poetry of america

For those we may have lost in Sweden

Originally posted by justalittletumblweed

You never asked to be heroes,
but such is your legacy
now that we have lost(?)
your lives(?) in the name of bravery(?)
It was a normal day until it happened,
the explosion(?) or plague(?) at the embassy(?),
You went about your days
like regular Swedish people do,
eating sausages(?) and jelly(?)
on a Friday(?) afternoon(?).
But when the moment came
you were ready to be called,
to rescue(?) the children(?)
caught in the fire(?) or flood(?).
Now you will rest forever 
in an accidental(?) grave(?).
We promise to rebuild(?)
to honor the sacrifice(?) you made(?)

‘Last night in Sweden’? Trump’s remarks baffle a nation – Feb. 19, 2017

Aphrodite in America

The goddess came ashore
And roses came into being.
Seeing love is like being seen.
I have a mirror, but nobody is
In it. I am glass, or the gloss
Of beauty on the bard’s face
That I may not trace. I have 
Armfuls of roses, bold bouquets,
But nobody says they want them.
I recall moments from the past,
Random returns of recollections.
I was at a sports arena, watching
An insignificant match; a young man
Was mocking everything. He had
That soft, scruffed beauty that I now
Associate with gay men whom I desire. 
What did I know then? I am condemned
By Aphrodite to carry roses home, alone.

Monday 8:27am
I woke up with you on my mind.
You called me babe last night —
my heart is still pounding.

Tuesday 10:53pm
Today I realized we won’t work.
What we are is hurting her.
And I think she matters more to me than you do.

Wednesday 11:52pm
I broke things off with you today.
She barely said a word.
I’ve never regretted anything more than this.

Thursday 4:03pm
I shouldn’t have sent that message.
You shouldn’t have been so okay with receiving it.

Friday 9:57pm
I almost messaged you today.
I didn’t.

Saturday 8:49pm
I’m walking around town in search of alcohol.
They say that liquor numbs the pain of having a broken heart.
I want to put that to the test.

Sunday 2:32am
I heard you texted a girl you’ve never spoken to before.
I wonder if it’s because you’re trying to replace me.
I can’t help but wish you weren’t.
I thought I was irreplaceable.

—  a week with you on my mind, c.j.n.
the signs as suburban haunts

ARIES: flattened paper boats scattered like the remains of a murdered animal along a dried up river, rundown motels with their blasted neon signs and smashed-in windows, pink streamers from some neighborhood child’s birthday party shuffling across the street like bright tumbleweed, a train rattling off into the breathless night & the trace remnants of a week old bonfire found in the middle of nowhere. 

TAURUS: chipped paint, shattered shot glasses lying across an abandoned pool table missing a few billiard balls, flyers rustling like autumn leaves against the tempestuous tides of the wind, advertising concerts & magic shows that took place in 2005, the sillage of old perfume clogging up the air, still thick as the scent of blood or wildflowers.

GEMINI: the corpse of a cigarette that hasn’t touched a mouth in months, a dilapidated playground where lost souls come out to play, threadbare curtains ripped like the wings of a dissected bird, strange red-brown stains across the hotel bedsheets, a gate grown weary with new-forming foliage & age, whining erroneously whenever maneuvered. 

CANCER: an empty casket, coffee rim imprints across hardwood tables, an old, tattered shoe lying haphazardly on the side of the road, a junkyard littered with ancient cars still soggy with stories, a pick-up with a broken windshield, a cadillac with a massacred paint job, someone’s motorcycle with blood staining the front tire, an askew portrait with eyes that follow you around the room.

LEO: a carnival horse with one eye scratched out, a daycare centre that shut down years ago, plagued with the colorful ghosts of children’s drawings still tacked to the crumbling walls, a spiral staircase that seems to shift direction when nobody’s paying attention, crunched up beer cans rolling across an empty rooftop & lichen kissing the concrete. 

VIRGO: the supermarket, flickering & eerie at night like the shadows unearthed beneath troubled eyes, owls stirring in between the murmuring trees, a single upturned grave in a cemetery that isn’t supposed to be notorious for hauntings, an old fountain still glistening with pennies that are no longer considered currency, a collapsed bottle of wine running the tiles red.

