This glorious independence,
spiderweb freed from itself,
falling toward the sky,
every blue of my nature.
Gravity forgets itself
in the infinity of accidental inspiration,
releases ten fingers at once
from the hem of my shirt,
and I am immediately everyone;
communication where conversation is not,
a meeting where eyes never crossed.
Six filled seats expanding into each other.
This generation does not ask; it demands.
We demand perfectly toasted Freebirds burritos,
smart phones that know what we want before we even do,
and faucets that turn their own selves off.
We expect strangers to invest in us,
without first investing in ourselves,
demand study guides,
complain that caramel macchiatos are so expensive.
Take unfollows personally,
keep more selfies than pictures of others,
and laugh behind hands at accents.
We feed our minds with personality quizzes and BuzzFeed gifs,
while demanding immediate news we won't find relevant.
Weekends are addresses we won't remember,
with people we don't know;
snapchat stories to make sure the rest of the world sees our freedom
the morning after.
Is this freedom, though?
The need to be seen, to enjoy ourselves?
These blurred lines between pleasure and making a statement out of it?
Follows don't actually exist,
100 selfies don't change the way one looks,
and no personality quiz is going to change a life
by lumping you with a Disney character.
We demand our surroundings to change,
so that we can be the same person forever,
as we dig out baby photos on Tranformation Tuesday.
Next weekend, we'll actually learn something.
It'll be great.
They make abstract things make sense.
They fill tiny places with ink,
or entire rooms with voices.
They flatten between pages
and explode into the right souls.
They don't change, themselves,
but the spaces between them are proof of evolution.
They mean different things to different ears,
in different places, different times.
They're all I have when empty spaces get too big
and I need to tie thoughts and people and fears together.
They let me talk to myself when I can't share secrets,
or when I want to say something I don't agree with.
They let me leave people alone when I have too much to say,
and they help me remember emotion when I feel too little.
I find both identity and anonymity in them
because my sentences are original
but my emotions aren't.
The surgeries that fix the things we break are sins against our bodies.
Stop eating like fools, drinking like revolutionaries.
Admitting fatigue is not admitting defeat, and paleness is not a flaw.
Teenagers are not made inferior by sobriety,
but their age that blinds them to this truth,
and convenient lies are no more convenient than
jumping off a cliff is a shortcut to the ground.
Where do we stop, and make realizations about ourselves?
When do we notice, on a ten-minute drive,
that there is life between home and our destination?
Our culture inches us onto steam engines,
dares gravity to interfere with the inertia that is us.
I am adding lemon juice to my hair, and she is photoshopping hers.
He adds one more rep, and all the rest become word wielders.
I want a town that knows how to breathe,
leaves some kind of mystery in the eyes of its shop owners,
and its civilians on the subway.
Or I want the woods and a clearing,
a place to look at the sky and pretend the clouds or the shades of blue
mean something universal.
I want to fill spaces on the inside, of myself and others;
rather than spaces on the outside, in corners of Starbucks,
or seats in the back of the bus.
I want consciousness that drives its own self, unapologetically;
yells at the sky with the top down,
knowing someone might hear me uncensored,
breaks speed limits because propriety moves too slowly,
drives with one hand on the wheel,
so I can wave at anyone who notices I don't drive like the rest.
Cursive would-you-rathers never asked, only guessed,
as you sit on the edge of my bed and pretend
that this apartment leaves you any personal space.
You look up at my art hanging by my bathroom door,
I look up, at you.
I don't know if I like that you agree to any game I choose.
You're here because I told you to be,
and you're sitting on the edge of my bed because
it hasn't occurred to you that you can decide.
Would you rather invent mixed drinks in the kitchen
or drink Jack in front of a campfire?
I think you'd spend too long trying to be original with your answer.
Do you realize you're only ever answering?
The Initiator, you called me.
I didn't object.
"I like burning as many candles as I can at once," I say,
playing with my miniature lighter.
You comment on the lighter, the candles, or the candles, then the lighter,
but you don't ask me why it is I like burning candles.
You never ask why.
I know ten new things about you,
like the way your shoulders move back and your chin tilts up
to fill the spaces between my questions and your answers,
or that you must have just cut your hair
because you still furrow your brows
like you're trying to blink it out of your eyes.
But you don't know a thing about me, other than what I've volunteered;
I smoke, I read, and I don't believe.
Do I need more words to explain myself, or do I need to evolve faster?
Three years later, I play Scrabble with the same alphabet.
The score changes, but this isn't conversation;
it's half a dozen college-ruled notebooks trying to fill themselves simultaneously,
blue and black ink promising to eternalize me on a Wednesday at noon.
But what's so special about a Wednesday at noon?
I piece together sentences in stillness,
just to go places in my head.
I am compiled habit, synapses, unintentional rehearsal.
A failure with a calendar, with bulleted lists, a maniac with the pen.
But I am plastic, and I am portable.
I can wish for the same things as you, if you can tangle our legs,
laughing at something I didn't mean to say.
Ask for nothing but my honesty and I will give you everything on both sides.
Make me laugh sober, question me when I pretend anything is certain,
lie naked until both our skin and our souls feel each other.
Enter my sleep, have me enter yours.
Use only words when they're new to you,
rub your thumb on my bare shoulder in the morning, as I sleep, and you think.
Learn my smell and the language of my eyes,
and how I need to sleep on the inside.
Ask questions because you want to know;
not because you want to converse.
Tell me, by your unpreparedness, that this has never happened before.
He chose that spot, that stance, that cigarette,
but he wears it like it's unintentional.
I was almost convinced, until the secondhand smoke hit me.
Why do you stand in front of an ice cream shop,
six inches from traffic, at 4 p.m. on a Sunday?
Do you lose yourself in the motorists,
the melancholy of the intercom,
Why does your hair match your sneakers,
and why is your stance aggressive?
Did you mean to contradict yourself
when you wore that wrist watch and vest at the same time?
Every thing about you is falling apart
except for that scooter and the helmet you pulled out of it.
Do you not smile when your friends pull up in scooters worth half yours?
Did you know you his tail light is shaped like a heart?