Poetry

Gifts

I carry them,
the gifts from my people:
a nazar from my sister,
a snake charm from my brother.
If the hisses don’t warn
off my assailants,
the eye should freeze them.
If these two traits should fail,
the alert look and the
always-ready coils,
then I’ll spring
into something,
action or defense;
I don’t like to fight
but that doesn’t stop the world
from trying to knock me down,
so daily I ponder my gifts.
I blink a few times
as I stretch my muscles,
ready to embrace
whatever comes.
Whatever comes,
my people
are with me.

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Poetry

Hey, is this stream-of-consciousness really a poem?

I just binged
Sex Education
and I’ve never cried so much
watching a tv show,
or maybe it’s more
accurate to say that I
have never felt so many emotions
while watching
anything,
’cause there were happy tears
as well as sad,
the whole spectrum of emotions,
I even said out loud
“Don’t do that, you fuck,”
I mean Jesus I was mad,
and I laughed and laughed,
laughing crying smiling fuming
feeling feeling feeling,
and still I overthink,
I’ve been thinking about it ever since I started
three nights ago,
and even now after
it’s ended
(don’t think about the prospective 4th season),
I’m still thinking about it,
and how I
put it in my top 5 shows immediately,
what is it about these shows,
well I’ll try to write it out:
Sex Education feels real,
and human, and lived
in, every character
is a living breathing human,
I mean, they’re
alive,
and that’s no mean feat
even for the magic of trumped-up theat, er, film,
the characters are three-dimensional
and complex and
and struggling
and feeling
and connecting,
and I had to stop and acknowledge
that I got way obsessed with
Stranger Things about half a year ago,
and I have to wonder,
Why am I drawn to these shows
most would describe as
coming-of-age (a straightforward take),
as high-school dramas (a shortsighted take),
as portrayals of human connection at their core
(a nuanced, or maybe just a holistic, take),
that’s what it’s all about, right?
Connection?
And I’ve been bad at it,
for a long time,
possibly since I left the compulsory
education system,
okay let’s make it simple,
I’ve been bad at connecting since high school ended,
and I’m not the sort of person
who actually believes life peaked in high school,
but I do think I took a lot for granted,
mostly friendships
and relationships,
and while I wonder why I don’t have a lot of meaningful connections,
I do want to acknowledge that
some of this has to do with the constrained imitations of lives
we’re forced to suffer within capitalism,
(“How did he turn a rambling reflection on Sex Education into an anti-capitalist rant?”),
oh, how don’t I turn everything anti-capitalist?
Anyway, the foolish hustle and grind of it all
makes real connections difficult to cultivate,
and I’ve sadly become something of a recluse,
partly to maintain my energy,
partly to avoid hurting myself,
and that’s when it hits me,
I obsess over coming-of-age stories
’cause I never quite came of age,
not to say that everyone should stick to a rigid timeline
’cause that’s total bollocks given the pitfalls of capitalism
(“He’s done it again!”),
but I do think I’m allowed to look at my life
and conclude
that I haven’t tried too hard to leave my bubble
over the past few years,
yeah shit’s hard,
but I can still say that despite difficulties,
the beauty of life is
trying to live,
and there’s something wonderfully human about
art that highlights connections,
and throughout Sex Education, every
carefully calculated and curated missed connection,
every missed understanding,
eventually led to a culmination of feeling,
a heartfelt expression of truth,
sheer fucking honesty,
and I’ve been building walls so long
I’ve forgotten what my
sheer fucking self
looks like, acts like, just is,
my sitting and worrying
has denied my life the life it deserves.

I’ve denied myself the rich experience I deserve.
And that’s why I cry so much
when I watch coming-of-age stories,
because the characters,
most of whom are younger than I am,
learned to embrace it all,
the twists and turns and ups and downs
of life.

Yes, I’ve denied myself.
A few years ago I read a
play called Arcadia,
I read it a few times, actually,
and every time I cried like a baby at the end.
I won’t spoil it, but in retrospect,
I cried because I missed the forest for the trees:
yes, much is lost due to circumstance and,
naturally, due to the flow of time;
however, time also engenders creation.
In the words of Melina from Elden Ring,
“Life endures. Births continue.
There is beauty in that, is there not?”

A cliche, but it’s true:
It’s never too late to start living.

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Poetry

Fire as a Warning

Lately,
a lot of my ideas
bubble up before a shower,
“It must be the proximity
to water, everything flowing,”
that’s the story I’m going with,
anyway.

I love a crusade,
when it’s set against
faded and jaded
and so-called
“leaders,”
old-fashioned ideals
that don’t match the meter
of the people,
so we move to burn
those steeples,
and rejoice in
their drifting ashes.

I think about
the folks who went too soon:
Kurt at 27, killed by sadness
(I know he killed himself);
Jimi at 27, killed by bad luck
(he may have killed himself);
Robert at 27, killed by jealousy
(most likely poison);
Janis at 27, killed by pain
(the overdose a side-effect);
Jesus at 33, killed by empire
(the killer is always empire).
Their memories,
the kindling
for the lanterns
that border the edges
of the darkest woods.

Dark smoke is rising from the cities we built,
the machinery
we crank under threat.
Those leaders,
the faded and wrinkled
soul-eaters,
they daily set fire
to the people
who bleed money for them.
Then the old men
blame degradation
on anyone but themselves.

This tired church needs to go,
we need
a crusade.

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Poetry

Billionaires for Dessert

When I understood
that the onus is
mostly on me
to keep myself
alive and, Christ,
to give a shit about me,
that we’re all convinced
and, admit it, coerced
not to care beyond ourselves,
that every month, after I pay rent,
I calculate how I’ll pay
for the next ten days
before my check goes through –
I realized
this shit is all
carefully calculated
and crafted,
designed to keep me
too tired to find
and punch
every single billionaire.

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Poetry

How to Write to the Inhuman

Hey [name of company or CEO/passable insult (shitbag works fine)],
why does [rent/food/medicine/housing/any number of things we need] cost so much?
Asking for [a friend/my mom/the houseless/the disenfranchised/the 99%/anyone who isn’t you, you corporate asshole].

Fuck you very much,
[Your name/A concerned human/A decent human being/Everyone who’s not the company or CEO]

Here’s an example:

Hey Eli Lilly, you shitbags,
why does insulin cost so fucking much?
Why does insulin cost anything?
Asking for me and every diabetic person.

Fuck you.

I’m a pissed-off diabetic poet.

Hope this template and example help!
Write those shitbags what they deserve.

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