LIBRA: handprints imprinted onto fogged-up windows, red rooms crowded with developing photographs of people whose faces you recognize but cannot quite place, broken doll heads, a necklace that erupted into a sea of pearls, a deflated blow up kiddie pool collecting parched grass and critters, a busted arcade game & the laughter of people long gone still trapped inside the walls.

SCORPIO: books with grimacing yellow pages, someone attempting to sell you a cursed object on etsy, a leaky shower-head, a clock that’s stuck in time, a torn, unravelled couch sitting deserted in someone’s front lawn, candy stores that proclaim sales on expired sweets & ruddy patches of farmland. 

SAGITTARIUS: basements stacked with unwanted toys, a box of thin-mints, footsteps reverberating around the house when it’s 2 AM and you’re home alone, a burned down lemonade stand, that weird alien light in the third window of your neighbor’s house that never seems to get turned off, a certain rattling coming from the kitchen.

CAPRICORN: rain pummeling against damp ceilings, clothes ripped off the washing line, an empty aquarium, obscure little thrift stores that sell leather jackets from the eighties, gas station lights flirting with you from the distance, the alley where they say the vagabonds roam their night countries, sniffing up and dressing down and slitting the throats of angels.

AQUARIUS: those tiny coffee shops that fill you with nostalgia for places you’ll never visit, ‘JESUS LOVES YOU’ spray-painted across the sides of ramshackle buildings, an antique almirah scratched to high hell, a monster in the closet, the tunnel beneath the bridge that half the town believes is a gateway to hell, smoking up in trip mall parking lots. 

PISCES: halloween decor presented in shop windows a couple months early, visiting that lake where you heard that one kid drowned, the garage door slamming without cause or notice, storing fireflies in jars, drugstore makeup, birthday cake flavored oreos, a wheeled desk chair that seems to turn on its own when nobody’s in the office, a candle snuffed out on a windless evening.

on this dark night, i love you. i know we are feeling fists crawl into our mouths but i want you to remember that when you lost the baby tooth it grew back. it just hurt to do. tomorrow when we wake up in another, less patient world - unseat evil by replacing the balance yourself. every scoop of good they take out can be refilled in teaspoons of kindness. a river of obsessively gentle humans; strong enough to stand up to those who would rather not have their opinions questioned. on this dark night where an aristocracy remains in the shattered limbs of democracy’s bosom: read books and kiss deep and give money to charity. and when you can, march or walk or call or show up in fairy wings - a glitter-based mobile statue of liberty, heaving light over harbors while others tax our tea but never pay taxes, a siren song of joy that leaps out over waves when we promise more than words, we promise more than shaking our heads, we promise to bring every cell of us until these united states are no cell to any of us sick, any of us hungry, any of us watching with wide eyes. we; owl-natured and quiet, we must be reminded that we were predator first, and if we cannot kill them, we will kill them with kindness; the type of our spine not bloodying lips but willing to be bloodied to protect those who cannot protect themselves - we who spread our wings in the sharp night must also learn the light of day, the scrape of claws and iron, the unfear of being alive, of fighting to survive. if our songs are always going to be the wrong ones, if taking a knee is disrespectful, if marching is inconvenient, if our protests are policed, if our petitions are blockaded - the answer, i want to believe, comes from the cold lungs of a single person who stands silent in washington d.c., our nation’s collapsing capital where the elite only venture through certain streets - a single person who is many people, all of us, watching, our kindness more than a weapon, waiting for those who want to get away for things. be not mistaken. our kindness is not the soft pleas that the other side would rather us use, the quiet susurrus of prayer  - instead, our kindness is becoming a selfless scream, in putting our bodies between what they want and what we know is good. watch the hawks that come keeling out of sky tomorrow around noon. we are in your classrooms, in your kitchens, we are friends of the groom. we are snapping hungry beaks. our justice calls for blood. our justice calls for singing louder than hate, for breaking ourselves to fix the bones that snap, for our eyes to watch you on trains, in movies, in your own dining room - and to be there when you do, to set you right, to falter less and stay more. to be unwilling, to be the mirror reflecting violence, to be the kindness that scares you. and to those who cannot fight? look up. look to the side. i am here and i will fight. i will let no manner of hate slip through.

on this dark night, i am watching over you.

