counterfeit consciousness

Erin Knape


smiling faces in my view

with cheers that chip at my brain

hammering away at the worry

the fears

the anxiety


as laughter fills the air

forced out by these lungs of mine

the artificial happiness swells

and I choke on insincerity


the sight of fresh and falling snow

bends new enthusiasm across their lips

mine mimic

            in an awkward

                       sort of way


inside the bubble

of my thoughts

that ache and scream

while I wake and sleep

laugh and plead


I'm crying now

raw and raking tears


yet the worries never cease

with false air,

a smeared smile

faking, in the pursuit

of realness

Erin Knape is a 19-year-old prose and poetry writer from Michigan. As a sophomore at the University of Michigan, her academic pursuits lay in psychology, cognition, and creative writing. Erin is also a contributing writer for arts, ink., an Arts at Michigan blog, which aims to define the college experience and promote creative expression. During the Fall 2022 academic year, she embarked on an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program internship concentrating on prose writing and literary journal analyses. With this mentorship, Erin aims to entertain and inform through prose-based mental health representation. In her free time, she enjoys photography, binge-watching Netflix, and catching up with friends. Erin is enthusiastic about this upcoming summer as she will be crafting her first novel, which contemplates what it means to fall in and out of love with life.

"Snowy Jerusalem" by StateofIsrael is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!