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Burnout by Lisette-Elouise Powell

I had paracetamol for breakfast
then didn’t eat at all.
the effort to meet deadlines
and stay on track made stress lines
on my skin crack,
bent spine as the bricks stack;
I drink red wine to distract
myself from it all, in fact,
I don’t even drink red wine.
I tell lies all the time, like
of course yeah, I’m fine
just can’t talk yet
I’m busy
avoiding everything.
It’s annoying, actually,
how I treat my body like a factory;
gradually I’ll grind to a halt and revolt
decline orders to keep pumping out lies
like Ford Model T’s on assembly lines.
I can hold on a little longer.
I feel my joints grinding,
bones spark; making lightning,
striking for fair treatment, my body
a city and the streets screaming
to relieve them of the pressure
and lessen the load
lest they drop together
a lesson still not learned
after the bricks that built
my city walls corrode.
I can hold on a little longer.        
You know, I still struggle
to admit a state of emergency,
stumble over words and feet, I mumble that
urgency is not something that applies to me,
see, I returned every smile perfectly,
juggled expectation and reality
since I cut my first tooth.
Even now, I’m not telling the truth
because it’s harder to swallow
than two 500 mil pills.
How can you expect me to
follow through with hollow promises
knowing the lies I manufacture
on these premises?
I know what this is, I’m familiar with it
so I bought a brand new hammer
to tamper with this machine before it kills
shit, I’m not an engineer;
I don’t have the skills to do this
and why should the factory
know how to fix it’s damn self anyway?
I can hold on a little longer.
I suppose it won’t be long
before I’m put back on the shelf
until I feel strong enough
to carry on, run further
and look at me go!
I’m running
and running
and running
and running
out of steam.
But I can hold on a little longer.


I’m currently in my second year at the University of Worcester, studying a Joint Honours course in Creative Writing and Illustration. I’m also a part of my university’s poetry society and this year’s UniSlam team. I make a bit of money here and there by taking commissions when I’m not studying. My first and greatest love is Greek Mythology and it influences a lot of my creative work. I’ve not yet published any of my writing, but some further examples of my poetry can be found here:


  1. Fantastic insight to how people or person deals with everyday life especially in the current situation of lockdown. Trying to be what people perceive us to be but where a mask as if everything is ok. Loved this piece of writing.

  2. Fantastic... Relatable and beautifully written... Definitely a formidable talent, I look forward to seeing more published works in the future, you are exceptional young lady well done you.


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