By Claire Yu
This poem is from the perspective of someone having an existential crisis and, in direct contrast to the title, has no pauses or punctuation.
what if I told you none of this was real none of this matters none of it makes any sense anymore it’s all a fairytale or maybe a nightmare and you’re all just yelling incoherent words there is no god and no knight in shining armor there is no one coming to help you and you’re all alone all alone your mother is crying and your father is apologizing which never happens and nothing is right and my lungs are not big enough to hold enough air to cry my heart isn’t big enough to hold enough pain to die and where does it end all the running all the running when we get to the finish line we’ll still be out of breath muscles aching still far behind everyone else my mother never got her prince charming why should I get mine what if the gut feeling never comes who do you trust when you can’t trust yourself how do I know if mirrors tell the truth seven men with grey hair follow me I must be the fairest in the land there is too much breath when you talk like you want to whisper everything but something in you chokes and you lose control everyone talks too loud anyway give me a break and thank god you only live once don’t ask me to do this shit again my fairy godmother has spectral eyes haunting me telling me to come to everafter we don’t need this world and sometimes I try to but that’s not how it works since when did I get to make my own decisions it’s all a strange affair and there’s a reason why old people have furrowed brows like they’re trying to figure it all out and never succeeded and it’s getting late there’s not much time left the clock strikes twelve and I have nothing to leave behind forget about it all but doesn’t that mean I’ve lost the game and losing is never a good option when can I go somehow I think knowing how much time I’ve got makes it easier tell me I can rest soon tell me we get a happy ending or at least for a little while give me a comma damn it I can’t tell what anyone’s saying anymore there’s no flow no rhythm we’re all just rushing into battle blindly they say we’re right but who cares if we’re wrong we all end up in the same place anyway please let it end I said the magic word but you don’t believe in magic anymore why can’t you just believe it’ll work out why can’t I believe I’ll live happily ever after.
I wanted to write a poem from the perspective of a girl who has lost confidence in life and has fallen into a depression. This poem is a compilation of all of our worries and doubts about life as human beings. By titling this ‘pause.’ and refusing to do so, I emphasized how panicked the speaker is and the need for her to pause and calm down instead of allowing her mind to continue to torture her with all of her worst fears about her existence.
Claire Yu is a junior from Queens who attends high school in Manhattan, NY. She enjoys writing poetry and memoirs, dancing and playing the flute. She has won regional and national awards at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.