Am I Still Here?/Jasper Kerkau & Nicole Lyons

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Emaciated by tortured flowers,
Bored expressions of expired emotions.
Stinging, charred words
dangling in thick air,
poisoned by expectation
Withered and violated
by meaningless conversation
he speaks softly,
vapid illusions
she lingers,
listens,
slowly decaying—
death beckons

I am still
here, pacing
through doorways
under a fluorescent sun.
My battle
cries flat,
pulled to hang
grotesquely
from cracked lips
plied into
an accommodating smile.
I am still
here, existing
behind shadows
inside a false twilight.
Or perhaps
I have eclipsed.
I am still.
Am I still here?

They don’t see me
swallowing knives as
they dance and laugh,
popping balloons while
I ingest their poison,
burning with acidic words
stinging the back of my throat,
I smile and nod to the world
look past the back-slapping
and soft kisses,
I disappear while they dine
on superficial conversation,
slivers of gold mixed with
trivial condiments smeared
over their delicacies.
The belching laughter hides
my diseased thinking,
the self-loathing that is divided
unequally.
They don’t see me
in the weak hours, meandering
down hallways with funny hats,
withering in their jovial retorts,
longing for someone to share
my portion, to starve themselves
on the nothingness I stab with dull
knives
They don’t see me dying, emotionally
decayed, fumbling in the dark places,
longing for an understanding embrace, but
there is only nothing, bitter nothingness.

Nothingness greets me
with twisted smiles
and happy laughter,
pouring from a mouth gagging
on the truth, and I feel again.
I feel the cold chill of terror
and death coming,
to raise the hair
on the back of my neck
as if I was a cat,
arching before
an offensive growl,
low to the ground.
I will spring and fall
into this abyss,
dance circles around
nothing, sway naked
with death, down
the scuffed floors of these halls,
writhing to the beat
of the screams they buried
in my head.
And I will arch my back
and throw my head
high
enough to drop
this slick sickness
from within and leave it
in the bones of this place,
of their place,
and it will ring,
through the walls
out and in
to the pockets
of every soothsayer
and handshaker that has fed
off the fat
of my back.


Jasper Kerkau is a managing editor and writer for Sudden Denouement and editor and writer for The Writings of Jasper Kerkau.

Nicole Lyons is creator of The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being an editor and writer for Sudden Denouement. As always, we are honored by her presence.