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Aug 2021 · 54
The Greatest Scam
R J Coman Aug 2021
They get you hooked when you’re young
Too young to know what you’re doing
They hit you at your lowest
Give you just a little taste
And before you know it it’s reflexive
Before you know it you can’t quit

The worst part is existing in a world
Where everyone else is addicted too
Who is the pusher?
Who is ******* us over?
No one even wants to know
If you try to quit they lock you up
Give you more to keep you going

But every addict knows
That we’ve all been had
When we wake up in a cold sweat
Choking desperately for more

What would the world look like
Without the veil of dependency?
Will I ever know?
To give up one is to give up the other
Supremely ******* ironic
I bet they’re just doubled over in laughter
At what they’ve done to us
Aug 2021 · 113
R J Coman Aug 2021
Technically the technique
Is to dissociate so hard
That it becomes a superpower
So your existence
And perception
Dance and whirl
Like a puppet
On a string in your hand
Aug 2021 · 60
R J Coman Aug 2021
"I can't eat ginger"
My body answers automatically

"I… I grew up in NorCal
Used to go whale watching
Mom used to give us ginger
You know. To keep us
From getting seasick.
But I got sick
Real sick
And now…"

I can't even remember
What ginger tastes like
Fresh or regurgitated
I remember feeling sick
But I can't remember pain

"And now I can't eat ginger
Makes me sick"
My body giggles like an idiot
August 2021
Sep 2020 · 177
My Shell be Gilded
R J Coman Sep 2020
I remember when first my head pushed out of my egg
All about me my sisters stirred, small children testing their muscles
We pushed. We dug. Our long necks straining through wet sand
We said goodbye. We dove. We swam apart. We were happy.
Turtles have not much to say.

I remember the morning when first they came to my bog
Oh the racket they made. The acrid reek. Their footfalls broke my moss
With nets and shovels and loud voices they searched
We dove deep. We swam silently, like clouds in the night. I was snared
I was taken so far from home.

I remember when first I saw the man in a hot, smelly city shop
He tapped upon my glass and spoke, waving his arms and shouting
I pulled my head into my shell. My beak ached for clean water
I tried to hide. I tried to cry. I tried to climb the slippery walls
I went with the man, in a brown sack.

I remember when the first pin was driven into my back
The searing pain through my thick but sensitive shell
Then another. And another. The cruel men drove them deep
I tried to scream. I tried to run. I tried wriggle out of the agony
Gold burned like a thousands suns.

I remember…

I remember the sadness in the man’s eyes. Not for me
Turtles live for centuries, he said. Make it perfect. Gild and jewel
The terror. The weight. My heavy, heavy shell. My legs give out
The longest life a curse. My glittering shelter a prison. My life
This life forever.

I remember…

A poem about a gilded turtle, based off of story 4 of Huysmans' Against the Grain
Jul 2020 · 96
Goodbye, small friend
R J Coman Jul 2020
It was early on a Saturday morning
when I found the tiny slug.
It was stranded in the middle of a parking lot,
still wet with dew, but that would soon
become a trackless desert for small creatures.

With a small blade of grass, I coaxed
the slug onto my thumb. It sat there, shyly
peaking its feelers out, no bigger than my nail.
My heart melted. I walked it to the bushes,
and saying "goodbye, small friend", brought it home.

I think often about the measure of my life.
Do I draw Meaning from my weight on a scale
held by some all-powerful, cosmic being?
From how my life touches those around?
From the music I leave behind?

The answer to these questions is not the one I like.
But as long as there are tiny slugs in parking lots

I will live on
Mar 2020 · 106
R J Coman Mar 2020
It's funny to think
that I once liked this room.
It was so... *****, comfortable.
But now that I cannot leave,
all the comfort shrivels
into ringing pain.

All my decorations and trappings
to reveal nothing but padded walls
Written from quarantine, with nowhere to go, and no one to care
Dec 2019 · 139
R J Coman Dec 2019
I awoke to a world white to my touch:
All color and shadow had faded
to a blinding, uniform brightness.

I don't remember who I was before:
That is perhaps a blessing for me
for now I am everywhere.

I hear its voice inside my head:
Dreamlike and calm, but spoken
as if from the mouths of billions.

I am just an avatar for myself:
A husk of a form, a vehicle to move
one of endless forms among the stars

I turn my countless eyes upward:
I laugh for the twinkling universe
that has yet to know my oblivion

And all my bodies try to scream
Dec 2019 · 105
Hard Solipsism
R J Coman Dec 2019
The auburn sun
breaks the watery,
shifting horizon.

