Alexandra Franchino


They say I mope too much,
and maybe I do.
But I can’t help that there is music playing in my head,
nerve endings being plucked,
vibrations that shake my insides.
And it is all just so much more interesting,
than keeping up with this raging world of frauds
flaunting their fake smiles,
strung together by gleaming ivories
and ear-splitting howls,
silent brawling for the best disguise.
Is it really so horrible to enjoy your own company
over someone else’s?
Without the explosive voices of the insiders,
there is time for the music to flow through my veins,
and to reach the atlas in my skull–
It guides me neither here nor there,
but knows the potential that my feet hold
to carry me.
But these are just dreams,
and we let the hope drown in the chatter
of those who pretend they cannot see me,
that I am just a whisper amid the screams.
Soon they’ll grow to understand that it is all just noise,
and there is a girl beneath the chaos,
with worried eyes and a sparkling mind,
and they will love her.


To Adulthood

I’m learning so many ways to wear seventeen,

with this mask stretched over my face

and curved on the edges,

just like the way my tongue wraps sounds into a name,

and the way my curled fingers

grab the gumdrop-smeared binding

to close this book before I’ve reached the final page.

I’m entering the assembly line,

waiting for the cap to top my head,

the robe to glide against my calves,

my heels to click up the makeshift stage,

my shaking hands to reach out for a crisp, slice of paper,

ending the life of the little girl

that jumped off a rock in the woods by her house,

and bled into the pillowy grass.

Sometimes she slips across the windows of my eyes,

too bruised and beaten

to glare back at the impersonator in the mirror.

She is hidden well surely,

but I can still see her in the way I chase the moon.

It is my own hands that now grip the wheel,

the tires soft coasting on midnight pavement,

driving to nowhere.

When this mask comes off I wear the beautiful night

as my tourniquet, and use its two slender fingers

to guide my eyes to rest,

with the creamy stars hung low in the sky

as my witness, and hers.

The thumping of my heart  

against the pillow, is the background of every sleep,

whether I am listening or not.

The roaring tantrums escape,

with no clear beginning or end,

and I look inside to quiet her

but instead get lost in the labyrinthine tunnels

that are my aching mind.

I’ve reached this crossroad they speak of,

with this constant raging in my chest,

ripping my eardrums to shreds,

letting adulthood swallow me whole.

All poems ©2016 by the author. Used with permission.

About Alexandra Franchino
I am a senior at Livingston High School and have been a part of the school soccer program for four years. I am the president of the Italian Honors Society and the Italian Culture Club as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the Inner Voices Literary Magazine. I will be attending Muhlenberg College in the fall and will be studying English along with playing for the soccer team.

Writer's Statement
 I write as a form of expression as well as a form of escape. It makes dealing with life easier and dealing helps to clarify my thoughts out where I can see and organize them. I also write because it helps me figure out who I am and discover things about myself that I would have never known. I typically write about adversities I am facing or events that are occurring in my life in order to sort them out.