You tell me to smile
I need to smile more often
I suppress the roll of my eyes
but keep my lips pursed down in defiance
For I am not your puppet
Nor your marionette nor your little drummer boy
Nor god forbid
Your barbie doll
And though you press my buttons,
Please remember that you do not pull my strings.
For what do you know of my sadness?
Of the things I see or feel or think
on lonely nights and dreadful days
for which there is no sunrise or set
But one long, hellish today
for which the skies are forever overcast
insides are always squirming
And your shoes never match.
Barred within this nightmare by the torture insomnia
And you command me to smile.
You tell me I need to smile
But where is the substance in a smile?
But lies and cons and deception of the trickiest sort
masked behind sincerity of chemically-whitened teeth
Who are you to dictate my disposition
But to preserve your own comfort
as you rest your head
on down-feather pillows?
I do not drag you into my sorrow
So why must you me into your ignorance?
Ask me to smile when children are starving
as we sit around Thanksgiving dinner getting fat off our own gluttony
Paying money that can save hundreds of lives
on diet plans and liposuction.
Ask me to smile at my own good fortune
The roof overhead and clothes on my back
and food in my belly to help me sleep
But it does not sedate my conscience.
And when you tell me to smile
That same conscience hurls up bile
and the acid burns my brain so bad
I beg God for a lobotomy
Choking on my own thought vomit
making my throat choke and my eyes water
Not for my pain, but for you, and your ignorance.
You tell me I'd be so much prettier if I would just smile
As I consider how pretty you'd look buried six feet underground
Then perhaps I shall find a reason to smile.
By: Eileen C