Allen Ginsberg said he
watched the best minds of his
generation destroyed by madness;
I am stuck between appreciation of ecstasy
and the multitudes of remembrance.
Unknowingly, he has created a
paradox: there must always be those
entranced with life,
and those who analyze the enamored.
At what age can these
archetypes be coalesced?
The abstainer and the indulgent idle.
The observer staring passively,
he drops a pen dangling loosely between
red lip and red lip,
learns to dance with witches. Learns to
swim in foul rivers. He is wounded,
bleeds lurid black ink;
I want to hold the records and feel the flesh.
Keep my wits, sacrifice the loneliness.
Can I not be both Carr
and Ginsberg? My oneness is corrupted,
unclear in definition.
My face in the mirror,
a finger running over my rosewater mouth,
sweet hymnals humming in the
foreign chambers of my throat.
I see a small girl
with a grown woman’s mind,
her ripeness and lust and shape.
I am both aching and contented.
My reflection will never match my
an ever-present distortion of identity,
but herein lies the fix:
I can navigate the jagged lines of the
I will not be destroyed by this madness,
nor will I be withheld from joy;
I am blooming.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.