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young artists / in sickness

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

A tell-all poem about the dire reality of young artists and where endless inspiration truly comes from.

art by elly smallwood

the inescapable, constant dread of the future inspires us to create

or perhaps it is the endless well of


balancing the limited love supply.

i know this is true because i remember when you still created music

in your bedroom, 15 years old. a lock, attached to a silver chain, hung around your neck,

close to your pounding heart, which always beat so vividly with inspiration; it wanted

to rip itself from your body, show the world your raw perfection.

you switched silver for black marble beads, attempting to numb your emotions,

stop bleeding such vigorous compositions. not to the dismay of your mother

dancing to midi music in her bedroom — nor of your father

who loved the sound of the shattered glass door spilling onto the porch.

and as much as i love this youthful narrative,

i’m starting to find it hard to pick up the guitar and put my heart on the strings,

pluck out my pain like i’m scooping it out of my chest.

do you look in the mirror and see a dead man posing as an artist too?


Sam H. is a college student planning to study psychology. They're an avid fan of niche TV shows and often enjoy reading comics in their spare time.


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