Teenage Brain

a poem by Jack Carroll

I didn’t want you to hear
that break in my voice
that shake of my bones,
that shame is my own.

Afraid of accomplishing all
and accomplishing nothing
try again
we aren’t here to hurt you
they say as they chain iron
to my shoulders and
push me closer to the cliff edge.

How are you?
Are you okay?
they ask me how I am and
I give a small answer
the tug of a feigned smile
I’m fine I breathe at last
and eventually they
all shut up.

No right to be depressed
when you can flick wit
with a blink and
conjure answers with an idle thought,
no right to be depressed
there are much harder things
in life than the learning
of the mitochondria.

It comes and goes
peaks and plateaus,
parents are proud,
you have the answers
so why am I still
scribbling notes
in this narrowing margin,
still trying to find a way out,
a way to explain all this confusion,
to articulate this empty feeling?

Perhaps I can learn how
to live like the people I despise,
perish the thoughts and
lose the weight
of this imposed responsibility,
to seek comfort in filthy bodies
and outward loathing.

but I am too learned for this
I know,
I remain reaping a’s
and running words instead of wine,
lost but told to find direction,
teach me,
how do I chase a dream,
when I am still chasing myself?

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