Time Out This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 12, 2010
By , Needham, MA
Sometimes, I call time outs.
I put down my trigonometry test,
Silently – without notice – sign the hall pass,
Skim my fingers against the touch
Of the cold, smooth metal lockers
And asylum-white limestone walls,
And walk 'til I can't walk no more.
Father Time forces the pen back in my hand.

I'm so tired. Tired like the businessmen
In their navy-black suits, click-clacking
Down the boisterous Manhattan streets
With a mocha in one hand and a tax return
In the other, a night's rest a cubicle fantasy.

Sometimes I cry. But not often.
Not until it's two o'clock in the morning and
My phone's still buzzing with the sound of
His dream-breathing dim on the other end.
I'm still typing my English essay on my
Scratched-up Mac laptop, slow from hours
Of me trying to think of just the right words
to say, just the right way to say them.

Then, I'll let a single glistening tear drop,
Fall proudly, yet shamefully, and trickle
Down my forgotten, too-pale cheek.
I'll hang up the telephone, make sure that
No one can hear me.
I sink into my covers in the starlit darkness,
And fall into a deep, restless sleep one night more
Dreaming of bugs and needles, and
Big letter F's, branded on my forehead in blood-red,
And people who just don't care.

They tell me it's just a dream. You'll be all right.

I wake up with eyes wide open, tender with fear.
According to the clock, it is four-thirty. Early.
Yet my alarm has for too long been ringing.
I relax, sigh, take a deep, long breath, first of the day,
And open the window wide onto my bedroom view of
Littered cement sidewalks and small,decaying houses.

I work out my anger in gym, run it away
Until all that's left, a scar forever etched into my soul,
Is sadness. Loneliness. Even the tiniest glimpse of despair.

I head to the bathroom and lay my head next to
The “f*** you” scribbled optimistically in red pen
On the bathroom stall wall, a message to the world.
The sound of a toilet flushing, a girl leaving the room,
Threatens my safety and security. I feel a bead of sweat.

That's when I call a time out.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

dolphin13 said...
Dec. 5, 2010 at 11:41 am
Amazing! Very vivid! Sometimes life does become too much and we need a time out. I can tell you truly understand this. Way to go!
JazzyMyne said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm
I thought ur poem was vivid, true to the inner depths of perception, and that u've been through a lot. I can relate.
LaShay_25 said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm
this is good, it seems like your underpressure, i can relate to that very well.
AlexisRivera015 said...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm

wowwwwwww this is so true

wow its just an amazing poem

Inflatable_Corn This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm
"The “f*** you” scribbled optimistically in red pen"- Nice, that's a powerful sentence
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