states of mind
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James Diaz


Dear Life


You no longer notice yourself

peripheral voice

communicating the narrow side

of inexperience


between 'before it all went wrong

and after it all made sense again'

you climb the slope nearest your heart

carry down the water

they tried to evaporate in you

and drink deep and heavy

until you are only two hands

holding onto yourself for dear life.



a line, (a short blue one)


Nothing More Than This


I would put you in the belly of my heart

if I had a stock pile of nerve somewhere

if I believed that I could save us both with love

the vessel, she rocks and splinters

and cries that I know very little

about this thing called living-

and she isn't wrong,

I hold out my hand to that-

loss of clarity called acceptance

because to truly accept some things

is also to cross yourself out,

but this has been happening all along

intervals of losing self, lapsing pulses,

blinking maritime lights,

going out inside of the heart

like a letter home no one ever receives.


I sleep all night without knowing that I sleep

just as I live all day without knowing that I am alive.

Are you as mixed up inside as I am?

Have you ever taken the wrong turn all your life?

Well, I have, and I am so lost now

that I do not even consider myself lost anymore

paradox of a heart muscle, pulling in, pushing out

but no cellular memory of the event

to remind you of what happened

who you are, isn't that a strange question to ask yourself

in a time like this, falling apart and not even feeling it

when the break occurs.


Motion moves in you but very slowly

like an after effect of something

you were never present for,

and accounted, who does that,

the tallying of numbers and proportions

ill fit, loss sewn into the losing,

a history on paper, bring it forth,

while the light inside of you simmers and you need more

but always end with less, take this,

tear it loose, until the perimeters of your soul

are overflowing,

in your hands a flood, a feeding frenzy

ingesting the good stuff, the self mothering tattoo

like a new skin you grow into,

hone with compassion, caressing the knot

until the void voids less,

leaps for air, holds it deep in the lungs

never forgets breathing, and wanting to live

doing so faithfully,

inside faith living a life even after the losses have been measured and put away.



a line, (a short blue one)


Life Beyond This Moment


Wish I could remember what wishing used to be like,

face down on the floor at 16

with Moby's 'When it's cold I'd like to die'

on an endless loop,

this must be it, I'll never recover, you thought,

yes you will, but you didn't know it then.

What's wrong with you; everything, what don't you get about that?

Wish I could remember remembering,

what nights were like when star gazing

actually worked better than Tegretol and anti-depressants,

when the answer was a loose end left loose,

when you could feel the blood pounding inside of your ears,

and it gave you courage,

when you loved too deeply, talked too loudly,

and rode down into the depths,

rose and sunk and rose and sunk a million times over,

when you first found out that pen and paper might save you,

until even the paper burned

and the pen looked for a way to puncture a hole through you,

seeping light and bruises and wonderment,

where does going go? Is there some of it left,

a tiny filament that could reignite the stars and settle the flame?

Keep it in a jar like fireflies

until you realize that you are killing them,

you've become a teenage fascist,

you don't get to decide who lives or dies

and maybe their light is connected to yours,

dim theirs and you dim your own.

The light is on and off,

seasonal, fluxing, sluicing,

impossibly alive somehow after all of the damage you put on.



a line, (a short blue one)


Pale in compare


That body

of yours

bowled over the earth




how sun eats into gravity

toes touch yesterday

with hunger



dry bed




the Africa you used to know

borrow me this

and hit the hate against

wet earth


I will

or you wont

there are two songs here

many native agonies

sent to be invisible


this is happening right now


you feel something seismic

crawl beneath you


but cancel it out in storm

cold shell quiver


how much happier we can be

in not knowing.



a line, (a blue one)


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