“Duck Taped Bodies”

This is for the days
when you’re not ready to face the world
When your bed is safe and warm and comforting
and the outside world is cruel and harsh and angry
It will judge you
and curse you
and scream in your face
These days, you Just can’t Do It
It’s a matter of self-preservation, survival
But the world doesn’t care about your survival
It cares about your grades
and credentials
and money
and labour

So you don’t get a choice

This isn’t middle school gym class
You don’t get to choose tag or soccer
Too young to realize choice is a luxury
This is high school gym class
You have to play basketball
And your ability to make the shot
a shot you don’t even want
will affect your class grade
and your overall average
and your university applications
and your scholarship eligibility

You can’t afford to sit on the bench
But you wish you could

On these days
you have to pick yourself up and tape yourself back together
It’s not a permanent fix
But it’s enough
to get you through the day
so you can come home
and fall
in the safety of your bed

The rib isn’t healed, but the doctor taped it nicely
You have never been good with tape

This is the dress for those days
It will hold you together
Underneath you are red and raw
Cover that up for daytime
When the back splits open
stitch it up
It’s no longer seamless
but really
when was the last time you ever felt seamless?
and ties
and tape
are not meant to hold people together
But you can’t seem to do it yourself

There’s extra tape around the middle
because you hate that part
holding your insides inside
also makes you look

The line between skinny and empty sometimes
d i s a p p e a r s
When you wanted one
you got the other
Maybe the smaller you are
the less they will notice you
Shrink away

Hide from their hateful gaze
but you’ll never escape your own
Because the sad part is
after high school is over
skipping lunch isn’t cool anymore
being too thin isn’t trendy in the real world
The real world expects you to function

And the whole thing feels like a big cruel joke
because all you wanted was control over something
but the more control you grasp
the less you hold

So your hair falls out
and you can’t stay awake
and your heart tries to beat out of your chest
And you cry angry tears because it’s not fair
that everything in your life
including your own body
seems to be actively working against you

I just wanted this one thing
That should not have been too much to ask for
Nothing about being alive is fair or makes sense

You have to participate
But you can’t look like that
But when you try to change
You’re still in the wrong

Put on your dress
It will hide your ass
Maybe it’s ugly but it’s also survival
Industrial strength is what you need
Shapeshift into something hard and shiny
Try not to let your insides peek out
they’ll start to unravel and draw attention to you
The world is a stage
so start acting like a normal human being
You’re failing

Try harder
Say “I am well thanks”
Make up something you’ll do after graduation
get them off your back
Tell them you’re single because you’re having so much fun
with your very secure
and confident
No one realizes
you got dumped
because he couldn’t drive you to Emerge

This is for the days when you realize your “teen angst” never really left
The price of skipping class just got higher
The choice was mine I didn’t think enough1
The space that’s in between insane and insecure2
To be on the edge of breaking down/ And no one’s there to save you3
Sugar, we’re going down4
Please tell mom this is not her fault5

Keep it together
Hold the pieces tightly
so no one will see the cracks
They say it gets better
But until it does
do what you’ve got to do
to stay alive
Take a shallow breath
There’s no shame in duck taped bodies

1 Blink-182, “Adam’s Song” in Enema of the State, MCA, 2000.
2 Green Day, “Jesus of Suburbia,” in American Idiot, Warner Bros., 2005.
3 Simple Plan, “Welcome to My Life,” in Still Not Getting Any…, Atlantic, 2004.
4 Fall Out Boy, “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” in From Under the Cord Tree, Island, 2005.
5 Blink-182, “Adam’s Song.”

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