Sleepless by Joshua Perez

Sleepless by Joshua Perez

INNER CITY STORIES

Ever have nights where you toss and turn, finding it hard to sleep? How about nights where you can sleep more than eight hours without a problem, but you're not really sleeping. You're living a horrible nightmare deep within your own conscience. Your worst fear is so real, and you can't wake up. You try so hard to get yourself out of the vivid scene, but it's all so surreal, it scares you to death. You can’t tell if you're reliving moments in your life, or if it's just a crazy dream. But finally you wake up, sweating, looking around in fear, confusion, and with slight relief to see you were really only dreaming, experiencing the most vivid nightmare you've ever had.

Now imagine going through this repeatedly. Not one night, not two, not even three nights, but for weeks at a time. Switching between not getting any sleep, and getting so much sleep that your nightmare becomes stronger and more vivid, even more terrorizing than the one before, seeming more real each time you fall asleep. You’re feeling mentally and physically drained, but you’ve just got to put those things to the side, there's more important issues you’ve got to focus on throughout the day; you feel so preoccupied that you can't just sit and think about what these nightmares are about, what's causing them, why they are occurring so often. All you can do is just push them aside until the next one comes around.  

As if it wasn't hard enough to sleep at night, but now when you want to sleep you can’t help wondering, what’s the next dream is going to be like? Is the next nightmare going to be worse than the last? Well, usually the answer to that is yes. Every nightmare involves an increasing level of fear. Just pure fear from the fact that these nightmares are combinations of past memories, and fear of things that you would never want to happen in your life. It's like taking your worst fears, and your worst memories, and combining them together to construct one of the worst creations your mind and subconscious could ever devise. It’s terrifying, and the worst part of it all is when you’re in the midst of the nightmare, you try so hard to wake up, you question how in the hell did you even end up in that position, you regret any and everything you did to put you in that position. Yet throughout the entire experience, you can't wake yourself up, you can’t piece anything together because it's not real; your mind can't make sense of the situation because it hasn't happened, but your mind starts to run wild with fear, unable to return to reality; you just keep dreaming until your body finally jumps out of the nightmare. You have to take a few moments to stop sweating, to catch onto reality again, and to let your anxiety drop back down so you can start up your day again after feeling like you just drained your body of all its energy trying to pull yourself back to reality, but failing so badly, for what seemed an eternity, just feeling, Sleepless.

Here Comes another Depression Episode by Jayson Henao

Here Comes another Depression Episode by Jayson Henao

INNER CITY STORIES

I often ask myself what's my purpose here on earth

What will be my life’s work, reflecting my personal worth

Maybe I'm only here to remain alone and in the background 

Not meant to be the cool kid or the class clown 

People always knocking me down 

Everywhere I go things turn dramatic 

Keep my feelings locked inside my mind’s deep attic 

Every time I turn my feelings loose I choke up and panic

As if I'm asthmatic 

Stay locked up in a room, becoming erratic

While my mind keeps telling me I'm no good -- it's so problematic 

I don’t understand why this depression persists, it's truly traumatic 

 

When people keep asking me if I'm okay 

My mind turns frantic

I simply reply, "I'm fine"

Now isn't that tragic?

 

Gave up long ago measuring the loss and the gain 

Take a look in my eyes and you'll see all the pain

Mixed in with sorrow, all bottled up inside 

This inner voice saying, just crawl in a hole and die

 

I'm not settling for all this depression, though 

I'm trying to shake the past, but I just can't let it go  

I’ve made mistakes I can't fix, and that hurts to know 

I can't decide how to feel or what to do anymore 

I'm so used to being on the down and low 

Feeling like just another mediocre Joe 

I tell my mind to stop thinking like this, but it just says no 

 

I'm confused, lonely, bruised -- always feeling abused 

I write this poetry so other people might be moved 

Showing they’re not the only ones who think they’re doomed Locked up and entombed inside a dark room 

Thoughts in our heads making us want to explode 

Feeling the onset of yet another depressive episode 

Picking our scars to guide others through the dark 

While our hearts are being slowly torn apart

It’s a Sister Thing by Oliwia Dabrowska

It’s a Sister Thing by Oliwia Dabrowska

Where would I be without her? She’s the one who keeps me sane. The only one who understands me fully. The only one I trust. She knows the real me. She knows basically everything. She holds my trust and love. She wouldn’t let me get hurt, even though when we were younger she was the one who hurt me. She was the one who pulled me off the couch by my hair. Even though that may sound like a bad memory, it isn’t. All those memories I cherish. She’s been in my life for a little over ten years now. The memories we have made during those years will never fade away. Those are the memories I want to treasure until I die. No one else will ever understand or have the same connection we have.

She’s now eighteen. She is an adult heading off to college in the fall. That hurts. It is heartbreaking to see someone so close to me leave. I will be able to see her whenever I want, but not as often. I see her everyday now, but that will probably turn into every month in roughly seven months. With all the stress we deal with and so little time to share, we’ll become further apart from each other. If that does end up happening I just want her to know one thing. You are my sister, my best friend, my everything. I love you and I’m proud of you. Kick life’s butt and be you. You have inspired me and helped me with everything. Thank you, and remember, I’m always here for you.

Crossroad by Oliwia Dabrowska

Crossroad by Oliwia Dabrowska

INNER CITY STORIES

As the sun sets, he skates down the bridge, his mind racing. He’s thinking of what had just happened moments before. “Just f*cking leave, no one wants you!” repeating in his mind. He stops. Stands at the edge with a light post hanging above his head. He looks out into the distance while the sounds of the waves crashing on the rocks swooshes through one ear and out the other. It reminds him of how hard the situation hits his heart. What did I ever do? Why me?

is thoughts get the best of him and he starts thinking about taking his life. Is it worth it? The orange sky reminds him of his mother. That color. It matches the shirt she was wearing on April 4th, the ‘#4” written on it in pure white. April 4th, the day his dad became an abuser, a killer threatening his mom right before his blue-grey eyes. He takes his knit beanie off to wipe away the tears that have started flowing down from his sparkling eyes onto his pinkish, chilling cheeks. “I love you,” he whispers, puts his head down for a minute, then rises. He takes his skateboard and goes to see him mother.

I Don’t Understand by Julia Conant

I Don’t Understand by Julia Conant

INNER CITY STORIES

I'm not trying to brag, I really don't understand,
Why everyone seems sad except me

Am I the only one who had a decent childhood here,
The only one "untouched," so to speak?

Have I not been introduced to the evil in the world?
Maybe I have, but it doesn't get to me

I guess that the real question here is

Am I inured to pain, or just lucky?