A Millennium of Shadows, Pt. 1 (Poetry)


I wish I could burst every light bulb
And sew every pair of eyes shut
So the mirrors would stop showing my face
And I wouldn’t be looked at ever again.

Every time I go to take a shit
Or to wash my lanky, misshapen body,
I fear facing the mirror’s reflection;
It shows me how I really am: a monster
Who remains sickly pale and scrawny,
And whose face is covered in cystic acne.

I see a freakish abomination
That no one will touch.
That no one wants to talk to.
That no one will ever love.

Such a grotesque freak shouldn’t exist,
As my classmates insist on reminding me.
When I dare return to my classes,
Where the sunlight shines through the windows,
My classmates’ gazes burn my bumpy, itchy skin,
While they snicker at me with their twisted mouths.

What did I do to deserve being myself?
Everyone else is so disgustingly happy
Like they don’t know what misery is.
But when I try to tell some about my pain,
They just stare with blank expressions
And make me feel like a monster
For wanting to die.

No one will care about me once I’m gone.
They’ll forget about me within days.
Even my mother forgot after she left,
And my father prefers ignoring me.

I can’t say I blame my mother for leaving;
I would also do it if I had the strength.
When I return home, my father is sleeping;
He spends most of the day passed out
While the TV speaks out its propaganda
In a room that reeks of cigarette smoke.

Usually, the fridge is empty,
Until my father gives me some money
Of whatever his disability checks provide
So I can buy food for him and myself,
Although he rarely eats when I’m here;
He just sleeps the whole day away.

My father barely talks to me,
He hardly seems to notice I exist,
Which tends to suit me just fine.
Besides, I hate hearing his voice,
How he struggles through sentences
Due to his damaged brain.
I hate how he looks at me
With pity, but not sympathy.
I hate seeing the odd way he blinks,
The bloodshot eyes,
The drool that drips down his chin.
I despise his bald head
And his hairy, scruffy beard,
And the smell of his rotten breath.
I hate his stupid, vacant stare.
He’s a freak who cursed me to exist.
I wish I could destroy this world
To put an end to all of his misery.

The few times he said nice things,
He usually compared me to grandpa,
And told me how alike we are.
When the old man still lived,
He was a bald, creepy loser
With crooked teeth, scraggly hair,
And dark circles under his eyes.
His skin was pale and wrinkled,
And his arms were covered with veins,
Like those of a corpse,
While his legs looked like a bulldog’s,
All overgrown with hair.
I remember how he smelled
Like he’d been dead for weeks.

I was only ten years old,
But I knew what a monster he was.
Every girl at my primary school
Used to tell me about my grandfather;
He waited for the girls after school
So he could touch their perfect skin,
Call them his little princesses,
And repeat how beautiful they were.

At least at my father’s apartment,
I can hide inside my assigned room,
Where nobody can bother me.
It’s my refuge from the world;
There I am safe and free.

In the darkness of my room,
I create worlds that only I know about.
I don’t need to face the ugly outside
To imagine more beautiful sights.

I try to hide my feelings
Behind a wall of apathy.
I need to pretend everything is fine.
Besides, if it ever gets too hard
I can jump off a bridge or slit my wrists.
There’s nothing they can say or do
To save me from myself.

The next morning, the sun rises,
Lighting up the sky red.
At night, the sky will darken
And then become pitch black,
Only for the next morning
For the sky to change back.
The whole cycle repeats itself
Like ocean waves
Crashing upon the shore.

“Look away!” my mind screams
As I stand in front of the mirror.
How many times I repeat this scene?
Every morning I watch my ugly face
Hoping that the acne disappeared.
Every morning after waking up,
Every afternoon when I return home,
Every night before I go to bed,
I look at myself with horror,
Hoping that today I’ll die in my sleep
So I never have to wake up again.

My father told me once, “Smile,
People are supposed to smile.
If you keep smiling at others,
Then at least they’ll pity you.”

