Deceitful Love and its Glorious End (Translation of El Amor Tramposo Y Su Fin Glorioso) by Alberto Bejarano

I could not believe it. When he walked into the party, Juanito seemed so mad he might have escaped from apsych ward. His hair, usually well groomed, was a mess and his soldier costume was so dirty its green color looked more like a deep purple. I wanted to disappear because I knew what was going to happen. Juanito walked in with a purpose. He saw Chucho and quickly approached him. Chucho didn’t even have a minute to react let alone defend himself. Juanito hit him so hard he fell and almost fainted from the force of the blow. I could not wait any longer. I had to do something.

“Juanito, dear. What’s wrong? You can’t attack people without a reason.” I had to feign innocence. Otherwise Juanito could kill Chucho – something I couldn’t take.

“Without a reason, without a reason! Is it really without a reason? Didn’t he take you from me? Aren’t you two going to get married now? And he didn’t have the balls to tell me?”

“I wanted to tell you, but I didn’t know how to. Besides, it’s not Chucho’s fault, nor yours. If you want to punish someone, punish me. I knew I was going to hurt you, but I couldn’t avoid it. I love Chucho. I want to be with him for the rest of my life, and there’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”

All of a sudden, pain radiated up my leg and a heavy wetness made my skirt stick to my skin.The red color stained the white cotton, and when I saw it I felt as if I were going to faint. The dance music filled my head with a fast beat that mimicked my racing heartbeat. All of a sudden, the party’s colors became dark and my head filled with silence. The lights, the music, and Juanito’s face were all gone. What happened to me? Did I die? I have no idea.

You did it. You have been successful. Now you can breathe, relax, and start again. You freed yourself from your obsession. After killing her, after seeing the blood, you don’t feel guilty. You feel justified, strong … you finally feel normal. Shouldn’t a person who commits a murder feel guilt or at least sadness? Now, without Marta, you can be happy knowing that she can’t be with Chucho; that no one can be with her. When you see her cold body, you notice the white skirt stained with blood, the bluish sweater you always liked, and the pretty face that just spoke to you as if you were no one, as if you were nothing. Devil, manipulative whore … she deserves it. You don’t care what happens now. Now you can be at peace. Hearing Chucho’s criesfills you with joy. You are so sublimely happy, as happy as a greedy lottery winner.

“Now you can suffer like I have suffered. I am free. I have freed you too. You’ll see. You will see.” Chucho’s face, filled with confusion and pain stares back at you. You turn around and leave the dance. You walk slowly, calmly toward your car. You don’t make it. The police arrive. They attack you and put you in the car to take you to jail. What are you going to tell the judge? The truth? Are you going to make him understand why you killed her–that you had to free the world from this devil.That you murdered a woman who deserved it. You can tell him that she manipulated you, that she has manipulated you for years. Tonight, what she said determined her fate. She chose it. This is her doing.

The crime finally committed, Juanito felt calmed, relaxed, justified. He couldn’t see his actions as those of a crazy, dangerous man. Poor Chucho, he held his beloved thinking he had never met a woman so good, so pretty, so passionate. He had no hopes of finding a similar woman. She was unique, almost a saint in his opinion. He could not understand what had just happened; neither could he find a single flaw in her. It’s true what they say: Love is blind. He hoped Marta did not feel too much pain as she died. He hoped she did not understand what was going on. He did not know that Marta, when she realized she was dying, felt neither pain nor fear: she felt relief, the relief that only a guilty person can feel. She knew she had orchestrated the crime. What Juanito had done was not fair; but it was she who had written the tragedy. She knew hell awaited her, but she did not care, she welcomed it. Her end was the way she wanted it – dramatic, painful, and violent. Committing suicide has never been so easy, so glorious.

