Sunday, July 1, 2018




I've only become this way
to keep myself from strangling others
I cope by quarantine
the first fifteen years
of my life I watched my father explode
like a rocket to mars
he hit every moving thing in the galaxy
including me
and my mother literally threatened
to pluck out my eyes
and bury them in the pit of her stomach
so it's not you I'm afraid of
it's myself
I know how awful I really am
so I get soft in the heart real quick
lest I destroy a few planets
of my own
on my way down
but I wager some of it is true
my love and my brittle heart
I have scabs, scabies even
but I sit well
and match the furniture too
say please and thank you
and people trust me
because they see what I want them to see
not what I keep under the cushions
knives, rotten fruit, wacky motives
dreams of annihilation
it's just--- I know how tempting the ledge is
that I back off every time.


I read constantly
to keep my brain
away from the window
they're burying bodies out there
I think
but it could be dead animals
could be buckets of money
tax returns
orange peels
soapy water

heavy - hot
I was afraid of closure
so I opened up a few wounds instead
goes well with the wall paper
daydream fisherman's wharf
I'd stow away
but I have a complex
never travel at night
never fall in love in bars
cut my skin
so my insides can breathe

all this music of the spheres
the angelic, the fluttering eye lids
bashful complexion
scabby powder face
so I don't stink up the room
settle all my debts sonic-ally
crooner sissy
pout in the corner

ever see Diner?
I remember Mickey Rourke
saying he hated every character in that movie
including his own
because they all had an easy life
and his had been a complete shit show
hard on the knees
the brain
I understood him
like in my bones

when I'm at poetry readings
I want to hurl
into my own lap
and shout see what beautiful poems I've brought you!

if you had found me sooner
we'd have nothing in common,
it's because we were both broken
by people other than each other
that we're such perfect doppelgangers
you and I
these poems sticky between us
no crack pipe
just our mad veins
pumping blood
and getting close
to the sun
a high pre-fixed in the back of the brain
reefs spun round the legs of the dock

what if we just went
the two of us
stowed away
on that boat
salt sick
poems in our shoes
our vocal chords

hopeful again
like insect light
like paper torn and taped
and blank

I would hurl a sink
for you too
twice over
tell your demons to back the fuck off!
I wouldn't leave when it got tough
I'd stand watch
be sturdy
ready for anything
landslides, mud coughs
Kerouac wanderings
motels with no names
shadows on the wall
the world coming to an end...


penned psychic vows
of friendship
here on the wall
where broken winged birds flock for memory
a taste of the divine
under the seed-
earth pecked
open like a wound-will never close
how did I go so wrong
for so long?
I too have a monster
lives just beneath the skin
tells me I am ugly
and no good and
on my way out
but you called me kind once
and I tucked those words away
for my bad days

almost every night
I lie down with a stranger

which is to say myself

spirit poems barnacled
close to the bone, ready to ravage
the space between the door's edge
and the rug
with my prayers
to a god who isn't home
and worse, never was

I was so evil once, like everyone else

a hole of ruby verbs
rainwater absolutes
blood promises
deep bruises

but now
I take this oath
with you
and trust
the place
we are going
has enough light
to illuminate these words
this promise written on my skin
for no one else but you
and the night.


JAMES DIAZ is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018). He is founding Editor of the literary arts & music mag Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared most recently in Occulum, Moonchild Magazine and Philosophical Idiot. He lives in upstate NY and occasionally tweets @diaz_james.

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