When people compliment my work, they always say, “don’t ever stop writing,” and always, I look at them and think, “if only you knew.” If you knew how close to drowning it feels to keep my head above the rise of my words, how many different ways I’ve tried not to write her eyes, how close I’ve been a million times to losing my fucking mind wishing I could do anything but write. If you’ve ever been warm and full, wrapped in a blanket in your bed, eyes focused on the ceiling in the house that holds the roof over your head and wondered if anything can ever feel like home, then you know what it feels like to be a writer, full of a poem. I got that itch pretty young, starting chasing verse before skirts, then got high for the first time on the euphoria of putting down my first rhyme, and I never stood a fucking chance at nine to five, cause I’ve never been able to stop chasing that first high, shove needles of prose into my skin, whimper when they hit the blood stream, let my pencil take control of me, don’t even flinch anymore when I black out and wake up on the bathroom floor, naked, empty, and bleeding poetry. The crumpled drafts of crumpled hearts hide around my trashcan like empty bottles, and I burn them just to say they don’t control me, but the words singe into my retinas until I see only in the shape of things I wont say and all I can do to chase those fucking ghosts away is make them immortal, on paper, where I have to face them every day, forever. People tell me, “don’t ever stop writing,” don’t understand that my life story can be told in track marks from broken graphite, don’t know that my organs pump black, force it up my throat until I taste acid, cough out ink blots, and every one they tell me is art, then hold it up, ask me what I see, and tell me I’m crazy. People tell me, “don’t ever stop writing,” and I think to myself, “if only you knew how fast it’s killing me to write… if only you knew, I could never stop, ‘cause writing is the only thing that saves my life.