El Amor Tramposo Y Su Fin Glorioso by Tracy Dinesen

No lo podía creer. Juanito, al entrar la fiesta parecía tan enojado que quizás pudiera escapado de una sanatorio. Su pelo, normalmente bien peinado, era desordenado y su disfraz de soldado era tan sucio que el color verde parecía más un morado profundo. Yo quería desaparecer ya que sabía lo que iba a pasar. Juanito entró con propósito, vio a Chucho y caminó hacia él rápidamente. Chucho no tenía ni un minuto para reaccionar ni protegerse. El golpazo que Juanito le dio le hizo caer al suelo y casi desmayarse. No podía esperar más, tenía que hacer algo.

“Juanito, querido, ¿qué te pasa? No puedes atacar a gente sin razón.” Yo tenía que fingir mi inocencia, si no Juanito pudiera matar a Chucho, algo que yo no podía soportar.

“Sin razón, sin razón….¿de veras es sin razón? ¿No es que él te robó de mí, qué ahora te vas a casar y ni tenía los cojones para decírmelo?”

“Quería decirte pero no sabía cómo decirlo. Además no es culpa de Chucho ni de ti, si quieres castigar alguien debes castigar a mí. Sabía que te iba a dañar pero no podía evitarlo. Le quiero a Chucho. Quiero estar con él para el resto de mi vida y no hay nada que puedes decirme para cambiar mi opinión.”

De repente sentí un gran dolor en la pierna y mi falda comenzó a mojarse.
El rojo manchó el algodón blanco y al verlo sentía como si fuera a desmayarme. La música del baile llenó mi cabeza con el ritmo rápido que imitaba la lato de mi corazón. De repente los colores de la fiesta se pusieron negros y no escuché nada. No había ni una luz, ni una nota musical ni la cara de Juanito. ¿Qué me había pasado? ¿He muerto? Ni idea.

Lo has conseguido, finalmente tuviste éxito. Ahora puedes respirar, relajar y comenzar de nuevo. Te has librado de tu obsesión. Al matarla, al ver la sangre no te siente culpable sino justificado, fuerte…normal. No es qué una persona que comité un crimen debe sentir culpable o por lo menos debe sentir triste. Ahora, sin Marta, al saber que ella no puede estar con Chucho, que nadie la puede tener puedes estar feliz. Al ver su cuerpo frío notas la falda blanca, manchada de sangre, el suéter azulejo que siempre te has gustado y la cara guapa que acaba de hablarte como si fueras nada. Puta, manipuladora, diabla…ella la merece. No te importa lo que te pasa, ahora puedes sentir paz. Los gritos de Chucho aun te hacen alegre, tan feliz que te sientes como si acabaras de ganar la lotería.

“Ahora puedes sufrir como he sufrido. Estoy libre. Te he liberado también. Lo verás. Lo verás.” La cara de Chucho, lleno de dolor y confusión te miró. Giras y sales del baile caminado despaciosamente hacia tu coche. No consigues tu meta ya que la policía llega. Te atacan y te ponen en el coche para llevarte al cárcel. ¿Qué vas a decir al juez? La verdad. Te vas a hacerle entender por qué la mataste, que tenías que matarla para liberar al mundo de esta diabla, que estabas asesinado una mujer que lo merecía. Puedes decirle que ella te manipuló, que te ha manipulado por años. Esta noche, lo que ella dijo decidió su destino. Ella la escogió.

El crimen ha cometido, Juanito sentía tranquilo, relajado y justificado. No podía entender que sus acciones eran las de un hombre loco y peligroso. El pobre Chucho abrazaba a su amante, llorando y pensando que en su vida entera no ha conocido una mujer tan buena, tan bonita ni tan apasionada. No esperaba encontrar otra parecida. Era única casi una santa en su opinión. Él no podía entender lo que acaba de pasar ni podía ver ni un fallo de su novia muerta. Es verdad lo que dicen: el amor es ciego. Esperaba que Marta no sintiera demasiado dolor al morirse, que ni entendiera lo que estaba pasado. Lo que no sabía es que Marta, al entender que estaba muriéndose no se sentía dolor ni miedo, sentía alivio, el alivio que solamente una persona culpable pudiera sentir. Sabía que ella ha causado el crimen. No era justo lo que hizo Juanito pero ella era la que escribió la tragedia. Sabía que el infierno la esperaba pero no le importaba. Su final ha sido como quería, dramático, dañoso y violenta. Suicidarse nunca ha sido tan fácil ni glorioso.

