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Gonzalez & Roper – February 2022

Derek Roper and Anai Gonzalez traded art and words. Derek shared this untitled image with Anai:

In response, Anai wrote this poem:

the last test

the sun and the moon collide at this exact time
the stars align beyond the foggy smoke of night
like a curse waiting for the prophecy to unfold
i am violently forced out of my deep sleep
with heart palpitations, hyperventilating in vain
as if there was no more blood running through my veins
at the darkest hours before dawn, the woods come alive
they have arrived to claim my soul, this is no hallucination
my own nightmares could never conjure something this sinister
there are horrors hidden in the depths of this cruel world
much more deadly than whatever troubles you above the surface
oceans uncharted with too many secrets buried underneath
the last hour of judgment is soon to come crashing in
i choose to drown in my own despair than be killed by your hands.

* * * * *

Anai shared this poem with Derek:

 if i kill myself 

will my demons follow me to the grave? 
because lately that seems like the only solution 
to this constant torture going on inside 
how else will i shut up these screaming voices in my head? 
these thoughts have been lingering for years 
but today a new, (even more) terrifying thought arose 
regarding the possibility that maybe 
these demons will never actually leave me alone 
i roll them up, smoke them out                                    (through the clouds i can’t see them) 
i bottle them up, drink them away                               (this is how i drown them) 
i pack them up, run away to different time zones     (stop following me) 
i liberate them, let them run down my face               (even tears burn) 
i write them up, birth them in these words                (their existence) 
fighting for survival against myself 
it’s so hard to live when even breathing hurts 
after having survived pneumonia at 3 and bronchitis at 19, 
even after having fully recovered, 
each breath of air that i inhale & exhale 
can hurt because it forces my heart to take another beat 
it’s so hard to live when even a heartbeat hurts 
and then in some fleeting moments 
it suddenly doesn’t hurt to breathe anymore 
and each heartbeat reminds me that i’m alive 
that’s how i feel when i look into your eyes. 

In response, Derek made this image, titled “The Heretic”:

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