It's so beautiful,

I almost forget
how the electrodes
throb in my brain.
Dec 2019 · 105
Exchange of Life
R J Coman Dec 2019
She was dead already when you found her,
but yet she smiled at you shyly, avoiding your gaze.
That first night, when you laughed together
as you walked side by side beneath the moon
that shown between the cobwebs, you fell for her.
And she fell for you.
But she was dead.

When winter came, and you huddled together
as the snow fell and deadened the noisy avenues,
she told you that she was in terrible, terrible pain.
You can't see it, she said, but it's like my very soul
has been ripped from me. You said you loved her.
And she said she loved you.
But she was dead.

Do you remember the first time your gazes locked
but the light behind your eyes had begun to fade?
Her breath trembled lightly as she noticed,
and quickly grabbed your hand. I'm fine,
you said. She kissed you gently and made you promise.
You promised.
You promised.

Today she woke with a start to the sound
of her own heart beating. Beating! But swiftly
her overwhelming joy turned to cold dread,
as icy as a frozen spire. I'm.... alive... but where is she?
Her anguished screams broke the grey dawn,
holding tight your gentle form, slowly cooling.
I love her with all my life!
But she is dead
A story I wrote when I was sad. I do not ever want this to happen.
Nov 2019 · 155
R J Coman Nov 2019
Look back at all you have left behind
Everyone you know
Everyone you love
Everyone you’ve ever heard of
Every **** sapiens
Every life
Every death
Every memory
Is so far away
On a blue speck of dust
Within that speck of light
Slowly fading into the hungry void

Our speck

Now is not the time for tears
Look ahead
To all the new stars
Excerpt from *Sanctity in Shifting*
Oct 2019 · 245
R J Coman Oct 2019
Every morning I lock myself in the closet.
I look myself in the eyes and sigh,
before I bind my hands and shove myself in.
I lock the door.
There are many locks. Bolts too.
Big ones, small ones
Old ones, new ones
I fasten them all before I leave.

I cry to myself as I sit in the dark,
my arms numb from my restraints.
Even as each day grinds past
and responsibilities come and go.
Sometimes when I get home at night
I will kick the door
to remind myself I'm still in there.
The locks rattle and strain.
I yell at myself to shut up.

I hate what's beyond that door.

I wish she'd stay quiet.
I wish he'd set me free.
Sep 2019 · 399
R J Coman Sep 2019
my brain is buzzing buzzing in so many ways like electric crackling through boiling sand in my calcified hollow behind eyes between ears that hear the buzzing oh my god the buzzing each time I turn my neck spasms like it's full of melted wax and acid like it's in panic but I have to focus focus focus focus focus switch off the lights and smash the bulbs and frantically tape the edges of the curtains to hold in the comforting darkness but still the buzzing all around shut off my senses flood me with anything cut off from everything except for me but if I cut that too then what am I left without myself inside my head just the buzzing buzzing searing boiling buzzing buzzing buzzing
Aug 2019 · 163
song of the mushroom
R J Coman Aug 2019
feet in the soil
stretch towards the sky
my life is so short
so I pray for the rain

last night I was born
tomorrow I rot
let me watch
the sun rise

before I wither
Jul 2019 · 481
Cry for Health
R J Coman Jul 2019
Give me an address
of someone who cares.

Give me the referral
to make them let me in.

Give me the money
to pay them for caring.

I’m begging you, pleading:

Give me what it takes
to make the pain go away.
Jul 2019 · 225
Stuck in Time Blues
R J Coman Jul 2019
All I knew is gone now,
I think.

Even the place I slept at night
is barren and strange.
Lights shine in windows,
but inside it is silent.

Even the people I called friends
are as distant to me
as dry spires in a desert,
breaking the shifting horizon.

Even my own beautiful eyes
betray no emotion to me:
only the puzzled gaze
of a stranger I thought I knew.
Jun 2019 · 155
R J Coman Jun 2019
Each day, the horrid insects return.
They pull me
downwards, away from all I know.

Ten thousand tiny wings,
thirty thousand minuscule legs.
They drag me,
body buzzing with the life they give
into the twilight of dysfunction.

The slow, bulbous doubts, the ghastly
creeping terrors, the venomous dreads
and spindly, chitinous uncertainties.
They eat me
Gnawing away at everything I am,
Until I look in the mirror and do not see
A familiar face staring back.

So I **** them all, without mercy,
Until not a membranous wing still beats.
I flood their wretched exoskeletons
With the cleansing, toxic mists of
I drown myself in the poison, pushing
away the deep dark and swimming upwards
towards the gentle, comforting light of day.
My head breaks the surface, gasping.

