Creative Nonfiction: Black Coffee



By Courtenay S. Gray

I feel like a walking freak show. My body is large, stodgy, and unnerving. My large breasts add to the space taken up by my presence. No, I can’t run away from my skin. If I try, it will cling to my back like a satchel. None of my clothes fit the person I truly am. I spend many evenings searching through black bin bags for old clothes that I haven’t thrown out yet.

Vogue’s diet of eggs
and black coffee inhibits
a cure for wellness

I am a sad beauty that isn’t beautiful at all. My soul has been placed in the wrong body. Do you have any idea how it feels to be a prisoner inside yourself? There are no windows of opportunity, no silver linings, and there aren’t any onlookers. I can’t help but wonder if I took lots of diet pills and dyed my hair blonde, men might like me more.

skinny girls choke on
semen soaked Marlboros
we’re drunk on codeine

We’re forced to hold it all together. Tie the fuckin’ umbrella with steel wires. A house isn’t just a home. It’s the place where we take off the mask. The ugly truth unfurls like a film reel in the confines of where I rest my head. Throughout the glitchy movements of darling women laughing into smoke-filled air, an underlying melancholy broods like yeast.

American boys
run along the boulevard
kicking girls like me

You, over there. Yes, I’m talking to you. Why can’t you keep aesthetics out of your mouth? What business is it of yours that the lady at the post office is overweight or that your local bus driver ate three burgers on his shift? Oh, where have you gone? The arrogance radiates off you like an evil spotlight. When will we accept all? When will we live free of the concept of attraction?

all I did was starve myself
before eternal
sleep drags me into
disorientation where
nostalgia reverberates
dwindling girls receive
glowing reviews concerning
her tapered waist and jawline
party hats and silly string
admonish stark benefits





Courtenay S. Gray is a pushcart nominated writer from the North of England. You’ll find her work in an array of journals such as A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Misery Tourism, Expat Press, Red Fez, and many more. 

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