Five new ones
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by James Diaz



The Radio, Playing Our Song


How do I look

with my wide
eye out

the fire dark at the coast line
fur I took from the tree of life
and dazzled your mother with
turning into her
all bone and tassel
and stories
of the great war

a fall out of
ashen splinters

the land mass
to touch itself

skinless gravity

a tongue
you cut out
of the earth
call it luck
but whose landslide is this

Silt, sandal pressed path, the line of linden
leaping into the dog wood
barley soaked
here comes the hush you prayed for
routinized like a familiar wound
you tie your life around
calling it home.

We both know
any space will do.



a line, (a short blue one)


Listen Kid


I only just...
but then again
the way the river rushes in around my
nerve endings
reminding me of sour miracles
“put your hand in the mud
and give yourself a name
for this feeling”
you whispered

dark night inching in
and throwing a few scars our way

the bulk of hay
winding down infinite road
handing off war-light
in the weary nowhere

like we were born to pick at ourselves
till we bled open

look at love and laugh

spare advice
from a broken phone booth
the call won't go through
in more ways than one

missing the words for 'I'm sorry'

passing out in the gas station bathrooms
of our hometown

the name
for this feeling

I have no idea what to call it



a line, (a short blue one)


The Place With No Name, Call It Home


the ending

a fleshy echo

that hand calling out
against the other side

are you good with memory
can I sleep
a hundred years more

are there people who won't try
so hard to pull the water
out of your body,

to put fire in your mouth?

Am I talking too much, is this really you
putting all of my things in the drive way
dead artifacts
of  not-belonging

at the right angle,
can be the best mistake
you ever made.



a line, (a short blue one)


Can. Did. Do


I tried to make my life fit, but I have stupid fingers and they wander long highways, a body as broken as a body can be, I am not good at being, I wrote 'being' and now it is laughing at my deep thoughts, go to bed now, this is my house on a hill with no light, this is my paper cut, it gave me a name but I don't like my name, I think I'll go out and sputter, milk weed is funny stuff, I don't have a mother, do you know another word for mother? loss, there are no shadows in loss only filmy great night, only father strutting sore bones and saw dust and futility, tell the rain I asked about it, save my shut up for the neighbors, tell them one size fits all, tell them god taught you that, what else do you do with winter, besides roll it around in your mouth and call it sister-pass-the-salt, that means the dead sibling my people lost in the toilet, would've been Danielle so I'm told, was told, I heard a poet say 'my people' as she read from a piece of paper called memory in her bed once and I stole it because that's what 'my people' do, we steal what isn't ours, did I ever tell you about my dear friend Andrew? he killed himself at 16 because life is like that, it gives you the ultimatum and what else can you do if your only options are sit still and don't move and we're gonna be here awhile, jail or life and a cupcake with a candle won't do, so andrew died with my poem in his pocket and I haven't cried about it for 15 years but I'm crying now because I've got the ultimatum, sit still, don't move, will you tell me my name again I think I hear my people coming, it's all noise, it's got nothing to do with me, I tried to make my life fit but I have a stupid face and no one sees the pain though it's clearly writ between the crinkled corners of my eyes, I am told, I was told, oh father I can't survive on sawdust, do you know another word for people, I hear them coming, it's got a lot to do with me, and time and circumstances and stupid fingers and, and... words you write better than I do, live easier than I have/can. Can. Did. Do.



a line, (a short blue one)


Mother Nature Smoking A Cigarette Against A Chain Link Fence


The gypsy said

put the good stuff

on display

tear your eyes off of that endless


some futures are better left


melting ice caps hold a history

as precious as any

of us great walkabout disasters

a family album of near sighted familiars


origami finger twisted round the root

near misses

the cue card says: dark days straight ahead

try and mind your form

how deeply you love

two hands packing dirt around the stem

water in your body touching

what is in the ground

tell the kids we did our part

that it was almost enough.



a line, (a blue one)


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