i thought it would taste more like the gums

And I know that my poetry usually makes no sense, it’s a thing called love that compels us to keep reading. Would you care to know why my favorite color is red? I used to have a friend named Kevin and it was his favorite color. He was the flamboyant and most colorful of us in the group. Popular with the ladies and loyal to his friends. I was the one in the backseat laughing to their thoughts when I really had none of my own. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing so much. Maybe that’s why I love the color red. He painted his room red once, I remember things changing right around then. The drugs were getting a little heavier even with his teenage youth, the drugs will rip right through you. Painkillers will kill your emotions, you don’t want to feel a thing. I can relate to Kevin, I fucking love painkillers too. I shut myself off from everyone, but occasionally I enjoy the company. I’m awkward and my thoughts are kinda dim, so I always liked being around him. Are you familiar with the literary term foil? A foil is a character who contrasts with another character in order to highlight particular qualities of the other character. I feel like he was like that for me. I always saw myself as a little too blue, I wanted to be something worth loving, I wanted to be a little more like him, I want to kiss life into everything, I wanted to live, I wanted to be more than a shadow of a group of peers that did drugs and listened to melancholy and nostalgic techno after school hours. I don’t know how he’s doing or what he’s up to. The last thing I heard was he’s into needles now. Rumors plague this tiny town, we were raised from imperfections and we grew up to taste cigarettes that numb our gums. He had the kind of laugh that made you want to be his friend. It’s funny though, none of my friends initially liked me. Until they got to know me, empty and hollow, a sponge– the one who listened to the problems, never really any of my own. I get lost in my thoughts, I know. My poetry is scattered, I know. I don’t convey structure or rhymes, I don’t hide in between the rules. My words are more scribbles than they are truly masterpieces. Would you like to know why I write? I used to know someone that said the shoreline was like a bed and naps were always possible– she waited there everyday for inspiration. She would tell me the tiny stories inside of her head that had nowhere to go, it’s funny. I never really listened to her, I just enjoyed the company of love and to be loved. Love, what is it? When I wrote my first poem for her, I didn’t know where it came from or why I wanted to write it. I just knew that I had to write it. It had to be done. I had to read it to her. Let me tell you, if your first poem was a love poem, it was probably the most cringe thing you’ve ever created. Ever. Period. But still, I loved it. It was bad, but it had feelings. You always miss the feeling more than you do the person and that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever had to realize. It really shouldn’t be, but it is. You never really understand your mistakes until it’s just you. You only want them back when you’re alone. It’s been so long, I don’t keep track of the days anymore. Hell, she’s married now. I shouldn’t be writing this. She’s going to read it anyway. It doesn’t matter at this point. I guess she left poetry inside of these palms for good measure, she loved attention. A lot of it. The more, the better. Maybe I stopped paying attention. Maybe I got too comfortable. Maybe that’s why I love writing poetry, in a way it just means that I still love her. Lost kids who didn’t know how to love, another foil. You know, I never really liked to read books until I met her. She had a smile made from your doggy eared books, you know, your favorite line you always had to reread or quote during a conversation. She had the kind of laugh that made you want to get in on the joke even though you were the one telling it. I loved that laugh almost as much as I loved Kevin’s. I don’t talk to these two anymore, I don’t remember much about the memories, only the feelings that they left. You can’t find loyalty amongst pill users, they always use. Trust me, I know. I’ve been swearing off painkillers for months. You won’t find a love like that again because every relationship is unique in its own way. You can’t recreate the old flames with your new ones. You need to move on. I haven’t really lived life. Maybe you’re just like me. Maybe you’re stuck at a job that you don’t like and maybe life just doesn’t make much sense. So you blackhole more drugs to ease the disaster that is you. Nothing hurts, you just don’t want to remember anything that might hurt– right? It really shouldn’t be, but it is. I listen to music more often than I converse with people. Music influences my soul in a way that people cannot. I just turned 24, but I’m still a little confused about who I am. Does any 24 year old have their shit figured out? Do you ever feel like your dreams and aspirations are slowly dying? I’ve always felt like an old man. I’m boring and I don’t dance too much, the only thing good about me is my writing. It’s the only thing I’m half decent at, but I hate that too. I don’t answer anonymous questions anymore because I feel like my thoughts aren’t good enough. How can I help you if I can’t even help myself? Red rose petal poetry pressed onto the stove kind of writing– it really shouldn’t hurt, but it does. I’ll always miss the days when things were simpler. I didn’t care as much. I didn’t smoke as much. I didn’t think as much. It was just simple. No hard facts, just some stupid kids getting high behind a dark house and running into ghosts in every room. No broken hearts, just some teenagers who wanted to figure love out with a knife in hand waiting to hug each other. I’ll pry the knife real slow and we’ll call it love kind of love, ain’t it love? I love you doesn’t even sound right anymore, so I’ll say nothing. I miss my old friends, but we’ve changed so much– I wonder if they’ll even recognize me. My life is insignificant and minuscule, but we must all seek to find our purpose, to bring meaning to the clutter, and to add more fire to the chaos that is life. I don’t want to die angry, I want to die with a smile. You don’t get to do anything twice, you don’t get to correct your mistakes– so make enough for your self-reflection drunk nights. You don’t get to unlove people, so pick the right ones to fall in love with– don’t worry, you won’t need to remember all of their names, just the feelings. You don’t get to unfriend people, they’ll always be a part of you. A part of who you are. A part of who you will come to be. I keep slipping into the darkest parts of my mind and call it a life. I’ve been reading this book and it told me to dig deep. Why do I write? Why do I enjoy the burn of love? Over a few thousand poems, but 99.9 percent are indeed about love. Why do you want this kind of life? Well, darling– These words are as much yours as they are mine.
—  zero point one