This morning, my strength fails me,
Like it has so many other days.
I can’t face so many hours of stares,
Of snickering and mockery;
Besides, I can’t concentrate anymore
On the worthless lessons
Meant to turn me into a wage slave.

I buy a train ticket and exit wherever,
Whether it’s another city, another province,
Another continent, or even an alien planet.
I roam to walk the pain away,
But a few of the strange passersby,
Often children, turn to look at me.
Some laugh and point
As they let out noises of disgust.

I hate them too.
I wish I could destroy this world,
And all the people within it.
I wish I could tear down the walls,
And rip apart the buildings
And the bridges and roads.
Everything would be destroyed,
And the world would be a better place
Without all of its ugliness.

If I spot someone exiting an apartment building,
I hurry up before the door closes,
And stare at the floor as I sneak in.
If I’m lucky, the faceless stranger will leave,
And I will be left alone in that empty space,
So I can hide between pitch black floors,
Where no one will look at me.

I sit for hours on the stairs
While I stare at the darkness
And listen to the echoed sounds
As they travel along the stairwell.

When I hear voices or footsteps,
I pretend I’m going up or down the stairs.
If someone passes me by
And I dare raise my head,
They avoid looking back at me,
Which serves me just fine.
The only thing I want to do is hide.

I can always hold my shit in;
I don’t eat that much anyway.
But when I need to pee,
I can irrigate a potted plant.

I’ve found a home in these empty spaces,
In the deepest depths of my mind,
The darkest corners of my heart,
Where no one can laugh at me anymore,
And no one cares about my deformities.

I conjure beautiful portraits in the dark.
A young woman with long blonde hair.
She wears a black lace dress
Which hugs her curvy figure.
Her lips are plump and pouty,
Her blue eyes twinkle mischievously.

She smiles at me, touches my skin,
And tells me how wonderful I am.
She’s always kind and gentle.
I will never have to face her disgust,
Nor feel the coldness of her rejection.

She whispers sweetly in my ear,
And caresses my pimply forehead
With her soft white hands.
“You’re beautiful,” she says.
“Your eyes sparkle like diamonds in the night.
There’s not a person in this world
Who doesn’t love you,
And who could ever say
That they didn’t want to fuck you.”

I reach out towards her image.
My fingers trace her shape in the canvas.
Other days, my hand only touched air,
But today my fingertips press against skin.

I hold my breath, I shake my head.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I tell myself.
But I’m touching something solid,
And I feel the cold radiating from flesh.

I move my hand up
Until my fingers touch a cheek
And coarse hairs on a forehead.
Suddenly, cold hands take mine,
And stroke it gently.
Strange fingers brush my palm.

“W-who are you?” I dare to ask.
A pair of cold fingers approach my mouth.
I part my lips, and I taste the skin.
It reminds me of grass and dirt.

“You can call me Glyca,” a whisper says.
I gasp. I wonder if I’m dreaming,
Or if I have finally lost my mind.
Should I run up the stairs
And switch on the light to look at her?
She’s a shadow that just appeared.

As I probe her frame further,
I feel her scaly skin,
Like the texture of a reptile’s hide.
She feels familiar, like kin,
And her coldness soothes me.

I caress the smooth contours of her cheeks.
I trace my fingers over her lips.
“Where did you come from, Glyca?” I ask.
“I’m always here, in the shadows,”
She answers with a raspy voice,
While her mouth turns upwards
Making her lips curve into a perfect bow.

Glyca opens her mouth,
And I feel her thick, syrupy saliva
As her tongue glides along my finger.
My heart jumps, my dick twitches.
A warm spreads through my body.

I feel the tips of her long, sharp teeth.
They are as pointed and jagged
As the thorns of rose bushes.
“Do I frighten you, boy?” Glyca whispers.
I shake my head slowly.
“Nothing feels scary in the dark.”

I feel her holding her breath.
Suddenly, her fingers brush my face.
Her scaly skin grazes my infected acne.
I’m disgusted and ashamed,
And I want to apologize for my ugliness.

