Connor took a deep breath before walking onto the stage. He was next for the poetry contest hosted by the school. He remembered Evan and how badly Jared had treated him. He knew Jared was insecure, they were friends now, though friend would be an overstatement. They were comfortable with each others presence. But he wouldn't let it slide. So he wrote a poem. Zoe said it was salty. But he didn't care. So as he walked on stage he saw Zoe give an encouraging thumbs up as did Alana. Jared gave a half smirk but worry was hidden beneath the asshole exterior. He told Jared the poem was about his actions towards Evan. He stepped onto the stage and began.
"Once upon a time,
You and all your kind lived underneath bridges,
Had ridges for ribs that dropped off into empty chests as if your Hearts were all stolen treasures,
As if an excavation crew were hired to dig up and remove the part of you that let you feel.
And while the world above you invented the wheel, you stayed put,
Knowing it would one day need to roll over top of you to get to Where it's going.
You had an endlessly flowing supply line of food." Connor glared at Jared.
"You began to brood over humanity and made meals of our hope,
As if crushing our spirits would make your mirrors cast better Reflections than the ones they gave,
As if the only way you could save yourselves was to make the world Ugly so no one would notice you hiding in it.
You learned to knit pain into a kind of camouflage,
Treated hope like a mirage that you could use to lure in your next meal.
You lived off of our fears, as if you could taste what we feel.
And every night, as the moon read bedtime stories to sunlight.
You took darkness as an invite to head out into the world,
You curled your hands into wrecking balls, your breath became Squalls, you made rocks rumble, you made land shiver
You made boys and girls pray that someone would deliver them From you
We told them you aren't real." Jared looked oddly ashamed. Connor looked satisfied but also a little sad.
"Then one day, the world changed, but you all stayed the same.
Just migrated from living underneath bridges to living underneath Information super-highways.
Days and nights became meaningless, each already deepened Chest became an abyss that no one would ever find the bottom of.
Concepts like love fell into your gravity, we turned ourselves into Live preservers, hoping to save as many as we could,
But the fathers who stood guarding closet doors and the mothers Who secured the floors underneath beds,
All shook their heads not knowing how to deal with you." He earned a disapproving stare from Zoe and Alana.
"You, who crept into our lives with tongues like knives stabbing your Words into our skin.
You began to begin uploading yourselves into our homes you had Computer screens for eyes, and software for bones.
You turned your hate into stones and hurled them at beauty,
As if you couldn't bear to see anything other than ugly, anything Different.
You had fingernails like flint, and scraped them along decency hoping we would be the ones to all catch fire.
You all had smiles like one-way barbed wire not meant to keep us Out,
Meant to keep us in
Voice like a firing pin, you spoke in explosions
It isn't cute. It isn't funny." Connor didn't think he could quite look at Jared because he knew he was hurting him. He had half the mind to stop but he had to finish.
"You've talked strangers into death, and laughed.
And as each family learns to graft skin over the wounds you gave them, you hem yourselves into the scar.
You have coaxed the sober back into bars,
Handed out cigars at memorials,
Offered nooses, cliffs, and pills to those who unfortunately found You before they found help.
You have praised suffering,
Waltzed in between tragedies,
Gracefully dipping misery as if we would somehow be impressed With the dexterity of your animosity.
You have cheered on rape, dashed through police tape as if it were The finish line in a race of who can be awful first.
You somehow see this as an invitation to turn your keyboards into Catapults,
Wondering which of you can be the first to hate this best.
Your loathing, already dressed in riot gear,
Ready to incite rage,
As if each message board is a stage,
Where you recite hostility,
Turning freedom of speech into freedom of cruelty." Jared had walked out and Connor wanted to stop, but the raw power behind his voice at this point was too much to stop. He was almost finished.
"We are stuck with you, the same way you are stuck with you.
Your mind is glue, and it keeps malice fastened there like cheap Wallpaper.
We were once upon a time told that none of you exist, we Dismissed you as make-believe or myth.
Now armed only with resolve, we can no longer afford to tell Ourselves that you aren't real.
We will not let you make your dinners out of the things we feel." Connor took a breath and finished and bowed but he wasn't listening to the applause. He had to find Jared. He knew he was a dick.
Connors' legs moved on their own as he walked off the stage and began to full out sprint to find Jared. Zoe and Alana followed Connor to help aid in his search for Jared. Connor checked everywhere in the school. He went outside and found Jared on the steps of the school. "Jared, I told you it wasn't the nicest thing. I'm sorry." Connor muttered softly. Jared whipped his head around and looked right at him. "You're right. It wasn't the nicest thing. In fact, it was the most assholish fucking thing you could ever fucking write. Fuck you." Jared snapped and walked to the car. They had carpooled at Alana's insistence. Connor could really use a blunt right now.