Cleverly Disguised as a Responsible Adult (a poem)

we bundled up in layers of guilt
and jumped into the car
driving hundreds of acres
into a foreign future
bubbling with an excitement we created
through bourbon and sex,
we charted yesterdays into notebooks
bound by platitudes
screaming lies
and called it youth.

you twisted my hair into a chignon,
your fingers soft like the french you whisper,
stuttery and wintery
a breath of fresh that i could never grasp,
and i loved you then.
i loved you because you were unattainable,
all soft lines and girl,
so i kissed you because i wanted you to stay.

we kicked the sand up as we danced along the waves.
sunset was far
and the wind was bitter
your voice howled at me
and i screamed back.
friction creating art but
there’s no comfort in being with someone
because it’s not about this.
it isn’t you,
it’s me.

there was a spark and we added the fuel
igniting the flames that would spread
through our beings because we were cold.
but the fire was never ours to tame
and we burned quickly, silently –
our voices raw from screaming words
we smouldered with the understanding that
change denotes the only permanence in life.
we were extinguished.

we revved the engines as we sped down highways.
we poured buckets of paint into the woods
because we wanted to create our own autumn.
you gave me sugarplums and fairies
with fingers igniting goosebumps across my arm
and we flitted with love
until you leaned in and grasped me,
your smell all marijuana and boy and the apple you had for lunch –
we captured youth that day
in a snapshot that hangs still
in a picture frame.

i am dressed in blacks and white
with a blue collared noose
and tripping over myself to be on time.
you’re tattooed with the dreams of our futures,
living in a past i can’t quite remember
and this is our present;
a life away from each other.
we swore once that we’ll be different.
yet here we are, exchanging platitudes.
and you ask me how i’ve been
and you ask me how i’m doing
and you ask me if i care.
but i can’t answer.
because things are how they seem:
growing up is treacherous.

and i lost my soul in exchange for a universe.


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