But as I breathe deep, I do not turn back
To see the trail of butterflies
Floating dead among the carnage.
#insects #mentalhealth
R J Coman Mar 2019
I often wonder
if snowflakes feel
themselves falling
or if the world
rises among them.
Dec 2018 · 337
All that matters
R J Coman Dec 2018
It doesn’t matter
who others want you to be
We love you
for your beautiful smile
for your happiest laugh
for your most endearing quirks

It doesn’t matter
what box you were put in.
We love you
for the joy you impart
for the comfort you give
for the caring you receive

It doesn’t matter to us
what’s between your legs
We love you
for how you think
for how you touch our lives
for how you change the world

All that matters
is that you be yourself
Your place can be found
only by looking in your heart
Dec 2018 · 209
The Harvest
R J Coman Dec 2018
That morning, I picked mushrooms.
They were red, almost round
like a tomato, with little white flecks
clinging to their domed caps.
Their earthy smell filled my nostrils
when I pulled them from the damp,
sandy soil, pine needles still clinging
to their sticky surface.
I was so excited for my find.
I was so thrilled to show them off.

But then you burst through my joy,
tore my dreams from my tired fingers,
and tossed them into the dumpster
with my harvest. I felt alone. I felt
unheard by those sworn to love me.
I lay in my bed unmoving, my spirit
screaming in pain and sadness.
I just wanted the pain to end.

You’re not sorry for what you did.
You hold no remorse for the fresh
red mushrooms you destroyed,
the irrevocable time you squandered,
the suffering and shame you caused.
I cannot argue with you: in your mind
you are absolutely in the right.

To you, I am a possession. A tool.
A doll god gave you to command,
unwillingly sworn to obedience.
I try so hard to hate you, but
I cannot hate someone who truly
believes that they love me,
even as they beat my soul down.

But someday I will rise to my feet,
look you in the eye devoid of fear,
and fate will compel you to reap
the harvest which you have sown.
In your eyes, I know I will see only
unwavering self-righteousness,
and the conviction that you
have done me nothing but good.

It makes me sick.
Dec 2018 · 210
R J Coman Dec 2018
Nothing is forever:
Not the ancient, living forest,
Not the towering, unbreakable mountains,
Not even the cold, distant stars.

The everyday moments, the feelings,
the emotions we feel.
They burn out when we do,
Sometimes sooner.

But when I’m with you, I feel
the true scope of timelessness:
Even in a chaotic, hungry universe,
two souls touch in perfect harmony.

I want to hold you until my utmost end,
while the earth spins into the sun
and all else grows old and dies:
In your arms, my heart is at peace.

The inevitability of the ending
breathes meaning into every moment.
Dec 2018 · 327
The Necronomicon
R J Coman Dec 2018
It’s just a book. Nothing more.
A combination of translated words,
written upon tan paper
and bound in black leather.
It’s just a book, and yet somehow
it infects the minds of the readers,
twisting them until
there is nothing left inside their skulls,
nothing but its insidious whisperings.

“The Book of Dead Names”
is the title’s translation, as if to say
those whose times are recorded within
are among us no more.
Or perhaps the author,
so distraught by what he had learned,
sealed their existence away
in the shrine of forgetfulness
so that no others would suffer like him.

Just a book.
Just words.
Harmless, comforting letters, arranged
into patterns.

Yet, using only these written words,
the mad Arab has conveyed
our smallness in the immensity
of this our universe,
our insignificance alongside
the insatiable hunger of the stars.
He paid dearly for his prehension,
crumbling away like an ancient ruin
before the endless, shifting desert
that is the merciless chaos.

He is gone.
But his lexicon remains.
Just a book.

But such knowledge is not meant
for the fragile, breakable forms
of our species. To understand
our place in the universe,
and the immeasurable horrors
from which aegis of Ignorance
shields us, is to let go
of the handholds of sanity and drift
silently off into the void of enlightenment.

Yet still the book is read. Still humanity
turns its gaze to the stars,
and deep beneath the earth, searching
for confirmation of what we already know,
though our psyche may forbid
us to conceive of it.
Knowledge is not power. It is not freeing.
It is death. Death and ruin to all
who grasp the truth of this dark world.

It’s just a book.
A book penned by a man insane.
Rows of indecipherable words upon
innumerable pages, worn away by time.
"That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die".
-H P Lovecraft
Dec 2018 · 387
Let’s go on a Nature Walk
R J Coman Dec 2018
If we only we were as one
with Mother Earth,

we would not have to speak
about Nature

as different than ourselves.