Unclean by Caitlin Dicus

So you think you can jump in my pool and leave
Dirt, filth, anger, marks of you behind for
Me, a child wielding sandpaper against freckles,
To feverishly scrub away with only my own pale arms?

I blame you for baptizing me in your unclean water with this
Muddy hair sticking to my neck, a familiar leech of my lifeblood,
And slathering my face with your dimples and expressions
So that I will laugh, cry, and scream like you.

But your bludgeoning words calloused my small
Weak body against your kind, who kill and crush
The tentative dreams of farm-grown daughters.
I thank you for making me strong.

Though even now you follow my name like a parasite.
With the precious Gaelic charm comes a stinking
Germanic afterthought better off forgotten.
I blame you for sullying my very existence.

But one day your filth will fade
When my mother gives away my hand
My years of feverish scrubbing will finally
Wash away your marks.

So you think you can leave me,
Like a single achene from a long-rotted dandelion
Blown into the dirt between the fence cracks?

Thank you for the strength to wait on the rain.

On and Off by Caitlin Dicus

On.

Shield my chest with these
Vulnerable arms, naked
To the inevitable pain,
Shock.
“It will only hurt
For a second,”
I think.
Now.

Rivulets of fire snake down
My legs and stomach, burn
My back like the lashing
Of a whip, and singe
My face, boiling,
But I breathe.
Breathe.

The steam curls in my nostrils
Nursing ice from my bones
Slow and sweet, pain
Flows from toes
And away.
Gone.

Let down my shaking shield
And fire course in my heart
Holding it close
In love. My skin
Is alive.

Scorching me inside and out
This fiery game I play
Drenches me in need.
My fix.

The first one always hurts.
But in the end,
Pleasure.
Until I turn the
Handle.

Off.

Mountains by Caitlin Dicus

The family is playing hearts,
And I am biding time,
Biding time before we leave one another.
Before we return to our own kitchens and sofas
Seemingly sitting in park or in neutral
Only to wait for the next Sunday
When my grandmother will do battle again
As I silently wish to myself
That she’d wave the white flag on the fight.

Gallantly she wages an endless war against filth.
It accumulates across the garish maroon linoleum in
Tiny man-made mountains of dirt that snake
Around thin rivers of spilled water left behind
By the thinner pink tongue of my coonhound.

But each time the landscape disappears,
My heart aches for your tiny world that has been swept away
I wish she’d allow the mountains and valleys,
Palm-sized and beautiful, to stay where they were,
Right where your muddy steel toes left them.

It’s always like this on Sundays
When you’ve spent all day outside changing my oil,
Painting the Thunderbird,
And getting a Sunfire ready to sell.
I know you’ll come in later
With a fresh sheen of sweat
That makes your face glint in the sinking sun.
Your grease-stained fingers will pinch the bill of your hat
And hold it in your hand as the back of your arm grazes your forehead.

New scuffs and rips have piled up on your jeans,
To match the small white circle
Worn into the back right pocket–but
You’d expect nothing less from a long Sunday
That ends in a hand of pepper always
With your niece as your partner.

So each Sunday I will bide my time
Until your tinkering is through.
Because I’d never dream
Of having a clean-shaven pepper partner
Who didn’t smell slightly of earth
Like you, a maker of mountains.

Psycho Therapy, That’s What They Want to Give Me by Tierney Israel

I hated counseling. (Or therapy or whatever you want to call it.) Whatever it was, it wasn’t me.

I had gone for the first time at age 16. It was DHS-mandated. And I’m pretty sure forcing a 16-year-old to do something they absolutely do not want to do is about as helpful as giving a map to a blind person. I did not want to go. As far as I was concerned, the whole thing was bullshit. I hadn’t said the things that they said I did, so needing counseling was crap. I wasn’t suicidal. I hadn’t said I wanted to die or that I was going to kill myself. I hadn’t.

