and then one day, the world changed

but you all stayed the same

just migrated from living underneath bridges to living underneath information superhighways,

days and nights became meaningless, each already deepened, chest became an abyss no one would ever find the bottom of

concepts like love fell into your gravity

we turned ourselves into life preservers, hoping to save as many as we could,

but the fathers who guarded closet doors and the mothers who secured the floors under beds all shook their heads, not knowing how to deal with you

you, who crept into our lives, with tongues like knives stabbing your words into our skin

you began to begin uploading yourselves into our homes,

you had computer screens for eyes and software for bones,

you turned your hate into stones

and hurled them at beauty, as if you couldn't bear to see anything other than ugly

anything different

you had fingernails like flint and scraped them against decency, hoping we would be the ones to all catch fire,

you all had smiles like one-way barbed wire

not meant to keep us out, but to keep us in,

always like a firing pin, you spoke in explosions

it isn't cute.

it isn't funny.

you talked strangers into death,

and laughed

and as each family learns to graft skin over the wounds you gave them, you helm yourself into the scar

you have coaxed the sober back into bars, handed out cigars at memorials

offered nooses, cliffs, and pills to those who unfortunately found you before they found help

you praised suffering

waltzed in between tragedies, gracefully dipping miseries as if we would be somehow impressed by the dexterity of your animosity

you cheered on rape,

dashed through police tape as if it were the finish line in a race on who could be awful first

even now.

you somehow see this as an invitation to turn your keyboards into catapults,

wondering which one of you can be the first to hate us best

your loathing,

already dressed in riot gear,

ready to incite rage,

as if each message board is a stage where you recite hostility, turning freedom of speech into freedom of cruelty

we are stuck with you.

the same way you are stuck with you.

your mind is glue and it keeps malice fastened there like cheap wallpaper

we were once upon a time told that none of you exist

we dismissed you as make believe, or myth. now,

armed only with resolve,

we can no longer afford to tell ourselves that you aren't real

we will not let you make your dinners out of the things we feel