I Would Leave Me If I Could : A Collection of Poetry by Halsey


I’ve been looking for a place to put these pieces.

For 25 years I have flipped spastically

from FM to AM inside my head.

I am, still,

unaffected by the abrupt static punching through my ears.

I don’t mind riding along to fragments and pieces

of the different stations.

I don’t mind the indecision of a Motown record

spearheaded by a metal guitar solo.

The classical arpeggio climaxing

into the blue balls of worship music.

You know the sound, right?

An indecisive radio?

I have found a home here amongst the chaos.

The constant.

Every morning the muse puts her finger in my nose.

One, then two.

Sliding into me


She stretches my nostrils wide

until her slimy hand crawls past my deviated septum,

in between my eyes,

and into my brain.

Exploding into a fist

when she reaches the cavity behind my temples.

The muse is bratty.

She is smug.

She wiggles her fingers around defiantly.

She displays her palm expectantly,

waiting for a present I will drop into it.

She brushes and tickles the walls of my skull.

The muse is a flirt.

She’ll always tease but never put out.

Fucking bitch.

I so badly want to be liked.

Scratch that.

I want to be loved.

I want her to love me.

Scratch that.

I want her to leave.

I want her to scratch that.

Scratch that itchy itch of my swollen brain.

It’s only awful ’cause the muse looks just like me.

Dirty fingernails and gummy smile.

But she sparkles the way only a beautiful woman can.

A beautiful woman is a car crash.

Shiny asphalt and smoking rubber.

Melted plastic and metal edges.

Glimmering glass shrapnel iridescence

scattered across the road.

Haphazard beauty. Dignified and slightly terrifying.

The car radio flips from AM to FM.

The doors are locked and I’m trapped inside. My head bobs against the airbag.

It’s calming. Like a mother’s bosom. I would imagine, at least.

My mother was full-breasted. But loudmouthed, and sarcastic, and raised her babies out of our colic with camaraderie.

She didn’t hold me close to the muffled beating of her heart beneath a department-store sweater.

She didn’t breastfeed.

The nature and nurture in my sternum are arguing now.

My shoulders are held together by two rubber bands pulled tight in a schoolboy’s hands.

Sometimes I feel like my spine will unfold and explode like a jack-in-the-box doll.

I can’t carry all this weight, so I must put it somewhere and somewhere is with you.

You will take good care of it?

I want to walk away from my bones and set them down on a counter like my keys after work.

Let my skin sink into the armchair and lose its shape. Lose its form. Collapse into a sigh.

I see all things in this world as more beautiful than I, and I spin the details of their atoms in every paragraph and brushstroke.

I wish I had 11 hands with 55 fingers so I could paint and write and fuck and feed and grab grab grab everything.

I. Want. It. All.

It must be mine.

I want to walk away from the burgundy bags under my eyes and the periwinkle veins in my hands.

I hope you’ll stay.

I hope you’ll stay.

But I would leave me too, if I could.


I was born 5 weeks early.

I couldn’t wait

to join the rest of the world,

and that is


the moment

my enthusiasm ceased.

The nurses tried to take me so my

“mother could sleep.”

But she refused to let me go.

I’m sure ultimately,

I ended up

in a common room for newborns.

And I’m sure ultimately,

I lay there comparing myself to the other babies.

Wondering if I were as smart as they were.

Or as funny.

Or as beautiful.

The average baby weighs 8 pounds.

I weighed 5.

The average baby is 20 inches long.

I was 14.

And it was on my first day on Earth

that I realized I didn’t measure up,

and I never would.


It is not a want.