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Welcome to our Web Exclusive section. Each month we will be bringing to you poetry, flash fiction, columns and more! With that, we welcome you to our February exclusives!

BIPOLAR in AMERICA: Sick People
J.I.B.

The thing about sick people (and I know because I am sick people) is, sick people will seek out other sick people (because we don’t want to bother the Well). We will seek them out anytime we are lonely or scared or desperate. We are always lonely, scared, desperate. We will make a nest in shared filth. We will fill it with vomit. We will not leave the nest until we have to, until it floods.

When I was in my early 20’s, I started fucking a young women who told me, on many occasions, that if she wasn’t so disgusted with her body, if she wasn’t too ashamed to die and be found dead as she was, she would have killed herself a long time ago. In fact, when she was younger, her early teens, she sought out to starve herself thin, so she could finally off herself in the kind of body she could have some pride in (one she could live with dying in). She spent a lot of this time alone, aching from hunger, curled up in her bed, her eyes closed. After a while, realizing she was too fat(by her standards) to ever comfortably commit suicide, she decided to stick it out, but do so with as little pain (human contact) as possible, few exceptions.

Of course, this protected her from some potential pain, but did nothing in terms of allowing her pre-existing wounds to heal. They only became infected. I was a scab. In fact, I spent much of my life up to that point, as a scab. I had spent my teenage years starving myself, taking muscle relaxers, hanging out with 20 something’s with pill addictions and teenage girlfriends, fucking girls who’ve smoked cigarettes since age 12, and who were waiting to drop out of high school, who begged me to impregnated them so they’d have something that always loved them. Girls who really needed something to always love them.

We ended up moving in together, for the better part of 3 years. For the better part of 3 years, she avoided people, besides a very (very) small number of people (and shrinking) she decided were safe (easily controlled, predictable). For my part, I was hopelessly codependent. Not in a possessive way, not in a I will die for you and kill others way, but in a I have no vale unless someone I find attractive will fuck me regularly way. She fucked me regularly, and, in retrospect, I think she resented me for it.

For the better part of 3 years, we were sick, and we made each other sicker. For the better part of 3 years, we vomited on each other until we choked. There was no urge to protect each other from our disease, only to spread it back and forth, almost as if we were at war with each other - I guess in a way we were. By the end, there was nothing left but obligation, isolation, fear, desperation, bad sex, worse conversation, sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. A flood of vomit. A nest we had no choice but to leave.

But what kept us together for so long? We hated each other, hated being together, hated ourselves, (and more so all the time). I suppose, had the time come that our sickness finally killed one of us, the other, having already seen the deceased party at their ugliest, at their most cancerous, could quietly depose of the body. Maybe we both figured that was the closest either of us were going to get to dignity at that point - hidden disgrace. As sick as we were, maybe we thought no one would want to hold us at our worst out of love. Only obligation would do. That’s the only thing that seems to make sense.

You can follow J.I.B. on IG at j.i.b.trash.poet

The Drums of Cheating
Alshaad Kara 

It is too tempting
To remain silent
When lust keeps haunting
The mind with passion.
The heart aches with
A naked spirit taunting
To fill the night with
Boozes of flowery romance.
With moods of playfulness,
The hearts shall lead
Into sharing naked worlds...
The first instance when one bite
Is an affectionate memory,
Give way and waste the pleasures
Of freedom till one achieves
The eternal orgasm.

Alshaad Kara is a Mauritian poet who writes from his heart. His latest poems were published in three anthologies, "The Wonders of Winter" and "OUR CHANGING EARTH: Vol.1: A collection of poetry about the Earth and climate change, from poets around the world", "Love Letters in Poetic Verse" and two journals, "Coeur de plumes Numéro 6" and "Revue Caractère Automne 2022 Ventouse".

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