“You are lucky we are in darkness,”
I say in a thin, weak voice,
“Because that spares you the sight
Of my rotting, hideous face.”
“Your words make me smile,
Which you also can’t see.
You can tell I’m not human,
And I’ve been searching the world
For a very long time.”

I wait for her to explain herself,
But in the end I have to ask.
“What are you looking for?”
“I need a mate,” Glyca answers
Without any shame or hesitation.
“The kind who can love me.
I am cold, I am alone.
But there is someone out there
Who will touch me, hold me.
Someone I can share myself with,
Who will give his body in return.”

I sit in silence for a few seconds,
Then I reach with my hand
To caress the cold skin of her face.
Her tongue slides along my palm.
I feel the soft, thick wetness of her saliva.

“Your body gives off an intense heat,”
Glyca says in a quavering voice.
“My body aches, it burns.
It’s like I’m on fire.”

My heart beats hard
As her cool, dry fingers
Glide across my scalp.
I feel her face inching closer.
Her breath caresses my skin,
And reminds me of flowers,
And rain, and fresh air.

She brushes the pimples on my jaw
With her cool, moist lips.
Her warm, slimy tongue
Runs down my neck.

We are both shivering warmly.
We both want the same thing.
I lean in to taste her mouth,
But Glyca pulls away.
“No,” she whispers, “not yet.”

I was touching her face
When her form disappears
Like a phantom,
Leaving only shadows behind.

Maybe half an hour later,
I still haven’t moved an inch.
I sit on the lukewarm stair
As I stare into the darkness.
I’m listening to the echoes
In case I distinguish Glyca breathing,
But she’s gone
As if I just imagined her.

Although I’ve always felt insane,
I could always tell apart reality
From my wildest daydreams.
But now I know I must have gone psycho:
No one like Glyca could ever exist.
The darkness must be swallowing me.

I close my eyes,
And I can still feel her.
The dark is filled with her body.
Her skin slides against mine.
Her hands run through my hair.
Her lips touch me, and then they part
Allowing my tongue to glide inside.
Maybe it’s a good thing
To go insane.

Back home, at night, I barely sleep.
My mind has snapped, and I feel it
As a constant gaze upon me.
I dream about shadows
And cold, scaly skin.

I force myself to attend my classes.
My classmates pretend I’m not here,
And I barely am; I can’t retain the lessons,
Because my mind wants to hide.
I fall into daydreams without realizing,
And I feel Glyca at every moment.
Real or not, she wants to be loved,
And so do I.
But what does love even look like?

I used to spend my afternoons holed up
In my room filled with junk and trash,
A perfect hiding spot for a boy.
But these days I’m roaming the streets.
I wander down the city blocks
And look up at people who walk past
While I feel a void in my chest.

If I made her up, she’s not coming back.
If she was real, she’s nowhere.
I don’t know where I’m going.
All I can think about is Glyca.
I want to give her all my love
So she doesn’t need to hide.

At school I failed to find what I sought,
So I start skipping classes again.
I go straight to the apartment building
Where Glyca had appeared.

I wait for hours,
But the old woman who opens the door
Closes it swiftly behind her.
“I don’t know you,” the woman says,
“And there’s something wrong with you.
If you belong in this building,
Open the door with your own key.”

I stand in front of the locked door,
As I stare the old lady down.
“The shadow girl said I could find her inside.”
“You’re crazy,” she says. “Get out of here.”

I sneak into another apartment building
To pass the time between floors.
I sit quietly in the darkness
Waiting for a sign from a phantom.
The shadows are empty.
I feel alone, and lonely.
I want to feel the touch
Of someone else.

I imagine Glyca’s scaly skin.
I can see her teeth like thorns.
I can smell her thick, syrupy saliva.
I want to be inside her mouth
Where I would feel safe and loved.
I would share my soul with her.
I would become one with her.
I want her to take me away.

