To consume or be consumed?
To eat is to eat myself alive.
I’m starving from the outside.
My insides scream at the sight of a mirror…
Have I gotten thinner?
I shouldn’t get my hopes up.
I see only flaws where life draws pictures on my skin.
They read: “You’re dying.”
I want to feel confident.
Not like this beehive bloated with a billion stings
that hides a queen I can’t seem to find
because my bones imprison me.
I’m hungry… No, I’m fucking fat!
I’m a beached whale,
but beached whales drown when the tide comes in,
or die from dehydration,
or suffocate beneath the weight of their own bodies.
My hair has started falling out.
I’ve stopped menstruating.
I’d pass up my last meal just to avoid the frustration.
I had my first heart attack at twenty-three.
Maybe it was trying to tell me something,
but I couldn’t hear it over the sound of the media industry
constantly glorifying the human body.
What’s my favorite food?
A n x i e t y .
Because it’s the only thing I seem to eat.
I can’t focus on my income.
Too focused on my intake.
Calorie counting down my days:
Chips, salad, beef, cake.
A buffet filled with mistakes.
I regret the last thing I ate.
I do cardio at the gym, burning for hours,
but I’m just running from the ash
this phoenix has devoured.
My mind is a vulture circling the carrion
heaped atop a soul that my life has abandoned.
I can’t win!
I know this skin God has given me
is not a dungeon I should feel punished in,
but a vehicle to take me from A to B:
Not Anorexia or Bulimia,
but anomaly to beauty.
Still, I can’t see what others see.
The faces on the TV tell me I need to be a certain weight
I can’t achieve; and magazines, and movie screens.
I’m binging on broken dreams,
only to regurgitate all the things… I can’t be.
We’re force-fed ideals that are impossible to swallow.
I tried to be what I thought was “sexy,”
but it only left me bereft and hollow.
An empty stomach is the same as an empty heart.
Food shouldn’t’t own you or define who you are.
You can’t consume yourself,
because you’ll starve.
© Steven T. Licardi
Excerpt form the book “Divided Lines – A Poet’s Stance”
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Foreword . . .
In a world of ever increasing advances seemingly created to make our lives easier to manage, envisioned to bring us together, to draw us closer, we are still in many instances isolated and at odds and validly apart. Something is missing, there is a snag, a rip, a hole in the spiritual fabric that we all see; yet we continue to fail to address.
It has been said by self-proclaimed philosophers, theologians, scholars’ and politicians that the abuse of words can be a danger, there are those that believe words are a leading factor in what ills our society. Of this we do not deny in full, there have been abuses, history is but a melody to that fact, yet it is also true that words have the innate capacity to bridge, to heal that which divides.
Opinions, views, religions, nations, people, even love divides. The focus of this book and the poets here in, is to give breath to a wide range of issues both small and controversial that lie beneath the surface. Things that we are often hesitant to discuss. In saying that, I will offer that the role of a poet is not to persuade or to add more rhetoric to the static we hear. A poet’s responsibility is to shine the light of awareness, to create a platform for dialogue, for healing, to gather up the images in an attempt to understand what we see.
Demitri Tyler, Author
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