Why I Run
I used to use food like a prize at a fairground,
calories were points I had to earn to level up,
and the game had a glitch so the lowest score won.
I said if I worked hard, then I’d deserve to eat,
but what I meant by this was I had to be in pain.
So when someone says: “You must really like running”
what I want to tell them is: No.
I’ve just replaced one pain for another.
Eating Around The Clock
The dinner plate watches me as if it’s the one in control. The cutlery lies side by side at an angle like it’s raising a questioning eyebrow - even inanimate objects doubt I can do this. I eat around the plate like it’s a clock, and I move just as slowly. Forty minutes pass, I’ve only eaten half the meal which means I’m ten minutes behind schedule - I’m slower than a clock. I pause. It’s another fifteen minutes before I can bring myself to start again and when I do, the food is cold and I microwave it to buy myself some more time. I calculate just how behind schedule I’ve become and it’s the most maths I’ve done in ages. I hate maths but I hate thinking about the food inside me more. But apparently not enough to work out the sums without a calculator. From this, I take heart.
‘One bite at a time’ said no one ever
but I hear it nonetheless.
The spoon feels heavier than it did before and it’s the weight of a mouthful balanced there that I can’t take. I watch the steam. I’ve 'accidentally' made the food too hot to eat. It’s another forty minutes before the second half gets eaten and I wash the empty plate at once, like it’s a dirty secret. The cutlery goes away in a draw and I think about snapping the hands of the clock that tuts at me for taking so long, I could take the clock down and use it as a plate, use the hands like chopsticks and stick a plate to the wall. I think: maybe this would help. But I’m too full to know why.
The word gets stuck in my throat
like food would
if I ate.
It’s pointed, like my bones aren’t
and heavy like I am.
It churns in my mouth as I grind teeth
that clearly just miss having something to do.
And today - everyday - I swallow it down
as my only sustenance
so that nobody will know.
About The Author: Beth O'Brien
Beth O’Brien is a third year English Literature student at the University of Birmingham. She has had work published with Foxglove Journal, Nine Muses Poetry, Dear Reader Poetry, BellaOnline Literary Review, and Pulp Poets Press. She is a reviewer for Mad Hatter Reviews and Riggwelter Press and has written articles for sheswanderful.com and the Graduate Recruitment Bureau blog
“Hm, you’re usually very self-aware,” says Dr. N.
But then her mouth is a kazoo and steam is screaming
from a kettle attached to my shoulders, the unfamiliar
like bricks stacked too tall but the crash never comes.
Now I am swinging a heavy metal shovel down hard
on my grave making sure the dry dark dirt stays in place
so the old me can’t come back, but I know at some point
she’ll wake. Her eyes will open wide blinking like red numbers
on my old plastic clock in the middle of the night.
She’ll take my insides out, rearranging them,
adding in a few screws and nails and needles,
but the pain will feel like my old favorite sweater,
holes hanging off my too-thin frame.
Why can’t I stop losing weight?
The pills ride down my throat without my permission.
It might be time to close the exhibition.
About The Author: August Blair
August Blair is the blogger behind Writers With Mental Illness. She is a freelance writer and student at the University of North Georgia. She is passionate about writing and psychology. You can find her writing online and in print.
PC: Aryhadnë Sardà
A Home In The Middle
In between light and dark,
I am building a home.
Here, stay, say I to me.
Here, just here, I plead.
Hear the ocean inside me sing to serenity
enough to make my roots stay
close to the sand. My eyes smile
at the line of where the heaven in the clouds--
pristine, and this paradise of waves dancing--
intrepid, meet like a kiss.
Sometimes the sky trembles
more like a nightmare in a song.
My eyes closed lost and empty.
All the lights switched off
as I run away from me unknowingly,
never knowing how to want
to come back or when.
Or my sun shines too much it's blinding,
I hold my bones for wanting
to feel if this dream is real.
If this is the song of my soul,
why does it feel like I didn't sing it
but the stars I couldn't reach fell
and painted my voice celestial?
And how do I return to myself?
I try my hardest to keep me,
breathing still. I ride the strong
too ecstatic to exist. I rebuild
after the darkest storms, gather all the ruins,
and make a lamp out of it. And come home
to the warmth of the sand, the chorus
of the ocean and the sky at peace. Look out
to that blue horizon. In the middle
is where I know I belong.
About The Author: Roch Molina
Roch Molina is a writer hailed from Catanduanes, Philippines. She graduated Cum Laude from University of the Philippines Los Baños with a degree in BA Communication Arts Major in Writing. Her works have appeared or are forthcoming in Reclaim/Resist Poetry Anthology, The Manila Times- The Sunday Times Magazine, and The Windtrail: The Official Newsletter of the UP Catandungan Los Baños. Her latest work is a zine entitled “I, Too, Am a Poem Lost” in collaboration with Lira Benjamin. Roch loves tea, books, long walks, and museums. Now that she is 21, she dreams of becoming a centenarian
PC: Celia Schouteden
I Know I Have To Take These Pills
but I have this block happening—I believe
I am convinced
if I stick them behind my tongue—the migraines
My voice will come back—the trees
will reveal themselves
to me! Again! Allthing has stopped talking
to me—my host
of inanimate lovers. Green is no longer
GREEN as I want
color should be—resolvable. To be.
The cello does not
alight inside my chest—the violin has become
a barrow of strings—creaks
over stagnant waters. I cannot feel
the sun on my face. I go
outside now—o maybe the sun
through the borders
of my window were more
than I can be. Typing has gone
to shit. Fingers—steer me
wrong every time.
to 5:30 with cars in between. How can
I swallow when this is all the words.
too high now, faced with this beak. I
swoop elegant, curvy, bowed—I roll
ploughed, polished and feathered.
Dismantle myself for the sun with
each new crust—great flowing below
this blood—below your rock
my universe boils.
And even the universe is stunted lately.
A should’ve-been whirling
mass, I suck stars, encircle—I
melodrama and too-much need you.
Goddamn break down this gravitational
pull—these neurons once fired, are
white-hot as coal fleeing on air. Fluid
nature preens but never prevails.
You plucked me from xylophone
bones. You, minus a G flat or maybe an A
sharp. Molded sound from mud swathe
set afloat straw creation—haphazard, I
float deep and wide into orbital eddies.
Then the toothed daughters
I bear from your clammy hands (as I burst
into spontaneous being) scatter along
our vessel—until this still lagoon catches.
About The Author: Kari A. Flickinger
Kari A. Flickinger's poetry has been published in or is forthcoming from Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Burning House Press, Door Is A Jar, Isacoustic, Ghost City Review, Eunoia Review, and Riddled with Arrows, among others. She is an alumna of UC Berkeley. When she is not writing, she can be found playing guitar and singing to her unreasonably large Highlander cat, as well as obsessively over-analyzing the details of neighboring trees.