Animals do not have to go
“Into Nature”

They are immersed in Her.
She is their soul.

We alone drive Her away.
Dec 2018 · 4.8k
She: A Poem about Dysphoria
R J Coman Dec 2018
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."
-Maya Angelou

My soul is a sweetie:
She’s a cute but ****,
with an infectious smile,
an enchanting personality.
She wears dark colors,
slightly goth makeup,
and thick-rimmed glasses.
She likes candles, tea,
sweaters, and cannabis,
and goes on long walks
in the woods by starlight.
She’s cool and confident,
outgoing and fun,
and as beautiful as
a moonrise reflected
off of a frozen lake.

She’s me.
But I am not her.
She’s the me inside
of the me inside of me.

She cries when my mind
grapples with the bounds
of the mental illness
that gives her life.
She screams in pain
when my mind tries
to rationalize her
and explain her away.
And she glows with joy
whenever I try
to grow closer to her.
She’s the part of me
I never asked for,
whose existence hurts
like a deep burn,
but nonetheless makes
me truly be myself.
This is dedicated to all my readers who are Trans, Fluid, Non-Binary, or otherwise struggle with the pain of Gender Dysphoria. I promise, inside of all of us there is a beautiful individual, even if it differs from what we see when we look in the mirror. Much love for you all <3
Dec 2018 · 325
R J Coman Dec 2018
I hear it singing
from just beyond,
in the Unknown.
“I can make you so
happy”, it croons,
“whole like you
have never been”.
But there is
another voice
just behind me,
faint as the curve
on a drop of water,
that whispers:
“But at what cost”.
Dec 2018 · 1.3k
R J Coman Dec 2018
A Haiku

Can fish perceive pain?
Some of us say they cannot,
so we can hurt them.
Dec 2018 · 504
Love Never Ending
R J Coman Dec 2018
December 12th, 2018: For K B D

I remember the exact instant I knew
that I had surrendered my heart;
when your eyes drifted towards the floor
and off to the side,
shyly voicing your love for me.

I remember every sensation:
the dim sounds of a party
two doors down, the light from the hall
timidly peaking in under the doorway,
the zippers of your sweatshirt
a rough contrast with the soft warmth
of your bewitching body.

I remember our joyous union
as you pressed your mouth into mine
for the first time, as if our souls
embraced and kissed with our bodies.
Never before had I felt
so close to another human being,
never before had I felt such bliss,
such rapture, as I did
that night in your arms.

Now, every time we kiss under the stars,
every time you look up into my eyes
and tell me that you love me,
that moment reoccurs:
As if somewhere,
beyond time,
beyond space,
beyond forgetting
and beyond remembering,
our souls remain
locked in an eternal first kiss,
joined together in a passion unbroken
and untouched by our humanity.
Dec 2018 · 453
R J Coman Dec 2018
Doesn’t it ever get old?

To always be green,
to forever grow new
needles and cones,
until the day that
they tumble to the ground
for the last time?

Doesn’t it become
tiresome to stretch
ever towards the sky,
like a living skyscraper
without an architect,
building itself upwards?

Don’t your roots get sore
from centuries of digging
through soil and stone,
and the winds trying
their best to topple
and uproot you?

Or perhaps I am just
a foolish human,
a **** Sapiens
trying to comprehend
the slow, steadfast
and eternal ways
of the growing trees.
Dec 2018 · 425
Changing Seasons
R J Coman Dec 2018
October 27th, 2018

The leaves have fallen
from the trees,
the sky is grey, like
the ancient, monolithic
glacial boulders.
A soft, chill breeze
blows from the lake
and freezes my
breath in the air.
Summer is fading
into winter,
dying slowly like
a grandmother with
dementia. Mother Nature
no longer remembers
the joyous heat or
the tender leaves of before,
instead giving us
the frigid winds of change.
Like the seasons,
everything changes,
everything fades and dies.
Like the green forest
winnowed down to twigs
by the cruel North Wind.
And it is as grim
as the storm clouds
coalescing ex nihilo
against the horizon.
Nov 2018 · 1.1k
R J Coman Nov 2018
I was afraid.
Terrified, even
with fear.
But that’s all
gone now.
Like a vapor
on the breeze.

traces back
to only one,
for me.
She’s so
and strong,
and her hair
is soft and red
like a fox’s.

Oh how
I love her.
Beyond words.

More than
every contour
of every leaf
on a forest,
fall yellow
like an oil

More than
the sudden
fits of gentle
that make my
entire upper
body vibrate
like one huge

More even
than the
distant stars,
through the
misty clouds.

