Stuck In the Past

by Elliot Pope


I stand in the filing cabinet of memories,

and pick one to regret.


I do this every second of every day,

flip back through the

Chronicles of a Screwed Up Teen,

and wish I had done things differently.


why did i use that wording? 

they probably thought i was mad.

i need to be kinder.


I pick at the threads of my brain

and unravel them one by one

until the memories become mixed and tangled.


why did i hug them?

i could’ve sworn they tensed up at first.

i need to remember to ask.


I rewind the movie,

pausing on every scene,

studying each detail to see what I missed in the moment.


why didn’t i go to that event?

it could’ve been the opportunity i had been looking for.

i have to take more risks.


Over and over and over,

until the embarrassment is too much

to bear.


i should’ve talked to them.

i should’ve left it alone.

i should’ve submitted to that contest.

i should’ve tried harder at that audition.

i should’ve cared more.

i should’ve cared less.

i need to change.