Portfolio: If words existed in youth

Jacky Lu /Staff

If words existed in youth


I would not say my skin looks gray

Or that words ever fail me

Through corridors and gnarled woods

I recoil in an eldritch sun

Saguaro shrieks as the pine sheds

Needles in the dust.


We look ahead to messy beds

Credit cards shrouded by myopia

She peels away pills on her sweater

Gliding through the forlorn fields

I never knew as a kid.


Spent my time, room to room

Flickering screens painted me

Waiting for the next nostalgic bit

Of life to wander through backyards

Clear caterpillars in opaque jars.


Velveteen and sharp as hell

Its cracked shell gushing

Crawling up the street, wincing

Slower than the bikes and breeze

Never fast enough,

Always last to make the bend.

Hanging in a fickle ficus,

I blend in here with hibiscus.


Goodbye, goodbye, it flutters

The gutters coughing up water

Veins of amber leaves glisten

Flooded, a folly of man’s nature

It drags me in, where life begins

And where my skin looks silver

But my hands and mouth — tar.


Naive senescence


I don’t want comfort,

I want immature pain —

A young body dancing the Americana,

Forging a trail of nostalgia.

I want a heart that burns,

A beacon in a whirlwind of

Erratic emotions, spontaneous acts of

Misconstrued frustration.


A lovely girl with an ugly soul

Is what they’ll call me.

I’ll embrace it, because life is long,

And death is debatable.

It kills me, but it will fade

As I splurge, procure, acquire, more, more, more,

Give in to senseless, sensitive whims,

Destroying everything, mending



“Numb, callous, careless kid” —

I’ll laugh it off.

I have years to grow wiser,

But only minutes to flicker youth

As its roaring blaze simmers down.

So today’s not the day, the hour not the hour.

I will look past the peril

In favor of reckless abandon and therapy.


I will parade my expenses,

Squander my money, get it back,

Fall in love, wreck it with ethereal anger,

Fall in mutual mercy,

Maintain it with aging desperation,

Raise children

And watch as they bloom into the waste.

I will die.


The paradox


Luminescence is a state of mind,

A brain bathed in floodlights.

The plane takes off, a small world left below.

Thoughts run rampant, head held high.

To say that I’m enlightened —

A logical fallacy,

To realize I am equal

As I revel in heightened perception.


Contact Andrea Platten at [email protected]