Scrap Metal, Pills, Oleander, A Cold Walk

Scrap Metal

It stands alone on a stage of cinderblocks,
a living, corroding striptease,
shedding its pieces
Less than whole.

Mirrors removed first,
blind spots created for wheels that would never again turn.
They went next, the convertible undulating and gyrating with the force of the

The roof undone, leaving the car topless.
Doors pried, paint stripped,
its flesh begins to show.
The swan song continues, former beauty dying.
stripped, inside out, empty, a shell.

Doors crowbarred, hinges snapped,
wipers peeled from the grasp of the windshield,
headlights ripped, eyes blinded,
Vision eternally murky.

Leather seats pried from the interior.
The hood goes next,
undercarriage fully exposed,
Inner workings laid bare to the world,

Down to a skeleton
the automobile continues to dance,
bumps and grinds and
in pain and agony,
hurt and sold.

Axles taken, she falls to her knees,
too weak to stand, to
The engine goes last,
removed with a winch, her heart and soul
snatched from her

The song ends,
and there she lays on her pedestal,
Naked and Empty.


She unzips the knapsack.
Out comes
that little white tray.

She pulls a pill from it,
then pops it in with a sip of bud.

Down the hatch.

Who are you? I loved you.
You’re not you but someone else.
That pretty little girl, carefree, a part of me.
Two years gone by, took you with them.

Nothing wrong with what you
it keeps you safe.
Keeps you free, keeps you flying.
Burdens too great to bear.
Childhood dwindling,
tattered bones now,

I look, saddened, alone.
Here you are, once whole,
Now in pieces.
The chasm, once easily bridged,
Grown too far to mend.

Who are you, this person I knew?
Vacant, changed, altered,

Does she still exist? The girl
I loved?
couldn’t stop it, as time rushed forward.
You can never stop it,
Yourself, ANYONE.
Redemption, impossible,
Reprieve, unfathomable.
You lose I lose.

Drift back in, you keep talking.
A new commercial flickers across the screen,
But it is empty.
All I see is the reflection.

Look in the mirror, can’t you see the cracks?
You hear the noise, the tinkling of glass?
That’s innocence, shattered.
Falling away, falling down.
Down, into a little white tray.


Oleander wilts, death brought to her blooms by the monies of
Pieces of her bought and sold,
Manifold intents, violence, pain, worthlessness.

Her petals long faded, death encapsulates, hurt.
Her pale skin reflects the red lights, dark avenues of suffering and
Back alley bartering,
Slabs of meat, poked, prodded, grabbed,

Vines suffocate her, poison illuminates her path
Alcohol, fucking.

Endorphins releases, tales indoctrinated on her skin,
Tattoos trace her sinews, ink in the pores that keep out the acrid
of the World she inhabits.

Toxicity self-embodied, self-contained,
Self-segregated from the garden in which she blossomed,
Preventing the spread of her venom.
Her father spread enough.

Knee-high leather and ass-low skirts
her for open sign,
Black eyes and bruises, needle tracks
her price reduced tags,
damaged goods.

Rashes and blisters,
grunge and grit,

Oleander, pursuing perenniality,
Striving to be reborn.

A Cold Walk

Walking a cobblestone road with the wind whipping past,
The cold chews at my ears and nose, attempting to freeze off more of me,
To take parts on top of what I have already lost.

Heartless I stride filled with caustic liquids and bile, carrying my own ashes.
Looking for a place to spread my soul to the winds,
To cast myself upon the earth, to return to what I never was,
Normalcy, rest, tranquility,
To flee the anger and fear and internalized hate and venomous self-loathing that
Is me.

I seek a place for my remains where they can rest undisturbed, free.
I am crying and lonely and the pound of ashes I hold in a jar seems to
Weigh more than the mortal flesh that I inhabit,
What exists in the remains as important as the wind that will carry them away.
So as to say meaningless, fleeting, worthless, transient, and invisible.
The tears I shed sink into the soil and birth plants who will then die,
Because they contain me.
Any fertilizer I contribute twisted and sick,
My offspring cursed and broken, stillborn like my resolve,
My dreams quashed by the realities and inevitabilities of the pathetic existence
Which drowns me in its blackness and omnipotence.

I have found a pleasant patch of grass, brown
Littered with bottles, wrappers, syringes and other assorted waste
Among which I fit perfectly. I dig a hole, empty my jar in it and mix myself with the soil.

Clay Walsh, Age 16, Grade 11, Stuyvesant High School, Silver Key

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