Olivia Staser/Staff

You ask me why I try so hard to seem “badass.”


Do you really want to know?


Do you really want to know that after growing up being treated like a freak,

Becoming scared of the very idea of being weak,

Of fighting and fighting and finding out

That my own worst enemy was my own fucking doubt,

That after a while the jeering would end,

But nothing could silence the cruelty in my own head?


Do you really want to know how I dole out pieces of my heart

In the hopes that in some way someone will take that part,

And value it more than I ever could —

That is, at all, yes, anything would be good.


Do you really want to know how I just stand still,

Waiting for something to use to fill,

The holes in my heart, missing pieces I gave

That got tossed in the trash, in a dump or a grave?

How I watched them take all I could give

And treat it like shit — that I cannot forgive.

And yet I’m a sadist I keep on giving

Pieces of myself when I’m barely living

And when I watch them drop my gift to the ground

Instead of picking it up I just turn around,

Grab the sharpest thing my hands can find,

Look for that hole and shove it inside

So where that piece of me did sit

Broken glass or nails replaces it.


Do you really want to know how I’m a cobblestone soul

Made of bits and pieces of once made up a whole?

How I have nothing left of myself to give

And I’m losing, losing the will to live?

How I can’t even find myself anymore

Lost in a mirror of who I had been before?

And I see her I see her but when I look inside

I see a heart of barbed wire, caffeine and cyanide.

A heart of brickwork cobbled together,

Holes filled in haphazardly with tar and feather,

Made ragged and sharp for the sole purpose of

A mockery of wholeness and desperation for love.


Do you really want to know that this front of “badass”

Is a mask to hide a heart of glass

That’s already shattered and cutting me

With fragmented pieces you cannot see

Because I’m “bad ass” and always want to fight,

So maybe outside you could see how at night

I touch my own heart and my fingers bleed

For all the jagged edges that do feed

The cobblestone monster inside chest

That’s hardly even me- what’s the rest?

A collection of overused, secondhand emotions,

Lost memories and loyalties and pointless devotions.

Yes, that is my heart that I desperately hide

With a bluffing aggressive mask outside,

A cobbled heart of broken things —

Touch it, I dare you, I promise it stings.

And even as I say just know I’ll give away

Another piece, another piece another bit, another day

Because I never learn and I keep trying to find someone who,

Can give me a method, something new,

To recover what is fading fast

And I need it now, because god, I won’t last.


Do you really want to know how truly, I’m fading slow

And this once silver heart has lost its glow,

How I sit on the floor and I stare at the wall

And feel … yes, I feel … nothing, at all?


So, do you really want to know?

Contact Olivia Staser at [email protected].

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