The literati mafia

I sit on the ledge staring down
At the lights of the billboards
Of women in fancy lingerie,
The cars driving steadily past
Like they’re on a production line,
Their driver lulled into
A false sense of conditional security
By the pantomime life society has encaged us in.

And I sit here, feeling so real
I can’t even bear to let myself think,
Because when I ask myself
What this all means, I don’t have an answer,
I used to have an answer.

The pavement serenades me,
Promising it’ll never let me go,
Romanticising the steel grip of finality,
But I’m not sure death means anything either,
I just want to feel something
For the sake of knowing that I’m alive,
And that somebody actually cares
That I’m still miraculously here.

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Path to Recovery

I look into the mirror
so I can stare in
my own brown eyes
and ask if this is
really the kinda girl
I grew up to become?

You have no real presence
If you can’t learn acceptance
And loving yourself
is the bravest brand of tolerance.

Yet I spent so many years
Scared of my reflection,
So many years,
Holding my own breath in,
So many years,
Scared of a number.

And I stare at myself,
And ask if this is really
what you want for yourself?
If it’s really worth it
To put your health on the shelf?
And why do you care about people
who hide from themselves?

But I promise I’ll try my hardest
to make this skin easier
to live inside of without killing it first,
Flood my veins with endorphins
and my thoughts with assurances,
Yet I know I’ll always fall short of enough,
Because I can’t put on neuro-correcting glasses
and see what the world sees when I look at myself.

Swing Set

The literati mafia

The wind brushes my arm sweetly
As I walk through the mulch,
I hear the laughter of children linger
Even though the park is empty now.

I sit down on one of the worn down swings,
Grip the chains until they leave indents,
And then I lean back until I feel weightless,
Before sitting up and pumping my legs back and forth.

My toes are kissing the sky when I let go,
And I close my eyes as I feel my body fly,
Carried by the wind to a random destination,
And imagine the crushing weight of waterfalls.

It carries me thousands and thousands of miles,
And maybe I’m dreaming, maybe he is too,
But he spins me and spins me until I’m in a ball gown,
And then the clock strikes twelve and he’s gone.

But people leave, and that’s okay, I’m still here,
I trace the scar on…

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Head Over Heels

Her hair smells like pineapples,
Makes me think of paradise,
Palm trees and bright suns,
The sting of tequila on my tongue,
White dresses and long veils,
White Egyptian cotton sheets,
Orgasms so great I can’t feel my bones,
I never needed them anyways.

And I’m falling,



I pull on the cord,
The parachute doesn’t open,
I soar away to another planet,
The people are strange,
They hook me up to machines
But let me draw maps during the day,
After I’m done I sit patiently,
Wait for her to find me,
Absolutely certain she will,
The tan on my ring finger fades.

It’s been a hundred years
And I see her again,
Smile brighter than the sun,
Than every single star I’ve seen,
And her touch burns hotter than that,
She doesn’t recognise me, I can tell,
I wonder how many people,
How many names she’s screamed
While I was waiting for her,
For a moment I feel like Odysseus
But I can’t muster up the bloodlust,
Finally I decide it doesn’t matter.

I push her off the plane to our honeymoon,
So she’ll know what the free fall is like,
I look for her after, I’m not the vengeful type,
In my travels I find a prince talking about a rose,
I wonder if I’m dead or if my love is too great,
Finally, I find her and she ties a rope to our wrists,
“Death won’t ever part us,” she tells me,
I kiss her wishing she remembered everything.

I’m at her funeral and everyone is crying,
I sit at her grave long after everyone leaves,
Not crying, I’m forever too empty to cry,
When I see her she is silvery white,
Every single scary story, every single legend,
She tells me to go home but I shake my head,
I can’t break her promise, I can’t and I won’t,
Instead I ask her if she remembers my name,
“Which one?” she asks before she disappears,
My feet finally hit the ground again.


Another one of my friends got engaged a couple of days ago. And I think had her fiance just waited a little longer, a week, he could have proposed in an international chorus of unimaginative, but no doubt romantic, proposals. That’s probably why he didn’t. But being original is so goddamn hard this time of year.

I contemplate this as I sit stock still. Pretend I can’t see her silhouette in the distance. Carrying a suitcase full of nightmares, memories of my mother and miscellaneous tea bags of sadness and anxiety. But still I pretend, because I’ve only ever kept my heart beating with hope, even if it’s wasted.

The hand moves toward the two and the church bell chimes like a condemnation. She’s arrived and she puts out all the lights and strips me down as cruelly as all my rape nightmares. And then she smiles. That’s all. Because who wants to waste effort breaking the girl that’s already so good at breaking herself?

“Get the fuck out!” I yell, my voice thin, tears already grinding against my vocal chords.

“Happy Death Day 2 is coming out on your mother’s birthday this year. Fitting, isn’t it?” she asks and laughs because that’s all it takes, movie advertisements adorning the billboards at every other bus stop. Circumstantial reminders from the universe that shouldn’t hurt, but they do, just the way three piece packs of Ferrero Rocher do as they remind me of my parents’ divorce.

But she started coming way before my mother died. When the days got shorter and the temperatures plummeted. Smothering me with a pillow so I would stay in bed longer. Force feeding me milk so that my lactose intolerant body would throw up everything I ate. Telling me I made myself sick for the rest of my life and for what? I still take up so much fucking space. She pours alcohol down my throat like she’s filling her car with petrol, the expensive kind, before driving it off a cliff. The time I ended up on that bathroom floor, laying my cheek on the stall because it was cool, she just watched. With that sadistic little smile.

If the day I die is in February or March, you’ll know where to look.

“You won’t win,” I whisper. Because it’s true, she won’t. She can’t. Soon the days will get longer and the sun will get hotter and flowers will bloom in all the green spots around the city. May will come around and Mother’s Day will hurt, but only the right amount. Nothing will get better exactly, but it’ll be as it is. The doom comes with her but it also leaves with her.

She just laughs. “I already have, you crazy bitch.”

No Reason

The literati mafia

Sometimes life leaves
Just as quickly as it came
On a day just the same
As any other
But monumentally different
Because this is the one
That’s going to haunt you
Until your dying breath.

And there’s no reason,
But he searches for one anyways,
Because what’s the fucking point
Of living this life as one should,
If nothing ever matters,
No good deed goes unpunished,
No bad deed goes unpunished,
Every other second is born of our need
To redeem ourselves
to whatever God is out there
So that the deepest type of grief
Is never ours to hold.

And he’s being driven slowly mad,
By a world that no longer makes sense to him,
His hand never far from a bottle
That holds the medicine he needs
To hide the symptoms of a pain that can’t be cured.

© Richela Rosales Maroto 2019

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Survival of the Fittest

Survival of the fittest;

Does my continued survival
Make me the fittest?

Ghosts walk amongst us,
You can feel it when the sun dips,
The tortured souls scream yes,
But death isn’t weakness:
Fear is

It’s chained to my wrist,
Every time I run it follows along
Swinging my hand back and forth
Like a hyperactive child
I feel compelled to protect,
I ask, politely, for it to let go,
“You first,” it says and then cackles,
Because it knows I can’t,
I don’t know how.

At the top rungs of the ladder
Are those not too scared to fall,
I keep climbing day and night
Dependant on my determination,
But I never reach the top,
Sometimes hard work doesn’t matter,
Conviction does, and that’s what I lack.

It’s not enough to say I’m fearless,
I have to actually prove it.

But I can’t, because I’m not,
So I pretend and I hope and I wait,
Because maybe one day it’ll be true.