Sonata in Suspended Smiles

“I smile to hide my depression” he laughs, and I
pause too long; the smile drains. He laughs
again; uneasy, now. He won’t ask why
I froze; the silence whispers paragraphs.

“This homework gives me a panic attack!” She grins.
Her temple vein pulses; I twitch in response
As blood drains from her. No-one wins
this game of truths. It’s an all-around loss.

“You’re driving me crazy,” she giggles, shoving
happily by. The manic tinge of fear
gives lie to the laugh. Not surfeit of loving–
I bleed sympathy. No safety here.

“My teacher is psycho,” he mutters, angry scowl
bolding his words, the slight (imagined or real)
made distant by his self-righteous howl
of judgment. No chance of appeal.

“The kids are nuts,” she sighs, and all doors are gone
for students who just needed to find one.


Social Media

Perhaps we are glued to our phones

because we are lonely

perhaps the promise of a digital companion

who doesn’t know our name

but knows our heart

is more alluring than the flesh around us

who know our name

and our past

and our presence

but could care less what goes on inside

as long as it acts according to expectations

(sit still. quiet hands. eye contact.)

and perhaps we enjoy the honesty

of screaming into a digital void

because it ends in companionship

not censure

perhaps i am on my phone because i don’t want to talk to you

because the person on the other side of the screen

is more a part of my community

than you ever were

perhaps you shouldn’t ask what is wrong with us

that we ignore you

but what is wrong with you

that we feel such a desperate need to escape

into the arms of a stranger

who we will never touch.

Perhaps you should not blame the prisoner

for wanting to imagine freedom

but blame the prison

for taking it away.