There are pencils on strings and nonsense in her poetry

Screenshots+from+my+notes+app+paired+with+a+picture+I+also+found+in+my+notes+app+from+last+November.

Kelsey Dantuma

Screenshots from my notes app paired with a picture I also found in my notes app from last November.

A library of mediocre poems lives in a box in the back of my jeans. They don’t age, but I do—more forgotten, misplaced, and misused than anything else. As it all comes undone, they lack a home—organization of sorts—of the papers drooping over one another with ink barely legible from so, so much water damage.

The cracks in the spines deny any type of specification from where they came from, and sometimes I can feel my mind slipping into tatters as I relentlessly twist and pull the strings drooping from my head and unwind the inside of it all. In times like these, they take on a life of their own, loosely slapping words onto pages or intertwining whole pieces together to later return to being dull—lifeless.

I often look back searching for something—answers, maybe, but I discover that by picking up the pieces. All I find is a fragment of a reflection staring back at me—a fragment of a person. I hope they will explain why he won’t wish me a happy birthday even though he will know it’s my special day or why exactly I disappointed them and how I can find a way out of this endless maze that I am stuck in every day, feeling trapped as the black spots in my vision make the walls close in.

The cracks in the spines deny any type of specification from where they came from, and sometimes I can feel my mind slipping into tatters as I relentlessly twist and pull the strings drooping from my head and unwind the inside of it all.”

I try, I really do, to stay away from the dust floating off the covers, since I’m allergic to it anyways, and I try to only speak when I have something meaningful to say. But I’ve always done things that are bad for me, and I’ve always chosen to let people do bad things to me. Like how I forgive him too much and can’t manage to forgive her at all, and how I fix everyone but myself because it feels like I’m the kind of damage that doesn’t have a purpose or a learning curve—damage that just can’t and will never be undone.

Even more confusing are the rogue slips of paper tucked ever-so-cleverly into the pages—enough so that you have to be really looking to notice the razor-sharp edges protruding from the stacks. It’s all kinds of hurt for absolutely no reason—no gain and only loss. “How are you supposed to be happy for someone when they have everything you want?” I don’t know.

I spill these thoughts out onto the back of my math homework sheets, hoping I can find meaning through the writing, only to dump it back into the absolute landfill that is my little box: my brain. But the words just pile up, and they are so hollow and provide no sense of relief when they unknot from the cords furrowed inside my head with no hope of sanity or even the slightest hint of rationality. Sometimes, they feel like extended chapters from Alice and Wonderland, although who am I, besides a crazy guy who got his hands on a tea set or an existential purple cat who sits around in trees all day? Maybe I’m both or all of it or maybe, maybe I’m just thinking again.

I’m getting pretty tired of it—thinking—so maybe I will write some more so I can analyze it later. But it’s just a continuation, an unsatisfactory supplement for dealing with the present when her shadow glides across my walls late at night.

And I’m getting pretty tired of it—change—so maybe I will check in with an older version of myself and try to find some flicker of comfort in the nonsense of her poetry.