be-liev-a-rex-ic by J.J. Johnson
In a word, it's monsters.
This is an insightful glimpse into the life of a young teen, fighting the monsters who have taken possession of her body and her mind. She knows that she needs help
"you have been looking everywhere for
a monster-slaying sword"
but the monster's grip has taken complete control of her. This semi-autobiographical exploration of one girl's valiant attempt to identify, confront, and vanquish the monster within is it told through a series of posted regulations, personal narrative, and free verse.
I found many of the free verse entries to be particularly poignant.
You want it gone, the monster.
There is no safety or comfort while it lives.
You yearn for it to be slain.
You want it dead.
And yet, you need it. It is what makes you
It sets you apart.
It helps you.
Real Monsters by Toby Allen
"I hope to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren’t taken as seriously as they should. I want to make people aware of how damaging these illnesses are and how much of a burden they can be to those who suffer from them."
Here is his representation of two monsters. I have paired each one with Johnson's descriptive free verse.
Somehow, for no good reason -
or at least no reason you can figure out -
you have a monster inside you.
It is hunting you from within.
It waits around corners; it stalks.
A horrible beast -
greedy ,disgusting, toxic.
The monster tells you,
You are not what you are supposed to be.
You are not good
unlesss you are sick.
Picture everyone holding a bunch of balloons on strings.
Most people's balloons are plump and bouncy,
and they float really well.
Some people's balloons might be droopy
because they're sad, or sick, or something.
So my friends think my balloons are saggy,
and they try to help. They say, "Here, have some helium,
Let's get your balloons all floaty again."
But the problem is,
I'm not holding droopy balloons.
I'm not holding any balloons at all.
I'm standing there with strings that lead to nothing.
So even if my friends gave me helium-
tanks and tanks of helium-
there's nothing to put it in.