My dick twitches, and I fondle it.
I unzip my pants in the darkness.
Nature could have given me a win,
But even my dick is humiliating:
The shaft often hides inside my body,
And I need to grow it a bit
Before I can wrap my hand around it.
I was cursed with an overgrown clit.

I imagine Glyca’s soft lips
Sliding along my worthless tip.
Her tongue flicks out
To lick every inch of my dick.
I hear her moaning
With the rhythm of her tongue.
As she sucks on the head
I feel her thorny teeth,
That pierce through the skin.

Glyca’s so cold and wet.
She’s not human,
But she feels like home.
I want to bury myself deep inside her,
And let her devour me.

My balls tighten,
And I feel a rush of release.
I spurt my seed into the darkness
While I call out Glyca’s name.

“I don’t want to go back,”
I say in the dark.
“I’ll never find her again.”
My mind screams in agony.
The familiar feeling of being alone
Is now a black hole in my chest.

As my shoulders tremble
And my tears fall on my lap,
I feel a soft touch on my shoulders
As if someone was kneeling behind me.
I turn around sharply and reach for her,
But my fingers only grasp air.

Days later I’m returning from the supermarket
While I hold two bags with the week’s groceries.
It must be some local holiday,
Because the kids are enjoying a foam party
That spills from a square onto the pavement.

The children’s joyful exclamations
Are like nails scratching my brain.
I’m in a daze, the streets feel strange.
Everything is blurry, and my skin crawls.
The entire world feels wrong
And my mind is full of shadows.

Something hits my ankle and I stumble.
I thought someone stepped on me by mistake,
But when I turn around, it’s Bear,
Accompanied by his posse of evil shits.
I never learned his real name, nor care.
He must be twenty or so,
And his body is bulky, thick,
Strong enough to assert his dominance.
Three druggies and dropouts follow him,
To laugh at Bear’s jokes and hold people down.

“Yo, Volcano Face,” Bear says to me,
“Why are you showing that mug in my streets?”
I remain quiet, I walk faster,
But two goons trip me and I fall on my knees.
When I reach for the bags of groceries,
Someone kicks them down the street.
Bear and his friends are laughing hard.

I try to stand up, but Bear pushes me down.
I dare to stare at them, to glare.
“You’re such an ugly loser,” one of the guys says.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t beat you up,” Bear says.
“Just leave me alone,” I mumble weakly.

They’ve got me surrounded.
I would never be able to fight them off.
In my mind, I hang them from hooks,
And tear their skin with a rusty knife.
I want to castrate them slowly
And force them to eat each other’s dicks.
I want to become a shadow monster
With cold, scaly skin.

I manage to mutter, “Get away from me.”
Bear first laughs, then kicks my ribs.
While the kids all hoot and scream,
Two of his goons grab my arms
So they can sink my face into the foam.

My eyes burn with soap and tears,
And I inhale foam with my ragged breath.
A few women scream at us,
“Stop! You are hurting him!”
Bear laughs, and steps hard on my wrist,
Then lifts me forcefully by the neck.

I can hardly see with my irritated eyes.
A group of blurry women have approached us.
“We don’t like this guy,” Bear says harshly,
“He’s just an ugly weakling,
And we need to teach him a lesson,
Show him how he deserves to live.
You be careful where you stick your noses,
Because we aren’t fucking babies.”

They push me one last time,
And I hear their footsteps leaving
As I hide my face in my hands.
I’m trying to breathe through the tears
And the agony of being alive.

Someone’s warm hand grabs my arm.
“Let me help you,” she says softly.
“It’s okay, let me look at you,” she says.
I refuse.

My stomach twists around itself.
Every muscle in my body constantly aches
From stress, anxiety, depression,
Anger, sadness, loneliness.
I can’t escape, I’m collapsing inwards.

I want to curl up in a ball and disappear,
But I’m not strong enough to kill myself,
So I keep pushing on and on
While I wish desperately for the darkness
To swallow me whole.

‘A Millennium of Shadows, Pt. 1’ by Jon Ureña

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