In general, I believe people work their way up –

Pinching, punching, cutting.

Being myself, and different as always –

I did it backwards: Cutting, punching, pinching.

Always careful not to leave scars,

Not like the Emos at my school,

Who decorate their arms with faded pink ribbons

And walk around with sleeves rolled up.

Sometimes though, life got too much and secrets slipped

Out in what one might call "cries for help"

But I recognised as simple stupidity and idle carelessness.

After a year or two, I cut it down (O' what a pun on words)

Cut it down to the simple pummelling of aching body

Against solid walls – venting frustration's pain.

Today I lie in the dark, pinching my skin and

Counting the beats of dull pain pulsing from my head.

I chew my nails to the quick, and scratch at the spots

Which decorate my flawed face. My eyes stay dry –

Refusing to cry – and I count calories in my head

Imagining rats chewing fat from my sickening body;

And I contemplate my life with the careless despair

Of broken resignation. Weight is only one of many failures.

And I think of all those starving in Africa, and dream of

Scarlet gashes and slit throats; and bungee jumping free from ropes.