Spoken Word / Nightly


She falls asleep to softly glowing stars pasted to rough ceilings

Stars that pepper her dorm with no rhyme or reason

3,000 miles from home 
Lost and rediscovering who she wanted to be, nightly,

She measures how small she feels against the backdrop of school life

After people dismiss her, exclude her, forget her

Until they call her out for what makes her different and defines her—

By her smudged make-up a few mornings after her uncle passed away

By her worn and torn jeans puddling round ankles and slipping off a waist

That can’t quite perfectly stomach stick man thin jeans,

But is defined by her gorgeous curves.



She stumbles back through her day

Stumbles down a self-destructive path through a forest of denial and treachery

Casting the judgments of others around herself like a thick coat, trailing on the ground

Weighing her down


She tries to locate some sort of spark within herself

While others have an inferno’s worth, or seem to anyways

Nightly, she tells herself

Got to have an opinion, got to have a talent, got to be interesting

Got to be effortless

As effortless as the others whose motions cycle through

Primping between classes, vapid gestures including eye rolls and sighs

Power plays and eliminations  

And hiking up skirts on weekends to make them shorter,

Leaving nothing to the imagination,

Not that anyone has one anymore.


Like them she tries,

To cultivate an enticingly “mature” reputation

As a good girl gone bad, a rebel bending back her parentals’ thumbs

All to fit in and follow the ebbs and flows of churning trends

At a school that crams in lessons

Like how many times a human heart should beat per minute

But not how the heart is supposed to continue to beat

In a place where bodies get beat

By soulless words

That leave no trace on skin

But cut deeper than deep.

Because humor, however sarcastic, is prized

Showcases personalities and makes people feel alive—

Just edging the area between cruelty and gone too far

Just having a laugh, just for fun, nothing more.



She wonders if others are crossing the line

Or if she’s too sensitive like some people say

She’s not being bullied at all, what they say and do is all okay

But such an admission tears her right through

Twisting in her heart, punching right through a shattering self

A knife slicing so far in that she wishes it was real

Real enough to put an end to the charade she plays out day after day

Of pretending their words and opinions don’t matter

Even though most of the time its seems its all that does.



Waterworks aren’t limited to dripping faucets,

As eyeliner runs over sunken sockets, eyes glazed over so reflections blur

Before thumbs swipe black runs of weakness away

And pinch cheeks to give some semblance of livelihood

To a face that could well be a mask for all its taut flesh.

She stares deep into the mirror before shutting off the emotions and stepping back out

Into the constant stream of inbetweeners

Caught in a gap of years between school life and real life,

Snapping bubble gum between classes like her peers,

Caffeinated concoction or alcoholic addiction in hand,

Sometimes allowing her mind to dash out for a cig

Light up, inhale quick,

Muffle coughs and hacks and spritz

Some artificially overwhelming puff to cover the stench

Drag in smoke that so easily spews forth, ashy particles clinging to her imagination

But really, she’s just sitting in class lost in a daze

The things she thinks people think of her echoing no matter how brave

She tries to appear.


Press play forward. It’s been days, now weeks, now years since then.

Nightly, she falls asleep to softly glowing stars pasted to rough ceilings

Stars that pepper her dorm with no rhyme or reason

3,000 miles from home 
No longer lost though it took four years

Surrounded by those who respect her and help her confront her fears

Who constantly extend a hand or a hug

Now, nightly, she whispers to herself  “See, the bullies never really mattered,

You’re separate and cured of that need to be

Tethered to the social scene and insincere queen bees.

Those who are worth it SEE you and welcome you to be.

So just be.”