Because Barely Breathing is Better

Because Barely Breathing is Better

A Poem by Vanessa Macanas

I'm breathing, but barely...

Just enough to know that I can die,

enough to know that I came close

to actually losing my breath completely.


Im not suicidal...

I'd like to think I'm an opportunist.

I take the chance to experience something I haven't,

To feel something unreal,

To know that I am pushing my limits.

I need that voice that screams for me to stop.

Just so I can pursue it, conquer it, and overcome it.


I feed off the adreline rushing through my veins.

I need my heart beating that much faster, harder, and louder.

I am a constant act of danger,

Always looking to top the last adventure.


I need this...

I need this to know that I can feel,

I need my heart threatening to jump from my chest

I need this to know that I am alive...

Because barely breathing is better than breathing at all.



© 2010 Vanessa Macanas

My Review

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Adrenaline rush or death wish? This poem explores the fine line between the two.

Reading this poem really opened my eyes to what drives a thrill seeker beyond the dryness of the scientific explanation (some people have greater quantities and abilities to process dopamine – a ‘gratification’ hormone released when taking part in activities that scare us – I did say it was mundane!)

What struck me in particular about this poem is the reassurance the reader is given that this is not a self-destructive streak. The narrator has no intention of dying as she reminds us with lines such as, “I’m not suicidal” and “just enough to know that I can die”. Not only does this placate any fears we may have that she may be seeking death but also lets us know that the passion that controls her actions is dominated by the idea of coming as close as she can to the abyss between life and death.

I really liked the desperation evoked by the repetition in the final stanza. Beginning each line with the words “I need” gets across the message that this is like an addiction. This is not “want” or “like” this is a necessity in her life.

I think this is a powerful poem because it opens up a train of thought I’d not experienced before. Maybe it will make more readers realise that to truly live you have to almost die?

Posted 10 Years Ago

This is an utterly brilliant piece and it made me uncomfortable whilst I was reading it, but in a good way, in the same way an Artaudian dramatic performance make you feel! Well done!

Posted 10 Years Ago

I like this. You capture the thrill seeking drive really well. I know some people actually indulge in semi-strangulation in the course of their pleasure seeking, but this is not something that's ever appealed to me. heck, I don't even go for roller-coaster thrills. My feeling is that we become desensitised and need increasingly extreme jolts to make us feel. But conclusion is that this will lead to individual or collective doom ... eventually. The buddhists have a far wiser take on how to deal with our physical impulses. They have cogently worked out our drives and how to deal with them. I am not a buddhist, but I am drawn to the notion of rising beyond our physical beyond thrills.

Posted 10 Years Ago

I like living on the edge too... travelling in Africa can be one long edgy experience! I thought you presented the theme very well.. and brought in too that inner longing of the heart to break out and live more gloriously and fully...

Posted 10 Years Ago

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amazing. the last line really stands out to you when you read it. this is a brilliant piece.
i just wondered if you'd thought about putting more enjambements into the poem beacuse the punctuation stops the flow really.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Hey, I like the idea - something that few people have touched upon (here or elsewhere in poetry). The theme is tight and the pace is good. There are a few things that need attention (Im is missing the apostrophe, do you mean conquer instead of concure, adrenaline needs spell check, and (as someone else mentioned) do you mean better than not breathing in the last line). All in all, a nice effort.

Posted 10 Years Ago

utterly despondent.. I love it..

Posted 11 Years Ago

Auto-asphyxiation, eh? Extreme sport between pillow talks. Exploring edges is the essence of outreach. Inherently, every breath hangs over an abyss of mystery already. But we frequently require our own dynamic forms of meditation to know that. The one you write of can just as easily be considered shamanic ritual as kink.

And in the arts, poetics, there are always informed points of convergence of known streams, a suspension of breath, of established meanings, rhetoric, context, existential energy.

So it is indeed all about exploring edges. The frontier edges blend erotic-vital-creative-critical-spiritual intelligences into new charismatic combinations.

"I need this.../I need this to know that I can feel,/I need my heart threatening to jump from my chest/I need this to know that I am alive.../Because barely breathing is better than breathing at all."

Did you mean this as is, or as NOT breathing at all? The sense seems to be of a certain boredom w/the ordinary, but as you say, not suicidal.

At any rate, any hi-wire act of being challenges convention and safety. The degrees thereof are an individual matter, subject to spirit.

Courage and intelligence emanate from your danger dare.

Posted 11 Years Ago

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8 Reviews
Added on September 17, 2010
Last Updated on September 30, 2010


Vanessa Macanas
Vanessa Macanas

Las Vegas, NV

ART. MUSIC. LOVE. The passions that she thrives upon. Surveillance reveals a compassionate young mind living with her heart on her sleeve. She induldges in long late night conversation and french v.. more..


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