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Breathe - Raymond Hoffman

Never bit like the rest of them

Shoved unwarranted expectations

Only clinging to myself

The pressure encompassing

Kettle to pop right when they want

Devoured before I knew me

I’m not that interesting

Everyone needs to play or fight

Made to fit various parts

Conscripted too young

Can’t be left alone

Everyone is too preoccupied to leave

Like I have all the ingredients

I’m merely others’ outlets for scorn and love

Lost in their fists and arms

Have to polish my knees for traction

Passed around like an envelope

My glue not so firm from abrasion

Don’t know how to barter

Just shouldering with other masks dictating their wants

Queuing up to me like I got something to offer

Can’t even breathe

Their altitude has me compromised

Leaving the oxygen depleted

Dizzy as I find my way.


Raymond Hoffman has a background in political science and Southeast Asian Studies. He has taught in China for many years and currently is a fifth grade teacher in the Midwest. Poetry writing has been used by him as a coping mechanism for bipolar disorder for over a decade now. Sylvia Plath has always been a great source of inspiration, as has been Albert Camus. He has previously been published in the Humans of the World literary blog, Beyond Words Literacy Magazine, and Cathexis Northwest Press.


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