my poem titled “Red Walls”

character, life, poem, poetry, writing

She sits curled in the corner, her brain ticking away

Ticking down, the countdown, until she implodes

Like the hulking mass of steel and concrete of a demolished hospital building

She imagines her bones protruding at jagged angles

As if she where nestled under the pile of rubble in shambles

Laughing without reason, she scratches at her skin

At the spiders that have hatched and scurry about


The water she drinks tastes like acid in her mouth and when she swallows,

Pours out through the openings in her stomach like she’s part strainer

And maybe there’s more holes in her

Maybe there’s holes in her brain,

That explain, with scientific accuracy, the nature of her condition

She suspects that the holes are results of the pills she takes to “feel better”

That taking them is like trying to patch a dam with Band-Aids

She knows what futility is, she is the definition of it


She bites her lips and tongue over and over, savouring the thick taste of blood in her mouth

She imagines it black and sludgy, like she imagines her essence to be

And maybe drinking the dark liquor will put her at one with herself

Because now the blood tastes like cotton candy, and cheese burgers, and pizza

And all the things she imagines she could eat if she was better


The ticking continues, sounding off in her brain

And she pounds the side of her head against the wall in vane

Until she paints the white walls red

She sticks her fingertip, like a brush, into the red and paints a self portrait



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