The gates to hell will open smooth as butter against a black ice lake. No tornado or black hole will distort your pinched skin before sucking you in. You came on your own free will.

You’ve stumbled across something sacred and unguarded. Treasure chests have gotten surprisingly high tech and require thumb print recognition to make sure you’re still breathing. Too many corpses have tried to destroy bronze tiles. But here, a wink will do. They forget to check your pulse.

You left your parents for this.
For this opened eyed Technicolor dreaming that allows you to push golden orbs through your peachy lips, mistaking them for stars. I see you sober on the sticky amber of others, an apple picker of souls.

You left your childhood house for this.
For this two-hour deception that bathing in your own sweat can bless your flexing-flesh immortal. Their eyes bathe you in pesticides. Lock eyes, feast on parts of them, and continue. Rinse thoroughly before feeling safe again.

You left your brothers for this.
This basement with all the makings of a civilization. A barricade, a jail, a god of changing forms. A shirtless leather statue, black sweaty goddess with plump mounds as alters, a sun boy trying to find enough oxygen to start a fire.

You left yourself for this.
A part of you own charismatic shadow sits by the two dollar Barnes and noble reading light you got last Christmas. It’s a dying, dangling part, but it heaves on.

We will stumble under orange streetlights like monsters are chasing us. Falling off man-made cliffs planted in the center of our chest.
We will wail like animals left behind.
We will claw at our silk shirts and buckled shoes for betrayal. We will slam into walls and humans with the same slick-quivering force.
For all the white ice lung gulps of air and mint nail skin peeling we will do it again.
We will call it a success. Bury parts of ourselves every Monday.
Pretend we do it for the vines and the vanity instead of the illuminating few moments when our legs are too weak to run away from ourselves we have trapped an iron engine mind.
We will cage ourselves to this.
We will do it again.

– Gabrielle G. When you tell yourself you won’t go out on Friday nights, you will