just sadness.
someone who understands that you're not just lonely. someone who understands that the word depression is just too long because you dont have the energy to pronounce anything longer than help
words will become a sort of comic book villian in your mind. one where all the pictures are black and grey and the drawings are abstract, so you will not speak.
i had long forgotten the sound of my own voice. had long forgotten that my older brother and i had the exact same laugh so isnt it beautiful,
that we stand here today with nothing but words. nothing but these comic book villians i hated so much. they are now something i hold onto for life support,
these words. this poetry. this poetry is my proof that words are bullets. that they will richocet off the wall and pierce into your feet
the blood, will run all the colors of spring, and these words will jump out of my mouth and maybe people will call it hope. call it redemption.
call it fighting back against everyone who has ever used words to crumble someone to the ground
these poems are my saving grace. the first time i ever heard one was the first time i heard her laugh. you can tell me that words are just words but in my life, words have both slaughtered me and saved me from death,
so i will say to you. the one listening to this who believes that believes they will never find someone to love them for all of their scars and all of their sadness and all of their flaws that they could list out to you in order,
you will find someone. you will find someone who will shoot bullets in your melencholy, you will find someone who will sing your name to the tune of a poetry slam,
and maybe it'll be another. but most likely it'll be yourself. -m.s.