Categories
Poetry Trauma

2 Poems by Joshua Morley

The Warm Spandex of Wonder

Before picking your words like peanuts between chopsticks because you worry

that you can never clear the fog, crack the shell that has immured your mind,

your words interned within a ribcage of twine. Before you ever needed to hand 

a shrink your peanuts because they were the offspring of your heart’s kiln and 

before there could be a dying fire, vacillating fire, convolving fire, a vortex, no fire,

held in the cells of your seeds and laid bare by suave attentive shoveling. Deft,

snoopy, unnerving. An inculcated effortlessness in your therapist’s facility, their

muscles of facial expression loyal to the truth of their mechanical motility. Call it

operant conditioning, muscle memory. Call them skilled. Call when you need them.

Before burning life into your nerves void of sensitivity. Before breaking your own

heart to feel something. Before the steps of fibrous tissue on your arms weaved a path

that kissed the first gates of heaven, remembered the metallic tango of blade and blood,

remember the transcendence of your mother’s scream into ultrasonic inaudibility

as you watched her and your soul stretched out to her from an elastic leash bound

around your brainstem and produced through your eye socket. Before you blacked out

even. Before your dark-cloud age. And before you started looking in on the outside

Before you learned to lie that you fell and be believed. Before all these, there was a boy

who loved the stars, unbothered, crooned uncalculated songs and delved into the world

with a transparent polythene bag of wonder hugging his eyes like spandex. He was warm.

 

the half-life of a fast-acting love potion

you fell in love with a boy

       who came alive only at night

        too much of your pills

                               & the receptors amass 

disdain for your panacea,

                temporary

                           the only constant thing

that is not to say //       too much

         wouldn’t kill you // would kill you

                         wouldn’t kill you //           you really don’t know

how to love the same

       person // everyday

                 too much // would kill you // wouldn’t kill you

your boy put all of his love in a bottle

          &         only sees you when he drinks

&         his eyes—

he // & you withdraw // to repress

       your tolerance to love

you fell in love with the boy

who only came online at night

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Joshua Morley, 18, is a Nigerian writer, artist, and undergrad student at the University of Ibadan whose works explore mental illness, identity and queerness. When not observing the motions of things with personal abilities of clairvoyance, Morley can be found making music or visual art. Or sleeping.

Categories
Poetry Self-Harm

I’m scared of fading and Dance as Therapy by Johap Agbo

1.

 

When the inevitable happens

When my mortality fades into nothingness

I always wonder if the evidence of my crime will be found

Will I be declared missing?

How long will everyone look for me before they forget

 

How long does it take to forget someone existed

How long would it take to find the body

Does the memory fade away like mortality

Does it stay like the weight in my chest?

 

2.

 

Shake like a bough of willow trees, you do it naturally… – Hozier

 

I’m dancing at 4am to songs you wouldn’t have been able to stand

My body involuntarily moving to beats

I arch my back, throw my hands in the air and I dance.

Here, I am Beyonce.

My body is fluid, moving in ways I didn’t think were possible.

 

This is how we survive

By dancing

 

I once learnt that some plants stretch and stretch till they find light. They would naturally bend towards the direction of light to survive.

That’s what dancing does to me.

 

I’m bending my body towards light

I’m bending my body towards joy

In whatever direction that is, this body will move.

 

So when I throw my hands in the air and let the music guide me, I hope it guides me towards joy. I hope the music leads me towards light and it always does.

It always does.

 

This is how we survive 

By dancing

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Johap Agbo (she/her), 19, is an igbo girl from Nigeria. She’s currently a law student based in Nigeria and writes as a form of self expression. She can be found on Twitter @johapisgrowing_

Categories
Poetry Trauma

The Body Is a House to Scars by Idowu Odeyemi

Salah and I escaped the blast that ate our mother

And turned our father to the offering

God punished Eli’s sons for eating

 

Looking for the safest tattered house to sleep:

A bullet entered through Salah’s forehead,

While we were fleeing from gunshots,

I smiled and took it from the back of his skull

& put it in my pocket

(I cannot carry a dead body with me &

I have to show the world I have a lineage)

 

My eyes have seen the ground inhume blood

of people I love with all of my heart.

Our playground turned to a red sky.

 

Smiling all the time is a sign

the mind is depressed and the body a house to scars.

 

I grew up believing I will become some mothers’ prayer

every morning they wake up to pray for their children.

 

Now all that is preventing me from killing myself

is the thought that the world was beautiful

& the world will be beautiful again.

IMG-20190826-WA0038

Idowu Odeyemi is a Nigerian poet and essayist. His poem Love Only Kills A Poor Boy won the Liverpool based Merak Magazine 2019 annual literary recognition Awards for Best Poem of the Year. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Nigerian Students Poetry Prize and the Christopher Okigbo Poetry prize. His poems have appeared or forthcoming in the anthology 84 Bottles of Wine dedicated to the Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Constellate Journal, Kalahari review, Praxis magazine, Lite Lit One, Perhappened Magazine, among others.