She got me praying all hours of the night, say she want my heart, She pulling me to the river, drawing me with her siren's call, Done gave her my heart but now she wants my soul, Well I already sold it to the man in red, "Fell in love with your charm," but its a curse; cos am dead, Girl you're not who you say, bad girl they say you are Innocence isn't where am at, wear your crucifix bae Don't make me out all serious bonnie, slave to this bad religion, Unrequited love, praying at my shrine, cos I don't have a heart Like a dead man walking, I lay at your side, Make sure you're alright in my world, atleast that for you girl,

I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded.

But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, The kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old.

And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.  Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me: I’m the sunscreen.

—  Mary Schmich, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”
Move on, leave, run away, escape this place… but don’t forget about me, about us, about this town. Always remember where you come from so you can appreciate how far you’ve come.
—  c.j.n.
Poe junkie

The cold of London is forgotten in the glow of a lighter,
It is all you do to kill the grey,
Numb at the tips and you flick it right up,
And a dead man they say,
as you get High another day,
Just a drag to a smile, its chocolate.

Just a dab you use it,
Get high to get calm,
Paranoia but you do it,
Sweet lies its all like chocolate

You and your friends call it chocolate,
The lyrics of the song called it fate,
Roll up and strum the strings, chocolate to forget,
Dead inside and sad soaked futile hate,
You bite her lips, taste like wine and chocolate,
You call it chocolate, just a lie; you dead?

Your lungs they take it in like a friend,
Your heart breaks again, remember why you like it?
She broke your heart so you broke your head,
Bent with drags of chocolate, loved her but she didn’t know,
Bite your lips, light it up and inhale your fate

Inspired by the 1975 chocolate and my own addiction and self destruction
Eight years ago today,
I walked into my second grade classroom
and didn’t know what my teacher was showing on the projector.
I didn’t know what the word “inauguration” meant,
or what the words our new president spoke really meant.
I’d heard the words liberty and justice for all.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
All men are created equal.
And that is what I learned to associate with America.
Today, I know what is happening.
I know what an inauguration is,
and I know what those words really mean.
I know that they don’t mean what our reality currently is.
And I am scared for the second graders of today.
The second graders of today who are learning
that liberty and justice for all doesn’t mean much
to our new leader.
Who are learning that maybe all men all created equal,
but all women and all immigrants and all
people of color and all disabled people and
all religions and so many others
are not given the same chances.
When you have to sit down and tell a bunch of
nine year old children that they have to be
bigger and stronger inside than
the leader of the free word-
that’s a problem.
And I’m scared for all the second graders of today.
—  of life and liberty // c.r.h.

It was supposed to rain
Yesterday, but it never
Did. The clouds were all there,
But they refused to cleanse the earth.
The sky grew dark much earlier
And the world stayed up out of spite.

Televisions tuned in,
Scrolling on smartphones and switching
Between tabs, refreshing,
Double-checking for an update
On the fate of a country’s
Power-possessor. President.

The red bar rose, racing the blue.
If only it were only colors competing.
Minutes passed by, and hours,
Nothing changing except
The amount of hope left.
Reality left red rashes on cheeks.

Each time a piece of news was released,
We added it to the tally
Of unexpected losses.
President. Vice President.
House. Senate.
What law will pass first?

We fell asleep
Afraid of what would come
When we would wake up.
This morning, the sun shone
Like shining was all it knew how to do,
As we on Earth no longer knew what to do.

In warm and windy air, we wandered
In a strange state of temporary ignorance.
Two more months.
Two more months of this,
Though it is too close to helplessness
To call it ignorance’s bliss.

—  Sometimes reality doesn’t hit until it’s too late.
You claim to love her, inside and out, but the only time you call her beautiful is when it’s 3 in the morning and I’ve already turned you down.
—  girls tell each other everything, c.j.n.