Thursday, October 1, 2020



What Keeps Us Here

allow me
to pick the bones
from your hair
the lanky death knotted prayers
plasticized knees

autumn creepers
on the gas station bathroom floor
counting several hundred heavens
with finger glow

between us
the mortar
for stars
dust resin bone
raise me to you
and drink my
my iowa dusk
eye veins thin pain
through the barely rising
crow stone

the run in the stocking
the run in the hall
shattered mirrors
Stevie, no land,
lots of slide

heave me
cut into it
to the bone
cut me down from you
I will grow thinner
like god
all girl
in my throat
heart gut
and twine

give it time
the world will end all too soon
but our bones will rise like ash
and feed the sky with bread.

Travelling By

I let the highway retry me
Changed into an off ramp river
The crow in my heart sang for mercy
It was shadow and moss
And the stations of the cross
Etched burning in my deeper wound

After this, oh love, after all this
Behind the old motel
and the stories around old John's fire,
25 will get us into heaven, a black van,
a quickie with a turnequit, god, you know if I could,
I'd chop all that wood, but I wasn't built for mercy
and it's quicker falling than it is climbing,
everything there is to love in this life
has been burned for heat
before we ever even get to it

Here's my heart
it's a rusted pipe it's a satellite prayer
here we are / in moon light / crossing
into the great blue clearing
of highway rain / bandaid dreams,
this is how we were made / broken whole
but my god, we were here.

What We're Left With

A gentle marigold heart
stuff me with light
carry me across the highway
to the old bridge
little stream
throw the big one's back in
stars not stones
oh mother, why is it so hard to talk to you
I am all rain
brittle furniture
small bones
can I be just be
not broken, okay and not mad
or confused
is this blue or red
it's all fog in my head today
I woke with bird song and ache
a marigold woven heart glowing
nothing I know helps anymore
oh mother, why is it so hard to talk these days
can we just be
not broken
can we just be okay?

How To Write A Happy Poem
When You're Not

Begin with friendship
The hollow in the moon's endless opening, a heart divisible by nothing
Other than hands holding down the branch, crossing to the river
We are all of these things
And then we are ourselves
And the light gets into everything
From this angle

When I can't,
You show me how

This is what we're made of
A heart divisible by nothing
So useless as disappearing
When the point is to show up
Tender mountain, climbed by hands searching for the next available jutt
In the rock

When you can't,
I show you how

The light stays a little longer
Each time
We climb

We climb

Back, back
to where we began
And there is no ending
When everything,
Is just beginning.

When The Going Get's Dark
We Get Darkly Going

"I hate everyone but you"
-Matthew Ryan

I know a place
in the pines
just off the highway

it is warm and full of light

it is texaco, it is gravity
it is an old man leaning on the wind

I don't know much anymore
I go willingly
I speak sparingly

there is a traffic jam, in whose heart tonight
there is tarmac and winter light slanting
against dark wind, only god
isn't answering

if I am you
and if I am not

there is earth / dark / in my bones
the questions outweigh the echo
I know, I know;
water welcomes the stone

it is getting late
where you are

& I am not
how long
this wind
will hold
me up.

The place is there in my mind
I look up, we are almost home

I look again,

There is no promise in a poem.
Simply, I had faith once.
It is always a little easier to lose your way than it is to find it.

I don't know where to end...
but I feel so close now,
to the edge,
the edge.

of mercy.
maybe. 10 more minutes wind,
just give me 10 more...


JAMES DIAZ is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) as well as the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their poems have appeared in Yes Poetry, Gone Lawn, The Collidescope and Thimble Lit Mag. They live by the simple but true motto that “feelings matter” every shape and size of feeling. They believe that every small act of kindness makes an often unseen but significant difference in someone’s life and hope that their poems are a small piece of that.

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