Categories
Poetry Trauma

Poem by Lee Alder Ketcham Seguinte

I held your hand in a hot car
while you cried and the radio played
a song about falling.

I held your hand and we leaned back
and looked at the stars through the sun roof.

I held your hand
because there was nothing else for me to do.
Because I couldn’t show you
how to meet the eyes of that pain
crowding like a nightmare-beast in the corner,
hung like thorn roses around your neck.

I held your hand
and offered the heart I hide behind the panels of my ribs
behind the slabs of my chest.
The one gone soft like a bruised peach.

I held your hand silently.
in the car,
in the dark.
Held your hand, and, looking upward,
told the stars what I could not tell you.

“There are ways to wear your bruised heart,
to wear your necklace of pain.
Even ways to wear that beast with night’s eyes.
There are ways to hold your fear so they will not consume you.

Ways to hold their hand.”

Lee Alder
Lee is old enough to know better, but doesn’t. He might be a changeling, but wouldn’t tell you if he were. He lives in Sacramento, California with his husband, five cats with lofty names, a dog named after a Pokemon, and another debatably-Arcadia. His other work can be found at lawofnames.com
Categories
Poetry Self-Harm

getaway car by Michelle Cadiz

I imagine death like a getaway car,
idling quietly at the bottom
of a pile of pills

a runaway bride, a flight risk, a convict.
on dark nights I picture myself
climbing in – the familiar rush of
relief, each swallow another mile
in the rear-view mirror.

these backpocket suicide dreams knock
around with house keys and spare change,
and I drag them around like a child clings
to a soft toy, up late, unable to sleep.

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Michelle Cadiz is a poet from the Philippines. She is currently finishing her undergraduate degree in biology.

Categories
Autism Poetry

Sensory by C.M. Crockford

The clapping hands 

(cannon fire)

thousands of them

battering his skull – 

sharp sickening shocks – 

 

all the boy can do – 

 

scream.

 

Mouth gaping 

fingers clawing 

at temples.

 

Fifteen years pass.

 

He hears music in a great city.

He’s changed.

He watches.

Listens.

 

The instruments 

build into white noise

 

inside – 

fevered cathedrals.

Delicate wombs.

 

He knows it is

a tower of sound

where he would live

in Prayer

 

to beauty.

The violent discord 

of this world.

E235D7BA-A770-48FB-A397-BAA5401FC9F4

C.M. Crockford is a writer with credits in Neologism Poetry Journal, Oddball Magazine, Vastarien, and Toho Journal Online among others. He is on the autistic spectrum. He lives in Philadelphia with his partner Julia.

Categories
Anxiety Poetry

Gut Reno by Mackenzie Moore

I hope you don’t have buyer’s remorse

for a house looking pretty good

when you signed the papers

worst case: some flaky grout

 

Only after months of padding around

learning the sounds of a fixer upper

did you find yourself lingering

on the same creaky board

 

Jump once

jump twice

you hit the dry rot

 

You’re not going to fire sale

but, if the right buyer

could put money down to fix it,

Well.

moore_photo

Mackenzie (she/her) is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles who currently writes for podcasting and television. Her first chapbook is forthcoming with Kelsay Books in early 2021— she believes bagels heal most wounds.

Categories
Anxiety Poetry

i’m always going to be sick, aren’t i? by Amber Renee

see, there are years of restlessness inside of

my head; history like

      eons of

           nostalgia,

bitter wars,

famine, natural disasters;

enemies building fences between homes 

   like separation from god is the true meaning of hell. 

// i’m all wrapped up in 

this fucking skin; paperthin &

                                constricting—

—my body: blood & guts & muscle & bone all    moving around, shifting bodily fluid. 

useless, useless, useless. 

there are years of resistance inside of

my head. / i’m sickened by 

existence. 

/ i want to go to bed.

Amber Renee, she/her, 26, writes from her home in suburban Bucks County, PA. A fool hopelessly in love with the pursuit of psycheverse knowledge, she often writes autobiographically. “Thoughts on This Most Recent Episode” was her 2016 full length collection of self-published poetry ruminating on her thoughts & illnesses. As recently as January 2020 she published a Poetry Picture book “i feel like i’m nothing” available online. Find her on social media @amberreneepoet

Categories
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Open for Submissions

Serotonin publishes poetry and prose on mental illness and neurodivergence. The goal is to survive. And if happiness can be achieved along the way, then, well that’s a plus.

We’re interested in new, previously unpublished writing on mental illness and suicide prevention. Please send up to three poems or one prose piece in the body of the email. Limit poetry to 20 lines and prose to under 500 words. Include a short, third person biography. If accepted, we’ll ask for an author photo to include in publication and use for promotion of your work on social media.

You will receive a response in less than a week. Probably much sooner. Maybe even an hour. Depends on how much coffee is in house. Serotonin acquires first publication rights which are released when the author is published. Authors are paid $5 per piece. We pay via PayPal. 

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