But they said I did. And when you’re sixteen, there’s no arguing with adults. Especially the ones from DHS. So I was going to counseling.

The DHS place was in Knoxville, not too far from the square. The waiting room was small and dingy. There were only about six chairs, most with stains that made me reluctant to sit in them. The fluorescent lights flickered overhead. On a small table, there were magazines that were older than the ones that sat in my dentist’s office. My mom was reading one anyway. There were tons of pamphlets in a display hanging from the wall. I passed the time by mocking the illustrations and ridiculous names on some of the papers with my sister. She was stuck doing mandated counseling as well. Some of the pamphlets announced help with parenting, being pregnant, most things involving children, sporting misshapen babies in colors that don’t exist in the natural world, some generic AA pamphlets, a couple about drugs. Most of the pamphlets were printed in odd colors, like they got them on discount because nobody else wanted those colors on their pamphlets.

Finally, it was time to go in. I was nervous, to tell the truth. I’d never done anything like this before. I wasn’t really sure how the whole “spilling your guts to a therapist” thing worked. The receptionist opened the locked door next to the bulletproof glass that separated her from the waiting area (seriously, bulletproof glass and a locked metal door, what did they think was gonna go down in there?) and led me back to the office of the doctor I was seeing.

She seemed nice enough at first glance. Short brown hair, cute smile, she introduced herself. I can’t even remember her name now, Julie, Jill, something like that. Her office was small. Her desk was pushed up against one wall, with two chairs and filing cabinets lining the other walls. It was cramped. There were papers tacked to cork boards above her desk and a lone plant squished between the door and the filing cabinet.

She asked me about myself. Did I play sports, was I in any activities at school, my age, grade, whatever. (No, yes, 16, junior, blah.) Then she dug right in.

“How long have you been cutting?”

“I don’t know, since I was, like, 14.” I remembered the exact day I started.

She looked down at her notepad as she quickly jotted this down. I think she knew that I wasn’t telling her the whole story. I didn’t care. I didn’t even know her. Why should she be privy to all my deep dark secrets?

“So you told someone you were thinking about suicide?”

“No.” I don’t remember.

“Well, someone thought you did and they were worried about you.”

I noted the careful avoidance of gendered pronouns. As if I didn’t know who it was. I did. It wasn’t too hard to figure out when I saw the report that it had been said via text message. There was only one person I talked to about cutting over text messages. Then she changed the subject.

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

“No, but I have a girlfriend.”

“So you like women?”

No. I just have a girlfriend for the hell of it. I’m actually straight as an arrow.

“Yeah.”

“Does your family know, or your friends?”

“Yeah. Everyone knows.” It’s kind of hard to keep a secret like that in a town as small as the one I grew up in. I told one person and it was around the entire school in minutes. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it took less than a week.

“When did you come out?”

“When I was 14.”

“Around the same time you started cutting?”

“Yeah, I guess.” I didn’t like where this was heading.

“Do you think they’re connected?”

“No.”

She looked unconvinced. She jotted something down on her notepad and looked at me. As if she was waiting for me to change my mind or something. At this point, I decided she wasn’t going to help me. It’s like, if you’re gay and a cutter, they have to be related. Nobody can fathom that I could be comfortable in my gayness and still be a cutter. But I was.

Being gay was never really a big deal to me. It’s just how I was, how I am. For as long as I’ve been aware of the differences between boys and girls, I was always drawn to girls. When I was 11, I was obsessed with Sigourney Weaver. I even went as far as to name my sugar baby (you know, those 5 lb. bags of sugar that you dress up and carry around as if it were a real baby for weeks) Sigourney in 6th grade.

Instead of telling her any of this, I remained silent. She asked me a few more questions and I replied with short, mostly one-word answers. Then our time was up.

