"The Boy Section"

Matteo

I like the world where I love a golden boy who plays guitar and worships in church, who smiles shyly from across the room, who I could never date because he wouldn’t presume to assume the right to date me and I would never admit to deserve him.

His awkward, fumbling encounters, the push-and-pull of “do I kiss him or wait for him to make the move,” while he twists his fingers and says he’s glad to see me. I like the way both his languages are softened by the unsure accent.

Andrew

I remember the world where I loved the boy who looked like an A-list actor, whose grin traced ripples across the beat of my heart. I feel the thick moisture-air pervade the gym, where I follow every step with my eyes, while the handsome boy— who doesn’t know my name—chases jerseys and basketballs across the court.

His face peeks around corners in my mind, corners of the dustiest, boxed-up memories and six years distant, my heart skips; in my dreams he appears in front of me, to clasp my hands and race away to a world where we make sense together.

James

I live in a world where I love a dark boy who swears in every breath and smokes plants and mocks and breaks through walls— everyone’s walls—and my friends say I’m too good but I wonder why I’m not good (enough) for the pretty dark boy I love.

He passes me in the cafeteria and touches my shoulder, an insistent-soft request and my mind careens around sharp corners, past road signs that scream “he loves you!” and others that spit “you will never be enough.” Every word he speaks is confident and bolsters my flagging soul.

"The Boy Section," a poem by Karis Rogerson. Probably about you ;)

On depression: a prose poem

  Mental Illness

It coils itself to strike without so much as a warning rattle, fangs dripping with poison and ready to dart into flesh, retract, leave its venom to do the dirty work.

It sneaks up on you in the dark or in the light, a shadowless creature because it's made of darkness, sucking the light out of life. It doesn't make its presence known until it's too late, too hard to turn and run.

It sinks its claws into your soul and won't retract, and the only way to be free is to rip, rip, rip until a part of you is gone, forever in its clutches.

It is invincible, the king of the night, the harbinger of doom, the thing that stalks your thoughts and learns your patterns and serial kills its way through whole communities.

It sees you when you're sleeping...it knows if you've been good or bad...and then it tells you you've been bad, so bad, the very worst, and it's time to punish yourself.

It convinces you that the blade or the pills or the sex or the smoke will finally make you happy again, will wash you clean of all your wrongdoings, but once it's over all you feel is dirty in your soul.

It appears when you least expect it, sneaking from your mind and winding its way through your body, until you're racked with pain and sore and tired and numb and every thought is just...I can't.

It lies.

It finds your weakness and exploits it, but your weakness will not be your undoing.

My weakness cannot be my undoing.

I fill find a way. When it coils to strike, I will cut off its head. When it sneaks up, bringing darkness, I will shine a light brighter. When it tries to rip off my soul I will performs feats of magic to unhook it and remain intact.

I will not listen to the lies, the ones that overcome me, the ones that hiss, You should die, you should die, you should die.

It made me think death was my idea, my desire, the only way to save myself and others. It made me think the world would spin happier, spin brighter, if my breath were stilled. It made me think, just yesterday it made me think, that if my veins bled themselves dry then maybe I would be redeemed for my mistakes.

It made me think the only way to atone for sin is with my own blood. It made me think everyone's unhappiness stems from my existence.

I will not, I can not let it have its way with me.

My soul is weary, my heart sick, and all I want is to curl up and cry until I can be better. All I want is to eradicate myself and maybe let something new be born in my place.

I am weak. The world itself has sharp claws and they drag across my flesh, and when the blood runs it convinces me that is my fate.

But I will not let my weakness be my end.

I will gather what strength I have. I will fight. Till my dying breath, I will rage against the beast that seeks to best me. I will not go silently. I will not go at all.

My death will not be caused by my own hand. It cannot be. It will not be.

It coils to strike. I raise my blade.

Its head streaks forward. I drop my blade.

And in the end, I stand and it dies.