a guide to being alive | Teen Ink

a guide to being alive MAG

January 3, 2023
By apark1026 SILVER, Louisville, Kentucky
apark1026 SILVER, Louisville, Kentucky
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

watch movies that make you feel lonely 

on your bed, stretched out on your stomach and propped up by sore elbows

make sure your spine aches at the curve, the shape of it sunken into the mattress

marvel at how the coffee in the cup holder, filled nearly to the brim, sways with the rocking of the car but never quite spills over the edge

see sure and sculpted hands grasp the wheel 

stare in envy as he peels out of the parking lot

cling to his empty words 

grasp onto their replicas next week

emotions burn a hole at the base of your throat and behind your eyes, be sure to wash it out down

with arizona teas, hair dye and nail polish 

find half-opened packets of nicotine gum and used e-cigarettes on the bathroom sink,

sticky with rings of spilled soap and uncapped toothpaste

a bottle of contact solution is dented where it didn’t pop back into place after being squeezed

brush in and out of this space daily, without thought 

see the mess but never tidy it

pave a path into the floors of hallways

traipsing the same ones over and over again 

five days a week

straps dig into shoulders

eyes cast down.

don’t look at people you know

they’re a reminder of what you’re missing—

and you don’t remind them of anything at all

lose your mind on kentucky back roads

music that makes loose bits in the car rattle

static that fills the air when you stray a little too far out

don’t look at the animals on the side of the road

entrails bleeding out onto yellow lines 

keep your eyes on the line of the path ahead, trees on either side

drop chips and gummy bears onto your lap

wrestle with a bottle cap one-handed

orange roads signs display words you don’t read, don’t have the time for

deal with your unworn dresses, unworn bras

pants that hug to thighs like a sick reminder

drown out the popping of seams, press your palms to your chest and push to flatten

flatten so it fits right

grind it all into dust

shove it under your bed, step on it by accident later

draw on everything, scratch it out if it looks bad 

leave old used forks and cups on the headboard (be careful not to let them fall on your face while you sleep)

toss dirty laundry somewhere vague

hang some damp shirts in your room to get rid of the dry heat,

to get rid of the rattle in your lungs that make the springs in your mattress creak every time you heave

lie on it, stretched out, and watch movies that make you feel


The author's comments:

I just wrote this piece by taking different scenes/parts of my life and pasting them together to create this!

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

on Mar. 23 at 12:31 am
ImoleayoYetunde, Zionsville, Indiana
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I love this! The explicit wording and descriptions to describe mundane everyday things is an awesome skill you show here! I love the idea of putting random scenarios together and letting it flow, this poem seemed very well organized despite this. Good job!

on Feb. 23 at 8:27 am
Pixihalo BRONZE, Ashville, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
'some people are gonna leave but it's not the end of your story just the end of their spot in your story" faraaz kazi

"leave old used forks and cups on the headboard (be careful not to let them fall on your face while you sleep) " Man that line hits