The next time I went, two weeks later, she didn’t remember much about me. As the only DHS counselor in the area, Jillian or Julia, whatever her name was, was pretty busy. She asked me some of the same questions and looked through her yellow notepad full of things she wrote down about me during the last session. We never really accomplished much. I was only required to go four times, and as soon as those sessions were done I informed my mom that I didn’t want to go back. She didn’t make me. She believed me when I told her I was fine. Even though I probably wasn’t.

The next time I went to counseling was around a year later. I was a few months shy of 18 and ready to head off college. My sister had been seeing a psychiatrist for a couple months; after being diagnosed with mild ADD and put on medicine, she was doing much better. Her success prompted my mom to suggest that I give the place a chance. I didn’t really want to, but I knew that she’d force me if she had to. I agreed. I didn’t want to see my sister’s doctor though; I wasn’t really that comfortable talking to guys, let alone spilling my most private thoughts and secrets to one.

A week later I was in the office of a middle-aged blonde woman. The office was filled with Barbies, a dollhouse, and bright pictures. I was horrified. It was a counseling center for kids, aka anyone under 18, which technically I was, though not for much longer. I figured they had someone for teenagers, not a multipurpose doctor with an office so full of crayons and toys and rainbows my head wanted to explode. But the guy my sister was seeing had done wonders for her, so I was willing to try. Or at least willing to go. I didn’t know if I would bother trying yet. I didn’t know this lady; she didn’t know me. I might hate her, she might annoy me, she might not care about me, she might not remember anything about me. So for now I’d go.

During the first session my mom came in with me and told the doctor about my cutting. From then on, that was the focus of our sessions. I wanted to talk about my girlfriend and the fights I was having with my sister and the rest of my family. She wanted to talk about cutting.

I’m a cutter. I get it. Even if I stop for a long time, it’s still a part of who I am, and it’s always going to be. But it isn’t the most important thing in my life. Not now, not ever. It was and is an important issue that I have to deal with, but it’s not the only thing that defines me, nor is it the only problem I had. But that’s not how it seems to everyone else. They want to talk about it always and analyze everything about it to death instead of letting me talk about other things that might be bothering me. I am a cutter. But I’m not just a cutter. Then, I was also a gay, teenage, high school senior who was confused and worried about the future. There were more pressing matters in my life than a few cuts on my arm. There were other things I wanted to talk about. I only went to counseling a couple times before I decided that this lady wasn’t going to give me the help I needed. Not only that, I was going to be too old soon, and really, probably already was, to go to a children’s counseling center. My mom bought it.

The next time I considered counseling was my sophomore year of college. Like many people, I had been struggling. I was learning that I wasn’t really prepared for much of what my professors expected me to do. I hadn’t made many friends, so a professor or two suggested that I go to counseling again. When I started cutting again, counseling was very strongly recommended, but I didn’t want to go.

I could handle it on my own. I knew how to deal. I didn’t need some person who didn’t understand me analyzing the hell out of everything I was trying to deal with. I was fine on my own. I was coping just fine.

Halfway through my junior year the shit really hit the fan. I was depressed and cutting again. I had just been dumped by my girlfriend of six months, the woman I thought I was the love of my life, the woman I had been living with, working with, spending most of my time with. My best friend was in Germany for the semester, so any contact we had was sporadic. I didn’t know what to do.

When one of my professors assigned me a story about Eating Disorder Awareness Week that required me to talk to the head of counseling services, it was like the answer I was looking for. I met with Dr. Ellie Olson. She was nice. She answered all my questions about the events planned for ED Awareness Week and gave me a paper that listed all the events as well. After about ten minutes I left her office with all the information I needed. As I was leaving she said I could email her if I needed anything else.

I did.

The next day I emailed Ellie about making a counseling appointment. She was glad that I emailed her and gave me a rundown of her available times in the next week. I scheduled an appointment for the next Thursday at 3.

