my hoodie reeks of depression it has food stains and maybe tear stains too my scalp flakes from excessive stress regardless of how often i shower my hair isn’t even as beautiful as it used to be it doesn’t shine anymore and i’m losing handfuls of it and of course, my mother is right beside me to remind me of all this my smile is shadowed by my saddened eyes needless to say, it’s faker than ever these days my body isn’t anywhere as fit as it was just months ago i’m losing all my muscle fat, i don’t love my body anymore my skin consists of red dots spread across my cheeks exposing my imperfections, embarrassing me to tears my mind is way too troubled to develop concrete thoughts and translate them into decent words for a decent essay i’m so fucking useless, can’t even keep up a conversation that active and passionate writer’s voice i once possessed is no longer within me where did she go? and why has she left me with nothing but this overwhelming sadness? i can’t carry all this burden by myself i need the good parts of me back so we can carry all this burden together and throw it off a cliff before i jump off a cliff. i don’t want anyone’s fake love nor pity disguised in comfort i only want my own genuine love because i miss the way i would take care of myself i’m no longer accepting anyone else’s advice dismissing it completely, even if at my own expense i should start drinking 3 liters of water daily again i should start praying every night again i should start not saying shit to nobody again but this new lifestyle i’ve adopted won’t even allow me any time to take frequent pee breaks, sleep at night, have alone time, be a person in the world all these new expectations, all these new faces, all these entirely new and different layers of pressure no wonder the old, good parts of me escaped at the first sign of trouble i wouldn’t want to deal with any of this either. ** burning my tongue do not speak more than necessary in fact, do not speak at all instead, sink into the abyss of your thoughts alone your words have become too powerful for the fragile ego of the outside world to bear your words will easily offend the hypocrite and the guilty as you expose their corrupted nature sip your hot tea and remain silent for the world is not willing to be shaken by the heavy substance of your words just yet. hold on to that thought, wait for your turn after all is said and done after everyone else has received all the credit after the essence of your message is stolen from you leaving you with the rug pulled out from under you unbalanced, no longer confident in your stance bow your head, drink your tea, burn your tongue. keep your mouth shut, and your words unspoken. do not release what the universe is not ready for. ** to the world, i’m cold few to none are deserving of my warmth a tenderness found only within me a mesmerizing interaction consisting of genuine mutual energy, exchange of intellect, endless laughs, pondering thoughts, memories made that will have you reminiscing in your next life the consolation prize for those who don’t get to experience the pleasure of me get my gift of nonchalance instead, which is gracious still because to the world i’m unreachable, inaccessible like a shooting star who is trillions of miles up in the galaxies like a water droplet before dissolving into an immense body of water like a speck of sand at the beach revealing its components only under a microscope like a meaningful word that escapes your mind just as you are about to use it in speech like a peculiar rose that stands out in a whole field of them distant, breathtaking, desirable, surreal. ** you know how sadness comes in waves? well i woke up and i was drowning in my bed is it the reality i’m living in or the thoughts up in my head that got me going through my day just wanting to be dead i fear i lost sight of my purpose in life i need some flight so pass that light is this how i escape now? is this how i survive? my mom stays out too late now and i can’t look at her the same there’s more liquor in the house now and i can’t look at her the same she doesn’t know what she’s became i’m not a saint neither ‘cause i blow trees but ma, please have some dignity “love” got you blinded, lost all common sense i’m your daughter and even the way you talk to me is tense now you look at me like i’m a stranger that got you mad so i keep to myself, never revealing why i’m sad should i waste my breath and reiterate how i feel or is the fate of our relationship already sealed? no one loves me like they used to, if at all so i stay high to keep my eyes from shedding waterfalls. ** r + j let us part together, my dearest love so we can carry our love with us on the other side. i will only let you go if i go with you and i will only go if you come with me. my heart doesn’t have to beat to be yours let our souls meet again on the other side. in life and in death, i love you infinitely. ** i'd rather rest in peace than live in pieces holding on to temporary moments of happiness i wake up everyday looking forward to the end of it i think about life looking forward to the end of it both don’t come soon enough. i’m a slave to time and how it drags me along with it forcing me to live heavily medicated in this misery where the walls are caving in on me and there are no windows or doors that even allow me to hope for an outside or long for freedom i think the only way out is being offered to me constantly more like temptation being dangled on my face and the fateful day will come soon enough that i take the opportunity to leave once and for all because what else is there to do in this life when i’m living in bondage? and yet, a life like this is no life at all it’s a breathing death that urges you to pretend it’s life what’s heavier: the facade or the reality? keeping up appearances or facing the harshness of it all? i know heaven will feel lighter than the burden of living in this hell i’m only a breath away from death and death awaits, calling me like a long-lost lover well then, reunite me with my only soulmate let my lips kiss death and use my last breath to say “i love you” we miss each other and life is keeping us apart maybe the only love that lasts forever is when i join death and cease to exist i’m more than willing to find out so let me meet my lover let me die with our love story as all epic loves do bury me with my love then and only then, will i know both peace and love. ** shame i wonder why God has brought me here why would God let my mother birth me a girl in love with a girl, and a chemical imbalance in her brain i saw myself as a mistake for most of my life i see a man and woman together now and feel a deep, unexplainable sorrow forgive me, my love, for the questions i am about to make but i can’t help but plead why can’t i be “normal” like them? why do i feel the need to be like them? still, i am not at all confused when i look at you i am not at all conflicted when i hear your sweet voice i am not at all remorseful when i kiss you it’s only when i’m left alone that the voices take over the entire world is against us and i’m afraid they are against a love so pure & healthy how could a love that is this good-hearted and heavenly possibly be bad? how could loving an angel possibly be bad? i pray this shame goes away i pray our love is stronger than their hate but nevertheless, the hate of billions is pretty heavy but i’m always willing to fight beside you and for you it’s not my heart that’s confused it’s my mind that the world intends to control my family will never know the real me and that crushes my soul i used to wish i was different than i am so much that i pretended to be different than i am for years and years i was so good that i nearly convinced myself too but then i kissed her and never wanted to be myself more a love of this magnitude could never be kept under wraps i see my future in her beautiful brown eyes her heart beats at the same pace as mine such an intense feeling to be endlessly in love with her and painfully ashamed of myself at the same time i want to feel proud with every fiber in my body my only love sprung from their biggest hate birds born in a cage think flying is an illness our love will outgrow all complications i promise you. ** i feared for my mother’s life each night before going to sleep only that i would not even be able to sleep or be able to dream of better circumstances each night, my mother’s secret would be unleashed through his screams from the next room, his cursing & growling kept me up every night and each time i froze, unable to utter a single whisper to save her from that hellish home he built for her, only to drown her in it hours would go by as i tried to focus on the clock’s ticking as it went on through the late winter night in the dark, my dreams collected dust as i listened to the shrieks & pleas of my dear mother with only the snowflakes stuck to the window to comfort me.
Born and raised in Ecuador, Anai Gonzalez is a 21-year-old senior at the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business. Being a first-generation immigrant and college student, she carries out her life’s purpose through every interaction she has by always spreading positivity and expressing the essence of her soul through her poetic work. She devotes her time to curating fashion and visual media with her friends, community service throughout the nation, and writing songs. She is currently working to publish two poetry books, the first of the series being daydreams + nightmares.