Day 15 – Kings

What do you do
when you are small
and the world is unfair?

What do you do
when you can’t stand up,
can’t prove it,
can’t speak out,

but can’t keep on
the same way anymore?

What do you do
when you’re right
but no one cares?

What do you do
when they’ll laugh if you quit
but keep spitting if you carry on?

Do you turn to stone?
Do you just go mad?

Do you write a poem
and call it a day?

Are we all going to die
like this
either way?

Or are some of us
born kings?

Day 1 – Untitled

The thing is, I don’t trust a lot of people, but I trust me. I trust that if I feel done with poetry, no amount of forcing it is ever going to help. I trust that I’ll never let myself become so wrapped up in the parade of “being a writer” that I no longer write things I love. I trust that I’ll come back around to poetry sooner or later, when it feels right.

– April 25, 2015

If you are truthful with yourself,
the truth will never change.
How nice it will be to look back
and see that you were right,
that you did know what you meant
after all, and regardless of the road,
your choices were yours;
how soothing to roll back the past
and hear your own voice,
still sounding like you.

You Called Me A Contra

I was supposed to call you
every now and then,
I was supposed to ask you
how you’ve been.

But once you drove far enough away
not to care anymore
I never did.

I still know a song about dinosaurs we wrote
but I don’t know a thing
about you now.

Because you’d shave your head in secret
and say that we were close,
because you called me a contra
after all that time.

We were never supposed to change,
were we?

All that talk about honesty,
it came with hard conditions,
and I was never really the plan.
Not a contra.

It’s been a hundred years
but I think you’re fine
that I never called
’cause you called me a contra.

And a hundred years of maybe
becoming a contra
after all.

Blood Tide

You open your mouth
and the blood tide rolls your heart
out over the kitchen tiles,
a rubber mockery of all those shameful times
you’ve done this before.

You hoped this time
that someone would bring a bucket,
you can’t be trusted with this,
the horrors you unleash, you splash on linoleum,
bowl full of innocent fruit.

You stare, cough uncontrollably,
melt in a heap for less than a minute,
apologize frantically,
look what a mess you’ve made, what a terror you’ve brought
but you’re up

on your knees all hours of the night,
breathing haze from your bottle of bleach.

Year 2: Day 165 – The Truth About Magic

Saw this kid at the shop last night,
must’ve been around eighteen,
played Dylan better than Dylan ever did.
The crowd inside was breathless,
little old ladies, hippie folk singers, and me
scribblin’ like mad to get it under my thumb:
that feelin’ like magic, like the universe stopped,
like this world earned a moment of peace,
and that slipping unease
that afterward comes with the silent question,
“Now what about you?”

What I am at twenty-five
is not as much as I want to be,
stifled by the things I’ve learned are unsafe to do:
you don’t follow the artist outside,
you just relax.
Blow a kiss to the stars in thanks
for a night well spent.

But back at the lab you muse about it,
toss in your restless bed about it,
roll that diamond memory around in your mouth
and believe there are more to be found.

What I am at twenty-five
is a silent fan, a secret collector of spark
inhaled and mixed with my blood and dust
and engine grease and spit
and not yet full enough
but getting close.

At eighteen I would’ve followed him outside,
but tonight I am rooted in the truth about magic,
the secret I’m pretty sure he knows:
we never own it, never get it under our thumbs.
We are secret collectors of spark.
We are glowworms radiating out
the light we let in
that we cannot keep.

And we can’t do more than breathe,
in and back out.

Year 2: Day 150 – Heart Sauce

It comes up like acid
when you swallow it down,
your numba one stunna roll knocked down a peg
’cause your heart’s too busy leaking its noise-
you know that flavor-
that heart sauce’ll put hair on your chest.

It’s not when your heart is breaking,
not that stuff; it’s not your lifeblood.
It’s the sour-thick coat that boils up your throat
when your heart gets squeezed beyond breath
by all that’s unfair, by all that’s tragic,
by what would be perfect in any other world.

Life is almost too sweet to handle sometimes.
You get your insides coated in pepper spray
and it puts the hair on your chest-
your numba one stunna roll knocked down a peg
because you couldn’t have imagined how bitter
and yet how soberingly perfect
real significance would feel.