I came in fifteen minutes early to fill out paperwork before my session. I was nervous, just like the first time I had gone to counseling. The waiting room was totally different, as it was the main area of the Student Development office. There were computers, tables and people. It had the same fluorescent lighting, but not in the same depressing way as the DHS office had been. Ellie led me back to her office a few minutes later. It was small, but not cramped. There were no Barbies or dollhouses, just a small couch with a chair opposite it. She had the paperwork that I had filled out. It told her that I was cutter. It told her that I was gay. She asked me about my job.

When we finally did talk about the cutting, she said something that no one had ever said to me. She told me that cutting was my way of coping. It was coping. It did help me deal. She didn’t try to tell me that it wasn’t helping or that I was just ignoring my problems. She acknowledged that it was something that was helping me.

For the first time in my life, I don’t want to stop going to counseling. I know that I’ll be graduating and moving on to new parts of my life and I won’t be able to sit in Ellie’s office once a week and talk about whatever I want to. And it scares the hell out of me. But Ellie thinks I’ll be okay and that makes me feel a little more confident. It makes me believe that I can do things I didn’t think I could before. Like quitting smoking.

It hasn’t been that long and I want a cigarette. But I don’t need one. I don’t need this craving to mask another. I have a support system. I have friends who will be there for me. I have a counselor who has helped me figure out new coping skills that actually work for me. I don’t need to pretend to be alright because I’m actually getting there. I still smoke and I still cut sometimes.

Atlas by Caitlin Dicus

You are my Atlas.
Nothing can shatter those shoulders
I feel that fool my fingertips
Sliding slowly over their glassy surface
Convinced they are treasures breakable but
Heat rippling beneath the hard
Olive surface whispers secrets
Of something god-like and I
Would be false if I did not believe
That only the shoulders of a god would fit
So snugly behind my knees when you
Push them toward my chest.
Oh hold me high, Atlas.
When the coarse Greek curls that
Cover your heart are
Dripping, every inch of
Me suggests your heavenly scent
And only your lips can hold
The small gasps sliding from
My mouth, breathing frantic
Fire into my lungs and
I beg you, hold me high and fast
On your celestial shoulders so I may
Scream and sigh when you lift me to touch the sky
On your Grecian shoulders of Atlas.

Meet Me On the Bench by Anais Boulard

Meet me on the bench
Like a call vanished in the sand
Like a sad song sung by a drunk man
Like another bad best seller.

Meet me on the bench
The park is pretty just like you are
The leaves, the kids, and the green floor:
A bed for true lovers.

Meet me on the bench
See, I brought you a box
Full of sorrow and rain
Full of the stories I forgot.

Meet me on the bench
You never come, though.
Lonely foolish loving a fairy
Lovely fairy who the loner banished.

Teardrop Sanctuary by Shelby Burgus

At this park I sit, watching the rain pour down around me, letting its fresh air wash over me, renewing me. This park where memoires flood back; where it’s okay to cry; where I can finally let my guard down and be myself again. As if the grounds soaked up my distant memories, the tears and the laughter, saving them for times like this, reminding me of what I had, what I’ve lost. When home feels empty, this place becomes my sanctuary. When I can’t find the strength to hold myself up, these swings hold me. Memories sweep me into a different time, a different place, cradling me. So let the rain keep falling; let each drop wash away this empty feeling. Let them bring sanity, the strength to bear this life. When the trials from this world seem to overwhelm me, this place holds my escape, my teardrop sanctuary.

 

 

The Guardian by Shelby Burgus

You could search your whole life long and never find a heart as pure as yours. You could travel to the ends of the earth, in this dimension and the next, and never find a soul more beautiful. There are no words to express how truly amazing you are. Every day is a battle, a battle you take on without so much as a grimace. Your strength knows no limits and your courage is never-ending. Not many people would give up their hopes and dreams in order to give another a chance at living out theirs, but you did it as if there were no other options. Remove your disguise and unfurl your wings. Let your soul shine forth. Show the world what you truly are: an angel, my guardian angel. I love you, Daddy.