She makes
my arms twitch
with excitement,
my body aching
to embrace
her and hold on.
With her head
on my shoulder
this world really
does seem so
much brighter.
Oct 2018 · 3.1k
R J Coman Oct 2018
You can go there.
It’s easy, really.
But once there, you
cannot tell anyone
what it was like.

An experience
must be felt in
order to be believed.
Otherwise it’s just
an idea in my head.

But like a horse
shying at shadows
some of us flee,
cantering away
when our time comes.

The setting sun
sings me to sleep,
the dark morning fog
welcomes a new day.
A new day to try.

And fail.

We cannot see it
without light, yet
the light itself casts
the fearful shadows.
So we hide from it.

What was it like?
You cannot tell me,
once you were there.
It’s easy, really.
Why can’t I do it?
Why can’t I?
Oct 2018 · 733
R J Coman Oct 2018
I once read a story about an ant
who set his mind to move a mountain.
An insect, a millimeter from jaw to legtip,
laboring against a mass of stone and
soil quadrillions of times his size.
But he worked
and worked
and worked
moving the bedrock one dram at a time,
year after year, season after season,
each trip melding into the next in an
endless march of mindless labor, until
where the mountain once stood,
a peaceful valley sank down. All because
of the labor of one very determined insect.

At the end of the fable, the writer tells us
never to give up, for what we choose
to work and persevere towards
will surely happen if we truly try.
As I read the story, I knew he was right.
Never give up.
Even if it takes a quadrillion trips,
1,000,000,000,000,000 trials,
before the mountain bows to you.
Even if your small, insectoid mind
cracks like a candy-cane under a sandbag,
even if you collapse and die after 6 decades
of exhaustion, millions more left to go.
Never give up.
Even if your task is impossible, and it
destroys your life, everything you love,
everything that makes your little ant-soul tick.
Never give up.
Oct 2018 · 345
Two Nocturns
R J Coman Oct 2018
Nocturne (Friends Without)

I sit with two others in a dimly lit room.
My friends.
We laugh and talk through the evening
and into the night.
But others come, bringing sickness.
My friends
I no longer know them.
In their heads, their eyes are not their own.

Nocturne (Friends Within)

I hate what I cannot see, and shun those
I can’t understand.
I will try, I promise I will try, to grow.
Let it in.
So I too can stare upon a world alien
and strange.
Do I even know myself?
Are these eyes even my own anymore?
Oct 2018 · 2.6k
The Old Ways
R J Coman Oct 2018
There are old ways that we have forgotten,
sacred to our ancestors generations ago.
Far before men named Jesus Christ
Muhammad and Confucius,
our ancestors knew the ways to live
as enduring and resilient as the seasons.
Songs and rites, gods as ancient as the
deep green forest, and stories
of the rise and fall of great men:
Chieftains, farmers, warriors, musicians
whose songs echoed over young world.

The world was harsh then, as cold
as the towering bedrock of the mountains.
We gave thanks for what we had,
both to the gods and to ourselves.
The choice was to live strong, work hard
or die like a wounded animal.
The world was fair in the days of old,
our cares cleansed through sweat
and blood, and in the crushing weight
of the labor of survival we found peace.

Today, our peace is lost. We have
nations, such foreign things,
a group of people enslaved by custom.
The green forest has become
the fireplace of a world too gray,
the unforgiving mountains mere pebbles
beneath our trembling, dying feet.
Though our lives are calm our minds
are shattered, the breezes of indifference
blowing away the forgotten ways of old.
Oct 2018 · 5.4k
Reflection on a Snowglobe
R J Coman Oct 2018
I peered into the future and saw
Possibilities dancing in semi-reality
like snowflakes beneath a stormy sky.
But the one before us was clear
as ice upon the frosted curved glass.

A madness has spread among
the countless peoples of the world.
A disease of the mind which makes it seem
to the sick man as if they are made

of glass. A fragile thing, so
frail and delicate they might break
upon any but the softest impact.
The afflicted, day and night, scream in fear

at any possible contact harder
than the lightest touch.
“I’ll break”, their blood-chilling screams
echo through the empty halls of history.

The world has broken in this future
like a music-box wound down to

silence. Men and women hide in
padded chambers, for fear of breaking
their porcelain forms upon a pavement
or stones a toddler could step over.

A cure for the glass does not exist,
save for a light tap to show the ill
that they are more than they believe.
Yet the sick would rather not be healed

than face the reality of their own resilience.
The world cannot hurt you, my friend,
but you yourself can hurt the world
and shatter it like a crystalline snowglobe.

— The End —