I am measuring my breaths
Weighing them against the breaths they might have been
Appraising the required resources

I inhale
A concoction of many gasses
By my body needs the oxygen

I exhale
Carbon dioxide
And I know too much

Because the gas I exhale
That the plants can’t recycle
Is let loose into our air
But thank God global warming is a conspiracy created by the Chinese
But let’s not get into that
Because I am busy measuring my breaths

I inhale
And anger fills my lungs
Burns hot in my gut and I struggle to calm it

I exhale
A single word escapes
Remnants of my inner-furnace, “fuck.”

I look up to dirty looks
Because the man is with his child
He’s angry that I’ve interrupted his walk with his son
Well . . . his march
Under a sign proclaiming, “God hates fags.”
I wonder whose F-word has caused more damage

And he screams because I had the gall
To question, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
In front of his kid
While he defends actual fucking hate speech. Shit —
Where was I?
Oh yeah, I was measuring my breaths.

I inhale
And I hold it in to contemplate
Maybe this breath could be more

I exhale
Words I pray through tears
Aren’t falling all deaf ears

I beg someone — anyone — to listen
But I’m certain if they did
It would be solely out of social convention
Because society can’t get its shit together
It is equal parts polite and asshole
One of those must be an act
But you’re still here
Reading as I measure my breaths

I  inhale
Breathing in all the hatred
I take in all the lies

I exhale
And as I release my breath
I release my tears

Tears of fear
Tears of anger
Because I am gasping
Wasting even more breath
Tears because how fucking dare you be happy whilst breeding hatred
Why do you get to sleep at night
While I lay awake, measuring my breaths?

I don’t want to inhale
Because I am surrounded by the hatred that infects the air
There are knives in my lungs

I inhale
My lungs expand
The knives press against flesh and it burns

I don’t want to exhale
Because as I’ve measured my breaths
I have found myself wanting

I don’t want to exhale
I hate this cycle
I just want to end — to disappear

I don’t want to exhale
Because each breath reminds me
I am sick

I don’t want to exhale
So I hold it in as hard as I can
My lungs burn relentlessly

I exhale
A single phrase
“I’m sorry.”



“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
And from that deathly beak
Came the sounds of all our failures
And our own tormented screams

“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
And I have seen it in his eyes
He’s amassed a vast fortune
Of the souls that he despised

“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
“Shall you revel in this life
“I will see your dreams shattered
“I will watch your dying light.”

“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
As the war horses draw near
And his shadow passes over
As the cheering turns to fear

“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
And in response to his call
Intolerance and fear
Make us build a fucking wall

“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
As all we’ve made is turned to dust
And among unholy dissonance
We forget who we should trust

“Nevermore,” quoth the Raven
Hear the songs we once adored?
Remember when we celebrated?
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

My Uncle We Don’t Talk About

I have an uncle we don’t talk about
Or rather had
See some time ago he lost his wife
And soon after he took his life
Such an asinine euphemism for putting a fucking bullet in your head.
And while he had to he acknowledged
Because I was already alive
There’s so many things we don’t talk about

We don’t talk about how my father’s father probably OD’d because he was tired of being sick
We don’t talk about how his brother’s depression killed him years before the cancer did
We don’t talk about how his youngest brother was stopped from buying bullets for a gun he hadn’t fired in years
We don’t talk about the semi-colon on my cousin’s collarbone that she could only get because her mother found her in a pool of her own vomit.
We don’t talk about my little sister’s antidepressants
We don’t talk about my older sister’s anxiety and so I haven’t seen her in eight years
We don’t talk about how I was apparently the last chance for anyone in my family to be happy.
We don’t talk about how my family mistook quiet for happiness
We don’t talk about how at ten I learned to be quiet
Because my parents were stressed
Because my siblings were louder
Because I was supposed to be the happy one.
So we don’t talk about how my sister never saw me cry for twenty-one years
We don’t talk about how my depression far predates my breakup
We don’t talk about all the times my ex had to talk me off the ledge
We don’t talk about you Uncle Shawn
Because if you had been here maybe I would have learned how to live with depression
Rather than be consumed by it.


Wear my soul for a day
Tell me how it feels
To wake up every day
To another loved one killed

Because I love, unabashed
And I am unafraid
And I don’t believe in qualifiers
Or getting lives appraised

And I don’t believe that love
Could ever be a sin
Just because you disagree
Doesn’t mean you somehow win

What is winning after all?
Is it the smell of death?
The rebellious lovers begging
For their lives with their last breaths?

Is there really any question
Why we’ve chosen to rebel?
When you would banish those with whom
You disagree to hell?

So to hell I’ll lead the charge
And I’ll lead it with a prayer
For the ones who pushed us to the edge
Then punished is for being there

Because I must believe in love
Regardless of the circumstance
And that means I must believe
Even you might have a chance

To simply say you’re sorry
Or admit that you were wrong
Or keep sitting on your pedestals
Singing bastard songs

Born of the unholy union
Of blissful ignorance
And that bullshit you call love
That is blind to fellow man

But my church is the people
And our hymns are the screams
Of the people begging to be loved
The lives you call obscene

So let’s keep acting like your culture
Is so holy to abide
By sanctions that are far too old
To currently apply

It isn’t that your faith’s not valid
But at some point you must admit
That we were called to live and love
Not live and treat like shit

So I’m afraid the church has failed us
And much to my frustration
The holy hypocrites still preach
The blessed damnation

What god gave you the right
To sit upon His throne?
And did He give you clearance
To sit there casting stones?

Boy Named Pseudonym

I am a boy named Pseudonym
Shaping myself
Aligning my will
To fill your every whim

I can be the perfect man
And I can be
Everything you need
If you just give me the chance

I can stand by you forever
I never have to leave this city
And I won’t even ask for pity
Though I may complain about the weather

I could be a doctor — sure
Dad, that’s what you always said
And when the stress would leave me dead
Well . . . I guess I never found that cure

But I could be the perfect father
Yet in a world so full of dark
I never really found the heart
And sorry, mom, I can’t be bothered

And when I look into the mirror
I see . . .
I see . . .
See that’s the problem

I’ve spent so long changing my face
I just don’t see myself
I’m stuck in hell
But I lost myself in purgatory

Where meter is lost
And rhyme is a lie
And I’ve reshaped myself
For the ten-thousandth time

And I’m so sorry for my wasted potential
And that I was never perfect
Because I know I’m meant to worship and study
To be a model son and brother

And doctor and athlete and artist
And would-be husband — I’m still so sorry
And I know that was told to never
Lie or cheat or steal

Or smoke or drink or cuss or — FUCK!
And I broke what semblance of meter I had left
So fuck it
Truth is I’d peel the flesh from my bone
If it meant I get to understand
Who it is I really am
And pray it’s not this miserable shit

Because I’m so damn scared
To make myself
I’d sell my soul at the low price of $19.99
Or three easy payments of $10 (you get a deal to pay up front)

So I don’t have to chase my dreams
I can let them fade away
Forget my ambitions and stay
And carefully re-stitch my seams

And I can fit your every whim
And leave myself
To rot in hell
‘Cause I’m a boy named Pseudonym